Inside the Classroom
What's it like to be a student at the College of Letters and Science? This series is written by current students, giving you a front-row seat at a typical day in an undergraduate or graduate class.
Take a look inside the classroom.
It's a typical Tuesday, 4pm, in the middle of spring quarter. Undergraduates scuffle their way to late afternoon lectures. They know what to expect from their classes at this point, sitting in lecture for an hour or two, surrounded by many similarly-majored peers, and probably some discussion of class and homework before and after the lecture.
Students are standing, sitting, pacing, with books and notes in hand. They are intensely studying for the weekly quiz in Anthropology 156A: Human Osteology, taught by Professor Tim Weaver. As the classroom opens, there is a hushed hurry as 26 students make their way to take spots at different stations. With no introduction, the ANT 156A teacher's assistant, David Katz hits a timer, and the students immediately pick up human bones and begin writing furiously on a worksheet. 30 minutes later, the time is called. Relief fills the room. This week's quiz may be done, but it also marks the beginning of a new area of study. This week’s topic is the bones in the human feet.
Walking around the UC Davis bike loop on a busy bright Tuesday afternoon to get to Economics 160 is quite a feat as students on bike and foot hustle to their designated classrooms. The class meets in the Chemistry Building, located in the heart of campus, and it begins quickly after students race towards class and enthusiastically sit down. Wing Thye Woo, professor of economics, walks into the lecture hall and asks, “How is everyone today? Excited for the break to start?” and students eyes light up as they nod their heads in agreement.
Outside of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Lab of the Center for Mind and Brain, the ground is wet, there's a light sprinkle of rain, and it's cold. Students in Psychology 135: Cognitive Neuroscience, trickle in to observe a laboratory demonstration. The first few groups of students are quietly sitting, standing, filling out evaluation forms or patiently waiting for their turn to look at brain waves. The teaching assistant for PSC 135, Mariam Aly, is organizing the students and answering questions. Once things are settled in the lab and the first two groups are students are set, the day's laboratory demonstration begins.
Students enter Wellman Hall at 10:30 am, coffee clutched in their hands as they pull out their notebooks, pens, and laptops. Larry Berman, professor of political science and 2010 Faculty Research Lecturer begins his lecture right at the start of the hour. He begins his class a bit unconventionally; there is no powerpoint, no writings on the chalkboard, just Berman.