Jerusalem: Holy City

Jeremy Smoak

Jerusalem: Holy City

Ancient Near East department

Jeremy Smoak

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from 29 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 3.6
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 2.6
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.5
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.9
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.9
Helpful
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Tags

  • Needs Textbook
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Uses Slides
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Participation Matters

Grades

Fall 2018
29.3%
24.4%
19.5%
14.6%
9.8%
4.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2017
25.7%
21.4%
17.2%
12.9%
8.6%
4.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2017
22.0%
18.3%
14.6%
11.0%
7.3%
3.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2016
24.3%
20.3%
16.2%
12.2%
8.1%
4.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2016
27.4%
22.8%
18.3%
13.7%
9.1%
4.6%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2016
23.9%
19.9%
15.9%
11.9%
8.0%
4.0%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Summer 2016
26.3%
21.9%
17.5%
13.2%
8.8%
4.4%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2015
33.3%
27.8%
22.2%
16.7%
11.1%
5.6%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2015
34.4%
28.6%
22.9%
17.2%
11.5%
5.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2014
30.1%
25.0%
20.0%
15.0%
10.0%
5.0%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2013
39.5%
32.9%
26.3%
19.7%
13.2%
6.6%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Summer 2013
40.0%
33.3%
26.7%
20.0%
13.3%
6.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2012
37.1%
30.9%
24.7%
18.6%
12.4%
6.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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1 of 3

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Feb. 7, 2019 Grade Received: A

This is probably my favorite class that I’ve taken at UCLA. The professor is very knowledgeable and is able to explain the topics thoroughly. Being that he lived in Jerusalem for a number of years, I would say that he is certainly an expert on the material. He gives you thorough study guides for the tests, and does not expect you to know anything that he did not mention in class. There are two writing assignments, but they are not bad at all. Being that I’m not a writer, I was very concerned going into a writing to class that it would be too much of a workload and that the essays would be too hard. This was certainly not the case. The professor was more than willing to help any students with questions, and was very helpful when discussing the essay in office hours. I would 100% recommend this class, as well as any other class taught by this professor.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Jan. 11, 2019 Grade Received: A

The organization of Professor Smoak was kind of difficult to deal with to be honest. He doesn't post the lecture slides online and most of the lecture during class is commentary on the minimal notes put on the slides that he does present, so it was difficult at time trying to figure out what to take notes on and what to ignore. This class is writing-intensive (as it is a Writing II course) including two main papers, weekly reading responses, and an in-class midterm and final.

For the weekly reading responses, they're mostly graded on completion and answering the prompt (I got 10/10 on most of them just writing boring responses). The weekly reading itself is another reason I'd dock the class on being disorganized. I didn't really know how the reading pertained to the class. He assigned weekly reading under the schedule but it wasn't mandatory so no one actually did it.

As for the in-class tests, the midterm was pretty hard and the final was super easy. His midterm had multiple concepts that weren't listed on the study guide (note: he tests on quotes where you need to know specific words to finish sentences/fill-in-the-blank which were pretty hard, so read the passages he puts on the study guide very carefully). I think he realized that the midterm was harder than he had anticipated, so the final was super easy (I got an 88 on the midterm and a 98 on the final, which was much shorter and a lot easier).

For the papers that we had to write, this would probably be my biggest gripe with the class. Professor Smoak and the TA's don't really help that much in writing these papers unless you go out of your way to ask them in office hours to elaborate. During section and lecture, they will tell you what they want to see in the essays, but will hardly give any helpful examples to follow. The prompts for the paper are broad and definitely confused me in the writing process because they had so many facets that I had to narrow down into a single thesis/paper. I eventually went to the TA's office hours to ask for help on this paper and while my writing itself didn't seem that much better/different, I guess it mirrored what HE specifically wanted to see, so I ended up clutching an A.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Dec. 13, 2018 Grade Received: A-

I absolutely loved taking this class with Prof. Smoak. He was funny during lecture and the lectures were engaging. This is probably the best class I've taken at UCLA so far. It does help a little if you have some prior knowledge to Christianity or Judaism, which could probably be a problem for some people. Since it is a writing class your TA probably plays a big factor in whether or not you like/do well in the class. I had a great TA. The workload isn't heavy: a one page reading response every week, 2 papers, 1 midterm and 1 final. The midterm and final were pretty easy (the final was easier) and not worth much of the grade but mostly meant to help you get information about your paper. Paper #2 is a research paper and required a lot of effort, but it was still interesting.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Dec. 6, 2018 Grade Received: B+

This class has a pretty light workload. Each week there is a 1 page double spaced reading response that you turn in each discussion section for a grade. There are only 2 tests and the 2 essays that you have to write are both pretty easy. However, the TAs grade harshly and the writing portions of the tests are graded harshly as well. This isn’t an easy class to get an A in, but the workload is totally doable.

Selling the textbook “Jerusalem: One City Three Faiths” for $8. (It’s $10 if you want to rent it at Ackerman). Email me at 4ajv29@gmail.com if you’re interested

Quarter Taken: Spring 2017 Submitted Nov. 4, 2018 Grade Received: B

It's an interesting topic to learn of. It is friendly towards people who are not familiar with Christianity and Judaism. It is a little less friendly for the most of us who are not familiar with the geography in the Middle East. While geography isn't tested on, Smoaks refers to land around Jerusalem during lecture in a way that implies we should know about the geography. His lectures are not boring and it's somewhat important to attend them. Your TA kinda decides if you're going to enjoy this class or not. I had a terrible TA, he graded our papers hard and was condescending in section. I strongly felt that if I had a different TA I would have stressed less about this class. There's 2 papers and weekly reading responses with the second paper about your research on a building in Jerusalem.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted July 2, 2018 Grade Received: B-

PLEASE save yourself and don't take this class. The TAs grade the essays so harshly, and lectures are painfully boring. There are two major essays, a midterm, a final, one/two weekly write-ups that are one/two pages based on the readings/bible verses. I understand writing 2 classes have a heavier course load, but this was just ridiculous. It helps if you are currently religious because half the class is basically Sunday school and you are memorizing bible verses, but if you atheist/agnostic etc. then I wouldn't recommend this course.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 27, 2018 Grade Received: A-

I have mixed feelings about this class. For one, I enjoyed the fact that I was able to learn about Jerusalem's history - especially its connection to the Bible and the way it is intertwined with the Christian faith. The class helped me see Jerusalem from the perspective of sacred space, an idea I had not considered before. Yet, this notion of sacred space was somewhat difficult to write about in the essays for this class. As a result, I found myself struggling to write the papers. My TA was good/helpful, but also a pretty challenging grader. Thus, I would only recommend this class if you're interested in learning about Jerusalem from a unique perspective and are willing to put in a lot of time to write the papers.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 10, 2018 Grade Received: A

I took this class as a pre-med physiology major, and loved every bit of it! As far as writing 2 requirements go, this course is the way to do it. You only have to write two papers- one literary analysis, and one research paper. For each paper you do a draft and a revision. There's also an in class midterm and in class final, which are easy! The readings are light (20-30 pages twice a week), but discussion is VERY mandatory. It's an easy A for a writing 2 class if you GO TO LECTURE (he will literally tell you what's on the exams, and sometimes give extra credit for being in lecture), and meet with your TA about the papers. This class is especially easy if you already have a religious background, the people who struggled came into it with no knowledge. There are weekly reading responses which are one page double spaced, and super easy points. Overall, a great class.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2017 Submitted Jan. 8, 2018 Grade Received: A

I am a life sciences major that took this class expecting it to be pretty hard based on other reviews. The material does not require you to have a religious background, as it is mostly about the history and architecture of Jerusalem. I honestly found it to be an interesting GE/Writing II. Make sure to cater your papers to what your TA wants. In discussion, my TA was very clear in instructing us how to organize our papers. If you struggle with writing, definitely take advantage of their office hours. The papers are not the kind that you can write the night before--be smart about how much time you spend to not only write it but also gather your information. The second paper is LONG--a minimum of 7 pages. This is my fourth class that requires essays, but my first time since high school to make outlines to organize my thoughts. This definitely helped me get A's on the papers.

Discussions are mandatory due to the quizzes. They are based on the readings, so try your best to not fall behind. Lecture attendance is not mandatory, BUT he does not post the slides online, nor is the lecture Bruincasted. I highly recommend that you attend every lecture--you will end up using a lot of Smoak's information to write the papers and answer the short answer questions on the exams.

Since the midterm and final are worth 10% each of your overall grade, it really comes down to your TA and how harshly they grade your papers. I was in the A- to A range for the papers; I got a C on the midterm and an A+ on the take-home final due to the wildfires. I ended up with an A overall.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2017 Submitted Jan. 8, 2018 Grade Received: A

Take this class with a grain of salt. It's not an easy writing II class by any means, but it wasn't necessarily unfair. It's really up to you how you do in this class. Do not take it if you're not willing to put in a lot of effort into reading, researching, and writing for the papers. The TAs grade fairly, and they will shred poor work and reward hard work. The tests are easy enough if you know his study guides. The information in this class is not difficult to understand, but you do need to put in a lot of work to do well. If you have a decent understanding of the material and put in a lot of effort in the papers (and go to office hours to see what your TA wants with your paper) you will do fine.

1 of 3

Tags

  • Needs Textbook
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Uses Slides
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Participation Matters
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