Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
This class is ridiculously hard to understand, and explanations from the teacher or TA make it more difficult. Do not take this class if you have Kim as a TA.
There is no point in going to lecture because nothing makes sense. Discussion is mandatory but if you have Kim things will only get more confusing.
Kim Johnston is the worst TA I have ever had. Don't even bother coming to office hours, because the "clarification" becomes complicated and makes the subject Professor Armstrong teaches even harder. I would not recommend this class to anyone, especially if this is your first Philosophy class coming in as a first-year.
super confusing, would not recommend
If your TA is Kim, do not take this class. Trust me, drop it. This is a very hard GE. Papers are not well explained, TA's are unhelpful, and the professor expects you understand everything the first time it is said.
This class has the potential to be interesting, but Professor Armstrong talks so fast and monotone that I can barely register what he's saying much less take notes on the topic. Yes, there are no tests, but that means your grade is dependant on three essays which your TAs grade. I would highly discourage anyone who is considering taking this course. I completed every single reading, attended every lecture, took notes, went to office hours and still will not receive an A. Save your GPA and do NOT take this class!
You don't really have to attend lectures. Grading is based entirely on 3 papers and 10% participation. The topics can be confusing, so make sure to attend every discussion and go to office hours to get help from your TA. It's really easy to get a B in this class- if you want an easy A GE, this is not it. The workload is light, but you really need to be doing well on those 3 essays if you want an A.
Update after grades came out:
First off, I have to say I had Amber as a TA and not Kim Johnston. I really think she did her best to explain confusing concepts. I left office hours generally more ready to write the essays. She is my first TA ever at college, so I don't have any standard to compare her to, but I thought she was a good TA.
Now about the class. I really don't think the class deserves a 1.9 easiness rating. I would say it is closer to about a 3. You're not gonna be failing if you do the 3 papers. It is fairly easy to get a B in this class, but it can be challenging to get an A. I really did not expect an A-, I was HOPING for a B+ and thought I'd probably get a B. I think a majority of those who left bad reviews about the class before are now similarly pleasantly surprised at their final grade.
To get at least an A- in the class, try to at least get mid to high B's on all 3 papers and attend every discussion. Go to office hours to get help on the papers because the topics can be very, very confusing. You could be going completely off track with the prompts without help. You really do not have to attend lectures, but you need to make up for that in office hours. I only did the readings that were related to the essay prompts, so you really don't have to read everything.
20% short paper (3 pages)/35% longer paper (1200-1800 words)/35% long paper/10% discussion is the grade breakdown. I saw a lot of other freshmen like me lured by the single review that called this class a "breeze" last year. Well, there are no more quizzes or extra assignments to raise your grade now. Only papers, so the class got tougher to get an A in.
and finally, if you are reading THANK YOU AMBER!!!!!
Okay everyone is hating on Kim Johnson as a TA but she honestly was not the worst. I only attended maybe 6 lectures and they were the lectures that we got our essay prompts. The only work you ever have to turn in for this class is 3 essays. So, even though there were at least 2, often lengthy readings per week, you only have to read what you choose to write about for your essays. While Kim was often confusing in discussion, she usually told you the exact structure she was looking for when it came to essays. Also, if you go to her office hours with a draft, I often found that she helped me solidify what I was writing. If you were writing something that was not correct or relevant, she would often come right out and tell you to delete it, which is helpful since she is the one grading them.
You don't have to understand everything that is said in lecture because at the end of the day you are only graded on your understanding of 3 pieces. Also, the class is Bruincasted so you can always go back and re-watch the lectures about your essay topic. I would not recommend this class as just an easy GE to take but if this class is required for your major or if you need a philosophy course, this one is completely doable. Just go to office hours and discussion.
If you are taking this class for a GE, there are so many better ones. If you are taking it for Cog Sci of Psych, take Philosophy 1 - 9 not this one. This class is very boring, repetitive, and not fun to be in. The materials are very complicated and I believe that this part of philosophy is not interesting at all.
Professor Armstrong is very monotone and I believe that out of 150 people taking the class, only about 70 shows up, and 10 of them sleep through the lecture. There are 3 papers that make up 90 percent of your grade, and they are very challenging.
If you have Kim as a TA, try to switch your section. She makes everything way too complicated, argues with the professor a lot (like she knows better), and grades very harshly. If you have Amber, you are good because she explains everything very clearly and you can attend any of her discussions and get the attendance credit.
Overall, not an easy class.
This class is very difficult. I took it as a requirement for my major. The class consists of three papers which make up 90% of your grade + participation (10%). The lectures are extremely difficult to understand, and the essays are very challenging. However, the only positive thing about this class is that there is a very light workload, and it is not necessary to do all the readings. Instead, you should focus more on writing your essay and attending both the professor and TA's office hours. Despite spending a lot of time on these essays as well as office hours, I could not seem to do well on them. I do not recommend this class if you are looking for an easy A. Don't take this philosophy course as a GE unless you are truly interested in philosophy and want a challenging and confusing class.
Did this review contain...
Thank you for the report!
We'll look into this shortly.