Drama to 1576
To put it simply, Cunningham is brilliant and knows what she is talking about and she knows how to teach it so you will understand Milton, which is better than what i can say about alot of profs who teach paradise lost. I actually learned to enjoy Milton and found myself (near the middle of the quarter) looking forward to reading it because I actually understood what was going on. However, she does not give you a study guide for the midterm and the Final and pretty much says "study everything, cheers!" I received an A on the midterm because I studied my BUTT off for it and it paid off in the end, so getting an is not impossible in this class but just really difficult to do. Be prepared to study hard but also to learn alot.
I took her Milton class and found it relatively easy. As a mainly lecture class, she presents slides and takes a fair amount of time on each of them. The reading was a breeze, actually; if you're the kind of student who waits until the week before testing to cram, it is entirely possible AS LONG AS YOU GO TO ALL THE CLASSES. She will, on occasion, try to engage students in discussions, but waits only until lecture has finished so that she properly presents her information. Yes, Kareem does not upload her presentations online because she expects students to go to class. She passes around a sign-in sheet just about everyday too. Midterms/Finals are a bit difficult, but fair, and she grades them fairly as well. Kareem also has a Reader who helps out with the papers and tests, and he is quite lenient (and reads 2/3 of the papers/tests). Overall a pretty good professor.
The teacher is great. She really explains well and is to the point. What the hell is up with the TA's?! They think they are so superior it's so stupid. Beware of Samir--he grades VERY harshly. You think he is helping you out, and you try your best....to end up with a terrible and unexpected grade. McEachern is really cool and I did learn from the class; however, b/c of my TA I despised the class. Don't take Samir if you can avoid him!
He's O.K. I consider him very concerned about our knowledge of Milton, but to get a C+ it makes me wonder what really goes in his mind. I don't know, maybe I just can't be like everyone else and see him through a different lens, I just saw him as he was: pompous yet reserved, a ladies man, and most of all a BIG fan of Italian art.
I took Milton with Professor Rowe over the summer, which was very hard because we smushed a great deal of literature into 6 weeks. However, I think Rowe handled this incredibly well, and communicated a great deal of information as clearly as possible over a short period of time. I appreciated her handouts, her detailed and thought-out lectures, her fantastic interpretations, and her sincerity and enthusiasm. Her exams are difficult, but not unreasonable, and her grading is totally fair. She pays detailed attention to paper submissions, and will put your paper through a typewriter, cover it with notes and suggestions, and hand it back with an A. She actually cares about teaching and helping her students to become better writers. If you haven't got it in you to give her class a lot of attention, then don't take her class. If, however, you are ready to throw yourself in, you will do well because she will help you do well. I recommend her highly, and have NO complaints about her teaching style, her class in general, or her grading system.
Spring 2019 - This is undoubtedly the worst course I have taken at UCLA to date. Beginning the second day of class, Dr. Shuger gave a quiz each week that was largely based on random vocabulary words from the reading that we did. This would be fine except it took hours upon hours to define every single word in the text via the OED, and she would often choose a commonly used word today with a slightly different definition - words that nobody in the class thought to look up because they were consumed by writing pages upon pages of definitions of actually challenging words. Many of her quiz questions were what she admitted to be trick questions, and once she said that there was a question only one student had gotten correct in her 32 years of teaching or whatever. This was pretty detrimental to everyone's grade because the quizzes were only 4 questions long, one mistake turning the grade into a 75. She also mentioned that she has tenure multiple times, meaning she could get away with more things. After submitting our first paper, she told us that she had to drink to even get through grading three of our papers a night because they made her so angry. She suggested that we all turn in a rewrite by June 22 (finals week ended on June 13th) or get an incomplete in the class. She bragged that someone got an incomplete in the class and then returned 14 years later to finish, so this has evidently been occurring for a while. On my essay, she said that I read too closely into the text, but her comments all throughout was that I was "too vague." After weeks stressing over the class, I still could not pinpoint what she wanted from us. There was always an issue with our interpretations, or anyone's thoughts that did not fall in alignment with hers; regularly, she would call other literary critics "wrong" without engaging with what made them "wrong." It felt like she wanted us to fail, and that she was only teaching the course to brag about her in-depth and obscure knowledge (or singing talents?) that had little relevance to Milton. My classmates and I were filled with anxiety and problems understanding her point to the degree where the room was tense most of the time. About three or four of my friends dropped out within the first week, and the number of students that left increased and increased with time. However, she responds to emails quickly (but referenced to a TA that we did not have multiple times?? there was no TA for our class) so I did a lot of messaging her for clarifications. I liked her lectures even though they had nothing to do with our assignments and were more just her theories about two lines of Paradise Lost being about wet dreams or something. She also would bring her dogs to class, and they were super duper cute, but it could be distracting when they were restless or idk humping each other or bleeding on the floor. The whole experience felt odd and disjointed. I can't count the number of times the syllabus was changed, which explains why she never printed it out. It does not explain why she would not update the syllabus online and instead wrote on the board what we would have to do for the upcoming classes. She didn't even use dates when she wrote this stuff down for us, nor did she email the changes to students. When she wrote the altered schedule on the board, she would list it by the days left in the course. For example, when there were 8 days left of class, she would write "Day 1: Book 1-2 of Paradise Lost; Day 2: Books 3-4, Day 3: Book 5, Day 4: Books 7-9..." and so on! Just so weird and disheartening. I have never felt that it is impossible to get a good grade in a class until this one because as hard as we tried, our efforts never seemed to please her. I wanted to like this class so badly, and I have never posted a poor review of a professor before, but this was a remarkably bad experience.