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I took professor Alexander's History 3A (Intro to History of Science). While all of the TAs are really great, he wasn't that great of a professor. He has power point that in retrospect is totally useless, and he just stays on slide for a long time as he talks about a topic and says the same things over and over again for an hour and fifteen minutes. The class is extremely boring, and you can't skip a lecture because your overall grade depends on attendance.
Also, I know that he really can't help it, but he has a pretty bad stammer that makes it really hard to focus on the material and take notes. If you're the kind of person who is able to look past things like stammers/stutters during lectures, you'll be fine, but i definitely wasn't.
That being said, the things that I liked about this class were that the discussion sections (where attendance is also taken) are really helpful and usually really engaging and fun. Also, it's really nice because I feel like in this class, your grade actually reflects how much work you put in. So if you study hard and do all of the readings, you're sure to come out with an A.
This was a very easy and interesting class! I recommend it to anyone who is looking for an easy general ed class! I just wish for his lectures he would add some text instead of having pictures and speaking the whole time. Other than that I truly enjoyed this class:)
As someone who generally struggles with history classes, I actually enjoyed and did well in this class. Here are some logistical things about the class:
- Lecture attendance is mandatory; professor passes around a sign-in sheet
- Discussion attendance is mandatory as well; the TA won't force you to participate in discussions, but it is part of your grade so it's best to speak up at least once or twice during each discussion
- Homework is a set of weekly readings (combination of online articles and the 2 required books) and a 1 paragraph response to a question posted by the professor due in class and on TurnItIn at the beginning of class each Monday
- Homework & Participation make up 25% of your grade, Midterm makes up 25%, and Final is 50%
- About a week before the midterm and 2 weeks before the final, the professor posted a study list of all the terms you need to know
- Midterm and final each consist of 2 parts: in the first part, he provides a list of some of the terms from the study guide and you must pick a few of these terms and identify them; in the second part, he give 2 essay prompts and you must pick one to answer (on the final, you choose 2 out of 4); all essay topics were fairly general and tended to reflect the weekly responses and discussions pretty well
Here is some stuff that is more opinion based:
- The tests are primarily based on what is discussed in lecture and discussion. You definitely don't need to know every detail mentioned in lecture, but the lectures tend to help more than the books when it comes to defining/identifying the terms from the study guide.
- For the essay portion of the tests, knowledge of certain events and people from the lectures is helpful, but I found the overall answer to the essay (which tended to cover a whole period or movement rather than a certain event), the discussions were very helpful, as well as the weekly homework paragraphs
- For the weekly questions, I found that you didn't really need to read ALL of what was assigned. For example, if a whole chapter from one book was assigned, there tended to be a few pages relevant to the question, but not all of it. I chose to only read the portions of the assigned reading that were relevant to the weekly questions, and those tended to be the only parts relevant to the class anyways. So you can definitely get away with not doing all the assigned reading, but if you do that, you really really need to listen to all the lectures, even if you just listen to them on Bruincast later (which I did).
**Side note: if you can, take one of Erdem Ilter's discussions, he's a great TA!
Professor Alexander is a very great professor and the course he teaches about the history of science is very interesting. While the class is titled “history of science” Alexander also focuses on the poltical and societal aspects that influence these developments in the scientific and intellectual Worlds.
The typical class involves Professor Alexander going over slides which basically contain a picture Giving a visual of whatever he is talking about. Since very few slides have actual information to copy, that means you have to take great notes. However since Alexander is very clear and often repeats important information you are likely to know what he is talking about.
The course grade wise breaks down is like this ...
25% Partcipiation/ Section
——- Partcipation & Section- ——
This quarter of your grade is easy to get if you go to all the lectures, as attendance is mandatory. The TAs provide a sign in sheet which will be passed throughout the class starting the first lecture. Be warned that sometimes the TAs may delay this to get people who leave class after the first twenty minutes thinking they forgot to take attendance . Section is also mandatory and in section you in small group of 15 students discuss the readings and the content of the lecture. Also this is where you get feedback for reading response. The reasoning response is a short one paragraph - one page response to a question posed by Professor Alexander. These assignments are very easy and if you know the content well enough from lecture or just skim the book you will get full credit in the assignments which you only have to do 8 out of 10. My TA Xiaowen Hao was very nice, and she actually cared for her students, and was quite understanding for assignments and questions about grading.
The midterm exam is a blue book test that counts for a another quarter of your overall grade. The exam is composed of two parts the essay and ID terms. The essay is a selection of one of two questions where you have to answer a prompt relating to a general theme of what has been discussed in lecture up to that point. If you paid attention in class or have read this essay should be fairly easy, just be careful to answer all parts of the question. The second half which counts for 30% of the exam is the ID terms in which you have to choose 5 of 8 terms and define and explain their importance. Professor Alexander gives you a list in advance which is helpful in studying. Also if you have a section before the exam that week, the TA will go over the material you need to know for the exam.
The final is worth a whopping 50% of your grade so you better study for it. You are basically given a larger version of the midterm where you to answer two essays and then define 8 out of 12 ID Terms, Again if you paid attention to class lecture, taken good notes, and went to section, the essays should be fairly essay to write. Like the midterm the professor gives a list of all the terms needed to know.
Overall Professor Alexander and this course is very good, and while it can be boring and a chore especially since the class meets three times plus section, it is a class one should take. If you are looking to accomplish your history GE take this course cause it will help accomplish this. Professor Alexander and his presentation of this course made like history again and if you just try there no reason why should not get an A in the class.
Apart from this class being a super easy G.E. and low effort (there's no papers!), it's surprisingly very interesting. I always looked forward to lectures, which attendance is mandatory for. You're kind of forced to learn the material since attendance is mandatory, and Professor Alexander repeats details often to underscore their importance. Also he's really sweet, go to his office hours if you can! I will mention though, the class often gets philosophical which was intimidating but really it's super easy and you'll be fine.
The exams and midterms were fair as it only encompassed what you have learned in class. The material of the class were quite interesting but I always find myself sleeping through the lectures. As long as you do all the response papers and the weekly readings you will get an A.
Professor Alexander was nice in the sense that workload was not heavy and exams were not ver hard. Actually, it's probably quite easy compared to other history classes. If you are here for a good grade, it's definitely there if you do all the required work (and there weren't so many). In this way, the professor is pretty concerned about the students. One thing that could've been better is the lecture material. There are only a few pictures in every lecture without any notes on the slides, and the professor doesn't write notes on the board either. Everything I learned through this course is from Wikipedia and the textbook. The TAs were very helpful and nice. Overall, I would recommend this class as a GE.