York is a huge school, and the number of courses to choose from sometimes seems endless. However, some courses that seem easy are actually difficult and vice versa – a lot of it depends on the professor. PSYC3280, or Animal Behaviour,  isn’t a cake walk, but if you put in the effort, you’ll most likely find it an extremely interesting class, where an A is absolutely attainable.

1. She actually wants you to succeed

One big difference between high school and university is that in high school, teachers want you to do well on their tests. For instance, if the average of their class is an A, they’re doing a good job. In university, however, many professors believe an average of a C+ or B- is what they’re shooting for. Luckily, Dr. MacDonald doesn’t agree – she is shooting for us to obtain mastery of the material and believes our hard work and knowledge should be reflected in our grade!

2. Classes rarely go over two hours

One really frustrating thing about York being a commuter school, is that most lectures are three hours long. However, Dr. MacDonald has scheduled her syllabus so that very few lectures go over two hours, and some even stop at an hour and a half. She’ll always stay until the end of the class period, though, if you haven’t had your share of Animal Behaviour!

3. She only tests from lectures

In 80% of classes, the professor tests from both lectures and the book. As such, if something isn’t covered in class, you’re still expected to know it for the exam. That isn’t how Dr. MacDonald rolls! If she hasn’t covered something in class, you won’t see it on the exam – not a bad way to make your exams easier to study for!

4. She responds to emails really quickly

There are some profs who, for whatever reason, take days to respond to emails or simply don’t respond at all (probably because their Inbox is completely inundated with emails and they can’t tell one from the other). Dr. MacDonald, on the other hand, is awesome at answering emails. Unless it’s the weekend, she always strives to answer your email the same day you sent it. So if you have a burning question, not to worry!

5. She posts recordings of her lectures online

Okay, this is hands-down the most convenient part of the course (especially since she only tests from lecture). Every single lecture she gives, she records and posts online. This is great for all those people who aren’t feeling well or have to miss class for any other reason. And frankly, when you make it easier for people to stay home when they’re sick, you’re saving the other two hundred people in the class from getting sick too! It’s really a public health service!


There are so many reasons to take Dr. MacDonald’s Animal Behaviour class – even if you don’t necessarily know if it’s what you’re truly interested in. If you give it a chance, you’ll see that her passion for the subject is infectious… in fact, you might actually end up leaving the class with new career in mind: animal behaviour!

Lia Reed

Lia hopes to get her PhD in Clinical Psychology, so she'll be in school for a long time! Aside from that, she loves playing with her cat and tutoring (so she gets at least some human interaction!).

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