All Ratings and Reviews for John Caldwell
You'd have a better chance taking the SAT blindfolded and having a fork as a writing utensil than passing one of Professor Caldwell's exams. Not to mention, there are three of them, each worse than the last.
Is this course interesting? Sure.
Is Professor Caldwell knowledgeable? Of course.
Is there proper power points, lectures, discussions that improve student's knowledge in order to pass the exams? Nope.
In my opinion, this course is terrible because of the his unorganized lectures, and over organized exams.
Even some of the TA's agree. Although, only one or two of them don't grade as harsh as the rest.
Probably the hardest class I've ever had the displeasure of taking. And that's saying something at UCLA, where there are numerous astronomy, graduate level courses. Even if you study, if you spend the entire quarter preparing for ONE of Caldwell's tests, you'll still find it difficult and annoying.
I had Caldwell for FTV110A. He had some good points and bad points:
Good: He knows his stuff. He is head of the Film and TV department (I think), so he has obvious experience and knowledge. You will definately learn something.
Bad: Well, it's not TOO bad, but he is totally long-winded. The TAs are the ones who you end up interacting with, and Caldwell doesn't seem to be too interested in individuals in the class.
I think the good definately outwieghs the bad, and anyone interested in TV should take this class-
caldwell kicks arse. i dont know what the other people reviewing this class were smoking. i took history of television and i will never look at tv the same again. his lectures are thought provoking and brilliant. if you are a slacker you will not like this class. youve got to pay attention! but the reading is thoroughly enjoyable as well as the viewing material. i got a kick out of seeing the shows that i used to watch as a kid (pee wee herman) and stuff i missed out on (coverage of the l.a. riots) the final and midterm are not too bad. just study your notes and its cool. take the frikkin class already.
This is one of the worst classes I have taken at UCLA. If you are a Communications major and have a choice, DO NOT take this class. Professor Caldwell seems to be a very nice guy, but the class is four hours long and he ends up lecturing for 3 of the 4 hours. We hardly ever watch all the programs he has planned on the syllabus and if we do see some programs, we often only watch a part of them. In addition, the exams quiz on very specific concepts that are hard to gleam from his disorganized lecture. Finally, the papers demand a lot of outside knowledge of television technology and the industry that is not taught in class and it makes it very difficult to do well on the papers. I emphasize, if you're a COMM major, DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!!!
Are we talking about the same John Caldwell here??? I'm surprised by the comments coming for the undergrads, because with grads he is just wonderful. One of the best teachers, definitely, passionate, available, interested and enthusiastic about our work. John is simply amazing!
Professor Caldwell is very knowledgable when it comes to television and its past and present. During lectures he spits out dates and facts that may not be important knowledge for the exams but they are important in getting a sense of the history and reception of TV. He is very open to discussion during class as well as to people's ideas about shows.
The class is structured around his lectures and then screenings. There is a twenty minute break in the middle and then more lecture and screening. The class never usually lasts the whole four hours. If you like TV not only for its entertainment value but to see what people where thinking and what was going on the in the world that led to some of these shows being produced, then this is a great class. There is on quiz during week three, two paper's comparing shows and the final tests on readings and screenings from weeks 4-10. Keeping up with the readings is key because that is what the tests are mostly based on. He covers concepts in lecture that come partly from the readings. Overall a great class taught by a great professor.
Caldwell knows a lot, and this class was fun-- watching TV shows and then having Caldwell point out these details you didn't even notice but that tie into a larger picture! It's great.
The essay is graded a bit harshly, though.
Prof. Caldwell is one of the best teachers I've had in my entire school career, as is his class History of American Television. The amount of information that comes through in this class is astounding, and the way it's presented, through personal experience and anecdotes as well as very fluid lectures, makes every minute interesting. Anyone who enjoys hearing a good speaker on interesting topics will like this class, even if, like me, you've written off most of TV. Also, people worry about the length of the lectures and the difficulty of the coursework... this is an 8-unit class after all, but to be perfectly honest, it was the class I was least worried about my grade in. I've gotten nearly 100% on every assignment and mostly just by sitting and listening and trying to think critically. The four hours, twice a week is 1) rarely ever actually that long and 2) a breeze to get through, considering how the time is divided between lectures, discussions and screenings. All in all, I recommend this class to everyone. I think you'll be blown away.
It is apparent that Caldwell really enjoys what he is teaching. I found that the lectures were at times rather long and very scattered, and the readings VERY dry and boring. However, the discussions are set up to go over the reading, so it is not neccissary to read them (I never bought the books.) I found that the reason for the scattered feel of the lectures came from Caldwell's own enthusiasm for the subject. The screenings in class break the occasional monotony and make for a surprizingly fast 4 hour lecture. If, however, that is too long, you can just skip the screenings...they arn't a big part of your grade.
The midterm acts as a pretty good wake-up call: you need to take rather strong notes in lectures to do well on the tests. The papers were fun and easy and were graded easier than the tests.
All in all, I found that the subject was interesting and Caldwell was a very fascinating teacher whose enthusiasm for TV helps validate TV as a real artform for his students. Also, catch him outside of the classroom and you'll find that he has a rather significant documentary film career that he loves to talk about.
Did this review contain...
Thank you for the report!
We'll look into this shortly.