All Ratings and Reviews for Alexander J Julius
Probably the kindest professor I've had here. 10/10 would recommend!
Professor Julius really tried his best this quarter. I think he was having trouble with classes moving online, especially because his equipment was not working well so lectures were hard to hear. That being said, he was incredibly accommodating to the situation, giving an A- minimum for completing class assignments and making the third/final writing assignment optional (and an automatic A grade for that assignment). AJ is super nice and my TA, John, was also very understanding.
The class grade is made up of three writing assignments. For each one, you'll get three short answer prompts, and you pick two to answer in 1-2 paragraphs. Then you have about three long answer prompts, and you pick one to answer in 5-7 paragraphs. The assignments are based on the readings.
Readings were from Aristotle, Kant, Angela Davis, Frederick Douglass, Karl Marx, and a few others. I found the texts at the beginning of the class (mostly Aristotle and Kant) to be quite dry and a bit confusing as I've never taken a philosophy class before, but the readings got more interesting as the class went on.
Lectures were pretty disorganized and hard to follow, in my opinion. Discussion was optional. I ended up not going to lecture or discussion for the majority of the quarter, and listened to select parts of lectures to help me when the writing assignments came out. I didn't read any of the Kant, but still managed to get an A on both of the first writing assignments.
Overall, I think this class was pretty easy given the grading scheme, but not particularly interesting.
With AJ, it's important to keep in mind that this quarter had circumstances that were out of the ordinary. Although AJ's lectures were extremely roundabout, confusing, and not particularly fun, I think it is extremely fair to say that he absolutely cares for his students. He started off the quarter by saying that if you merely completed the 3 assignments for the quarter, the minimum grade that each student could receive is an A-. As the quarter went along, the readings grew increasingly applicable and fascinating. From learning about Aristotelian ethics to conceptions of freedom from Black authors, AJ did a great job with his selection of readings. In addition, as anti-racism protests expanded, I had emailed him demanding that his allyship become more than performative, and he was willing to listen and ask for how he can best support students. AJ might not be the best communicator of information, but his heart is absolutely in the right place. I have no regrets about taking this class. Even though I had to primarily self-study in order to digest the material, it was extremely manageable.
Absolute nightmare professor. He disregards the opinions of his students and TA's, often cuts out, assigns extra recordings because he regularly misses class himself, because of strikes or because the weather is bad, avoids any interaction with students including responding to emails and acknowledging personhood, and in general is the exact opposite of what an ethical person should be. An ivory tower professor who only cares for himself and for appearing to fit the bill of his job.
Easy A though. If you want an easy grade without developing your mind or self, this is the perfect class for you.
Your grade in the classes is based on three writing assignments. For the first two, you had to answer three questions in 2 paragraphs and then write an additional essay. For the last writing assignment, it was two questions in two paragraphs and then an essay. The prompts aren't that hard, he basically just asks for your opinion on things or to give an example of a topic in one of the readings. Lectures are long but because they're two hours long, he gives a ten minute break after the first hour more or less. I stopped going after a while because my class was at 8 AM and they were recorded and put on CCLE so I could just go back and read them if I wanted. Also, he doesn't use a mic so its kind of hard to listen to him during lecture. Like other reviews say, your grade is based on who you have as a TA. Just fyi, Andrew is an amazing TA who is super helpful and good at explaining. Readins are are online pdf's. Theyre hard to understand sometimes, but you go over them a lot in discussion and theyre not too long. Overall, this is a pretty easy GE. No need to go to class, only discussion and just let your TA go over your essays before you turn it in and you're all set.
Really enjoyed this class, especially the last portion of it where we read short excerpts from Marx, Hegel, and Frederick Douglass. Your grade is based solely on three writing assignments. The questions are pretty pointed and require an understanding of the material, but he'll give a comprehensive answer to any of them if you just ask about it in lecture (and he's VERY open to questions about the assignments). A good TA also helps. Would recommend.
Okay, I guess students do not bother writing reviews, so here's mine! YOUR GRADE SOLELY DEPENDS ON YOUR TA, but I bet you already knew that. The lectures lasted for the full two hours and it was a bit difficult and unmotivating to get up for an 8 AM that last for two hours on philosophy and the fact that the lectures are recorded doesn't help the cause either. Attendance is not taken in lecture or discussion. The professor does not use a microphone, but that isn't much of a problem because the lecture hall is dead silent and there are not many students who attend the lecture, sadly. In the course you will mainly learn about Aristotle, then a little Kant. Honestly, I only read part of the texts, but it is not necessary to read everything unless you want a full understanding. The TA will go over some points in the text. My TA made things very confusing, but not on purpose. This TA was just very disoriented, but philosophy can make one that way. YOUR ENTIRE GRADE is based on three essays. One on Aristotle, one on Kant, and the last one on various readings. Reading materials are posted on CCLE, so you will not need to buy any books. Philosophy is pretty open-ended, but the main goal is trying to understand what the original authors meant, which can be difficult to translate into an essay especially if your TA does not fully agree with your statements even if you had backed it up with evidence. I only took this course because it fulfilled a GE, but to be honest this class was a bit boring at times.
Lecture is disorganized, unexciting, and really quite useless. The class is redeemed by great TAs, great readings, and fair, interesting assignments. Just go to discussion, and do the readings, and this is a great class.
As for the grading, it's pretty easy but beware of great discrepancies in difficulty among TAs.
The Professor was a nice guy and was interested in what he was teaching. He was always nervous when he taught and could be boring. There were only three papers for the course which should've made it easy. However, the grade is completely based off of the TA. I had a TA who wanted specific answers and allowed for no creativity in the papers. He was the hardest TA, an English stickler, and ended up giving me a B+. If you take the class make sure your TA is good and has background in philosophy (my TA was not even a philosophy major).
Take this class for an easy A. Don't take this class if you actually want to learn. Lecture was very difficult to pay attention in. In my opinion, the material was boring and his charisma did not help one bit. He does not have the speaking skills to teach by simply lecturing. A power point could have easily helped his lectures.
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