All Ratings and Reviews for Monica L Smith
I really liked this class and I found it to be really interesting. There are two papers (4-5 pages) and they were straight forward and she gives you exactly what she wants to be on there. She even gives you the exact outline she wants it in. The tests are a midterm and a final. They were fairly easy if you pay attention and take notes in class because most of the material comes from the lectures. You will be fine as long as you study the night before or even 2 nights before. Make sure to memorize some important dates and have a good grasp on the timeline. There were a lot of readings, I did not do them and I was fine because she goes over the main ideas in class. I really liked my TA, he made the discussions worth going to and he really knew his stuff! So if you have an opportunity to, pick Jaimie Vela as your TA. Also there is an opportunity for extra credit which can boost your overall grade 5% so do that ASAP because that really helps.
monica is by far an amazing professor, she is both engaging and passionate about what she does and that shows in her lectures, that being said, you don't have to go to them, they're bruincasted, furthermore, DONT BUY THE TEXTBOOK, its not necessary. do the extra credit, it's very easy and honestly at least a bit interesting, the essays are straightforward and she attempts to make them interesting topics and whatnot and to some extent they are. she gives you a template and such and if you get it checked by the TA's you're practically guaranteed an A on those. anyways its a great GE and an easy one. strongly recommend
Don’t listen to any of the terrible reviews below. Monica is a great professor. Archaeology is not an interesting topic for me personally, but Monica tries her best to make it digestible. The readings are okay (if you choose to do them, not necessary). Although I will admit that the grading among TAs is variable for the papers, doing the 5% extra credit is enough of a HUGE boost to outweigh any of the damage a bad TA does. If you don’t know which GE you want to take, take this one!
I would personally HIGHLY recommend this class. I ended up with an A after not doing the extra credit (which is literally a 5% final grade boost if you do it early enough) and sleeping through a discussion section, which was a 1.5% hit to my grade. In general, I would definitely recommend taking this course if you need a GE (or are forced to for your major). The tests/papers were relatively easy for me, and you have a huge cushion for your grade in the discussion participation and extra credit.
Some key pieces of information:
-The grading distribution consists of 15% discussion participation+attendance, 20% the midterm, 20% paper 1, 20% paper 2, and 25% the final. There's also the extra credit. If you're a poor test-taker, you can make up for it with your papers and vice versa. The extra credit is also insanely valuable but involves traveling to a museum a decent drive from campus, which is why I didn't do it.
-Lectures are broadcasted. You don't have to go to a single lecture if you don't want to (although I would recommend it a week or so after your papers, so you can pick yours up). They were at times boring, but the professor tried her best to make it interesting. They were very clear, and the information was conveyed well. I was never really confused by her lectures.
-The "textbook" (it was really just a short book) can be found online for free. I did not do a single reading and was fine. There are some questions pertaining to the readings on the test, but most of the time, the questions were over articles (which were covered in lecture anyway). I'd say do the readings if they aren't articles, but otherwise don't waste your time (since the material will be covered the next day in lecture). I think there was a total of 1-2 questions on both the midterm and final where I thought to myself "if I read, I would know this."
-Both the midterm and the final were only multiple choice (A through E). The midterm was 50 questions, and the final was 75 questions. I got a 94% on the midterm and an 88% on the final with minimal studying. Watch the lectures while taking notes on them, and you should be fine. It was somewhat date-intensive (particularly for empires/civilizations and their key developments), but it was mostly conceptual with some minor memorization.
-The papers were graded by your TA, which means that you may get graded harder depending on who you get. I had Espinoza for my TA, and he seemed to grade very reasonably. That being said, I found the papers very doable (I got an 86% on the first one and a 100% on the second one). Make sure you're very detailed with a lot of specific facts from the articles, and use in-text citations when you do! The prompt itself is kinda weird (there's an overall comparison of two articles, and then you have to answer 3 questions), but make sure it flows nicely. A decent chunk of your grade is your intro/conclusion and overall writing style.
As I said before, if you need a GE, I would highly recommend this class. It was easy for me and very low-stress, which meant I could focus on the classes for my major. If you do decently on the tests/papers, show up to discussion, and do the extra credit, you'll definitely get a very good grade.
A lot of your grade depends on your TA, as they are the ones who will be grading your paper. The helpful thing to do is to go into office hours and have your TA read over your paper before turning it in. This was, they'll tell you what you want. Do the extra credit ASAP, you can get a boost of 5%. Overall, the midterm and finals are super easy. Both are multiple choice.
This class is an easy A if you do the extra credit as early as possible. You can get up to 5% of extra credit for visiting a museum and writing a reflection. The reflection doesn't have to be a good essay, just show her that you went there and give some thoughts about it.
Professor Smith is very funny. Her lectures are engaging. You don't really need to talk during discussions, you just need to be there. My TA often let us out early.
The readings are too much. But you would probably be fine even if you don't read them because she goes over the main ideas of each reading in lectures. She would not test you the details on midterms and finals. But I would suggest reading Liberman because there were some specific questions on the tests.
The two papers (each 4-5 pages) were stressful to me. I hate writing and I procrastinate a lot. But I made it to TA's office hour before due dates, which were really helpful. The grades of the papers kind of depend on your TA. My TA was super chill (Ulises). So I did fine. If you don't have a great TA, go to your TA's OH several times and revise your paper the way he/she wants.
The tests are super easy. You just need to pay attention to every lecture and take notes. (BTW, every lecture is bruincasted, so technically you don't need to go to class) I found making a timeline table very useful.
I would recommend this class to anyone who wants an easy A! Remember to do the extra credit ASAP!
Overall, Anthro 2 was my easiest class this quarter, and I took it as a GE. The class is graded based on 2 essays (20% each), 1 midterm (20%), discussion participation (15%), and a final (25%). There is also extra credit for up to 5% of your final grade.
Monica is a very enthusiastic and engaging lecturer in my opinion, and she provided slides to complement her speaking. Realistically, if you copy down her slides' bullet points you should have all the material you need to succeed in the class. She provides a few bullet points at the beginning of each lecture to review the previous one, which I used as a study guide for exams. Both the midterm and final were multiple choice, and in my opinion, extremely easy. All I did to study was read my lecture notes and focus on the review bullet points the day before and received A's on both exams. Plus, the lectures are all Bruincasted, so that was awesome.
As for the assigned reading, I actually did all of it, but you really don't have to. Doing all of the reading can take a while, so I really don't know if it was worth it. She goes over the important points from each reading during lecture, so as long as you are familiar with those, you should be set.
The essays in the class were also fair in my opinion. Monica tells you the format she wants (it's a basically a compare and contrast), and encourages you to have your TAs look at your rough drafts. I personally wrote both the day before they were due (she gives the prompts 2 weeks before the due date), did not have my TA (Eden) proof either of them, and got A's on both.
The extra credit required you to visit a nearby museum and answer a few questions about it in an essay format. The visit took my probably 20 minutes to gather the information, so it's relatively simple. If you do it earlier, it counts for more of your grade.
Overall, this class is great for an easy, low-workload GE, and I highly recommend taking it!
I really liked my fiat lux (food and culture during pandemics) with Professor Smith. She is really nice, funny, and wholesome, and she always makes an effort to include everyone. The class involves a weekly reading that usually ranges from 4-20 pages (most are between 4-7). They're really interesting, and you definitely don't need to retain all of the information - just an elementary summary understanding will suffice. Then, in class, she always starts with an intro question like your favorite staple cooking ingredient and goes around the room to share. You will participate in this class, but it's not intimidating at all! She's super understanding and approachable. After the intro question, you just discuss the reading and any current events for the remainder of the 50 minutes. She ends class punctually and sometimes will send additional articles she thinks are cool throughout the week afterwards.
Overall, Prof. Smith is an AMAZING anthropologist with lots of cool stories. If you ask her about her experiences, she'll recount some really interesting projects and things she's learned (ask about Asia!). Prof. Smith is also very understanding of mental health and zoom exhaustion. She lets you miss 2 classes and even spent some time on the day before the election talking about mental health resources for us. I would definitely recommend taking the seminar if you want an interesting, low stress class, and take advantage of the discussion time you have!!
Cities Past and Present was the best class I have ever taken at UCLA. She is so chill. There were 20 people in the class and we sat around each day and talked about cities- what we thought of them, how they made us feel, why people moved into and out of them, etc etc. We only had two small ethnographies to write, a two question midterm, and a final paper (plus three 10pt, 1 page ec summary papers that would bump your entire grade up by a whole letter grade). The reading was very interesting and the discussions were great. We all laughed a lot and shared our personal feelings. She has a great way of sparking converstaion and asking you to look deeper. Keep in mind, classes are laidback but you still have to do the reading for the exam. Not intensively, but you MUST cite author's names and fieldsites to support your arguments (which she gives to you- along with a study guide). I got an A+ and it's almost impossible not to. One day Prof Smith even brought in Japanese HipHop for us to listen to. Great Professor and very nice lady!
As a person who had never taken an anthropology/archaeology class before, I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this class. The professor is an engaging lecturer and follows the slides so it's not hard to keep up. There are weekly readings but you don't really have to read every single one since she goes over them in lecture. There were two essays that were fairly easy, and a third one for extra credit. The midterm and final are both multiple choice. You'll do fine on them if you pay attention in lecture and have a grasp of the overall timeline.
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