Metropolitan Los Angeles
I took Burnett for 156 Geog of LA my first semester as a transfter student and LOVED this class. Not only was the material interesting, lectures were informative and engaging. Quite a bit of work was required to prepare for the in class midterm and finals (Short answer - literally bullet points would work, and essays), but I learned A LOT, and it was worth it. When I saw that he was teaching 183 Geog of Europe, I signed up immediately. What a mistake that was. 183 turned out to be a huge disappointment. Not only was the material all over the place, but Burnett did not have the same enthusiasm and interest in this class as he had in the other one. The only book was a reader that was over $100 and most of the selections were excessively long and boring... The midterm was a killer and the final was even worse. There were 20+ "possible" ESSAY topics to prepare for, with 6 to write on during the test. You better have a good memory to pass this class! I wrote essay after essay on the in class 8:00 am final until I couldn't feel my hand any longer. Seriously, this class will give you carpal tunnel and you will be drained by the end.
Summer 2020 - Prof Illes was funny and engaging. The class was very accommodating for remote learning as it was asynchronous, minus weekly quizzes on the lecture material. There were three 3-page papers we had to write about movies in different eras of LA history. The final and midterms were solely based off lecture, multiple choice with one or two short essays and were open note. Overall the class was super interesting and made so much sense as someone who has always lived in Metro LA. This class has forever changed my view of LA and it's history. Thank you!
Winter 2019 - Overall this class was okay. Professor Miller seems to be very knowledgable about Los Angeles and knows a lot about the evolution of this city. However, his lectures are often disengaging and often focuses on architecture or landscape space of certain parts of LA. I was often confused as to what I should be taking notes on, but then he told me that he would rather students listen rather than take notes. My notes were never needed or used during the midterm and final essays, so I would say you don't need to take notes at all. Your grade is based on a midterm paper, a final paper, and 4 workshops that are based on completion and attendance. For the midterm paper, you essentially pick a topic from a provided list to write about for one of the 3 Pico locations he wants you to go to. I chose flora/fauna topic for the Pico Urban site. He does not provide much direction other than what is instructed on the syllabus-- he is definitely more helpful during office hours and can answer any question you have, so I suggest going if you need the assistance. I also believe going to OH benefits your grade if you're borderline. The final is almost identical to the midterm in terms of expectations, but instead, you choose your own topic and location you want to research on. I basically recapitulated my midterm topic but applied it to a different plant at a different location. The professor does not grade the assignments because he hires a "reader" to assist, and our reader for the quarter seemed to be an easy grader. As long as you make a statement/argument and support it with mostly primary evidence that all makes sense, you will do well. Go to office hours if you feel like you have no idea how to start or if you don't know what to write about, he will help you.