Zoology 250: Survey of the Invertebrates
What students said in 2006

About the course in general . . .

  • One thing that I liked best about the lectures was Dr. Palmer; he is an amazing instructor. I officially want to devote my life to invertebrates because of this class.

  • I liked everything about lecture. The pictures are awesome and Dr. Palmer does an excellent job at making everything interesting and exciting. It was my favorite class so far and I am strongly motivated to learn more about invertebrates and take more classes from Dr. Palmer. Also, the exams are very fair.

  • I love when we finished a section and then got to look at all of the pictures of all of the different organisms. It was cool to see videos and pictures of the creatures after learning about them. I also liked how organized the course was - it helped with the amount of material to learn.

  • I like Dr. Palmer. He has a great attitude and teaching style. This was a required course and I thought it would suck ... but it is my favourite course this semester.

About the lectures . . .

  • Drawings were useful - enjoyed drawing them - use of color very helpful.

  • I liked the drawings the best in the lectures because it really helped me visualize the function of the structures. Also, I really liked the powerpoint shows with all the pictures of the different genus.

  • I liked the combination of overheads, powerpoint, and drawings. I found this to be a very effective way of teaching.

  • I didn't like all of the drawings. While some of them were helpful, a lot of them seemed redundant.

  • Lectures presented too much information. For an introductory course, the workload was immense. I averaged 6 hours a week outside of lecture and lab reviewing concepts. Despite this, my mark in this course doesn't reflect my work. I have taken 400 level zoology courses with half the workload.
    [NOTE: A course that covers all of animal diversity except vertebrates necessarily covers a lot of material.]

  • This was an excellent lecture - one that I was dreading, but which Dr. Palmer made bearable.

  • I like the fact that he doesn't teach from powerpoint. It shows that he actually cares about the class.

About the labs . . .

  • The labs were honestly the best lab of any kind I have ever had. The lab manual was clear and helpful, the dissections were amazing, the specimens and touch tank unbelievable! Ron Koss did an amazing job and showed us some exciting demos as well.

  • The labs were awesome. I learned so much; it is really amazing how many specimens were available for us to look at. Ron is awesome and Kylee, my TA, deserves a prize.

  • The lab kicks ass! All the live specimens and especially the food lab.

  • Some of the questions asked in the lab manual did not seem to be found in the book or lecture notes or lab material. This made it frustrating sometimes.
    [NOTE: Good suggestion; a number of students expressed this same concern, so many more of these were made optional for 2007, they were there mainly for fun but this should have been made clearer.]

  • Labs were good. There was always a ton of stuff to see and the live demos were good. Also, my lab TA, Suzanne, was awesome. I also really liked that they have quizzes every few weeks because it makes us study the material and there is less pressure on finals.

  • In labs I really enjoyed all the dissections we were able to do. It allows you a more hands-on approach and makes it easier to understand the drawings from class (which by themselves can be confusing).

  • The best part of this lab was the fact that the pictures are available online (in some other labs that I've been in, we're expected to look at the creatures once and remember them to the end of the year).

  • Great TA. Also Ron Koss for his knowledge and help - thank you. Organization of lab made learning easy, approachable and fun. I explored many different invertebrates and now have a deep appreciation for them. The lab book is organized and helpful and wonderful for learning.

About the WWW material . . .

  • The ZOOL 250 website is one of the best and easiest to navigate through websites in university. I would like the course to be nothing but pictures and movies of invertebrates doing cool, strange and unusual things.

  • It was very useful. The lab videos and pics were awesome for studying.

  • The web material was extremely helpful, the animations gave a new twist to understanding a concept; helped a lot. The photos online for lab were great as well - very helpful for studying.

  • I found the website for this course very useful. I particularly liked the PDFs of the lab material, the "flash" videos, and annotated bibliography examples.

  • Maybe write down password in syllabus for lab images.
    [NOTE: Good suggestion; this was done for 2007]

About the text . . .
    [NOTE: opinions about the textbook continue to be strong and divided]

  • The text was written very well and was really interesting to read (most textbooks are so dull).

  • I really liked the textbook.

  • The text was well written and charming.

  • The textbook has a very weak index! It is very difficult to find specific terms and definitions.

  • Was disappointed that it was less technical than the lectures. It's good if you didn't understand something in lecture, but not if you wanted to learn more. Perhaps an advanced text could be recommended?

  • The text had so many interesting facts and pictures.

  • I did not like the textbook at all. I did not find it a useful tool as most of the time the things we're expected to know are either not in it, or out of date. The lack of glossary made it difficult to look through. I think a more up to date text should be used.
    [NOTE: The invertebrate biology in this introductory textbook is actually still mostly up do date. Only the classification is out of date in places. Unfortunately, to avoid complete confusion about which classification is the 'correct' one for marking purposes, we must choose one, and having one classification that is consistent between the text, lecture and lab seems the most straightforward.]

About the optional Bamfield Field Trip . . .

  • Bamfield was amazing; the prof - I adore!

  • [The one change I would recommend is a] longer trip to Bamfield!

  • [The feature I liked most about the course was] the trip to Bamfield!

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(revised Jan. 1, 2007)