I found the topics extremely interesting, however, if you have no interest in ecology you probably would not agree (it should basically be renamed to "Introduction to Ecology"). There is quite a heavy load in terms of what has to be learned, but topics are easy to grasp and it isn't hard to do well if you attend lectures and study the material. No prior biology needed at all. There are also quite a few small assessments throughout the semester so you do need to keep on top of that and there is a fair amount of writing involved (often for only a small percentage of the grade). This course was far easier than BIOL1020 and BIOL1040, the other foundation biology courses.
I also found all three lecturers to be passionate and engaging. They were also very responsive and managed the blackboard well.
I would definitely recommend this course as an engaging and relatively easy first year biology course.
If you're into zoology and conservation - this is the course for you! I found the rotation of several different lecturers very interesting and most of them were very engaging. The field trip was fun and easy way to gain marks (if you had didn't have that one strict tutor). The downside is there are many prac writeups that are marked very harshly - but they are a great way to practise! I found the exams challenging but you do receive significant help from the workshops.
Semester 1 - 2015
Is lecture attendance necessary?
Is the textbook necessary?
Most prac tutors are very helpful and offer help out of pracs
Great lectures covering a lot of content. Laboratory sessions very dull and poorly presented by tutors who lack commitment. Lots of small assessment pieces. Workshop sessions that are a real waste of time. Overall I would avoid this course, too much assessment lots of contact hours and covers too much content for very little benefit. Blackboard content very confusing and disorganized.
I absolutely loved this course being a fan of ecology. The lecturers were incredibly interested and clearly experienced in their field. They also brought humour to the lectures. It was never boring if the find the topics interesting.
I found the practicals quite tricky but the tutors are amazing. The course content was very easy.
Overall I'd have to say I enjoyed this course. While the content was not always my cup of tea (ecology ugh) the pracs were really fascinating and there were plenty of opportunities to see really cool things under microscopes. Also, the online textbook they used was well worth the purchase and a really great resource.
I feel like this would be the best course to start off with for people with limited exposure to biology (although the last module of the course was way more advanced than the rest of it so watch out for that one if you haven't a basic understanding of genetics).
The downside to this course really was the field trip: a whole day of trekking through leech and bug infested rainforest with fairly pointless activities. And I do mean leech infested. Do not expect that you will be able to avoid getting suckered. What really was the worst thing was that there was no official warning (but much backhanded snickering). If seeing blood is unsafe for you, please watch out. While the field trip was easy marks they certainly took a lot of effort to get, and overall it was a fairly terrible day for me.