All Ratings and Reviews for Shoichi Iwasaki
Honest to god, entered this class hating it. I only had taken it because I was looking up 'easy GE's' and when I started I hated the class. But honestly, I'm astounded by how genuine Professor Iwasaki was and my TA (Jaehyun Jo), and they were always available to help. I didn't even need to attend office hours because my TA covered everything I needed to know in section. Throughout the quarter, I started getting more interested in the class and even sharing knowledge I learned about Asian languages to my friends (who are asian ofc lol) and by the end of the quarter I was sad to leave the course. The workload is not that heavy (apparently there used to be much more and they lowered the workload this quarter) and the professor is very lenient/receptive to suggestions, and the midterms/exam is easy if you just pay attention to the slides (which are posted!) and the review that he gives you. I met a lot of great people in this class (and some koreaboos whom I'm scared of now) and I would totally recommend this class to an Asian friend (if you don't know an asian language/tonal language then maybe don't take the class because the listening part might be a little hard)
I took this class cuz my genius friend told me it would be ez, so my expectations of the class were that it would be way easier than it actually was. My grade died cuz even though class was at 12:30, I for some stupid reason couldn't wake up for class SPECIFICALLY on the days I had to turn in HW which is worth 30% of your grade (you also need to turn in HW at the beginning of lecture, so I got half credit on basically half the homework assignments). Midterms were fairly ez cuz my godly TA with a godly body, JAEHYUN JO, told us a lot of what was gonna be on the midterms. Final was ok other than the essay that you have to write. They gave us the prompt like a week before the final, so you have time to prepare and memorize what you gonna write but my dumb butt didn't do that until like 2 AM the day of the final. Is all good though cuz I somehow got an 87 on the final and clutched a B in the class lmao. Also s/o to my group for basically doing the entire group project for me. Y'all are homies :)
The class runs like any other linguistics class, so if that’s your major or you find linguistics interesting, then you should be fine. In terms of the class concepts, they were pretty straightforward and Professor Iwaskai didn’t give us any false expectations as to what was going to be on the midterm and final. It’d be helpful if you had prior knowledge of an Asian language (Japanese, Vietnamese, Mandarin, etc.), but as long as you study the slides and review sheets you’ll be fine for the midterms and final. However, Professor Iwasaki is critical about participation, so make sure to attend office hours so he can remember your name and answer on the discussion board (I think 10 times to get full credit). Overall, a pretty solid class with a nice professor and TAs.
Not a hard class, but it does take some effort. You’ll be told what will be on the tests and it’s pretty straight forward. For the participation I only went to two office hours and did all the discussion boards with a reply on one response each and got full credit.
The subject itself was pretty interesting and the professor was very helpful and detailed in his lectures, so my main criticism of the course is probably just the workload and the participation. Although the workload itself is pretty easy and mainly consists of homework and short reports that contribute towards the group project, it will be somewhat time consuming and tedious. This is especially true for the homework assignments (another reviewer similarly states) which the answers come directly from the textbook but you are expected to write lengthy responses to each question. In addition, participation points are not only from attendance but are also based on lectures/discussions as well as discussion board posts so be sure to actively take part in this course and respond to every post.
Some final notes: it is pretty helpful to have knowledge of an East/Southeast Asian language, but it's not necessary and this is not an "easy" GE. Office hours are very helpful , and the two TAs for my quarter were both very approachable and knowledgeable about the subject and also offer valuable insight into their own languages which are discussed in the course. Also, be sure to carefully review the study guides because they really do contain everything you need to know before exams.
I really enjoyed this class with Iwasaki and it was pretty easy, but if you're really not interested in the stuff he's teaching, I advise you to stay away from this GE. Sometimes the stuff he taught could get a little grueling, but overall it was pretty easy. The homework wasn't hard since it comes out of the textbook. You could choose to actually do the readings, but skimming it was sufficient enough.
Both midterms and the final involved quite the amount of memorization, but they always gave study guides before the exam that basically had all the stuff that you needed to know. The second midterm I didn't do as well because he had us do a listening portion with Vietnamese and Thai tones, but the rest of that exam I did pretty well on. The final was basically based off of how well you memorized because he gave the majority of the exam in the study guide. However, there is an 800 word long essay that you have to be able to remember the main points. I wrote and memorized the essay the morning before the final so you are honestly big chillin. As long as you pay attention in class and do the study guides, you should be fine with exams.
However, they do assign a group project but it's graded super easy. They give you 3 small essays to write about on a certain Asian language and then you turn it into one giant essay and presentation at the end. You shouldn't have to worry too much because again, the grading is super lenient.
Your grade is also dependent on participation so make sure Iwasaki knows your name by participating in lecture, discussion, posting in the forums and going to his office hours. I didn't really participate in lecture and it was reflected in my grade.
Overall, I give this class an 8.5/10 but YMMV
I really really enjoyed this GE. Overall, it was an easy class and the things you did have to study were interesting, so it didn't feel like much of a chore to study. Having a foundation in any southeast Asian language would help a lot, but I came in knowing none and still did fine in the class. Participation in the discussion sections is super important, but the TAs are so nice and approachable. All the lectures were engaging and fun to attend, too. There is a group project at the end of the quarter with assigned groups, but the TA was nice and assigned me with my friends. Everyone in that class is nice and the professor graded the presentations easily since all we had to do was a bit of research on an uncommon Asian language. It feels like a lot of work for this class, but the homework questions are simple and easy and there aren't any essays involved in this class, so I never spent that much time on this class outside of lectures or discussions. TLDR, easy GE even if you don't know an Asian language or not and super interesting
I think that if you are going to take this class knowing an Eastern Asian language (Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese) would be extremely helpful. I enjoyed the cultural overview that came with each language because that way it wasn't too heavily linguistic. I really loved my TA, Jae. He was super helpful and knowledgable!
The only bad thing I have to say about this class is that there is a group project, so you have to rely on others for your grade. You randomly get split up into a group in your discussion and you pick a language to present on. We had a group of 5 and me and one other person ended up doing about 3/4 of the work.
Also, you're tested on recognizing tones, which isn't a problem if you've grown up with a tonal language. I got all the tones wrong on the test and this dropped me to an A- on the midterm despite getting 100% on everything else. I still ended up with an A in the class, but I would be wary of this in addition to your participation, which is a pretty big portion of your grade. Make sure you actively speak up in discussion, lecture, and post on CCLE. Go to office hours if you can because they count that too.
Final is pretty easy, they basically give you half of the questions on the review sheet. It's a lot of memorization, but I think that I learned a lot. I really appreciate the wholistic view they took of the culture and the background they gave for each region so that groups weren't homogenized or looked over. I would call this an easy GE if you're interested in learning about Asian culture and language. However, if you're not it might be hard for you to put in the effort required to get an A (cutoff is around 95%).
TLDR, easy GE that really isn't worth it. I did enjoy lectures and learnt a lot of fun and engaging stuff, but this is one of the classes where hard work isn't really proportionate to the grade you receive. The TAs, however, are immensely involved in your learning and are very approachable, which I am really grateful for.
So why did I call it easy then? The tests are easy, and the homework and projects are easy credits. However if you look at the grade distribution, the median is an A-. Apparently the grading scale requires at least 95% for an A. There is also a huge emphasis on participation, which I received a 14/22 despite going for all lectures, participating actively in classroom discussions (which I recall even being one of the more active ones), posting on CCLE and going for office hours. This really isn't fair at all.
The course also requires an immense amount of work put in, which really is a pain in the ass. Half of the amount in your homework is material that you will never touch again for the rest of the weeks. Sure, they are fun and really promotes cultural learning, but they do take up a lot of time and I do have other classes and commitments as well. To top it off, I had to memorise an 800 word essay to write for the final, prepare for other questions on the final itself, prepare for a group presentation and also write a final report for the group project.
This is a relatively new class. I think that statement speaks for itself. If you want a fun and easy GE (which is rather contradictory because lots of work and fun are not synonymous with each other), but aren't busy enough to mind a lot of work, go for it. Otherwise, you will find yourself putting in an unreasonable amount of time just to receive an "A-" and below on your grade report.
excellent professor, his english is flawless and he lectures very slowly and clearly. However, with the early japanese language classes, most of the learning and grading takes place in the discussion sections, so finding a TA is more important than choosing between lecturers.
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