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Live Video Stream Ends for LS1a

Course will be offered in two sections for the first time

By Radhika Jain, Crimson Staff Writer

For the first time in two years, every student in Life Sciences 1a will be able to see their professor lecture in person.

In past years, students who did not fit into Science Center Hall B, which holds 492 people, watched a live video stream of the class in another hall nearby.

This semester, the introductory life science course, popular among pre-meds, will be offered in two sections for the first time.

“We’ve always been very frustrated with the fact that we’re not able to get all of LS1a into one room,” said Robert A. Lue, who has been teaching LS1a since its inception.

Before moving to the Science Center two years ago, a team of professors taught the course in Sanders Theatre, which seats more than 1,000 people.

“Sanders is so big that we feel very distant from the students,” Lue said. On the other hand, a smaller group of students in Hall A proved difficult to keep “engaged, because they are not seeing us live.”

Lue said he hopes the new structure will help facilitate more frequent demonstration, discussion, and brainstorming opportunities.

To maximize consistency between classes, both sections of the course will be offered on the same day—at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Exams and problem sets will be offered on identical schedules.

The shift will substantially increase the number of hours the class’ four professors will dedicate to the course. Each professor has committed to teaching his or her lectures twice—in addition to attending lectures delivered by the other professors. Lue said he hopes this will help avoid the chance that one section is “better than the other,” and added that a wide range of office hours will still be offered.

Richard M. Losick, who is no longer teaching MCB 52: “Molecular Biology” in order to join LS1a as a fourth professor, said this kind of dedicated team teaching is exactly what he loves so much about LS1a.

“I was horrified to learn that in the past, the class was so large that many students were watching the lectures in a different room. [That] undermines interactive lectures. Why go to Harvard if you can just take all your classes on the internet?” he said.

Many veterans of the class agree that splitting LS1a into two sections is a good idea, although some said they were largely unaffected by the previous format.

“Most of the kids who really wanted to be in the lecture hall made it a point to get there,” said Ariel S. Mitnick ’13. But she added that the dual lecture format has seen success in a few other classes, such as Statistics 104.

After Study Card Day, students are required to attend the section they sign up for, and attendance will be monitored using the clicker-system employed for in-class breakout sessions.

LS1A is officially called “Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology.”

—Staff writer Radhika Jain can be reached at radhikajain@college.harvard.edu.

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