Easy classes

Revision as of 14:43, November 4, 2005 by (talk) (Biol 319: Integrative Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics Lab (Same as Chemistry 319, Computer Science 319, Mathematics 319 and Physics 319))

I know I know, we all came to Williams to take four to six challenging and rewarding classes every semester. Then we found how much we liked working for the newspaper or playing a sport or singing a capella or doing plays. Anyway, sometimes you need an easy fourth course. Let's make a list of guts. Please comment only on the size of the workload, and not on the quality of teaching. If there's not universal consensus that a course was easy, it would be relevant to mention whether you've had previous coursework in the subject, or if you're just a genius. If you want opinions about the quality of particular professors, please visit Factrak.

Easy classes (if you can do math)

Econ 110

Bartlett's section: There are daily homework assignments, but you can actually complete them during the class that it's due. You'll probably have time to finish the next day's assignment, too. There were no projects or papers; just a mid-term and final exam. Bartlett is an adjunct from Smith, so he is only brought in when Econ 110 is overenrolled.

Estimated weekly workload: 0-2 hours
Mandatory attendance? No

Psych 201

Kirby's section: If you are not good at math, this class will be hard. But if you have a sound grasp of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and occasionally division, and if you have a sort of understanding of how math works, this class is easy. You don't need to do any reading to do the course, which is good since the texts and reading assignments are really dense. Classes are small, so the professor will notice if you are not there.

 Estimated weekly workload: 0-2 hours
 Mandatory attendence? yes, since it's a small class
 Extra credit? No

NOT easy with Ari Solomon. Also not fun, interesting, or anything positive.

Easy classes (even if you can't do math)

Econ 120

Sporadic problem sets that can be done at the last minute. Attendance is not necessary as the entire lecture (at least in one prof's section) is contained within a powerpoint presentation available through blackboard - print this out, don't take any notes. Readings from the course packet are assigned but not necessary. Exams are easy, especially if you've taken 110 before.

Estimated weekly workload: 0-2 hours
Mandatory attendance? No

Note: This is just my personal experience, but econ 120 with Betty Daniel involves weekly problem sets, 2 papers, a presentation and debate on one of the papers, and two really hard tests and a final exam. Just to give you a good idea of how hard the tests are, the first one had a curve of over 20 points.

Psych 101

It is not really that the material is easy, but this class is the only class I am aware of at Williams that has extra credit, in the form of participating in psych experiments that oftentimes are extremely interesting anyway. I got an A in the class and very rarely went to class on Friday mornings. The only section that you need to pay close attention in the lecture is Neuroscience, and even if you dont do well on that test, you will surely ace the Cognitive Psych or Social Psych part and make up for it. This class is light on the reading, and since there so many people in it, you can find a study partner easily.

I would also add that there is very little in the lectures that cannot be found directly from the book. In fact, despite the fact that I attended almost every lecture, the notes I took down were basically just repeating what I'd read the night before.

Whatever you do, do not buy the textbook. It was revised three times while I was a student, and every time Kassin would claim "students must have the recent edition." Bullshit. If you don't believe, grab copies of your favorite two editions and check the text side by side. I'll be damned if I didn't find, my freshman year, that precisely the same text and figures were present in the 3rd and 4th editions, with a two page difference between editions. If you are lucky enough to take the class in a revision year, check out the free book table in the 1914 Library, even if you are not on financial aid. They'll be liquidating their "old" editions.

 Estimated weekly workload: 0-3 hours
 Mandatory attendence? no
 Extra credit? Yes!

Note: A great number of people have failed this course. Do not be misled by this information.

Also note: Ok, although I know someone who has failed this course, I feel strongly that this is a result of a complete lack of understanding about what an easy or "low-maintainence" class is and what it isn't. i.e. you still have to study for the exams, and the material is still on par with college-level academics.

Math 175: Mathematical Politics: Voting, Power, and Conflict

Very light on actual math.

Geos 104: Oceanography

Well-illustrated powerpoint lectures, an often fun and incredibly easy lab for two hours ever other week, pretty much no homework (though looking at your textbook doesn't actually hurt), and a field trip in the spring! This was one of the easiest and most entertaining classes I've taken here.

Estimated weekly workload: 0-3 hours 
Mandatory attendance? I don't remember, but it's actually worth going