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Class was way too hard for a GE. Material was engaging. Almost 200 pages of reading per week. Several essays that aren't graded lightly. Long lectures that aren't very engaging.
I honestly think that this has got to be one of the worst classes in all of the Chicano department, mainly because at how ridiculous the TA and Professor are. Strict graders and extremely lazy with high expectations, yet, they do not invest any time into the class. Professor used the excuse of the presentations to stop teaching lectures after like week 5. TA's are so damn lazy, literally my TA said during discussion that she didn't do the readings herself because she doesn't like reading. This class was a whole entire mess with the site placements and it just went downhill after that.
Participation (10%) 2-Page Response (20%) Midterm (30%) Final (40%). Recorded lectures. Live TA discussions + going to office hours determined participation grade.
Your grade is a shot in the dark. Your TA grades 100% of your writing. If you get a TA who grades harshly (which many people did), you're screwed in the class. Luckily for me I didn't, but its still unfair. There were people who were incredibly active in live discussions and obviously understood the course material yet they bombed papers.
You get an INSANE amount of reading that you need to reference when doing all the papers. I understand that its a learning environment and the reading was genuinely important in understanding the topic, but it was still a lot. This is just my heads up.
Lectures were useful. Lacayo likes repeating herself so at some points it would get redundant. But she definitely helped in relating the reading to topics and helping people understand the struggles of the time.
Lacayo revealed each essay prompt during live lectures and then gave us 20 minutes to ask clarification questions before we couldn't email her or the TA's until the submission window closed. This sucked terribly. In a Zoom with 200 people, 20 minutes is no time to let everybody ask their questions. None of my questions I asked in chat were ever adressed. Overall just a bad experience in that aspect.
If I would give advice, I would go to your TA's office hours and Lacayos office hours. Ask what you did wrong on your writing and ask how you can improve. Don't fall behind on reading or movies. Show them you care about your grade.
Horrible class- Mediocre professor who acts like a wannabe chola and her fake woke TAs. I had Dafne as my TA and she is by far the WORST TA EVER. Always late to discussion with no solid excuse and would take forever to reply to emails. I ended up getting a B+ even though we did great in our presentation and would always attend and participate in discussion and did very well on my reflection. Can't forget to mention that it took her 2 weeks to submit grades that she probably gave at random. This class was a mess from start to finish and it's incredible that the TAs and Professor had the audacity to act the way they acted. I agree with the first review- absolutely half ass class all quarter. The professor stopped giving lectures since around week 4 with the excuse to work on our projects and the TAs (at least my terrible TA) admitted she didn't do the readings since like week 2. We never touched the readings and instead would focus on our site experiences, which explains why so many people did bad on their essays since we were practically teaching ourselves. Please avoid this class and take it only if you need it. They took 4 weeks to assign us to our sites and had the audacity to be upset because people couldn't finish our hours. This class is a total fail and they should own up to their mistakes.
I was really excited about this class, but I left the quarter pretty disappointed. While the class material is so interesting and important, the online format did not translate well with this course. Monday lectures are live discussions, but at some points they felt redundant; I struggled staying engaged. We also related the class material to modern times, and while this was a good discussion, I did not find it useful for the midterm or final.
I tried my best to follow the feedback from my TA after each assignment, but his grading was very nit-picky and lacked a format. He still found ways to deduct my scores and even told me at one point that he “didn’t agree with my argument.” I was ultimately disheartened when at the end of the course, my final grade was just posted. I never saw my grade on my actual final paper or participation grade. I wanted to at least see these scores individually because they held such significant weight.
In the end, I was so stressed and obsessed with my assignments that it took away from the value of the class. Yes, I learned a lot and feel more educated, but I’m walking away from the class with discouraging memories that significantly shaped my experience.
Where to begin...
I'll start with the positives because there's so few. Lacayo is nice and sometimes funny! She carries herself as a professor and I respect her for that. Unfortunately, at an institution like UCLA, it’s not enough to carry yourself like a professor; it's a fair expectation that you do the job of a professor as well.
The course material in general is easy to comprehend, whether you do the readings or not. But it's the stringency of grading, non-existent explanation of expectations regarding assignments, and the truly shameful quality of office hours that make this course the worst course I have ever taken - no hyperbole *cue loud booing*. (For reference, I am a 3rd year & have taken multiple classes in the department. I received my only A- (ever) in her class and I doubt it's because my work ethic/study habits/writing style drastically worsened.
My biggest gripe with this course (Afro-Latinx 188) is with the grading. For the course, you’re required to write a 2 page mini essay, in-class essay, and 6 page essay. However, for all these essays, Lacayo will repeat the word “analysis” without any true explanation of what - precisely - she is looking for. For the midterm Lacayo instructed for us to “write down” the requirements, with no given rubric or written prompt (she literally could’ve emailed it). Though frustrating at the time, I realized how unfair this was when upon returning the midterm, she created a moving goalpost of expectations - informing us that many of us did not fulfill a requirement that she never mentioned (I would know, I take hyper-meticulous notes). Also, she gave us four, yes a measly four, days to write the final essay worth 40% of our grade - assigning the prompt at the last class for no apparent or justified reason. And if that wasn’t enough, the TAs, both non-Chicanx department related grad students, were terribly unequipped to assist with any relevant plight regarding the course - really nice people though.
Lacayo roughly assigns 50-100 pages of reading a week, which is to be expected at UCLA; yet, she does little to no close reading. The word “unpack” often appears in her lectures but 15/10 times, Lacayo does not “unpack.” She instead resorts to YouTube videos and simply reiterates the same 3 words, without truly engaging the text. If you're looking for engaging lectures or if you're under the guise that doing all the readings will assist you, I’m sorry to report thus is not the case.
Think you can remedy the aforementioned issues by visiting her at office hours? No can do! When you go to visit her one (1) scheduled office hour slot for one (1) hour to *hopefully* get insight on what exactly she wants, she will probably show up 30 mins late, repeat the word “analysis” a couple hundred times, and then send you on your merry way.
If possible, avoid Lacayo and her courses unless you willingly enjoy unnecessary stress.
I really enjoyed this class, especially as someone who doesn’t identify as Afro-Latinx because it taught me a lot about the community in many different ways. Because I have no personal connection to the material, I thought that it would be harder for me to grasp the concepts taught in the class. However, through Lacayo’s lectures and the reading material, I was able to grasp the concepts easily. It’s hard to understand the concepts if you skip out on either the lectures or the articles because they work hand-in-hand. I’d recommend skimming through the articles right before class if you don’t like reading.
The grade is based on participation/attendance (10%), a 2-page paper during week 3 (20%), a midterm paper written in class (30%), and a 5-page final paper (40%). If you do everything you’re supposed to do for the class and actually immerse yourself in the material, it’s easy to get an A in the class.
See Chicano 188, taken Fall 2019, submitted Dec. 10, 2019 review. Pretty much spot on regarding every aspect of the class. I managed to perform well due to the following:
(1) for each paper you have to read a majority of the assigned readings. However, I would basically draft a paper and then add citations from the readings at the end. (Where it gets weird is how to write a paper without citing external sources, many students had issues with this.. whoever graded my papers didn't... go figure.) You are basically writing a paper and assuming that all the information you provide is common knowledge and doesn't require a source. This is weird, but it was the only way to draft an intelligent analysis "without using external sources"- which was one of the requirements. Again, you still have to have a pretty good understanding of the readings, which I normally did at least one week prior to assigned writings.
(2) Lol don't rock the boat. There is a strong sentiment within the class, you need to find a unique way to echo that sentiment in your papers. Some may disagree, and I'm assuming it reflected in their grades... and to them I would say it's a lot easier to do when you actually read all the assigned readings. You may have your personal opinions, but good luck demonstrating your understanding of the class material and while promoting a counter argument.
(3) During discussion, don't just talk about the reading. Look up other stories and historical facts that demonstrate a deeper understanding. I think it will definitely help your participation grade (overall grade).
Lastly, I actually learned a lot in the readings, but discussions and lectures drove me insane. I'm biracial, so this is partially an inherent curse so to speak. I actually felt bad for students who weren't Black or Latino because the tone is very one-sided....lol it reminded me of when I was the only minority in predominantly white classes, so if you feel that way suck it up... read the material, and follow the above tips as best as you can... in other words embrace adversity, it's a challenge you won't see everyday so you can grow from it if you have the right mindset.
My favorite professor at UCLA by far!!! She is extremely knowledgeable on the topic and builds her lectures off the power of the community. Readings were all interesting and the workload was very manageable. It was a little unorganized in the beginning of the quarter because we had to assign everyone to their community organizations but that was out of the professor and TA's control. The group presentation and final paper were all super easy. The prompt is handed out at the beginning of the quarter so there is more than enough time. Overall, the professor was amazing. The TA's were very lazy and mentioned they stopped doing the readings since Week 3.
Get ready to read! Professor Lacayo is incredibly knowledgeable and gives amazing lectures. However, the amount of reading she assigns is astronomical. The readings are very dry and boring. Midterm was a 5pg essay and final was an in class essay. Additionally, she assigns two documentary reviews. Those are pretty informative. Go to office hours!!! It helps