Winter 2021 - Anthro 4 was an ok experience for me. My main issue with the class was the format of assignments Professor Duranti chose. The basic structure was 6 assignments with no release/due dates to just be given out at various points in the quarter - each was worth 20%, lowest one gets dropped. If you are happy with your grade after five, you don't have to do the sixth (or you can choose to not do one of the other assignments). No midterm, not final, literally nothing matters in this class besides your grades on these assignments (discussion sections are optional, no participation or anything). In theory, this is actually awesome, and it had its benefits, but unfortunately in the first 7 weeks of the class we had two (2) assignments... you get where this is headed. Even though the assignments themselves are really not difficult and Duranti directs you to the corresponding readings and gives some hints, the pacing of the workload was really not distributed equally. Maybe not a killer for everyone, but I found this to be pretty frustrating. My TA (Spencer) was great, he clearly really wanted to engage us and was super helpful if you went to optional discussion sections, but I thought he was a bit of a harsh grader on some things. For me, the reason this class was a "so-so" experience was that I found the subject (linguistic anthropology) to be really dense, hard to understand with the effort I was willing to put in (honestly, took this as a requirement, just wanted to get it done with limited interest in actual topic going into the class), and more reading than I was hoping to have (especially at the start, near 100 pages per week). Duranti however is clearly passionate, invested in our learning, witty, funny, and ALWAYS offering help and answering questions. I think the class lost some of its charm being online, but overall was a fine experience and not too difficult grade-wise to succeed.
Duranti is a nice guy, but it is VERY hard to understand him. Nothing in this class was consistent. The material was very repetitive and when asked to evaluate on it, there was not much to go off of. Nothing was expanded on in class. Everything went on side tangents. TA never knew had to grade anything right and when asked for a re-evaluation nothing would get done about it. Speaking of the grading system, it was terribly set up and your grade is based off 60 percent online quizzes and 40 percent final paper. FInal paper does not get explained in class and you will most likely get an F if you can't read their mind. I dont recommend taking this class because to end up with a bad grade in a class that should be fun and inspiring is very disappointing.