Jerusalem: Holy City

Jeremy Smoak

Jerusalem: Holy City

Ancient Near East department

Jeremy Smoak

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from 31 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
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Uses Slides
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Participation Matters
  • Tolerates Tardiness

Grades

Winter 2019
30.9%
25.7%
20.6%
15.4%
10.3%
5.1%
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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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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3 of 3

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Fall 2016 Submitted Dec. 17, 2016 Grade Received: A-

Despite not being particularly excited to take this class, it was my favorite class I took last quarter and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes history or is interested in religion. The class is basically an overview of the rise of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Ancient Near Eastern world from a historical perspective, focusing particularly on the religious buildings in Jerusalem and how those relate to the evolution of religion in the city. Again, it was not a topic I thought sounded interesting, but I loved the course.

The professors and Das do not tolerate tardiness, and you are only allowed to miss one discussion section per quarter. That said, they are incredibly helpful, kind, and want you to succeed. The quizzes and tests are very easy, but you do have to study, as they focus on specific dates and people. The essays are harder to do extremely well on, but you turn in a draft, which is graded, and then you revise that draft and the revision gets graded as well. There are two papers for the course, one with a 5 page min and another with a 7 page min.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2016 Submitted Dec. 1, 2016 Grade Received: S

Do not be fooled by the Fall 2015 Grade Scale. I do not if this is lies, but I am currently taking this class and the average is probably around an 82-86. In comparison to other Writing IIs, this class is not worth the numerous amount of work. Personally, I am not doing bad in this class, however, this course has become harder and requires the attention of not only a writing class, but a history class too. There are easier Writing II GE's and I would wait for them personally, especially if you are not too interested in Judaism, Christianity, and Islamic beginnings.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2016 Submitted Nov. 27, 2016 Grade Received: A+

FALL 2016 Grading Scheme:
Discussion/Attendance/Quizzes: 10%
Midterm Exam: 10%
Final Exam: 10%
Paper #1: Draft (10%) + Revision (20%) = 30%
Paper #2: Draft (15%) + Revision (25%) = 40%
Book: Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths by Karen Armstrong ($3-5 for a used one; he tries to make things affordable for us!)

He gives us a midterm study guide, a final study guide, and every single thing you need to write for the essay (you really shouldn't be getting anything lower than an 80% for any assignments).

Quizzes are 10-15 questions of multiple choice for the most part, some fill in the blank. All are memorization such as dates and events. You get all of the information from the main book you will be reading and your TA/the professor will emphasize on what to study for them. It's an easy quiz and it's just to show if you're reading. They give you 10 minutes in the beginning of discussion to do it.

In discussion, you will go over the essays, revisions, how to make them better, study guides for final/midterm.
Oh, and attendance for discussions are mandatory and only 1 can be missed (for those who don't like going).

Pros: As a political science major, this class gave me a grasp of what analytical and close reading is. It definitely made my writing skills better in a span of 9-10 weeks. The lectures are anything but boring: he makes jokes, visited Jerusalem himself, and is knowledgeable. Literally, ask him any question and he knows how to answer it.

Cons: Prior to the class, I had no knowledge of the Bible other than what my friends have told me (sorry, I'm atheist) so I had to pay even more attention to the lectures than other students. There aren't really any other cons since I'm pretty open to any topic to learn. But if the Hebrew Bible.

I thought this subject sounded boring prior to the class, but after it, I'm interested in it a lot more. Probably because Smoak is such an amazing teacher. Handsdown the best I've taken at UCLA thus far for my 2 years here. 10/10.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2015 Submitted April 9, 2016 Grade Received: A

The course is great- if you go to class and do the readings its mostly about 2 essays and you actually get to turn in and then revise. He basically outlines a number of options in class.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted April 3, 2016 Grade Received: B

I personally do not why this course gets high points and all the positive reviews. I feel it is a horrible writing class for students who do not have much background towards this area of study. So if you do not have that related knowledge about religion and you are not very interested in this type of topic, DONT ever take this class, it will be way more difficult than you think.

Prof. Smoak could be a good teaching faculty for some others but not for me, he taught you by using indirect, obscure and difficult language that you cannot follow him in every words. Also, the worst of all is that he won't put any slides on the course website. So if you lost in the lecture, bare with it because you thought it was a easy class.

I would say the best part of this class is that only 70% grade dependent on papers so not too bad if you are not a good writer. But we all know who would decide this 70% , TAs. They can be either a great one or a horrible one. Unfortunately, I met with the TA who was unfriendly, not professional and very unhelpful.

Just during the very first week, this TA sent us email said that he could not make up the discussion. Okay, it was kind of good that we could have a cheat day, but it was the first week and he already skipped once his responsibility to teach and to guide us.
Overall, the discussion session could be your peak of boredom of a week. Because of the inorganization and insipid style of teaching (I do not even think what he did could be said teaching), no one was paying any attention to what he said. But you got to show up because participation of discussion counts.
Also, my TA was very irresponsible on grading papers. On our first draft of first paper, he simply gave the comments with less than 20 words and graded in a low score. We all know writing paper is not as easy as someone else thought. I felt all my time and hard work were just wasted if it was graded by a totally irresponsible TA who did not really care about and read your paper then simply put a grade on your paper made no sense.
I ended up with a B and I felt ok, because after all the experiences and feelings related to this course I felt B was enough, surely I would and should not expect with an A because of the lack of background knowledge, no slides to study and my horrible TA.
By the way, my TA is Tim Hogue, I do not mean to throw shades on him, but I just want to give you guys a hint that you could switch to another discussion as soon as possible if you are in discussion session with him.

My comments may seem like a complaint from a student getting a low grade. Well, it could be. But I do want to tell you, I chose this course back before I took this based on all the positive comments, however, after me really taking this course with Prof. Smoak and my TA Tim, I do not think it is a easy class. Also the emotional experience was very bad, I went to every lecture because of there was no slides posted online, but every time when I went to the lecture, I felt bored, struggled, sad, and sorry for innocently believed all the positive comments about this class.

Sharing my personal experience to you, but the right to choose is within you. If you are good at taking notes, actively listening, writing really well and have the best luck to take this class with a good TA, then surely you can do that. Still lots of people say this is an easy and great class. But just to clarify, as a Senior student in my last year, this class could be my worst nightmare among all other classes, even it is not my only B class.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted March 27, 2016 Grade Received: A

If you want to take a writing two course while learning interesting information, I highly recommend Professor Smoak. The first half of the class is about analyzing biblical passages and how they relate to the city of Jerusalem. The second half of the class is about the important religious sites within the city. The overall theme of the class is about sacred space and how it affects religious practitioners. There are two papers, a midterm, and a final. The midterm and final are each worth 10% and they are pretty easy, the professor is very clear on what he wants you to study for the tests. The two papers comprise 70% of the final grade combined and the grades are based on your TA. If you go to TA office hours and do what they say, you will get a pretty good grade. The professor also spends a couple minutes at the beginning of each lecture going over what he wants on the essays. He is also extremely helpful with guidance on the papers.

Professor Smoak is a great lecturer who is very knowledgeable in his field. The lectures are comprised of slides and he will spend enough time on slides for you to write information down. His lectures are very organized.

3 of 3

Tags

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