Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
South Campus major (EE), but I am a closet writer and I really liked this class overall.
The online quizzes were super, super easy and reused on the midterm/final. The trip to LACMA was really fun and super informative. There was one group project that required analyzing one of the main writing systems of the world (i.e. Mayan, Chinese, Mesopotamian, Greek, Latin, etc), so keeping up with your group and having Smoak constantly check up on your progress is key, as this is a huge chunk of your grade.
This was a nice class to ease back on as a STEM major, and I recommend it.
Smoak is a genuinely nice guy and a good lecturer. I did think the material was a little boring, but that just depends on what you're into. As far as tests go, they are very fair and as long as you have the important terms memorized you'll be good. Smoak and the TAs hold your hand through the two papers, making it easy to simply reiterate what they said about certain quotes and put it all together. Overall a pretty easy GE. I BARELY read any of the texts and studied an average amount and got an A-
Course: First Civilizations
You will work for your A in this class. I believe it is also a writing class so there are a couple essays that Smoak likes to focus on more than anything else. His midterm was multiple choice with a short essay portion and his final was a you-know-it-or-you-don't multiple choice. His lectures are very easy to follow but we've had about 5 guest lecturers who present with a questionable train of thought. Record his lectures and listen to them in your free time; it will help. His lectures are very easy to take notes for: when he wants you to know something, he's say "What's important is ..." or slow down his voice. He's a great person and professor and he will joke around (he compared the fall of Ninevah to the fall of USC in our recent football game, pictures and all). Bring a laptop; he talks a lot. It's a great GE class but not an easy A. The work is worth it in the end though.
UCLA senior/History major, fall 2012. Overall GPA 3.58
course: Middle eastern studies 50 (fmrly known as NEL 50)NOT the writing one.
With ALL honesty, i have alot of mixed feelings about this course. While professor Smoak is an excellent lecturer, this is not ALL that matters. I never missed a lecture, and i only took this course because i needed units for graduation. It is a lower division course. His tests are generally easy, but there is ALWAYS going to be 5-8 questions that are extremely tricky and arent from his lectures or readings, their just flat out of blue. This is why i got an 89-90 on midterm/final. The TA's are really smart but they wont i repeat WONT read your papers, theyll read your thesis statements (lol ok that doesnt help for shit). Like your a TA its your JOB TO READ MY PAPER THATS WHAT I PAY TUITION FOR. anyways, i ended up with a B+ which severly brought down my GPA. Why? I dont know, im a senior history major that knows how to write very effectively. I got SOLID A's in both my 97 and 191 seminar courses...so why do the two papers i wrote for Smoak get low B's (82 to be exact)? i dont know, really stupid tho. So in my opinion fuck this class, dont take it with its heavy workload.
Took 10W. Smoak is good at talking, but THIS IS NOT AN EASY CLASS! YOU HAVE TO DO A LOT OF WORK AND RESEARCH FOR THE ESSAYS! DON'T PLAN ON THIS CLASS BEING AN EASY A. That being said, take him during the spring, NOT FALL quarter. He is more laid back after the Fall quarter.
CLASS AN N EA 10W: Lectures go into depth. Really made me think about religion and why Jerusalem is so important to religions. Liked the class. Class consisted of two 8 page papers a midterm and a final. The midterm is a bit of everything, essays, multiple choice, and dates. Overall, he's a wonderful professor and well his class fulfills your writing 2 requirement. So go for it. Good luck! If you need the books e-mail me. firstname.lastname@example.org
This class will forever be my favorite class of all time! Professor Smoak loves teaching Near East history. His enthusiastic lessons make it all the more enjoyable. Please take this class. You will not regret it.
He is such a good lecturer. He is so organized and so easy to understand. He also makes it very easy to take notes. No regrets if you have a chance to take this class DO IT NOW.
Like all of the evaluators below, I cannot stress how great of a lecturer Professor Smoak is. He makes it really easy to understand the material, and for me at least, to even enjoy the material. Which is a good thing, considering Professor Smoak doesn't post the lectures online, so actually going is really important. Also, don't be afraid to ask your TA's for help on the two essays. I don't think I would've gotten as much out of the class if I hadn't asked mine(Ryan Roberts--be happy if you get him, even Professor Smoak called him the best TA in the department). Anyway, I took the class on a whim based on the reviews below, and it was definitely worth taking. It ended up being my favorite class of the quarter. Take this for your GE!
I thought professor Smoak was a great professor. I sat in the front and he actually chatted with us most days before starting lecture. The midterm was easy and the essays for the class weren't bad. I would definitely recommend any class with professor Smoak because he really knows what he's talking about. His lectures were very relevant and important to go to.
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