Hints for Success in Ecology

Ecology is a difficult course because the vocabulary is rich and, for the most part, will be new. Learning the "language" of biology is analogous to learning any other new language -- it takes time. You will be successful if you come to class, take complete notes, and study those notes daily. If you have trouble keeping up with me, purchase a small tape recorder and record the lectures. You need to work actively with the material. By this I mean you should:

1. read the textbook before the lecture

2. take notes during class

3. rewrite the notes from lecture

4. read the textbook a second time and take notes

5. integrate lecture notes with notes from the textbook

6. come see me during office hours if anything confuses you

7. study, study, study, and when you feel like you have studied enough, study again.

This sounds like a lot of work, and it is. Welcome to the university! If you read something you don't understand and if I do not clarify it in the lecture, come see me during office hours or ask me during class. I will answer questions electronically, but if I feel like a face-to-face meeting would be more productive, I will ask you to come to my office during office hours.

I describe my exams as being "challenging" and many students describe them as "tricky" -- I suppose it is a matter of definition. I do demand that you master the material. The midterm exams are 80% multiple choice (40 multiple choice questions) and 20% essay. The multiple choice questions vary in degree of difficulty. If you are not sure of the answer during the exam, skip the question and go to one you can answer. If you are still stumped, use process of elimination to eliminate some of the choices. I will post the keys by 5 pm the day after the exam. During each section of the course (see the syllabus), I will indicate potential essay questions. I am looking for detailed and complete information.