Based on 55 User s
Alice Ashiwa is not a fair TA. Even though I made sure to talk during every discussion section she gave me a B for my participation grade instead of an A, which meant my final grade was an A- and not an A. For essays she gave low B+'s. She refused to give papers a good grade and she said she would grade the last paper harshly in comparison to the first. Professor Hirano is a good lecturer but he needs to make sure his TA's grade papers similarly. The lesson to learn is not to get Alice Ashiwa as your TA, she is unfair and expects people to write flawless essays in order to get an A.
I took this class in my freshman year. It is still the best class I have taken at UCLA. There were two essays, a group project and weekly reports (that were only a paragraph long). Hirano is an extremely engaging professors, he doesn't care ıf the students get the small details. He emphasizes the students understanding the topics at a more general level. The topics discussed in class, the figures that are taught and the textbooks that are assigned are all very interesting. There is attendance in lectures, but even if there wasn't, I still would've gone to every lecture. The TA Rory was also amazing. I hope I can take another class by Hirano when I am a student at UCLA.
Professor Hirano was thoughtful and patient throughout the class. The chats during office hours and his responses to questions in class were genuine and showed his willingness to help students navigate otherwise difficult and complicated topics. However, the assigned readings and learning materials were sometimes hard to understand and abstract. It is also challenging to fit and fully explain the many ideas and philosophies into a ten-week course.
The lectures were concise and organized, the readings weren't too overbearing or numerous, attendance was taken via 1-page paper on readings due before each lecture, there were no exams, the midterm was a take-home research paper with sources provided, the final was the same just without provided sources, the grading was fair, there were extra-credit opportunities. Overall, excellent experience, best history class I've ever taken, would definitely recommend.
If you need a relatively easy and interesting GE, I would highly recommend HIST 9C with Katz. He has an unorthodox method of teaching history where he teaches based on Big Ideas rather than chronologically. This at first was very weird because we started in the 7th century jumped to World War II and jumped back to the 17th century. Nonetheless, his lectures are very informative. The textbook is one of the readings but the class is very manageable without it. Though be warned that your grade will be predominantly determined by the TA. That is because they are the ones who ultimately grade your weekly papers and Midterm Paper. My TA was awesome and made the discussion a highlight of my academic day (Shoutout to Sally !!) Although his grading scheme is strict and doesn't scale/curve, he provides extra credit. His extra credit is presentations from other professors and honestly are very interesting. (These were my favourite part of the course). He also doesn't believe in tests are memorisation which is super nice and made the course relatively low on stress. Though there are a fair amount of readings, some of which are admittedly boring, I would recommend reading them. It's not 100% required but it really helps with participating in the discussion and reading them will make the papers A LOT easier. I only went to office hours a few times but they were very intriguing. Specifically, it is one on one time to talk about any topic really and I often talked about the extra credit presentations.
His grade scheme is as follows:
17% Weekly Participation
9% Section Discussion
34% Midterm Paper 1
40% Midterm Paper 2
F Below 65 or those who miss 6 weekly assignments
As a conservative taking the class of a professor in critical theory (basically neo-Marxist in my opinion), I honestly think it's a really fun and insightful class even if you don't agree with some of the conclusions he draws. He's also very knowledgable about the plethora of topics in Japanese history. So you can talk to him about pretty much anything.
People have been giving him lower ratings recently (he used to be 5 stars) because he's cracking down on those premeds who just want to get an A without attending a lecture or doing anything. I'm completely on his side though. He prepares a lot of really engaging lectures Just put an ounce of work into the class and you'll get an A - it's not anything too much.
If you're interested in learning about Japanese history or even historical/myth analysis techniques, I highly recommend this class.
Kats' 9C class is a little bit harder than before. Participation is now down to 26% (17 for bi-weekly homework assignments, and 9 for discussion attendance). The midterm and final essay are now extremely influential on the final grade. This was definitely to nerf the A ratio... But hope that it doesn't hurt as bad as it seems. Still, his lectures are extremely engaging and gives good insight to Japanese history.
Professor Hirano is one of my favorite professors at UCLA. He's an expert in the field, gives interesting lectures, and is very open to helping understand material outside of class. He's all about giving you information that will get you thinking about the material yourself, rather than memorizing facts.
He does take attendance in class, so you will have to go, but you will enjoy his presentations, and he doesn't have any 8AMs (took two classes with him), so it is not that bad. He also bases your grade on three essays (he gives a choice of questions) and has no midterm or final. I think this is a much better way to go, because the essays are easy to write and you can get a good grade if you understand the readings and try a bit. The subject of your essays also stays with you longer - I still remember the topics I wrote on very well.
Overall, I highly recommend this class to History majors who need their distribution for non-Western history, and anyone who is interested in Japanese history.
This class is fairly easy. The class is out of 100 points. 40 points are weekly assignments and discussion, but you're practically guaranteed full points if you attend and just do the assignment, which is two paragraphs per week. There are three essays, about 4-5 pages each. Hirano discourages memorization, so there are no midterms or finals. They're not harsh graders, so it is fairly easy to get an A. If you really need help, go to the history writing center, but make sure to schedule an appointment early or else they get booked quickly.
Hirano is passionate about the subject, which makes it nice. He does take attendance each lecture and discussion. His syllabus states if you miss a discussion, you automatically get a F. Not sure how true that is. Overall, it's an easy GE and fulfills the diversity requirement.