Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
I have mixed feelings about this class.
THE GOOD: This class is very easy if you know what to put emphasis on. That means-- take advantage of the midterm and final study guide. Retrieve past exams from the test bank. Write a decent 7-8 pg paper and get help from your TA!!! The group discussion presentation was not too bad either.
THE BAD: Lectures are very dense, extensive, often convoluted, and extremely boring. He mostly goes into his archaeological research which can be irrelevant to the exams. However, he does try to tie it into the civilizations we are trying to learn. Taking lecture notes is not really necessary. The only important thing to extract from lecture is probably the location of certain places on the map which we were tested on. In addition, there are A LOT of readings in this class. (50-100+ pages a week from the textbook, sourcebook, and other online files). Some of these texts are in confusing chinese-to-english translation, so it feels like one would be much better off if they are already somewhat familiar with the texts if they came from a Chinese background. I failed most of the section quizzes (avg 60%) which were based on the most specific details that I had overlooked in the textbook and/or sourcebook or some of which I believe they had never explicitly mentioned in any of the texts I had read. I did not understand how most people got 90-100% on those because those were genuinely difficult for me.
Overall, I would not say this class is an easy GE. You have to know what you must do to get an A. I feel like if I had not utilized resources such as the test bank or realized that lecture material would not help me much on the exam, I would probably be studying a lot of useless material and not get the grade I had gotten.
To succeed in this class, I suggest the following based on my experience this quarter:
Paying some amount of attention during lecture, especially during the first half of the class (week 1-3) which may be hard because he often talks about archaeology
Reading and comprehending the main textbook
Giving a decent amount of effort and time for the final essay. If your TA will be grading the essay, get as much feedback from them as possible, and shape your essay to suit what they are looking for.
And if there are quizzes given in section that are anything like the ones I took, pay attention to the details in your reading from the main textbook. You'll need some memorization skill.
You will not need to read the sourcebook.
I think the class was curved rather graciously since 86% of students got a 90% or above on the final exam.
>>> 12% Quizzes, 13% Participation, 5% Presentation
>>> 20 possible points; consisted of multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank
Final Paper: 20%
>>> literary analysis on one of several preassigned topics
Final Exam: 30%
>>> over 40 possible points; consisted of multiple choice and short answer
While I recognize many faults in this course, I admit that I enjoyed it. The content itself is interesting and Professor Li is very knowledgeable. However, this course was also a huge source of stress early in the quarter. Therefore, this review is somewhat mixed, as was my overall experience with the course.
Unlike many other courses I took, there were no clicker questions or practice problems to gage how well I understood the material, which made it especially stressful when preparing for midterms. This was only amplified by the fact that the midterm consisted merely of 20 multiple choice questions, so each missed question was a percentage point off the final grade. There also seemed to be a discrepancy between the TAs' quizzes and Professor Li's tests. The quizzes often drew on details from the reading, some of which seemed insignificant when preparing. Meanwhile, Professor Li's tests were, fortunately, very straightforward and tested on major themes from his slides. He never gave us trick questions and drew mostly on the textbook. His lectures were sometimes unclear, as much of the content he covered (mainly archaeological material) was complex and did not appear on the tests. He also used a ton of wordy slides, over a 1000 in total, which made studying for the final very time-consuming.
Despite the course's flaws, there were many aspects I enjoyed. I took this course because I loved learning about China in AP World History, which I took back in high school. This course really expanded on China's history and, impressively, managed to do so in the span of a few weeks. The textbook and sourcebook were both very interesting to me. One of my favorite assignments was watching the film "To Live" when studying the People's Republic, which really enriched the course. The TAs did a great job at selecting readings and assignments. Professor Li's archaeological studies, while they sometimes made his lectures more confusing, were really interesting to me. He has a very comprehensive knowledge of Chinese history and is eager to talk to students after class and during office hours. Last, but most importantly, he and the TAs are very open to feedback and made significant improvements between the midterm and the final. The final exam was significantly longer than the midterm and consisted of short answer questions (including an extra credit question) that allowed students to demonstrate their overall knowledge of the course. The papers seemed to have been graded fairly and the TAs were very helpful in addressing student concerns. Professor Li also created study guides and, if you answered each part of them using his slides, they made the tests a lot easier.
I feel like, if the course hadn't had such a rocky start, I may have gotten a lot more out of it. The course is a mixed bag, not because there is anything wrong with the professor or the curriculum, but because the way its organized made it a lot more stressful. However, Professor Li is very concerned with student success and is willing to work with anyone who is struggling.
I'd recommend this course for those with a genuine interest in Chinese history and/or archaeology. If you just want to get rid of a GE, this might not be the best course, as I often considered it my hardest course over my STEM prerequisites. However, it's a very rewarding experience if you put the time and effort into it. Overall, I'd give this course a 3.5/5, although I feel the last few weeks warrant a higher score.
Professor Li Min is an archaeologist who studies intensively about Chinese history and culture. He is very passionate about what he teaches and that is apparent through the lecture. Sometimes this meant that his lectures were quite confusing and hard to pay attention to because he was incredibly knowledgeable about the subject matter. Nevertheless, it's an interesting class. He would go in depth beyond what the textbook talked about, so I found that studying lecture slides for the final was crucial. DO NOT FALL BEHIND ON THE READINGS! The sourcebook isn't as important but it's really important that you read the textbook because you get quizzed on it in discussions. I found that there was sometimes a lack of communication between the TA and the professor which was confusing at times. I took this class hoping it would be an "easy A" for my GE requirements but this was not quite the case. The class was occasionally frustrating and confusing, especially because of the overload of information during lectures- Chinese history is complicated! But overall a very interesting class, and looking back now I am glad I put in the work and was able to learn so much about my own culture. Li Min is always happy to help, so if his lectures seem confusing don't hesitate to visit him or the TA's in office hours. He provides a study guide before the midterm and final, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS! The study guide is the reason I got an A in this class and thanks to the study guide, it actually made the midterm and final test pretty easy. Professor Li Min is a really cool person :)
I cannot say too much about getting a good grade in this class. I took this class purely as a GE, and chose PNP as my grading scheme,
From my perspective, to pass his class is pretty easy. Only thing you need to do is attending lecture and discussion. I loosely follow the reading every week, but what you saw and heard in class could be sufficient for you to pass the quizes and exams with 60% accuracy. The only time-consuming part is the research paper. I allocated 10 hours of my week 9 to finished it.
I'm a graduating senior who needed to fulfill the Philosophical/Linguistics requirement so I took this class. The TA was more interesting than the professor. I never went to lecture because I kept falling asleep during the first two lectures. I never did the readings and on the three quizzes (each one 10 points) I earned 10/30 points total as my quiz grade. I did manage 80% on the midterm and I always went to the discussions, which were mandatory. I'm not sure how I did on the final exam and on the final paper, but I passed soOOOooOOOoooOOo. Overall, the material was not that interesting to me but this class is not challenging to pass. Most of my friends got As in this class so I assume the curve is generous. I just wanted a peace of mind that my laziness was not going to cost my GPA.
Just one fact to tell. I'm a Chinese-background student, but I was below median in midterm, final, and paper. Maybe I'm too vegetable! Fortunately, I received an A, as Professor Li himself is a really nice and helpful guy.
I just got out of the final and I just wanted to recap for future students who are thinking of taking this class. First of all, this is not an "easy" GE. If you are looking for GE where you can get away with an A with minimal effort, this class IS NOT for you. I had to solely rely on the textbook to study for the tests because the lectures were not very effective. The professor would often go on tangents and talk about material that was not going to be tested on. I am not completely bashing on this class, though. The professor provided us with study guides so we can know what we needed to know for the test. These study guides were very reflective of what was going to be on the tests. The midterm consisted of only 20 multiple choice questions, which was a lot of pressure. The final consisted of 24 multiple choice questions, 2 map questions, and 6 short answers. If you are genuinely interested in Chinese civilization, then feel more than welcome to take this class. The professor is passionate about the topic and seemed like he always welcomed students to office hours. Overall, this class consisted of a lot of reading and memorizing. I honestly studied more for this class than my upperdivsion classes that I am currently taking for my major.
He had much passion and is extremely knowledgable in materials and research related to Chinese civilization. But the course itself - or the way he tried to teach it, could be more organized than it was... and ... thousands of slides.
Very unclear and unfocused class. I have no idea what to study for the midterm, in fact the professor did not provide any information for the midterm. Lectures and Textbooks are covering extremely different topics. Every single one of my classmates I've talked to are either confused or stressed heading into tomorrow's midterm. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS.
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