ADDITIONAL REFERENCE WORKSReturn to contents
It is advisable to use several reference works when surveying the literature in preparation for a research paper. And remember that indexes and bibliographies organized by geographical areas index sources that focus on particular subjects (such as culture and personality or political systems), and the "subject" indexes will include sources that focus on ethnographic areas.
This is not an exhaustive list of reference works useful in anthropological research. I have tried here to list only the ones you will probably find most useful. There are many other useful reference sources. Try browsing in the reference area sometime to get a feel for the diversity of available reference works.13 There is a list available in the reference area devoted just to reference works in anthropology, and there are similar lists for other subjects as well.
Obviously, if you have any questions or problems, consult your librarian.
Cultural Anthropology: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources. 1991. Guide to reference literature in cultural anthropology, as well as libraries, publishers and organizations.
Introduction to Library Research in Anthropology. 1991. Guide to research tools, library services and the mechanics of term paper writing in anthropology.
The Social Sciences: A Cross Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources. 1989. Consult the "Anthropology" chapter for an annotated list of recent reference sources in anthropology.
Sources of Information in the Social Sciences. 3rd ed. 1986. The "Anthropology" chapter contains an exhaustive annotated bibliography of the literature of this field. [probably] Available at the Reference Desk.
International Bibliography of the Social Sciences--Anthropology. 1955-91+ This has an author-subject index at the back of each volume. It breaks the discipline into sub-areas in a "clasification scheme"-- for example, General Studies, Materials and Methods, Ethnographic Studies (by area), Social Organization (by area and by institution and type of behavior, e.g., sexual relations, inter- racial and inter-ethnic relations). The IBSS also includes bibliographies in political science, economics, and sociology. The anthropology part covers archeology and physical anthropology as well as cultural and social anthropology.
DICTIONARIES AND ENCYCLOPEDIAS
Dictionary of Anthropology. 1986. Covers 1100 terms, theoretical concepts, and biographical profiles in social and cultural anthropology. Includes bibliography.
Dictionary of Concepts in Cultural Anthropology. 1991. Contains definitions, historical origins and developments, and bibliographic references for 80 key concepts in cultural anthropology.
Dictionary of Concepts in Physical Anthropology. 1991. Consists of brief definitions, historical origins and developments, and sources of additional information for concepts in physical anthropology.
Encyclopedia of Anthropology, 1976 This is really a dictionary rather than an encyclopedia.
Encyclopedia of Evolution: Humanity's Search for its Origins. 1990. Popular encyclopedia containing 600+ articles on evolution and its impact on society, from Bonzo to biogenetic law and from "Planet of the Apes" to plate tectonics.
Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition. vol 1-4 Covers most major aspects of Islamic history and religion.
Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory. 1988. Covers 1200+ topics in human evolution. Contains photographs, drawings and charts. Entries include bibliographies.
Encyclopedia of World Cultures. 10 vols.[in progress] 1991- . Ten-volume encyclopedia, arranged by geographic region, provides descriptive summaries on world cultures.
International Dictionary of Anthropologists. 1991. Biographical dictionary of anthropologists born prior to 1920. The scope is worldwide.
International Encyclopedia of Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychoanalysis, and Neurology, 1977 Volume 12 is the index volume. The articles are signed and have reference lists. The International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences would also be useful in doing research in psychological anthropology.
Women Anthropologists: A Biographical Dictionary. 1988. Biographical profiles of women anthropologists born between 1836 and 1934. Profiles include a selected bibliography of works by or about each individual.
INDEXES AND ABSTRACTS
Abstracts in Anthropology. 1970 - . Abstracts are brief summaries of the contents of a publication and index journal articles in a subject arrangement. Abstracts, unlike book reviews, are non-evaluative. Most social sciences have their own abstracts. You may also find Psychological Abstracts and Sociological Abstracts useful. Divided into four sections: archaeology, physical anthropology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. Does not index book reviews.
Africa Bibliography. 1984 - . Index to articles, books and essays. Arranged by region and country, following a general section. Consult the social and cultural anthropology/sociology and anthropology/ archaeology/prehistory subject headings.
Alternative Press Index. 1970 - . Index to alternative and radical publications. Consult this index for articles on Australian aborigines, native Americans and other groups.
Index America: History and Life. 1964 - . Table This work indexes and abstracts periodical articles in the field of North American history and culture. Includes articles on native American history, prehistory and culture. Includes book reviews.
Anthropological Index to Current Periodicals in the Museum of Mankind Library. 1980 - . Indexes more than 600 periodicals in a geographical arrangement, subdivided by general, physical anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, ethnography, and linguistics. No subject index. Annual author index published separately. Does not index book reviews.
Anthropological Literature: An Index to Periodical Articles and Essays. 1979 - . Indexes over 1000 periodicals and 150 edited books from materials received at Harvard's Tozzer Library. Does not index book reviews.
Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts. 1987 - . Index to journal articles in the applied social sciences. Includes social and cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and physical anthropology.
Index Arts and Humanities Citation Index. 1975 - . Table Provides author, subject and citation access to the literature in folklore, linguistics and archaeology. Includes book reviews.
A Current Bibliography on African Affairs. 1962 - . Quarterly index to books, articles, government documents and visual aids, arranged by general subject or geographical area.
Geographical Abstracts: Human Geography. 1989 - . Index to 1000 geographical journals, books, proceedings, reports, theses and dissertations covering the literature of human geography. Classified subject arrangement.
Handbook of Latin American Studies, 1935- Publishes separate volumes on humanities and social sciences. Annotated.
Handbook of Middle American Indians. 16 vols. 1964-1976. Contains essays on the ethnography, archaeology, physical anthropology and social anthropology of the Indians of Middle America. Updated by recent supplements.
Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols. [in progress] 1978 - . When completed, this work will be the standard source of information on the prehistory, history and cultures of the native peoples of North America north of Mexico. Each volume contains essays on specific aspects of Native American life with an extensive bibliography and detailed index.
Handbook of Social and Cultural Anthropology. 1973. Surveys the state of knowledge and reviews research in the various branches of anthropology.
Handbook of South American Indians. 7 vols. 1946-1959. Survey of tribes of South America, with emphasis on the European contact period.
Medical Anthropology: A Handbook of Theory and Method. 1990. Presents the state of the art in medical anthropology, core theoretical issues, ethnomedicine, biomedicine, health issues in human populations, methodology and policy issues.
Anthropological Bibliographies: A Selected Guide. 1981. Extensive list of bibliographies arranged geographically with a final section of topical bibliographies.
Anthropological Fieldwork: An Annotated Bibliography. 1988. Contains 700 entries on anthropological fieldwork from the early twentieth century to 1986. Includes geographical and subject indexes.
A Bibliography of Contemporary North American Indians: Selected and Partially Annotated with Study Guide. 1976 Organized by topics--for example, the anthropology of development, culture and personality.
Cumulative Bibliography of African Studies. 1973 This is a reproduction of the author and subject catalog of the IAI. Subject headings are organized under geographical Folio areas. It has a table of contents. The IAI has several other bibliographies which might be useful.
Cumulative Bibliography of Asian Studies. 1941- These are two titles in the same continuous series. Broken down by topic and country, they cover an extraordinarily large range of publications and therefore runs four or five years behind (i.e., volume covering 1986 was published in 1991).
Ecce Homo: An Annotated Bibliographic History of Physical Anthropology. 1986. Contains 2340 references from ancient times to on the history of physical anthropology. Arranged chronologically.
Ethnographic Bibliography of North America. 4th edition, 1975 (supplement 1990) Organized by areas. It has 40,000 entries on articles and books, and covers the field through 1972, supplement takes it through the 1980s.
Ethnographic Bibliography of South America. 1963 Organized by area, then by tribe. Has tribal index.
The History of Anthropology: A Research Bibliography. 1977. Contains more than 2400 entries on the development of anthropology as a science and profession.
Index Islamicus: A Catalogue of Articles in Periodicals and Other Collective Publications. 1958-85. Organized by subject and by area. Includes section on ethnology and anthropology (more current supplements issued periodically)
Modern Chinese Society: An Analytical Bibliography. 1973 Good source for older work, but much new research has been conducted since it came out.
Native American Basketry: An Annotated Bibliography. 1988. Comprehensive bibliography includes books, articles, theses, dissertations and newspaper articles. Organized by culture area. Contains author and subject indexes.
Pacific Bibliography: Printed Materials Relating to the Native Peoples of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. 1965. 2nd ed. This has author, subject, and group indexes.
The Social System and Culture of Modern India: A Research Bibliography. 1975 Organized by subjects--covers sociology and social and cultural anthropology, although all of the subject headings refer to "sociology."
YEARBOOKS AND REVIEW LITERATURE
Annual Review of Anthropology. 1972- This gives critical reviews of recent research in selected areas of anthropology, such as political and economic anthropology, symbolic studies, culture change, and area studies. The biblio- graphies for each article are generally quite extensive.
Reviews in Anthropology. 1974 - . Quarterly journal which publishes long reviews on important new publications in anthropology.
Atlas of Mankind. 1982. Contains general background information on peoples of the world, including issues such as migration, race, kinship, language, and environment.
Atlas of World Cultures: A Geographical Guide to Ethnographic Literature. 1989. Geographical guide to ethnographic books, articles, reports, archaeological materials, maps and atlases for 3500+ cultures.
Cultural Atlas of China. 1983. Visual representation of the culture history of China, with maps, photographs, tables and text. There are similar volumes on Africa and Japan.
AAA Guide. Current year. Describes anthropology departments in 485 institutions, lists American Anthropological Association members, recent PhD dissertations in anthropology, and student statistics.
Biographical Directory of Anthropologists Born Before 1920. 1988 Entries include biographical data, major contributions, and published sources of biographical information.
MELVYL, ROGER, and the web(this section by Jim Moore, 1998)
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ROGER seems to be where most students begin their online research; this is a great resource and has an easy-to-use interface, but has a critical limitation: it only covers BOOKS.
Now, at first you might think, well, duh--libraries house books, I'm looking for books, so like what's the limitation line all about? It's about periodicals. Using ROGER, you can locate which library subscribes to which journal, which is useful, but now what? To find an article on a particular topic, what do you do? You bag ROGER, that's what.
[Jan. 2001 update: The new millennium has brought changes to the system, and the rate of change is increasing. Much of the following is based on the "old" 1998 MELVYL interface (which is still available); resources today are vastly greater. Start your online library search for journals at the California Digital Library (http://www.dbs.cdlib.org/. The pull-down menu asks you to select a database. If you are looking for a book, choose MELVYL; for a bioanthro article my suggestion is start with Current Contents. Experiment! The Really Cool Thing is that if you are logging on from a campus computer, for many journals you can read/download the entire article online! Save yourself that trip over to BioMed or SIO... DO skim through the rest of this, though; the exact commands and interfaces change, but the search strategies do not.
By my second year at UofT, I had figured out that there is a problematic phenomenon in our educational system known as "weed-out courses". Weed-out courses are challenging courses, but there is something about them that makes them not just hard, but unfair-something that makes a plethora of otherwise gifted students doubt themselves as they take them. Weed-out courses are not just challenging to individual students, but rather are built around and/or into an anti-student structure. In other words, the unfairness of weed-out courses is inherent to their design.
A recurring definition of a weed-out course, and the one I was most familiar with from my own experience, is a course that uses tests that expect students to know far more than they are taught in class. In the survey, students identified additional qualities of weed-out courses that can exacerbate the problem of unfair tests. Firstly, many weed-out courses are huge first and second year classes, and thus are not particularly conducive for learning. Secondly, a number of weed-out courses require a disproportionate amount of work to do well (compared to courses at the same or even higher level at UofT). Thirdly, some weed-out courses use all or nothing marking schemes (i.e. marking schemes where questions are given full marks or zero). If all these qualities are found in a single weed-out course, a student may find themselves studying for days on end, yet they may still rack up zeroes or very low marks on evaluations.
Another problem students faced in weed-out courses was the feeling that they were taught theories but were expected to do application style questions on the tests. In essay-based subjects, such as the humanities and social sciences, marking schemes in weed-out courses may prove less extreme. However, students still noted the struggle of not just having to write correct information, but having to predict the arbitrary whims of how their evaluator would want to see that information.
A number of students expressed concern about their courses aiming to fit preconceived mark distributions (bell curve/normal distribution), arguing that this made their courses inherently unfair. Students should be aware that the faculty of Arts and Science does not require that courses adhere to fit a given mark distribution, so students should feel confident in challenging their instructors and departments on this issue. This point, I would argue, gets to the heart of the problem of weed-out courses. The fact that many UofT students feel they are being weeded out suggests that the existence of weed-out courses is no accident. Perhaps as a response to government underfunding, UofT departments have seemingly committed to a teaching model where students are processed and used to fill mark quotas at the cost of being educated.
The following list contains courses that students described in a survey as weed-outs. I have included every well explained and relevant answer to the survey, so it should not be assumed that I or my colleagues necessarily feel that all of these courses are weed-outs.
Finally, it should be noted that some of the courses listed below as weed-outs are also listed in this guide as recommended courses. I can say from experience that some courses do indeed display qualities of weed-out and are also enjoyable courses (BIO120 and PSY100, in my opinion, could be, and are presented as both). In other cases, courses may be pure weed-outs. Regardless of whether everyone agrees with every course’s inclusion on this list, I hope it will help students struggling in these courses know that they are not alone, help instructors think about their teaching approaches and show administrators that students are not happy with the state of their education.
A Guide to Unfair Course at UofT
The following is an alphabetical list of courses that students have listed as “weed-outs” as of March 2nd 2014
“I felt that these courses try to manipulate student's average and don't have the consistency in testing the student's knowledge. Also, most of them, if not all, failed to provide sufficient practice or material that prepares us adequately to do well on tests/exams.”
-A student’s description of BIO120, CHM138, CHM139, PHY131, PHY132, PSL300, BCH210, and HMB265.
ANT100 - One student gave the following account of this course: “This was the lowest mark I have ever gotten in a university course (66). I have spoken to others who have taken the course and many of them also feel it was unnecessarily difficult, certainly a 'weed-out' course. The exams, for example, (all multiple choice) often included vaguely/confusingly worded questions and sometimes referenced material that was only discussed momentarily in lecture. On the essay, which was divided, we were marked on a proposal, draft, and final essay. It was very difficult for me…[My TA’s] feedback didn't help me understand what I could do better, and when I went to see him to discuss it he seemed dismissive and annoyed that I didn't understand what I was doing wrong. As a first year, I was very confused and intimidated by this. Going into the course not knowing much about what anthropology was and just wanting to learn about something new, progressively over the year I lost more and more motivation to go to class and study for exams, and ended the year not understanding much more than I did when I came in, and wanted nothing more to do with anthropology again (finally I gave it another chance in the summer between second and third years and ended up majoring in archaeology, which I have done quite well in).”
BCH210 - Three students reported BCH210 as a weed-out course. They claimed that they felt results in this course were manipulated. The first midterm produced a high class average, and the second one was written to counterbalance this. A student described this experience as “extremely disheartening for students” and said BCH210 was not the only course in which they felt their capacity to get good grades was intentionally manipulated.
BIO120 - Six respondents presented BIO120 as a weed-out course. One student described the large class size as demoralizing leading them to switch to psychology from biology after first year. Another individual claimed BIO120 (along with CHM138 and ECO100) tests ask “ambiguous questions to kill the class average.” Yet another respondent felt they didn’t get out of BIO120 what they expected arguing: “BIO120 was supposed to be the science course for unscience-y life sci students… except it wasn't. Not only was the material tedious, involving calculus…but the exams were not an accurate representation of what we were learning AT ALL.” Finally, one student suggested that BIO120 (along with MAT135 and CHM139) focuses on teaching theory, but then expects students to be able to apply that theory in test situations.
BIO130 - As mentioned above, BIO130 is one of a number of courses that a respondent suggested is structured to produce a certain mark distribution.
BIO230 - Like BIO130, BIO230 was reported to us as a course that may be structured to achieve a certain mark distribution. A respondent has also suggested that BIO230 tests may ask questions about seemingly minute details from the course (points mentioned only in passing in tiny font on the slides). The student added that BIO230’s multiple-choice test format meant that even though they learned most or all of what they were supposed to understand from lectures, they could not get any credit for what they did know as many multiple choice questions had multiple reasonable answers (from the perspective of an undergraduate with no specific knowledge in molecular biology).
BIO260 - A respondent claimed “the class median [I suspect for a particular evaluation] was 35%.”
CHM138 - Thus far 10 respondents have described CHM138 as a weed-out course, with one suggesting that CHM138/39 alone requires 15-25 hours of work/week . Another student described the course as very recognizably following a weed-out model citing the class’s size and the large discrepancy between the seemingly easy lecture material and unpredictable and overwhelming test questions.
CHM139 - Thus far 10 respondents have described CHM139 as a weed-out course. One student described CHM139’s model as “ideal for demoralizing students who are not completely dedicated.” Another student complained that they took CHM139 in the second term of their third year and found it took up far more of their time (and they got a far lower mark in it) than in any of their upper year courses. Seeing as chemistry is a requirement for a number of life science degrees, it is not reasonable to expect the majority of CHM139 students to be overwhelmingly dedicated to this particular class. Another student who was critical of CHM138, singled out CHM139 as particularly problematic arguing “if you are told that the last 8 years have had a first test average of 50%, you are telling… some of the brightest students in the world that they will not do well.” Another student added, “Regardless of how many hours I put into studying, the questions on the exam would be absolutely ridiculous. The professor told us on the first day that half of us will probably fail the course. [Also]… there were three different professors in one term so they couldn't possibly know the students and my TA was unbelievably incompetent.” CHM139, as a survey course, covers a great range of subjects, many of which students may never see again. Therefore, a respondent found that simply studying over course material once took up an overwhelming amount of time, making true practice impossible.
CSB349 - A respondent cautioned that CSB349 contains a huge volume of incredibly complex material and also found the tutorials to be particularly difficult.
ECO100 - A student suggested that ECO100 had a 67% mandatory bell curve and that students marks on tests were influenced by group performance. The student claimed that their mark was pulled down to reflect the performance of their class section. Another student expressed concern about what they described as “considerable heterogeny” between the course’s sections making it hard for students to evaluate whether they could handle the course.
ECO105 - A student described struggling to find help on the courses written assignment as the TAs did not know how to provide guidance and the professor was condescending and unhelpful. The student further argued that multiple choice questions in the class emphasized what seemed like trivial details as opposed to broader course content.
ECO204 - A student suggested that the class’ instructor(s) failed to address student concerns while the class was ongoing, citing a November midterm that was not handed back until late January.
GGR270 - The student who reported this course said the following: “Although the course itself was taught very well and the midterm and assignments were fairly easy, it became a "weed-out" course when the final exam came. This course is required for the majority of geography, architecture, archeology, and geology majors. The final exam was set up so that a majority of the questions could not be answered by students and had no relation to examples of material done in class or tutorial. From speaking to my peers after the exam, [I found that] most people were unable to answer more than half of the exam questions, resulting in an extreme curve on the exam and a drop in marks.”
HIS295 - A student described their professor in this class as condescending and complained that an unreasonable level of background knowledge was expected, despite the course not having pre-requisites.
HMB265 - One student suggested, as seen above, that this course seems structured to get a pre-determined mark distribution. Another complained about the quality of teaching in the second half of the course.
MAT135 - Nine respondents listed MAT135 as a weed-out course. One said, “imagine you're being taught a fifth grade syllabus and you end up having to answer A-level questions… Another student complained about how only one of the course’s professors writes the exam, putting students taught by a different instructor at a disadvantage. Another added “The class average was a D+ ... The blame was put on the students for not trying hard enough… There was a TA teaching the course, and we had no ability to discuss material with an actual professor.” Yet another complained that the last questions on tests are written so “only math geniuses and people who pay extra for those TLS/etc. seminars really even have a shot at it” adding that all of the lecturers, including those who are considered relatively strong are difficult to understand and spend much of the lecture time going over “trivial examples.” That student added, however, that there is a difference between “off” (taught by grad students-MAT135 second semester, and MAT136 in 1st semester) and “on” (taught by faculty) versions of the course, arguing that off versions are both more fair and more enjoyable.
MAT136 - Five students reported MAT136 as a weed-out course, citing similar concerns to those expressed about MAT135 - One respondent claimed MAT136 had test questions worth 8% designed not to be solved by 80% of test takers. Another complained that the final exam was weighted too heavily (65%).
MAT137 - Three students reported MAT137 as a weed-out course. One student cited the futility of the help they asked for in improving their grades. Another complained that about a third of their test marks come from “all or nothing questions”.
POL100 - A student repeatedly found the mark they got in this course to be inconsistent with the feedback their TA gave them, making them feel they were marked arbitrarily.
POL200 - A student repeatedly found the mark they got in this course to be inconsistent with the feedback their TA gave them, making them feel they were marked arbitrarily.
POL214 - A student found the grading in this course looked for details in student work that students couldn’t possibly know to include without better instructions. The student suggested miscommunication between the TA and professor may have caused/exacerbated this problem.
PSL300 - A student expressed concern about how heavily the exam is weighted in this course, as well as with the density of the course’s material.
PSY100 - A student reported getting a 50% on the midterm for the course despite having an overall GPA of 3.5. They described studying hard but still not having enough time to absorb all of the course material. They expressed concern about how the tests were purely multiple-choice–based and how the professor gave little indication on what to study. This may be what another student was referring to when they described the course as being subjectively marked.
VIS120 - A student described the challenge of this course as follows: “The course is rigorous and unrelenting and is comprised of exams that require its students to memorize about 300 slides of art per test. This means memorizing the piece, its creator, the date it was created, and what movement it belongs to. It is unfair for students that entered the program that mainly want to draw, paint, etc. and may not excel in testing/writing papers; something the course heavily relies on… The way the course is set up just force feeds information to us. We do not really focus on the concepts of the art but just the useless facts. The worst part is that because it is a prerequisite, if you do not get a B or higher, you cannot move onto the next prerequisite course (Visual Strategies), and therefore cannot proceed in Visual Studies as a program at all.” The student argues this is an unfair/weed-out course due to it being a requirement for higher-level courses in visual art, yet challenging students with material that is not related to their artistic abilities.
List of Recommended Courses
Students suggested a number of ways in which they would like to see their courses improve at UofT. Students would like to see better co-ordination between TAs and professors, more hours in which students can reach TAs, better usage of examples in lectures, courses that do not have disproportionate work compared to others (a problem which one respondent claims currently plagues math courses), tests that are in line with what they are taught in class and transparency about what is expected from them (eg. through rubrics) in essay-based courses. Respondents also suggested that their be more coordination in planning co-requisite courses (one suggested that they should be at similar times to accommodate long distance commuters, while another suggested they should make an effort not to clump deadlines together, so as not to overburden students). A number of students expressed concern about what they perceived as policies that encouraged courses getting certain mark distributions. One student explained “I just don't see the need to purposely try and make students fail in order for the average to be low. Shouldn't a higher average mean that the students are all smart and understand the material, instead of a 60 average, where in all likelihood most people failed the test or barely passed, while a small minority score above 80 percent”. Another student called for non-test heavy curriculums explaining “When I feel like I'm going to class for months just so I can pass a single test, life becomes monotonous. Personally, I like classes that have a variety of areas to receive marks in [albeit nothing worth a really low percentage]. I really like when classes have one really early semester test…[worth] maybe 10%. That gives people an idea of what the prof is looking for, and if they need to start paying more attention,”
That all said, students recommended the following courses. Courses with an asterisk next to them are were also reported to us as weed-out courses.
ANT204 -Two respondents recommended ANT204, with one arguing it should be a breath requirement for all arts and science students.
APS301/302 - A respondent recommended this course because of Professor William Vanderburg’s style of teaching, which apparently includes regularly checking with students to see if they understand material and requesting student input. Course tests were described as accurately representing what students were taught, as well as including good application questions. Finally, the course was praised for providing real world examples of the material that the respondent found helpful.
*BIO120 - While BIO120 was described by a number of respondents as a weed-out course, one respondent recommended it, describing it as fair and suggesting a lot of help is available. The respondent also suggests the environment in BIO120 is not competitive, so students should not worry about comparing marks. Another respondent suggested that while BIO120 is a huge class with weed-out-worthy test questions, it is not nearly as overwhelming as other big science classes, and the lectures and readings can be interesting for students who do see themselves as science specialists.
*BIO130 - BIO130 was recommended by a student because of the lectures of Professor Kenneth Yip.
*BIO230 - BIO230 was recommended by a student because of the lectures of Professor Kenneth Yip. Another student noted that while BIO130 and 230 have similar structures, the tests in 230 proved harder.
CHM249 - A respondent suggested that “CHM249 is an excellent example of a course that should have been a weed-out course BUT was not!”
Classics - Two respondents recommended classics courses in general, arguing that students who put effort into them can do well. One respondent suggested that classics professors enjoy engaging with students, that tests do not contain surprises, and that the course environment doesn’t feel competitive. A third respondent said the following: “If you're a classics nerd, and you want to learn some really cool stuff take Roman Culture and Greek Mythology. Roman Culture is just this whirlwind of exciting information. I had it with Prof. Robert McCutcheon, who I would recommend for any class, but this one specifically. It's not necessarily an easy course, but it's incredibly enjoyable. Greek Mythology is not exactly what you'd expect and that's what makes it great. It teaches you to look at myths in a different way, and to understand them in the context of when they were written/read/believed in. It’s really fun too, of course. How can't you enjoy talking about Greek God family problems? It's like listening to a really dramatic soap opera. Both these classes though are certainly not "bird" courses. There's no such thing here. Never believe anyone who says there is.”
Computer Science - One student suggested that computer science courses taught by permanent lectures are fair across the board (with the exception of required math and statistics courses not run by the department). They cited CSC108, CSC148 and CSC207 as examples.
CSB328 - A student recommended this course as they found the material interesting and the course work manageable.
DRM100 - A student raved about this course describing it as performance relevant and intellectually stimulating. They added that the course instructors are established drama professionals and that tutorials are excellent.
DTS200 - A student particularly recommended taking this course with Antonela Arhin.
ENG220 - A student specifically recommended this course when taught by John Reibetanz as it doesn’t have an exam, requiring students to put up a constant effort over a term, rather than struggle to memorize fact en-masse at the end.
ENG235 - A student specifically recommended this course when taught by Andrew Lesk as it doesn’t have an exam, requiring students to put up a constant effort over a term, rather than struggle to memorize fact en-masse at the end.
ENV100 - A student praised the straightforwardness of tests in this course, suggesting that students can do well so long as they are comfortable with essay writing.
Geography - One student suggested that with one exception (possibly GGR270) , geography courses are consistently fair.
GGR124 - A student reported that this course is relevant in everyday life as it deals with questions of city planning, and neighborhood changes. They also praised the professor(s).
French - An ambivalent recommendation about French as a second language course was provide to us. A student described them as “a necessary evil for all of the wonderful small courses you get,” noting that “Language classes in general are good for that small class experience, and for having a social connection with your classmates.”
History - Two respondents provided broad endorsements of the history department. One singled out HIS241, HIS271 and HIS205.
HMB203 - A student described this course as having a fair marking scheme and containing a manageable amount of content, but cautioned it has difficult multiple choice tests.
JQR360 - A respondent suggested this course contains a lot of valuable information and that they liked their JQR360 professor.
*MAT135 - A student recommended this course citing their appreciation for Prof. Anthony Lam’s teaching.
*MAT136 -A student recommended this course citing their appreciation for Prof. Anthony Lam’s teaching.
*MAT137/157 - A student recommended these courses for what they described as basic critical thinking training.
NEW232 - A respondent recommended taking this course with Prof. Tony Toneatto and was generally positive about the Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health program.
PHL100 - A student praised this course for having a reasonable workload, for emphasizing broad understanding of concepts over memorization, for offering a flexible choice in essay topics and for generally being well taught by Prof. Ronnie De Sousa.
PHS300 - A student praised the instructor of PHS300 for encouraging science students to better understand the social aspects of medicine, and social science students to better understand biomedical science. The student also enjoyed how guest speakers were brought into the class, and that students were encouraged to challenge the professor’s opinions.
POL337 - A student claimed this was “actually [the[ best course I have ever taken because “the prof stated on day one…do the readings, come to class and produce good work and you will get an A.”
POL356 - A student described this course as “[h]arsh in a 'tough love' kind of way, not a nit-picky "I'm going to give an A student a B" kind of way.”
*PSY100 - One respondent described PSY100 as the most interesting course they’ve taken because they can immediately apply its content to their life, while another described it as containing interesting material that students from all fields can understand. Two other praised the professor (one singled out Dan Dolderman), with one suggesting it led them to consider majoring in psychology.
PSY230 - A student described this course, as taught by Dr. Jordan Peterson, as “life changing.”
PSY323 -The student who recommended this course focused their praise on Prof. Cost, arguing she teaches with a passion and is more interested in helping students apply material in their lives than with teaching to tests. The student argued this makes lectures distinctly more enjoyable.
PSY409 - A respondent described this course as “small, in depth and stimulating.” They suggested it was challenging but was good for encouraging critical thinking.
RSM225 - A student described their professor in this course as very relatable.
Small Seminars -The student who suggested seminars argued “Make sure you take one, because after having 4 courses in Con Hall.. you start to forget why you're a student, why you're in university, if you're even smart at all.. and my 20 student small seminar taught me, or rather.. encouraged me to once again believe that I have a voice, and I have good ideas and perspectives. And sometimes a multiple choice test that 2000 kids write with you, isn't necessarily the best test of your abilities.”
Spanish - One student recommended small, upper year Spanish classes where students learn about “anarchy, art, culture” and more.
UNI230 -This is a small course, leading a student to remark “perhaps this enables my professor to grade us more fairly and actually see us as human beings instead of cogs in a 1500-person machine like my first year courses.”