Medieval Art

Sharon Gerstel

Medieval Art

Art History department

Sharon Gerstel

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from 14 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 4.8
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 4.0
Easy
Heavy
Workload 3.6
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.9
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.7
Helpful
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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Often Funny
  • Participation Matters
  • Would Take Again

Grades

Spring 2016
24.4%
20.4%
16.3%
12.2%
8.1%
4.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2014
23.2%
19.4%
15.5%
11.6%
7.7%
3.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2013
35.2%
29.3%
23.4%
17.6%
11.7%
5.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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1 of 2

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Winter 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted March 31, 2021
Grade Received: A+

Gerstel was really amazing this quarter. Her lectures were asynchronous and she changed the structure of her grading from a midterm, final, 2 papers, and discussion to 10 weekly quizzes, 2 short papers, and discussion. Previous students complained about having to study dozens of art pieces for each exam, so she split up the assessments by week so we'd have to worry less about memorizing (and they were open notes too), but they were timed and took place during the first 20 min of discussion (also heard some TAs graded more harshly). She ended up cancelling the last quiz as a gift to us!!

The papers were just a first and final draft and this quarter it was only a 750 word paper, so it wasn't very stressful. She offered some extra credit too.

One thing to note is that the lecture recordings were really dense. The textbook readings are also so so long, but I stopped reading them after week 1 and was completely fine. Also mentioning that, on the syllabus, it says background knowledge in Abrahamic religions would help a lot in class. That made me nervous b/c I grew up in a secular household and know nothing of Biblical texts, but that's literally fine b/c she explains everything in depth lol

Quarter Taken: Winter 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted March 31, 2021
Grade Received: A

I found this class really interesting. Although I did slack a bit on lectures and readings, the class was pretty flexible due to pre-recorded lectures.

I’ve heard that she changes the grading structure each year, so I don’t think it would be helpful to explain that. However, the assignments we had felt very fair, and we were given ample opportunity to prepare for them. She had sessions once a week where she covered everything that could be on our quiz, and it was very helpful. Somebody else said that it would be difficult in-person, but honestly, it's just memorization. She told us exactly what kind of information she wanted us to mention in our IDs, so if you study, you'll probably do well in person.

Our writing assignment was done in two stages, I got an A on both drafts, even though my rough draft had some serious organization issues. There was also an opportunity for extra credit by watching a cool documentary, but I didn’t even need the extra credit. Very laid-back environment, I’d take this class again.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted March 24, 2021
Grade Received: A+

Great GE to take during COVID, however, I feel like this class would be impossible to do in person. While Gerstel is an amazing professor and she obviously knows what she's doing, the topic itself can be very dry and boring. She also did not have a clear rubric for her essays so that made it so you were kind of shooting in the dark for half your grade. Personally, it's just one too many Jesus paintings and they get quite boring after a while. It is a very easy A online, but only an easy A in person if you don't have a good memory. It's basically just a memorization class otherwise.

Overall, if you like the subject, Gerstel is an amazing person to learn from. If you don't have a great memory and you're about to do in-person examinations, this is not the class for you.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted March 17, 2021
Grade Received: A+

[Online Format] Professor Gerstel was amazing! Even if you aren't personally interested in medieval art/architecture, it is still a great class. It's easy, at least in the online format, since we had open-note quizzes that she directly prepared us for each week in a review session. The lectures are asynchronous, so you can watch them on your own time but the review session is optionally open to attendance if you wanted to participate. She does a great job at describing each cultural period's history and characteristics, and I truly feel like I learned a lot--not just about medieval styles, but about art and architecture in general as well. She even connects what we learn about to the modern world, talking about her own research or pointing out medieval influences in pop culture movies. She's also just really sweet and clearly cares about her students' success, and always made herself available to us. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone at all interested in art history, or if you just need an easy, interesting GE to knock out.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted March 16, 2021
Grade Received: A

I took this class as a G.E., and it exceeded my expectations. I am not someone who is into Art History, but I found all of the lectures and material engaging and interesting. Due to COVID-19 , all of our quizzes/exams were open-note, but if it wasn't, I am not sure I would have gotten an A (so take that as you will). Professor Gerstel was also super helpful and easy to reach.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted April 1, 2019 Grade Received: A

Sharon Gerstel is a passionate professor and she very much cares about her students and puffins. Her class is easier compared to others but at the same time requires a lot of work and effort. If you think this is an easy humanities GE where you can skip lecture, and view the slides online, think again. Her slides are often pictures with some descriptions, and the real information comes from what she says in lectures. Gerstel is known for changing the format of the class each time she teaches it. This is how my class broke down grade wise.

20% Section
20% Paper 1
20% Midterm
20% Paper 2
20% Final

(1) Section attendance is mandatory, as well as participating in the class discussion. At most you should contribute one thing each class, and make it look as if you care. Also the TAs give out short assignments that are easy and are graded if you completed the work fully. It should be noted that in section you focus more on certain pieces of art and themes compared to the large survey in lecture.

(2) The first paper is an analytical paper in which you read the Sacred and Profane by Eliade and connect it to works of art examined in the first half of the course. The professor's rubric stresses good use of grammar and structure so have you paper looked at either by the TA, writing center, or friend.

(3) The second paper is a thematic paper in which you connect art from the past, and how it being appropriated by groups today. In this case it was how iconography from the medieval period was being used by white supremacist groups. This paper was not that hard, and as log as you can show a logical connection you should do well.

(4) The exams are not a joke if you do not take them seriously and study beforehand. The exam entails looking at eight images in which you correctly identify them, name their style/art period, and then write five important things about them. Sounds easy right? Wrong! There are over fifty images that you need to study for each of the tests, and many of them look and sound alike. Also not all important things are equal as you will only get points for ideas that Gerstel thinks are important. You can be right about talking about Hagia Sophia, but since you left out the fact that the tiles symbolize the different regions of the Byzantine empire you only get partial credit. I was shocked when I got an 81 on my midterm after leaving the lecture hall thinking it was a joke. In fact the average for the midterm was in the high 70s- low 80s range. However this purposeful to get you to understand how to study, and the rest of the class basically prepares you for the final.
Overall, this class a great GE, but you should understand that you need to put in effort to get an A. To do well on the exams study throughout the quarter by making flash cards and studying in groups. Go to office hours, to get a sense of what your TAs think is important. If Rachel Weiss or Miranda Saylor are teaching take them because they are awesome TAs who are willing to help their students out. Lastly the class has a weird grading scale where your final grade is partly based on a trend line. If you go to office hours, show that you care, improve on the second paper, and final exam, you grade will be bumped up.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted June 19, 2018 Grade Received: A

I took this class as a G.E. and I was met with more workload than I expected. There's a lot of reading, although nothing too out of the ordinary for North Campus courses, and you really have to study for those tests. It's mostly all memorization and there's two papers. The T.A.'s are really cool and easy graders. Professor Gerstel gives you more information during lectures than you'll be able to type down, but even if you don't do the textbook readings, the textbook has almost everything you'll need to know to study for tests (although I suggest actually fully reading the textbook if you can, it's very fascinating). Aside from that, I would highly recommended taking this class! The professor is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about medieval art and by the end of the course I was super imterested in the subject as well! These kind of classes make me wonder why I'm a South Campus major in the first place.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted April 30, 2018 Grade Received: A

I really liked this class. I heard that art history was boring, but needed a GE, and was pleasantly surprised. The lectures were fun, and Gerstel is funny. She also offers extra credit. The TAs all seemed pretty cool. A midterm, a final, 2 essays, and participation, all 20% of the grade. Definitely would take again.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted April 3, 2018 Grade Received: A

Prior to this course, I had not taken any type of art history class - I think that this was a nice class for beginners. All the TAs had the same slides in discussion sections and were very helpful (definitely try to get Miranda Saylor). It's obvious that Professor Gerstel loves art history and medieval art and she is very knowledgeable but she speaks very fast and the lecture slides often do not contain information other than a picture, artist, and date so I would suggest typing notes instead of writing. She posts lecture slides after class and they are useful when studying for the exams - I found that the best way to study art pieces was through flashcards with a picture on the front and then information on the back since tests consist of the identification of 8 works + a short essay. It's an easy class if you are good at memorization, but you have to go to lecture in order to get information on the works as they are not bruincasted and discussion sections are mandatory. I would definitely take another course with Professor Gerstel if given the chance.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted April 1, 2018 Grade Received: A+

I ended up really enjoying this class Professor Gerstel makes it possible for you to succeed by handing out or emailing the images you should know by the end of the week. I felt like this and the flashcards idea that she implemented really helped the majority of us! If you are worried about taking this class don't be; if you put in even some effort you should be fine!

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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Often Funny
  • Participation Matters
  • Would Take Again
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