Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Professor DeWitt is a sweet and helpful professor! There is no attendance requirement and when I took the class online, the lectures were all pre-recorded. Her lectures can be dry (if it was in-person, I can see how some people would fall asleep), but she is genuinely passionate about her subject. It consisted mainly of her talking over screen-recordings of her notes. There are no PPT slides you can annotate, and her notes were not posted to encourage students to watch the lectures.
Also most of her lectures went over the allotted time, which she made up for by cancelling some lectures at the end of the quarter.
She's very friendly and approachable during office hours so don't be afraid to go in even if you're the only student there! Her midterm and final were both very reasonable as long as you watched the lectures and took notes. The midterm consisted of two essay questions, and the final consisted of around 50 MCQs. There was also a 3-4 paper written with a moral perspective on the issue of our choice. She also provided an extra credit opportunity in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and BLM movement, which was very understanding of her.
The first half of the quarter focused mainly on Kant and Bentham's moral theories, and the second half was moral applications to issues (like abortion, death penalty, etc). It's often easy to pinpoint where she stands on certain issues but she emphasizes that each student should learn to form their own educated opinion on the subject.
There are many long readings but I honestly didn't read all of them, just the ones relevant to my paper (and I also read parts of Bentham and Kant). Don't feel pressured to read through all of them because she goes over the important parts of the text during lecture.
It's a good idea to find a study buddy to split readings with if you're planning on writing the paper on the same subject.
Last note: She takes plagiarism seriously, and the paper isn't even that much writing, so try not to be tempted to take content directly from online resources without citing it. The professor emphasizes that she wants us to take content only from the lecture notes and the assigned text, because often the Internet is "wrong" in their interpretations of certain topics.
I took this class spring quarter 2020 (remotely) and received an A. Professor Dewitt 's class is straight forward and if you watch all the lectures, listen in discussion, and pay attention, you'll be fine. I did read the readings, but to be honest, I think the lectures are sufficient. Our midterm was a 3 page essay. The final was multiple choice and another essay. The prompts are fair and the multiple choice final was fairly easy if you took good notes from lectures. While her lectures could have been better (they were screenrecordings of a word document with notes that she read off of), it was her first time remotely teaching so it's understandable. The topics we go over are relevant to issues today and Professor Dewitt does a decent job at explaining their moral theory without her own biases. We went over abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, gun control, ect. While I did have a previous interest in philosophy, this was a good introductory class that I would recommend.
I have many concerns regarding Janelle DeWitt and how she conducted herself in class. She has narrow ideas about what is valid and good scholarship. Unfortunately, this view seemed to be affected by the race and gender of the students. More than once she chose to ignore the pronouns requested by the transgender student in class. The most alarming was her racially insensitive and bias statements on non-western thought. Besides this, she is inconsistent with her grading and provides zero explanation for it. In this class you either conform and agree with her or be outcasted. I received the grade I wanted but it wasn't easy swallowing and witnessing the racial aggressions so I will not be taking another philosophy class with J. Dewitt. I suggest fellow POC to stay clear of her as well.
I LOVED Professor DeWitt. She is such an interesting person and gives engaging lectures, and is extremely fun to talk to during office hours. I took this class remotely, and while I think this class would be 1000x better taken in person, she did the best she could given the circumstances. My main grievances with the class was that she went over the allotted lecture time almost every class period, but she recorded all the lectures and kept them up for the whole quarter so its not as though I was time constrained by her taking them down a week later. The second half of the class is super interesting, talking about abortion and the death penalty and gun control, and you get to choose what you write about for the final paper. Her midterm and final were slightly challenging, but only if you didn't watch and write notes for her lectures. I made sure I took meticulous notes for each lecture since the exams were open note and I was a fine. Definitely would recommend this class!
DISCLAIMER:I took this class remotely in Spring 2020.
For this class, we had a midterm which was 2 essays in 24 hours, a final paper due Week 10, and a final exam that was multiple choice. The workload was not heavy at all but there was readings that I never really did. Her lectures were recorded and posted asynchronously so we were able to watch them whenever we wanted to. What bothered me about her lecture style is that she did not use slides. Instead, she would screen-share her notes on a word doc and would read off of them pretty fast. This made it difficult to pay attention because I found myself racing to copy her super long notes instead of listening to what she was actually saying. Her lectures were also usually over an hour which made is very tiring to copy her notes three times a week. The first half of this class was very boring but the second half was super interesting since we learned about abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, and gun control. I think I would have enjoyed this class more if her lecture style was more accommodating (for example, if she provided us with slides that we could annotate) so that I can actually pay better attention. The professor was really nice though and I do not blame her considering that we are all new to remote learning. Overall, this is a pretty easy class just keep up with the lectures so that you do not have to take notes for hours the week before the exams.
Did this review contain...
Thank you for the report!
We'll look into this shortly.