Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
I took this class remotely, so I can't say how it is normally. But like other people have said, it's not a free A. I wouldn't consider it an easy GE. The majority of the class (including myself) was confused as to what was happening for much of the quarter. I think the only reason this class was alright for me is because I had a pretty good understanding of Chinese history beforehand.
Grades were based on a scores from 4 pop quizzes, a presentation, discussion participation, a midterm, a final exam, and a final paper. We didn't have any other assignments, so this really is one of those classes that relies on just a few assignments.
As for the professor, his lectures didn't feel useful. He's an archeologist, and the first half of his lectures reflect that quite a bit. Lectures felt pretty unorganized, so after the midterm, I honestly just stopped watching the lectures and relied on the textbook instead. PLEASE GET ACCESS TO A TEXTBOOK IF YOU CAN!! It's probably the only reason I got the grade I did.
For the final paper, I'd 100% recommend asking your TA for feedback before you submit. It helps you know exactly what they're expecting, which was important since we didn't get a rubric or anything. Final paper was 20% of our grade. Other than that, just be sure to put effort into your presentation and try to talk during discussions.
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.
I pretty much agree with the answer stating that it is VERY IMPORTANT to consult your TA about the paper before you actually submit. Different TA's might have very different criteria about what a good paper should look like. I used my usual paper style from other history classes but got a very low grade for this one. Also, certain questions in pop up quizzes are very hard (they are based on very small details in lengthy readings) and require quite a lot preparation. Overall I wouldn't say it is a very easy class, I studied very hard for the midterm and final so I could save my grade.
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 took this class remotely during the pandemic so I think the class was easier than it normally would have been. Midterm and final were open note and the professor gave us a study guide that pretty closely followed the test content. Make sure to collaborate with people on the study guide because its pretty lengthy. The midterm was all multiple choice and the final was multiple choice and some frq--these tests saved my grade. Pop quizzes were harder to get good scores on. As for the final essay, get feedback from your TA like all the other responses said. Like everyone else said, the first couple lectures (maybe until week 3?) are more archaeological based and not really helpful. But in the second half of the quarter I found that the lectures got better. Slides become more helpful later in the quarter as well. However, the textbook is also pretty good and you can do fine with just the textbook. (Although some things are more covered in the lectures than in the textbook.) If you're taking this class remotely, it won't be too bad. I probably wouldn't have gotten a good grade if it was taught normally in person.
Taken online, so experiences may vary.
Personally thought the class was really easy and interesting despite having no background except for AP World History before this class. However, others in groupchats I was in seemed to be constantly stressed about this class, so I may be an anomaly.
Due to the remote nature, Prof. Li recorded lectures that were 1-2 hours long and had us watch them on our own time. They were mostly slide-based and the slides were posted afterwards. For better or worse, you could tell which topics were more interesting to him because he would go more in-depth and show many pictures about them, whereas other slides might be just bullet points.
Midterm/Final were multiple choice/short answer and were fairly straight-forward, just facts from the lectures/readings. My understanding is that for in-person classes, he would test more heavily on geography, but he did not in the remote setting. Nevertheless, I would still suggest getting familiar with Chinese geography just because it makes it easier to understand what's happening.
Lectures can sometimes be a bit long/tangenty, but I enjoyed them.
TA sections were very different than lecture, focusing on the readings, which were more literature/cultural based instead of purely historical.
Quizzes were all based on literature, which can be difficult, especially if you aren't used to differentiating Chinese names and stuff.
TA discussions were just the TA reading slides about the topics covered and then a student-led group presentation about the topics again.
I spent a long time on the final paper because I'm a pretty poor writer, but it was graded pretty generously in my opinion (or I was really lucky).
I was personally less interested in this stuff, but it was a manageable amount of reading. The bar for discussion was kinda low, so if you participated at all, I think you would have gotten a good grade for participation.
Prof Li is a very nice person and very willing to answer questions. So while we did not have in-person lectures, he did have "interaction times" to talk and ask questions.
Overall, if you're interested in history, I found the class really interesting and learned a lot from it. If you're not, you might be bored.
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.
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