Spring 2022 - This guy LOVES what he does. Professor Kristal is very passionate about teaching and literature, which is great, but the class can still be fairly boring if you're just taking it to take care of a GE and aren't interested in the subject matter. We read excerpts from The Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, As You Like It, and poetry by Sor Juana. You aren't required to read the whole book, but I'd recommend it for The Divine Comedy and As You Like it. Lectures consist of him talking about the current reading and discussing what he thinks is important, and as long as you pay attention you should be pretty set for the exams. Discussion sections are required, but it's just the TA and a small group talking about the important parts of what we read that week. Exams are mostly just reading comprehension, with short answer questions and a short essay attached. You also have to write a 5-page essay, but the TA will walk you through it and grading is pretty lenient.
I actually never met Kristal; the class is taught entirely by the TA (I had McCullough, who was awesome). I signed up for this class last minute after dropping a class I learned that AP credit actually applied to...there was slim pickings for the remaining classes so I figured I would just get my Writing II out of the way. This class is definitely work but certainly doable. You aren't going to get away with slacking in any Writing II course. This one consisted of biweekly submissions to a forum based on the weekly readings, 3 papers, a midterm, and a final. I was kind of mad that I got an A+ on the final and midterm (combined 25% of the grade) and an A on the final paper (also 25%) and wound up with an A- in the class (I got a B+ on the first paper which was only 10% and A minuses on the second paper and participation). I felt like I deserved an A overall. Most of the readings were actually interesting; I only used Sparknotes once or twice out of time issues, not lack of interest. You only read bits of the books you are required to buy, like 2 sections of The Iliad, a few sections of the Bible, etc. I'm not religious and still found the class interested. In addition to this class I was taking a GE and an upper div while working 30+ hours a week and didn't feel like this class consumed the rest of my time. I would recommend it as long as you have a good TA.
When I signed up for this course, it said Kristal/Feldman, but I never met Kristal. The class was taught solely by his TA, Leah Feldman. She was great; very approachable and really concerned about student learning. I had a lot of difficulty understanding what she wanted out of our writing, and she took the time to explain all of the most basic topics with me until I fully understood them, even stuff like what a proper thesis is and what a topic sentence is. She's extremely patient about stuff like that, and she also believed that everybody's opinion matters which was really nice. I was pretty intimidated taking this class, as I was one of the few freshman, but I enjoyed it. We read five books, and the class was fairly fast paced. Our grades were 20% participation, 10% a class presentation, 10% midterm, 15% for the first paper, 20% for the second paper, and 25% for the final paper. The first paper was graded pretty easy, but the others were harder. The midterm was easy, and the presentation was as well. Attendance was mandatory, which sort of sucked. I got a B+ in the class, which I'm happy about, being a south campus major and a pretty shitty writer. I really liked this class, and I think Feldman is a good teacher. I definitely recommend it.
Fall 2016 - The course is fun but a challenge, it's doable. The cluster is taught by professors from the subjects: sciences but also humanities. It was a lot of fun. Make sure to form a study group, they help a lot. It's a good intro to life here at UCLA. I am selling the course textbooks for cheap; the price is negotiable. text me at 323-447-9509