All Ratings and Reviews for Michael Rescorla
Coming into the class, I was thoroughly interested in the subject but leaving it now, I regret taking the class!! I spent $50 on a "required" course reader when it was no help and was not needed for ANY of the assignments. You could use it for extra understanding or context, but he could have simply have put it on reserve at the library or online. Speaking of online, HE DOES NOT PUT SLIDES, SYLLABUS, OR ESSAY PROMPTS ONLINE which is extremely barbarous, we're in the 21st century! Furthermore, the organization for this class is horrible. I felt clueless the whole time, despite attending every lecture, discussion, or even going to office hours whether it being my TA's or Rescorla's. The class was soooo bad that even my extra help, peer learning facilitator (PLF), had no clue how to help us. The TA's were just as bad where they only restated what Rescorla stated and had trouble answering questions we asked. Each essay was given with no guidance or rubric so I got a B on each and everyone of them. Lastly, the final is coming up yet he gave us a review sheet FOUR DAYS before the final, in which he only listed the topics with no context. The so-called review sessions were horrible and more like "Q&As" and despite going to TWO review sessions I STILL HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO EXPECT FOR THE FINAL. Highly DO NOT recommend this class, specifically with Rescorla. If you want extra stress and confusion on your plate, go right ahead.
Rescorla's Philosophy 7 class has been one of the worst experiences I've had at UCLA thus far. I can't believe how unorganized and unclear this class was. First of all, he made us buy his course reader of "required readings," of which we never actually needed any of. That's $50 I won't be getting back. His essay prompts are insanely vague with no rubric or anything of the sort, so I went in completely blind (B- on each and every paper). The TAs are utterly useless, with their knowledge on the course and what Rescorla expects from his students being on par with ours (the students'). With the final exam fast approaching (Monday, June 10th), I find myself completely lost in this course despite having attended every single lecture and discussion. I look forward to never taking a class with Rescorla again, and to be quite frank, he's made me hate philosophy as a whole.
He was a very clear lecturer and used slides. We had three essays, none of which were very long. I found that I had to go to my TA's office hours for each paper, though, since I had never written a philosophy paper and it was quite different from writing a paper for any other class.
Sometimes he can be too opinionated in lecture, so take what he says with a grain of salt whenever he sounds overly passionate. We had assigned readings every class, but we didn't really end up using them. We didn't have a midterm, and the final consisted of short-answer questions. Overall, this was an interesting and very manageable class.
In short, Phil 7 with Mr. Rescorla can be summed as a total and complete DISASTER!!! I never have had a professor who is so pretentious, unconcerned, and even alright flippant towards the concerns of his students. I believed buying the $50 course reader was idiotic when the readings could easily be found online, and could be provided on CCLE for FREE! In addition Mr. Rescorla did not use CCLE to post anything of consequence such as the syllabus or any of the essay prompts. This is absurd especially if you lost the syllabus or did not show up to lecture when one of the essay questions was given out. If that seems wack, just wait until I describe his lectures.
At first i thought Rescorla's lectures were interesting especially when he used movies like the Matrix to demonstrate some of the concepts we learned. However toward the later half of the course, his flaws at lecturing and interacting with students became apparent. He would often be rude toward students who asked questions, and very dismissive of interesting takes that students would present to him. His policy of not posting any go the material on CCLE is valid in principle but horrible in practice. It is easy to copy everything down from the blue (important) slides but Rescorla wants students to expand on the material something he fails at in class. Also Rescorla gets annoyed when people do not pay attention to him and goes on a rant if people are talking or a whole group of people come late to class. Also do not get me started when he got mad because there was not an expo that worked or his computer did not work. Also i found it absurd that he blamed us students for his CCLE quiz not functioning properly which is insane!
The TAs, (well most of them) seem like they care but most of them are left in the dark on what is expected for the grading. The three main essays are very vague in their instructions, even though at first glance they seem specific. Going to Office hours with Mr Rescorla does not help because even though he tells people to come to his office hours he is as helpful as a wooden doll. He makes you feel uncomfortable and feels like he wants to rush you out, and always makes a comment about you, and does not like be corrected on anything including on stuff outside his field. Because of the vague and baseless grading system basically everyone i knew got Bs on the papers, and i only got an A- on the first one.
The final can be described as a train wreck, but even then a train wreck is more organized than that exam. Mr. Rescorla refused to talk about the final until the last class which was only FOUR DAYS before the exam on the 10th. Even then he gave a very "helpful" review sheet and did not take any substantive questions about the exam saying that was for the four review sessions. However Rescorla was present for a grand total of 0 of them, as they were hosted by the TAs were just as clueless and did not review but just answered questions from lost students. His exam was of ten "mini" essays which Rescorla did not explicitly mention how long they should be. He implicitly made it seem that he wanted them to be just as long as the first paper, but he was okay at allowing an unstructured response for some of the questions. However he came off as unhinged and rude when some students had questions regarding some of the logistical and mechanical questions for the exam.
Overall, avoid this class with this professor as it was the plague!! This class felt like a struggle against him rather than a pursuit of ineffable knowledge. As i said Resorla is the first professor i had that seems like he does not care at all for his students! If I was to give him a grade it would be an F- but even that is too high for him.
Hands down the worst professor I've ever had at UCLA. First day of class, he came off as arrogant, sarcastic, and as someone who did not care for his students' learning. The TA's were kept in the dark for the majority of the course. They were clueless as to what to do during the review sessions for the final. Nothing is posted on ccle, as to "encourage" students to come to lecture. There were 3 essays, weekly in class quizzes which weren't hard, participation for discussion, and the final which consisted of 10 mini essays. There was also a course reader which we never used (waste of $50), despite him insisting we buy it (again completely unconcerned for his students). I'm still upset about my overall grade, but in general I just regret taking the class in the first place.
I've never taken a philosophy course so I really didn't know what to expect. First of all, the TAs were just as lost as the students were. The professor never put anything on CCLE and would often contradict the readings he assigned (which were completely pointless). He also decided to make the final unnecessarily long (3 hours, 10 essays). The grading was arbitrary and it was hard to know where you stood in the class. There was no rubric or set expectations. I would never take this class again.
hated this class. lecture was so boring. never did the readings but had to spend $50 on a course reader (even though all materials were find-able online). TA was weird and only semi helpful. Easy enough, but boring. Rescora was confusing and patronizing. Always talked about Trump. Don't recommend
I had a blast this quarter in Phil 7 with Professor Rescorla! Never taken a philosophy class in my life until then, and I came into class every time looking forward to his lectures (which I will say, he's one of the best lecturers I've had at UCLA). Topics and questions for the final came directly from the study guide, and you probably didn't need to study much if you paid attention in class.
However, I do agree with the reviews below in that there's definitely room for improvement for this course (the 2 areas being integration (or omission) of the course reader as well as a concrete rubric made publicly available to students for each essay assignment).
So I'm left feeling ambivalent. The course needs some work, but I thought Professor Rescorla was amazing!
There are a lot of super negative reviews on Rescorla right now but I personally didn't feel that negatively of him. I went to most lectures and every discussion and only went to my TA's office hours once for a paper and I thought the class was relatively easy. There are three papers and a final. While it's true that the grading for the paper is super vague and was never clarified, I thought the final was super easy. He did hand out a study guide with a list of concepts that we covered and some practice questions of what could be on the exam (some of these questions actually did end up on the exam) and I filled that out a day or two before the final. At first I thought his lectures were pretty interesting but as the quarter dragged on, so did his class. But, he highlights all the important information you need to know in his slides so as long as you write that down and go to discussion, you should have everything you need to do well in the class. It was inconvenient that he never uploaded anything on CCLE but the papers were graded by the TAs so if you're worried about not doing well on the paper, I recommend going to your TA's office hour.
I never talked to him but he did seem a bit stuck-up (he definitely went to Harvard and I'm pretty sure it was for his PhD in philosophy so) but he gives you all the information you need to know in his lectures. Philosophy papers are completely different from any other kind of paper so it was really hard getting an A on the papers but again, just talk to your TA. Your success in the class really depends on your TA, as they grade your papers, your final and your participation. I was angry about the course reader; it was $50 and I looked at it twice and didn't ever need to again. But I truly don't think the class or the professor was as bad as people say. I'm pretty lazy and only try when it's important and I'm confident in getting an A in the class (grades have not been released yet). I definitely don't have a special knack for philosophy or anything (this was my first philosophy class) and I thought this class was pretty enjoyable and interesting.
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