English Literature to 1660
Bristow himself is cool. He's an entertaining and insightful lecturer, and spent most of class close-reading the texts he assigned for homework. Unfortunately, his assignments were ridiculous. Every essay prompt was like a joke, and the final exam had so many restrictions that it made my head spin. It's not that the essays or the test were difficult in and of themselves--but Bristow's extremely restrictive instructions were bordering on bizarrely compulsive. I would only take him again if there were fewer assignments, because I don't think I could handle such condescending prompts and restrictions again.
Engaging lecturer. Got by with a B- in her class attending maybe 4 or 5 lectures, total. But very passionate, very fun, very by the book. In her first lectures, she makes the point that if you attend lecture and do the readings, you'll be fine in her class. At the very least, you'd probably pull anywhere from a B to an A-, depending on your writing skills. Her choices for readings in this class were good, as well.
Fall 2016 - The course consists of two prompt-free essays, a Middle English translation quiz, participation in section, the final, and a "gallery project" (which was new to this quarter). The gallery project was a huge pain in the butt for three reasons: there wasn't a lot of direction so we didn't really know what was expected of us, he kept admonishing us to "have fun with it!", and because we were working on this post-thanksgiving and pre-finals -- while reading Paradise Lost. Tip: get a serious head start on PL during earlier weeks (yeah, I know) so you don't end up reading Milton for 4 hours the night before the final. The final was not nearly as bad as I expected. It was three parts: ID, explication, and long essay. For the ID section, Fisher gave us 10 quotes, we had to write on 6 of them: title, author, original language, date written, and importance of the quote. They were from pretty obvious works and I easily recognized 9 of them. No sweat. The explication essay was straightforward too; we were presented with a poem and performed a close reading. The long essay afforded the most room for creativity. There were two open-ended prompts, we picked one, and answered it using three texts. Fisher required that Paradise Lost be one of those three. Both prompts were interesting, fit well with many of the texts we'd read, and I actually had a lot of fun writing this essay. My advice for this class is to complete the readings *before* lecture. If you do this, you'll be able to more easily sift through his summary and take pointed notes on theme and meaning. While reviewing for the final, I realized that on days when I had followed my own advice, my notes were much more helpful than otherwise. Fisher spends a good portion of lecture giving historical background -- this is all useless. It helps to contextualize the readings and place them along a timeline, but it is unnecessary to know for the final or the essays. Pay a bit of attention to this - especially as it relates to framing the themes of works and common motifs - but don't bother writing taking notes on the English Civil War. This may seem like a small thing, but it ended up really bugging me by the end of the quarter. Fisher consistently lectured for longer than the allotted 50 minutes -- never more than five minutes, but long enough that it made getting to my next class difficult.
The transition from cool, calm, and collected Makdisi to spontaneous and energetic Grossman was definitely noticeable at first, and took some getting used to in the first week. However, Professor Grossman is a great lecturer in that he has a "thesis" for each lecture (or rather, each text), but he develops it with the participation of the students. He doesn't just boringly state it. Not only does he show you his logic in the argument, but he also always takes into account student's perceptions of various features of the texts. He WANTS you to come up with something different and not necessarily take for fact everything he has to say. He enjoyed it in class when some students made some observations that no one else had before. Professor Grossman is a very open professor concerning your grade. Everything is on MyUCLA and he even asserts very heavily in class that there should be nothing mysteriuos about your grade. The TAs provide extensive feedback on your papers, and Grossman is always available for office hours. In fact, during the last week of class he had office hours every single day for hours. He truly cares about students getting the most of the class. The class is set up so that the majority of your grade is made up of papers (which is good, because it makes you focus on your writing). 20% first paper, 30% second paper, 35% final paper. The other 15% of your grade comprises of 2 pass or fail quizzes, (if you fail one then you get an F for that 15% of your grade, and if you fail 2 then you fail the entire class). I know this sounds scary, but the quizzes are SO. SIMPLE. They are not designed to fail you whatsoever. He even provides sample quizzes on the class website so you know what they're like. If you just show up to lecture and listen, then you'll be able to answer the quiz questions just fine. The only people who I know failed one of the quizzes are people that I know did not attend a majority of the lectures nor did they do the reading. However, even THEN, the Professor allows you to make it up with an oral quiz, where he goes through lecture by lecture with you asking you questions. In sum, he gives you a lot of chances to pass, so there's no reason why any average, attending student would fail this portion of his/her grade. The class was great, the TAs were great, and the absence of prompts force you to come up with analytic ideas on your own. All in all, it was a very enjoyable class, and the lecture style makes the time go by really fast, and the amount of participation m akes the lectures memorable and very educational. I recommend this class, and I don't think you'll regret taking it with Grossman.
Professor Kareem is very organized, and her lectures show it. Overall, I think she is pretty effective in getting what she wants you to know from each of the readings across. While there is a lot of reading, I skimmed most of them because lecture was informative in general; she covers what you need to know and links that to the themes. I will stress that there is a lot of information to take in. I always took copious amount of notes every lecture. There are three papers and a final exam. The final exam was long; I took the whole three hours and filled my whole blue book. The final consists of literary term identification (she gives you a list out of which she will choose beforehand), short passage ID in which you ID the text and write about its significance/relation to the text as a whole (not too difficult because they were either passages covered in class or there was some clue that they were linked to the text), and an essay. For the essay, you are given some prompts to choose from and basically have to trace how a theme has changed across the literary periods covered in the class. I thought the grading was fair. But I had a good TA who helped a lot when I was writing my papers. I know I definitely learnt quite a lot from this class.. Overall, I think this class is difficult but fair. Just be ready to dedicate a lot of time to this class.
I LOVE THIS PROFESSOR! He does his job exceptionally well. I'm not sure why people are writing negative comments for the 10A class since he does his JOB... PERIOD. He assigns texts, plenty, and then tells us which he will discuss. He thoroughly covers all material in the selected texts from characters, symbols, plots, and analysis. On his tests, ALL THE QUESTION are specifically made to cover material he has touched upon in class. In fact, for passage identification, all the passages were previous ones which he spent at least 10/15 minutes upon. He is funny,WAKE UP PEOPLE! He makes fun of all works and genres but to GET THE JOKES<<< ONE MUST BE MENTALLY PRESENT! I wouldn't mind taking him again for any other subject or class. He has a great temper, not biased, he's open to talk to, he replies to your emails, he's extremely polite and concerned/caring, and he's fair. When he was late handing out our first paper, he pushed the deadline by a week. For the second, he granted us 2 extra days because we felt stressed out. His TAs... I think most people had a problem with the TA but blamed it on the teacher. If your TA sucks, yea, you might get a bad grade. You can try and switch from one section to the other but, anyways, besides the point.+I think if you can take GREAT notes, you will get at least a B+. Studying for the midterm, everything I took was from my notes. I didn't re-read all the passages (like some idiots who still got Cs), I looked at my notes, looked at the pages he had focused upon, and got an A+. Overall, since he is required for all ENGL majors, he is SO WORTH TAKING!