I really did not like this course in any way, shape or form. If you don’t have to take this course, please don’t. The testing is really unfair, and what you are expected to learn is irrelevant to ecology. The prof is really rude and mean and if you email her… good luck! This was my lowest mark in university… ECOLOGY… I’m doing better in Organic Chemistry right now.
Dr. Patricia Chow-Fraser (2018)
I will start by saying that I am very interested in ecology and want to study ecology in the future. That being said, I did have a somewhat difficult time in this course, especially during the midterms. I still recommend taking it if you are interested in ecology, as it was interesting, and more importantly is a prerequisite for ecology courses down the line. It was not a “bird course” at the time I took it. My mark coming out was about the same as my other bio courses that semester.
Patricia Chow-Fraser’s specialty is in wetland ecology (so the Great Lakes areas) and most of the course focuses on that. A lot of people I know got sick of hearing about it, and there is not much variety in the biomes explored. The midterms were the hardest parts, as they focused on a lot of the details of the course (important dates, specific relations between species, etc), and were online which made it easier to make a mistake due to spelling.The labs were a little slow-paced, and involved a lot of work in GIS, which is a bit hard for someone inexperienced. My lab TA knew how to use it and fix problems, though, which was nice.
The final project focuses on planning a conservation effort for an endangered species. Like many group projects, its difficulty varies with the people you are working with and the topic you choose. However, I prefer it to a final exam.
The course is structured into 4 labs (35%), 2 midterms (40%), and a final project (25%).
Dr. Chow-Fraser (Fall, 2022)
Chow-Fraser is a good prof who clearly cares about her work and is passionate about ecology, but if I could, I would go back in time and not take this course. Tests felt impossible (one was 60 marks in 50 minutes and there were calculations involved for some questions) and she’s an infamously hard marker for the final group presentations. The one shining star of this course was the TA team, they were always helpful, accommodating, and it was fun learning about their research areas throughout the term. TL;DR it’s not a bird course and causes a lot of needless stress; don’t take it if you don’t need to.
Textbook: Not Required
Methods of Evaluation: Tests, Assignments, Group Projects
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