Professor Fisher was at first very charming and engaging. However, my impression of him soon changed when it came time for papers. Besides the fact that he had a reader grade most papers, he was also a terrible tyrant when it came to paper ideas. If you would throw out a paper topic at him, he would say, "Hmmm..." and then ramble about how the paper was weak and how it needed to be fixed. The thing is that he wouldn't tell you WHAT needed to be fixed. He would simply go on and on until he confused you to the utmost, and then you would be left with him telling you to find the solution. So office hours were an utter waste of time. He was also extremely slack with grading. He gave short quizzes, but he would take 2 weeks to get them back, and the last quiz was never returned (though we took it in 7th week). He also lectures by asking big questions, and when people participate, he keeps pressing them to clarify certain parts. If you say something stupid or which he THINKS is stupid, he will say, "hmmm" and then immediately call on someone else. The Canterbury Tales with this man is not a class I would suggest to take. He also tends to favor certain students.
Pros: Extremely knowledgable. Passionate about the material. Occasionally humorous. Easy to talk to. Helpful with paper writing. Cons: Heavy focus on lecture, minimal discussion. Overall: Highly recommend for anyone interested in the subject he is covering (Milton, Shakespeare, etc.), but think twice if you are dreading the subject matter.
I am a transfer student who took her Eng151 Milton Class in Winter 2014 and received an A- in the class. I'll make this quick. Rowe's class was the hardest class I ever took. I went to every editing/revising session because otherwise I would've gotten a B or C. I pretty much wrote down every word she said because it WOULD be on the midterm/final. There were super long and tedious in class exams for both the midterm and final, as well as long take home essays. However she's an excellent teacher and you really do learn about Milton.
Dr. Sellin was intense, interesting, and caring. His knowledge of the subject matter was as deep as his evaluation of it honest. His teaching style (method is too clinical a term) influenced how I taught in LAUSD for nearly 24 years. Dr. Sellin is now a friend, and his care and concern, compassion and integrity, breadth and depth of knowledge, and eagerness to share have never faded. Recently I've been reminded how real and valuable they are--30 years later.
Winter 2016 - This was the worst class I've taken at UCLA. Which is sad, because I can tell Shuger is a genuinely kind, humorous, intelligent lady who is passionate and knowledgable about the subject and wants us to learn Milton. She is just an awful professor. She is SO well-versed in any literature before 1800 and SO passionate that the class essentially fell apart on the first day into a one person book club that none of the students really wanted to be in. Her lectures go the same way; she begins talking about the topic, but a certain word reminds her of some 14th century German opera or something. She full-on sings 4 minutes of the German opera as the class sits there confused. She then goes into the entire etymology of the word, discussing its Latin roots, and she'll speak nothing but Latin for a few minutes. It then reminds her of a time in her postgrad days when she was really into Chaucer and talks about Chaucer for 10 minutes. She checks the time, realizes we're behind, and moves on to a new topic. After 20 minutes, we've learned everything there is to know about that certain word and every choral piece associated with it, but nothing about the actual poem and what it, you know, might possibly mean. She is just so excited about the topic that she just talks about all these things that have absolutely no relevance to anything. And she's so much smarter than all of us that the things she talks about makes no sense to college kids who are trying to learn about it, not have a PhD level conversation about it. By the end of the lecture, she's gone through and told us 600 allusions that the poem makes to other poems, but you literally have no idea what the poem is even saying. The class itself is just weird as well. The quizzes have nothing to do with how well you know the material. Instead of quizzing you on understanding, she quizzes you on the meaning of very specific words and meanings. Because Milton was written so long ago, there's a good chance you'll come across a word you've never seen before. And she says that it's our job to look up words and phrases in the OED, but if you have time to look up everything you don't understand in the OED in the gigantic amount of reading we're given, I applaud you, because no one in college should have that much time. And in class, she goes over many of these little words and phrases...then makes sure that everything she went over would not be on the quiz. So doing well on the quizzes is just a matter of guessing what some string of words that have no meaning to you means. She also always brings her two puppies into class, which I thought would be awesome, (they're admittedly cute) but the boy dog literally just tries to have sex with the girl dog all class and it's so uncomfortable, and she never notices. So she's in minute three of singing a classic Anglican choral piece because it has the word "virtue" in it, there's a pixelated photo of the moon on screen that she never explains, and there are two puppies having nonconsexual sex on your backpack and you just think to yourself "there are so many other classes I could have taken to fulfill this requirement." If you have an interest in Milton, just buy Paradise Lost from Barnes and Noble and read it on your own. This class will make you nauseous in response to the mention of the word "Milton." I've never been more confused and frustrated by a class. Save urself