Special Studies in Comparative Politics: Authoritarian Politics
Winter 2021 - I had a high level of interest about authoritarianism before this class, and while I certainly learned a lot about the topic, I felt as though the class structure inhibited my learning a bit. While the subject is a fascinating one, I felt that Professor Roberts tended to be quite disorganized and the course sometimes felt a bit chaotic at times. In a bid to address student concerns, Professor Roberts utilized two separate grading schemes: synchronous-heavy and asynchronous-heavy, each with different weights and assignments. While I certainly appreciate that Professor Roberts tried to make room for student concerns, this just ended up making the course unnecessarily convoluted. The reading load of the class is fairly moderate in comparison with other upper-div political science classes, but there are a number of research assignments, quizzes, a midterm, a final exam, a final presentation, and a final group essay which just made the course more hectic than it needed to be. These assignments were graded fairly leniently, but I felt that a lot of the minor assignments were reminiscent of busy-work. Professor Roberts is very open to changing the format of the class/assignments, but I felt that this class just contained too many moving parts. Were the course to be simplified in favor of fewer but perhaps more substantial assignments, I feel as though the course would function a lot better. As it stands though, the disorganized nature of Professor Roberts, and the multitude of what I felt were superfluous assignments made the course a lot more tedious than it should have been.