Class Information

Course Info

Lectures will be in the basement of the Mandeville Auditorium, room B2100.
M/W/F 1:00 pm-1:50 pm


Prof. Milton Saier:
Room 4254 Muir Biology Bldg., Ext. 4-4084 (858-534-4084)
Office Hours: MWF 1:50 pm-3:00 pm (directly after class)


Midterm Exam 100
Final Exam part 1 100
Final Exam part 2 100
Section grade 100
Lecture quiz & Attendance grade 100

*The lowest score of the five will be discarded, and the final grade will be based on the remaining four scores (400 pts).

Midterm and Final Exam Grading 

Midterm Exam I covers weeks 1-5:

One Midterm Exam and the two parts of the Final Exam will be true/false and multiple choice, with answers recorded on scantron cards. Be sure to use a #2 pencil, and bubble in your name and student ID#. The two parts of the Final Exam (90 minutes each) will be held during the regularly scheduled Final Exam period. Because of the extra time available for these exams, you will have plenty of time to answer the questions in a leisurely fashion. Final Exam Parts I and II will cover the material discussed during the entire quarter, but in final exam part 1, the second half of the course will be emphasized. NOTE: Exam questions based on the readings will NOT be on section quizzes but will make up 10-20% of the Midterm and Final Exams. 

Makeup Exams: There will be no makeup exam for the Midterm Exam, and a medical excuse will be required to take a makeup exam for the final. If the Midterm, Final Exam P1, or Final Exam P2 is missed, that grade will automatically be the lowest of the five categories and therefore automatically dropped. It is therefore advised to do the work necessary to obtain 100 points in both your section grade and lecture grade as everyone will have the opportunity to make 100 points in these two sections. 

Section Grading:

Sections will be held beginning week two and will span the length of the quarter. You must attend the section you are signed up for on Tritonlink. If there is a need to switch sections, you must email BOTH the TA/IA/tutor (TA) of your current section and the TA of the section you are switching into for approval. The section grade consists of 18 points that can be obtained for attendance (2 pts for each section) and 50 points from five 10-point pop quizzes given by the TA. Each TA has full, independent discretion over when the quizzes are given and what material is covered. Additional points can be earned by doing oral reports, written reports, viewing videos, participating in discussions, attending seminars, etc. For all seminars and videos, a paragraph describing the contents must be turned in to your section leader.

Lecture Quiz Grading:

It is possible to obtain 75 points or more in the Lecture Quiz and Attendance portion of the grade. This is done through clickers. In each Lecture, there will be two questions written on the board. Each student will receive one point for clicking in any answer and two more points if the two questions are answered correctly. There are 75 possible points. Remaining points can result from attending seminars, turning in written reports or summaries of videos, etc.

IMPORTANT: It will NOT be possible to get 100 points on your section or lecture quiz grade without earning some extra credit points. However, it is entirely up to you how you wish to earn these points. Remember, either section or lecture quiz grade is droppable if you choose to have your grade based entirely on one of these two scores plus exams. Continue reading for a detailed list of Extra Credit opportunities

Extra Credit Opportunities:

Points earned from extra credit activities will automatically be added to either the Lecture or Section portion of the grade, whichever one is HIGHER. Once 100 points in one section is obtained, the points will spill into the next section.

Maximum possible points Each

Written Report in section (3 max) ≤8
Letter to the Editor (3 max) at least 1 required ≤ 4
Letter to Govt. Representative (3 max) at least 1 required ≤ 4
Video reports (10) on reserve ≤ 4
Oral report (1) in section ≤ 8
Seminars (~10) ≤ 4 ea.
Earth Day (3 points/hour) variable
Creating a YouTube Video ≤ 10

Written and Oral Reports in Section: The subject of these reports is entirely up to the student. It must be a topic relevant to the class and hopefully interesting as well. Oral Reports should be at the absolute max 7-8 minutes. Written reports can be 1 page for a max of 4 points and 2 pages for a max of 8 points.  To see examples of these, check the “Past Presentations” tab at the top of this page.

Videos: There are about 12 videos available on reserve for extra credit. To get credit for watching a video, you must write a short (one-paragraph) summary, and submit it to your TA/IA/Tutor. A maximum of 10 videos can be summarized for credit. Some of these may not be of good quality; we will go through them and eliminate those that are difficult to view/understand. If you choose such a video, just return it and start over with another one. The full list of videos can be found in the “Video Reserves” tab at the top of this page.

Seminars: You must sign the sheet circulating at the seminar (If you don’t see one, get it started).  You also need to submit to your TA a paragraph describing the contents of the seminar and your reaction to it in order to receive the 4 extra credit points. Either Dr. Saier or an IA will be present at every seminar. Be sure that the sign up sheet is started and turned in at the completion of the seminar. A majority of the available seminars will be through the organization HERO. For more info see the “HERO” tab at the top of this page. 

Creating a YouTube Video: Students may create a video and upload it onto YouTube for up to 10 points. To start, the TA/IA/Tutor must first approve your topic. The video should include both sides of the argument if appropriate.  Be professional, and include relevant evidence and stats. The goal is to make reasonable arguments, not to merely bash opponents. Groups are optional but can have no more than three people. To get credit, email the link to your TA/IA/Tutor and we will watch them (could be during section). Be sure to include the names of all partners in the video.

Letters to the Editor:  Each student will write a “letter to the editor” about some environmental/social issue of interest and importance to her/him, and submit it signed to your TA/IA/Tutor as well as to one or more newspaper(s) for publication. The letter should be <200 words for most papers (please check) and <400 words for the UCSD Guardian. Please see the “Letter Writing Instructions” tab for more details. 

Letter to a Government Representative:  Each student will write a letter to one or more of our governmental official(s) on an environmental/social/political issue, and submit it to your TA/IA/Tutor as well as the politician(s). The letter can be of any length. Please see the “Letter Writing Instructions” tab for more details. 

Preparing for and Benefiting from Lecture

1. Anticipate that the lecture will be too fast and nearly unintelligible.

2. Read the relevant text materials in advance, always keeping one article ahead.

3. Review the relevant material shortly before class begins.

4. Take the relevant articles to class, and “follow along” if possible, taking notes in the margins when directly pertinent.

5. Take notes on material not included in the assigned articles.

6. Never let yourself get behind!

7. Review the lecture material before you go to sleep that night, and repeat over and over to yourself as you drift off: I love HI,… It’s really fun!… What a great class… Golly, I’m learning a lot!… Saier is a great professor!… I’m so happy (*sigh*)… etc., etc.

How to Prepare for Exams

1. If covered in lecture, it’s important.

2. If covered in the assigned reading, it’s important.

3. If it really interests you, it’s important.

4. If included in two of the above catagories, it’s of great importance.

5. If covered in all three of the above catagories, it’s of utmost importance.

6. However, if not covered in lectures, it’s less likely to be on the test.

7. Remember to apply the principles of Common Sense, and always integrate the material into a logical framework.

8. Study like hell, but get a good night’s sleep before an exam.

9. Just do your best, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get the highest grade in the class.

Know thy Professor (student comments)

  • Dr. Saier is really disorganized even though he really knows his stuff.
  • I wish he’d (professor) change his shorts – it’s been 7 weeks now, he did get his hair cut-guess he heard what was being said about it last lecture.
  • He (professor) just got a new haircut-very attractive. I hear he rides his bike to school everyday-that explains his well-developed legs.
  • The professor was excellent.
  • His lectures are entertaining and interesting.
  • Great professor-only a little random in his lectures. Very easy to talk to. Open personality. Tests were surprisingly fair. Overall, Prof. Saier makes Human Impact an enjoyable class.
  • Although Dr. Saier tries very hard, he is the worst lecturer I have ever had.
  • Professor Saier has a hard time keeping to a schedule. He is, however, always available and willing to help students and it was clear that he very much wanted us to understand the subject. His own interest in the subject was obvious as well.
  • Dr. Saier is the most concerned professor I’ve ever had. If a student has a problem in the class, he will more than go out of his way to help him or her. He has arranged many hours of help between himself and the students.
  • Saier was always late to class. His lectures were unorganized and confusing.
  • Great class! Material was presented in an interesting and understandable fashion. Professor Saier was excellent, exams were very reasonable. Would recommend this class to anyone.
  • Professor Saier has a genuine interest in the students’ welfare and is probably the fairest professor I’ve had.
  • Professor Saier is a lecturer with a good sense of humor. He’s pretty disorganized, often contradicts himself, doesn’t explain too clearly, and assumes that the students know more than they do.
  • Very well organized course.
  • Saier knows his stuff. Sometimes he is rude to students in class. Has a slight temper problem.

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