Ratings for Meighan, M R
Based on 170 ratings for this instructor.
Comment: I don't know why everyone hates Meighan so much. He does so much for Bio 1A and Bio 1AL. I mean I hated Bio 1A with a passion, but Meighans tests for Bio 1AL were really fair. His midterm and final could have been easily prepared for by looking at the practice exams (they're pretty much identical in the way he phrases questions) - it seems like he takes the practice exams and just changes number, so as long as you know how to do the practice exams, you can ace the midterm and final. His lectures practically gave you the answer to the quizzes especially since it is now multiple choice. I actually really appreciated Meighan as a teacher because there aren't tricks to it. I feel like for Bio 1A you should have previous knowledge of bio, but for Lab, the exams are completely fair and that's all anyone can ask for. I never read the lab manual and I never knew what was going on during the labs, but I looked at practice exams and went over the lectures and it helps a lot. I had maybe ~60% in this class, but with the curve I ended with a B-, so Meighan isn't that terrible of a teacher he wants you to learn and be able to apply it to future experiences.
Submitted June 15th, 2015
Comment: It is seemingly a part of Biology 1AL culture to hate Mike Meighan; I am more resentful of the way Bio 1AL is structured, which can somewhat be tied back to everyone's favorite half-bald man. Bio 1AL focuses on getting you to memorize how to solve very specific problems; you will receive practice quiz questions and 170+ pages of old exam questions that are similar to what you will see on the actual quizzes and exams. The best way to succeed on these is to memorize how to solve the questions, especially in the genetics section. Often, lectures focused much more on how to set up and solve these problems than on the actual biology going on. My issue with this is the benefit of learning the material is limited to the sphere of Bio 1AL. At the end of the course, you will likely be good at identifying analogous structures and solving all of Mike's genetics problems; however, you will receive less theory and lab practice than you could have (ex: GSI's run the gels, do the PCR's, test solutions with indicators, etc. and you just watch or get the results). All of this memorization of how to solve specific problems will not prepare me for MCB 110L, 140L, 150L, etc. The course does not help students beyond the 1A/L sphere. Overall, the course is manageable. It is as bad as everyone says it is, I spent 4-5 hours per week on this class outside of the lab itself. I did less well in Bio 1A than I would have liked to as a result of having to put so much time into this class. It's a pain but we all have to do it. I have heard form many people that Mike is nice and helpful in office hours, and he is enthusiastic, but this course seriously needs to reconsider how helpful it is for students looking beyond success in Bio 1A/L.
Submitted May 22nd, 2015
Comment: Meighan's way of teaching is a horror if you don't have a bio background. Try to teach everything in a lab course with too limited time of lecturing, and he assumes you already know everything. Lab manual written by him is too bad and too redundant and too unclear and too emotional for one to read, it can be much more concise and much much more clear.
Submitted March 9th, 2015
Comment: The amount of hate directed towards professor Meighan is not entirely deserved and overly-excessive. His enthusiasm for the material is very obvious. He puts a lot of work into making the class run smoothly. He always urges us to appreciate biology and to think about the material, rather than mindlessly memorize as is customary for the typical bio course. Although I didn’t attend office hours, I heard from my peers that he is very approachable and helpful during office hours. The online homework was busywork and didn’t really help, especially the learnsmart, which was a complete waste of time. Prior to lab, read the lab manual meticulously as there were definitely quiz questions more so in the latter half of the class that were based on maybe 1-2 obscure lines in the manual. Also disregard the old myth that you must get into a smart lab section or have Christian and Helen to succeed. The quizzes have been standardized and the biggest adjustment Mike makes at the end is 1-2 points max. This has a minimal impact on your grade unless you are borderline, in which case your grade can go either way. The rumors about someone with a solid A getting shafted by an incompetent lab section is (at least now) complete bogus. I had Christian as a GSI and he basically lectured for most of lab on the same things that were covered in lab lecture, leaving us with barely any time to do the lab. Other GSIs just dive straight into the labs. The labs themselves however were not too important, its the concepts underlying them that you should know well since labs don’t count for a grade. I guess the reason students prefer Christian or Helen is because they reinforce the material by giving additional lectures during lab time. However, Christian’s ppt slides are accessible by all 1AL students, and if you apply yourself to knowing the concepts and utilizing the resources available to you, having Christian or Helen doesn’t make that big of a difference. I had morning labs too so I was usually too tired to pay attention to Christian’s lectures anyways. Probably the biggest reason Meighan has earned such a notorious reputation is due to his exams. There’s a certain degree of assurance you get when have prepared well for an exam. However, this was definitely not the case for the first lab exam, which basically makes or breaks your grade. If you want an A, over-preparing does not guarantee an A. He will always throw some novel, tricky problems at you on the exam that will require some problem-solving aptitude on top of a solid grasp for the material. But rest assured, a lot of the questions are virtually exact repeats of previous years’ exam questions. I guess this all ties back to Meighan’s emphasis on truly understanding the material. But even I must admit some of the questions were a bit of a stretch… The second lab exam is much more straightforward although still challenging.
Submitted Jan. 30th, 2015
Comment: Got an A in this class and had Christian as my lab GSI. This class really depends on who you have for lab because they are the ones whose weekly quizzes will force you to understand the material. Straight up dedicate a LOT of time to the reader and watch the lectures and if you have a good GSI (like Christian or Helen) you will be totally fine for the midterms! A lot of people complain about Meighan but this class really REALLY depends on the GSI. Like if you have a GSI that gives you easier quizzesâ€¦you're prob gonna have to depend on learning more from Meighan. He's not bad but he has a very limited amount of time to go over a LOT of materialâ€¦go to his office hours!! Practically no one goes until midterm time anyways.
Submitted Aug. 28th, 2014
Comment: Class is not too bad if you have research/lab experience. Also, it really helps if you have a GSI who knows what (s)he is doing. GOOOOOO HELEN! Mike on the other hand, he tries hard--he really does. I appreciate how smooth the class runs because of him (both 1A and 1AL) but he needs to cool it on the material. Yes, the cladogram wasn't THAT hard to memorize in the 4 weeks given (it's not that much information) but was it really necessary? I felt like I would have gotten the same benefit from memorizing a cladogram with half the information.
Submitted May 25th, 2014