what are the bird courses at UofT?
don’t we all wanna know. i’m not aware of that many (you’ll find it’s a very short list lol), but i’ll toss the ones i have heard about at you.
all i know is a bunch of people have recommended this to me as a bird. if you check out this reddit post, one user can tell you why. i’m always a lil hesitant to trust reddit, especially as an aska– a lot of redditors giving advice don’t really know what they’re doing. sooooooo use this at your own risk, but either way ANT208 seems to be a solid bird option.
i heard from a first-year that as long as you had taken physics in high school, this one was a breeze. don’t know much about it otherwise, but it seems to be a relatively well-known bird for those inclined towards the sciences.
i met one girl who wouldn’t shut up about this course. she told everyone she knew to take it, because apparently it was that easy. as long as you’ve read percy jackson, she said, you’ll already know all of the testable material. and the lectures are basically like listening to stories. i can’t corroborate this cause i have yet to take her up on her advice, but like… sounds like a bird to me.
someone told me first year sociology would be a bird, but I haven’t really found that to be true. there was still quite a workload when I took it, and the final exam is pretty hefty AND worth about half of your final grade. i found that, at least with caron, the nice thing is he’ll give you a lot of the questions beforehand, especially short answer and essay prompts. helped a lot with test anxiety, but it meant the exam was pretty tough in terms of length– maybe to compensate. even then, the class average was something like a B. so i guess it depends on what’s important to you. for me, knowing what’s on the exam ahead of time makes it worth it. for you, maybe not. i hear with latouche it’s different, and the exams are pure multiple choice.
first-year seminars generally seem to be quite a bit easier, and I’d recommend them if you’re a first year and you qualify. they emphasize participation more so than in other classes (in my experience it counted for about 10%), so if you’re not into talking and you care about that 10%, just be aware of that i guess. they also cover some real fun topics, like vampires and drugs. separate courses, unfortunately not in the same one.
i took the frontiers of astronomy one, and was pretty lost at the beginning but found that if i worked off the rubric and spoke up a few times each class, it wasn’t actually a stretch to get an A. easy breadth 5 fulfillment, not even basic math required! a win. and the profs, reid and drout, are real gems. a brainless recommendation for me.
i brought bird courses up with an academic advisor once, actually. her response was, “what kind of bird are you, though?” which is actually, if you think about it, a fair point. what’s a bird for me might not be a bird to you. do you like talking? writing? is math a strength or a con of MASSIVE proportions to you (like it is for me)? some courses are birds for CS majors but will crush a humanities kid, and some fun-looking artsy course might not turn out to be all that fun for a physics geek.
i dunno. i guess some courses are objectively easier ie. the course average is higher and they have less of a killer workload. i would just say be careful about any courses you take just cause you’ve heard they’re birds, especially if you don’t have any real interest in them. people tend to do better in courses they can get excited about, or at least don’t want to pass out over.
on top of that, taking a harder course with a phenomenal prof seems to almost always be more rewarding than taking an easy course with a subpar instructor– another thing to keep in mind. ratemyprof can help you out with this.
personally, the best instructor i’ve ever had is kevin o’neill, who teaches out of diaspora and transnational studies. such a passionate lecturer, and literally described as a genius by his fellow faculty. he made me excited to show up for my morning class, even in the dead of winter. get you a prof like that.
anyhow, this facebook group is also a great reference for bird courses. join it if ya want, seems like you can get some advice on what to take if you want an easy time. sometimes people will send you syllabi, too, if they’re feeling nice and you want more info. this relatively recent blog post also gives you some options i didn’t highlight, in case you wanna check that out.
big sorry that it took me so long to get to this; i’ve had a bunch of questions i’m only just now almost through, and it’s also exam season. SUMMER IS COMING though and i couldn’t be more excited.
over n out,