All Ratings and Reviews for Leslie Johns
Prof Johns is honestly amazing and very fair. Her lectures (and TA discussion sections) are super structured. She wrote the course reader and almost all the readings, which makes the course information a lot easier to navigate. The readings aren't difficult, but there is a decent amount of it. If you take good lecture notes and know the readings well, it shouldn't be too difficult to study for the exams.
The class was very straight-forward and very well organized. I have gotten by in most classes with just paying attention in lecture but I definitely found the need to read her textbook PDFs that she assigns. There's a lot of material covered in the exams so you will definitely need to study but she doesn't play games or try to pull any fast ones - it is all very straight forward. Also, she did not upload her lecture slides or provide study guides for the midterm/final so that is something to be aware of as well.
The way Professor Johns taught the class was super organized – each concept built on a previous concept, and the readings were all helpful and the classes were interesting and not too slow.
The workload was a lot in terms of reading and the number of concepts you need to remember, but if you’e interested in international law, this class really sets the foundation for that. You just have to do the readings and study!
The class was structured with one blue book midterm and one final, plus weekly quizzes and participation points in section. The midterm and final are pretty straightforward as long as you read the questions through carefully. The quizzes are also pretty clear, and the lowest two grades are dropped.
I loved this class and highly recommend it for those interested in law! Her class is very organized and you know what to expect when studying for the exams. She is very clear and thorough during lecture and does not overcomplicate things! Reading the casebook is essential to the class since this is what the weekly quizzes are on. Her textbook chapters are also on the denser side but they are helpful as they identify important terms that show up on the exams!
Professor Johns is the best professor and lecturer I've had here to date. She is in the process of writing her own textbook that explains complex issues in International Law in understandable language. This skill is demonstrated in her lectures as well, which I found highly engaging. The quizzes are doable so long as you read the cases, and the tests will require you to memorize most of the lecture notes. This class is a challenge, but is rewarding--especially if you are interested in attending law school.
I learned a lot about IL, which is a good thing because that is the course title. Johns is a really good professor. The first half of the course is much more riveting than the latter half, however. In the first half you unpack the flowery, conceptual aspects of international law while the latter half covers its contemporary applications. She wrote a textbook that clearly maps the main ideas for the course and made following her lectures easy. However, this textbook does not span the breadth of the course; the last month is a hodgepodge of prosaic texts and scholarly articles that are much more difficult to follow and not as pertinent to her lecture material.
She is very accessible in office hours and her exams can be difficult if you didn't study. It is impossible to cram for an exam - it is too much content. Staying on top of the readings is paramount.
Professor Johns is the absolute best. She revamped the class this past winter, so you no longer are required to buy a massive IL book. Instead, she’s actually writing an International Law textbook so all the readings were in CCLE (yes, she’s ~that~ knowledgeable). The only thing you need to buy is a course reader of court cases, which you need for the section quizzes. I think it’s like $45 but I never bought it, just took pics of friend’s readers which was no big deal. Quizzes in section are nothing to worry about if you read the cases and you get 7/10 points for just writing your name. Johns doesn’t post lecture slides or bruincard so going to class is a must but I actually really enjoyed her lectures. She’s incredibly engaging and knows the material like the back of her hand (she’s been teaching IL for 11 years). Students would hurl obscure “what if’s” in her direction and she always managed to give a well thought out & clever answer off the cuff. Not to mention she has a sharp sense of humor, which is always entertaining. The midterm and the final are difficult and require a lot of studying (easier if you read the textbook consistently) but her curve is very generous, think A’s getting curved to A+’s and B’s getting curved to A-‘s.
TLDR: Professor Johns is fantastic, read her textbook, study in a group, and be prepared to L E A R N a whole lot :)
TAKE THIS CLASS!
I have never bothered to submit a rating, but I feel obligated to share this with future students who might suffer her the way I and 349 other students had to.
You never need to go to lecture. Her lectures are summaries of the books. I recommend the latter. Her method of lecturing is incredibly annoying. Every other word that comes out of her mouth is. "mkay?" or "right?" This sounds absurd, that a professor of her supposed caliber has a tick like this. You never know if she's teaching you something or unsure of herself. And she bounces, literally bounces when she talks. Most professors might pace a little, but she bounces. If you are a student who cannot pay attention to professors who have irritating teaching habits, you will not learn from her.
She is utterly unwilling to help her students. On Finals week, after ignoring her students' emails, she sent an e-mail saying
"I'm very sorry, but I simply can't provide each of you with... answers that you want. This class is just way too large for me... As you prepare for the exam, my best advice is just to study your lecture notes and the course readings. I know that this must be frustrating, but it's the inevitable consequence of being in an intro-level class with over 350 fellow students"
In other words,I don't care about your questions, just read the book. I know it sucks, but it's your fault for taking this course.
She sent out an email and canceled one of her lectures 3 hours prior to when the lecture should have started because she "had a migraine". She spent 5 minutes on the skipped lecture's material at the next lecture.
All of the classmates I have interacted and/or studied with have said that the TA's never know what professor Johns has planned. When we asked them how we should plan for the midterm and final, they all gave the same answer: a shrug and an "I honestly have no idea, she doesn't tell us anything."
Needless to say, we all went into the exam blind and armed with only what the textbook had to teach us.
My Conclusion, Do not take her course if you can help it.
I recommend taking this political science class, it was my first upper division and I thought it would be hard but it was manageable. The textbook is unnecessary but read the cases in the course readers since there are quizzes in discussion each week on the cases which are easy. The test is also straightforward and based on the lectures. Therefore, if you miss one lecture it will be bad since she does not post slides or podcasts the class. You need to go to every lecture to understand the materials. Going to her office hours is helpful as well. Super nice professor and I would take another class with her
I am taking Prof Johns' Intl Organizations class this quarter and I love it. I may be biased because IOs are my specific area of interest, but Professor Johns is a great professor, especially for being brand new!!
She's incredibly organized, clear and thorough. The class has a discussion where weekly quizzes on the reading are given. The two lowest quiz grades are dropped. These make up a small portion of the grade and so does participation. The rest is comprised of a mid-term and final, which are actual tests of short-answer questions, not essays. I think the final may have an essay component, but the mid-term did not. The testing is also straightforward. Basically, I feel like the grading components and the questions on them are really crafted to ensure that you're learning, comprehending and actually retaining the material. I feel like this rarely happens at UCLA, it's so easy to just get the grade and then immediately forget everything you've learned. That's not the case in this course with Johns, she gets it. She seems to really understand how to select readings, structure the class and the flow of the subject matter, as well as grade students in a manner that effectively teaches.
I really appreciate how well-organized and well-thought out the course is and I highly recommend Professor Johns. She's incredibly fair and approachable.
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