Spring 2014 - BORDENKIRCHER IS THE WORST! Not only does he like to teach his class through youtube videos (making it an utter waste of time coming to class) he also unclear in in his organizations of the material and what he expects on exams and assignments. Not only that, he refused to answer any email after giving everyone the final. Maybe 3 or 4 students out of 60 received higher than a B. He is highly unprofessional, condescending to students who were unfamiliar with the subject matter, and just overall not what a UCLA professor should be. Avoid at all costs.
Spring 2017 - People have been giving Bordenkircher a bad rep on other courses but honestly he isn't that bad. He has a very monotonous voice and likes to ramble and asks questions (and yes, he often kind of leaves the questions open-ended). He doesn't post any slides so you have to go to class everyday or do the readings. I stopped doing the readings halfway through but he goes through all the topics thoroughly. His slides are very sparse so you have to really listen to what he's saying because the slides aren't enough to go off of. There's a take-home midterm which consists of writing three (yes, 3!) essays which I thought was ridiculous but they weren't difficult to write if you go to class and listen to what he says. We also had to buy and read a book (Islamic Exceptionalism) for our final essay. I didn't think the book was awful and it's easy to skip the bits that aren't important to the prompt. In addition to the final essay we had a final exam which was four essays (which I also thought was ridiculous... I filled up 2 blue books). If you have no experience with Middle Eastern history, I don't think you have to worry because he does a pretty good job at explaining things. TL;DR: this class isn't as bad as I thought but you definitely have to put in the work which means more than copying down what's on the slides but actually listening to what he says.