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I wasn't especially concerned about this class being strictly online due to COVID because all of the assignments are writing based, which can be done virtually and anywhere. However, what I did not anticipate was what COVID would do to the communication and availability for TA's. In particular with Kristie, she seemed very much unable to adapt to an online format. Our only line of communication with her was through email, so you would naturally expect her to check her email and respond at least every other day. This was not the case. Over the course of a quarter, I sent about 10 emails regarding questions varying in urgency from homework details to final exam formatting, and she did not respond to a single one. This lack of communication was also confirmed by several of my other classmates who also sent many emails to which she left unanswered. Additionally, we were to schedule office hour sessions with her, which she periodically encourages throughout the quarter, via email. And guess what? No response for the majority of the time. For those who were able to, by some miracle, get a response from her, she didn't end up showing up and asked for a reschedule. This is very, incredibly frustrating for us students, given that this class is very much based off of subjective grading by TA's. If we are unable to communicate with our TA, the person grading all of our assignments, how are we ever supposed to understand and learn from our mistakes? What made this even WORSE was that through the 10 weeks of fall quarter, she only submitted ONE of FOUR assignments onto MyUCLA for us to see. We did not know, nor had any room to gauge our final grade, throughout the entirety of the quarter, until one day during winter break, the final grade miraculously appeared (no essay grade break down, just the final grade, as in the total) on MyUCLA, basically giving no explanation and no room to dispute grades. PLUS, we were on winter break, so there was a very very slim chance that she or any of the professors would reply to emails. For the one essay that we were given a grade for (the midterm essay), she did not fill out a rubric and only left a single comment on my paper. For all I know, she could have random number generated my grade. Her class is run so that we break out into groups (break out "pods" since virtual learning), fill out discussion questions based on the week's readings, then share a few groups answers out loud to the rest of the class. She explained in week one that we would submit these discussion questions via a turnitin link on her CCLE site after we completed them. This was only the case for the first two weeks. After week two, she did not have any turnitin links available for us to submit our discussion questions, nor did she ever discuss if we needed to turn them in past week 2, so naturally, us students did not submit them into her. However, on week 9 of the 10 week quarter, she sporadically, in a very inappropriately casual manner, told us that we should have been emailing her these discussion questions past week 2. There are MANY problems with this statement. The first being that she does not check her email, so what is the point of emailing her our discussion questions. The second being that she never EVER told us about this previous, and proclaimed this to our class like this was old news and that we knew all of this information since day one. The third being that she did not eventually end up grading them (as in these discussion questions have no impact on your grade), so why submit them in the first place. This is a very long review so thank you if you've made it this far, but I am so disappointed in how Kristie runs and deals with the pandemic in her discussion classes, and I wanted to warn you first about this before you consider choosing her as your TA. Of course there are upsides as in any argument, some being that she is a very sweet person with a very open and forgiving personality and that she is thorough in the PowerPoint lectures that she gives, but these pros (trust me) do NOT outweigh the cons. Its hard to say I approve of her way of teaching.
Incredibly kind and understanding of the times this was taken under and the grading was very lenient. You basically write two mini essays and submit two drafts before submitting the mini essays which allows you to get feedback and then get an overall better grade. Then, for the final, you put everything together and maybe add a little bit more. Overall, it really helped with my writing as I could see what happens when I work on something over a longer period of time as she left many helpful comments throughout the quarter.
Instead of the normal 3 hours that the class was supposed to take place over, the class was only once every week for one hour and you only had to participate in 5 of them so you could skip if you wanted to. Overall, incredibly passionate and amazing and would definitely recommend if you are interested in the musicology aspect of the '60s!
Cluster 60 with Kristie has a really light workload, considering you don't really even have to do all of the reading to do well in the class. I wasn't spending that much time outside of discussion doing Cluster work, besides for the four weekends per quarter to write papers. So overall, being with Kristie is not difficult nor time consuming, especially for a class that should be worth six units.
The biggest problem is the fact that she never responds to our emails. I didn't get any feedback for any of my essays, and then when I asked for feedback by going to her office hours, scheduling a meeting, and emailing her literally ten times, she did not show up to my meeting with her.