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Matthew Hayes was a really cool professor. I would be excited to go to his class and learn. Learning about Buddhism, even though it's not a how-to-be Buddhist class, really intrigued me and I can't believe it, but a class I took for a requirement has impacted my life. Probably the only course that has really resonated with me. I am happy I took the class. The course is writing-intensive so that may be harsh. He was really accommodating as this course was before the Covid 19 remote learning. There is a midterm and a final as well.
Not sure how this class varies in the summer vs during the year, but it was super manageable as a summer course. The only assignments were the draft/final paper, a peer review, as well as the midterm and final, which was optional. It was all asynchronous but the recorded lectures were engaging and the readings were not bad, plus I'm sure you could get along fine if you didn't even do them. If you're looking for a good GE to fulfill your writing requirement I highly recommend Hayes!
Dr. Hayes is incredible and I recommend taking him for this course or any course he teaches! Despite remote learning and never seeing his face during his lectures, Dr. Hayes is an engaging and great lecturer who brings in a lot of outside context and analogies to bring it back to Buddhism and his lecture. I found that really helpful since some things he brings up may be confusing, but he knows how to break it down to make it digestible, which is a skill not many professors had.
Your TA will be responsible for majority of your grading, except Dr. Hayes will be grading 1-2 bigger assignments/examinations. There will be a paper your TA will help guide you to write throughout the quarter and it's pretty vague in terms of what it asks. Make sure it you just follow the rubric and pick a topic that you're actually interested in within the parameters of the assignment and you will be fine. There will be one peer-editing assignment in the middle of the quarter, but that was graded based on completion rather than the grade that you gave the person, if that makes sense.
Discussions focus on the writing aspect of this course and gear you to make sure that you're writing at a collegiate level. Some participation is required. Classes focus on the actual course content of Buddhism and it was always a delight with Dr. Hayes! Obvi, this was delivered in lecture videos with a powerpoint (not live-streamed).
It's been about two quarters since I've taken this class and I still think about some of the Buddhist teachings and dharmas that were taught. Regardless, it was such an interesting course that I've taken a lot of and applied it into my life! Take this course! Put in the work and you will be satisfied with the grade you get.
matthew is one of my favorite teachers at ucla. his lectures were pre-recorded due to covid-19, but his teaching was very engaging and involved humor. he has a bubbly personality and is really passionate about the topics, so he is more than willing to help you. i would highly recommend going to his office hours because some of the Buddhist principles can get confusing, and he clarifies them well. he is down-to-earth and approachable, and he made the final optional due to blm. the midterm is graded by him, but the essay is graded by your ta. i felt that my ta was on the pickier side in terms of grading, but matthew was very reasonable on the midterm grading. as long as you hit the main points, you're good.
Matthew was wonderful. He was really kind and approachable, and was clearly very passionate about the subject material. By nature of this being a writing class, your grade is largely dependent on your TA; that being said, the class was very interesting and you get to choose whatever you want your final paper to be about. There were times I got a bit bored in class, but taking notes is very important. The midterm and final were short answer/essay questions, so make sure that you know the material haha.
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