All Ratings and Reviews for Torquil Duthie
I took this class during remote learning so the structure could be different from the class in real time. All I have to say is please take this GE!! It's literally amazing. Professor Duthie is a great lecturer with good humor and clear presentation structure. He expanded the content on the textbook and I've learned so much about Japan and its history in this class. The assignments are fairly graded, and you will get a good score as long as you write them carefully and integrate the class materials. Huge shoutout to my TA Kristin for teaching us how to write effective responses!!
This is one of the most interesting and easiest GEs that I've taken at ucla. Professor Duthie is incredibly knowledgeable and understanding about student stress, especially during online learning. There were no exams, just weekly writing assignments (500-700 words). The TAs help you with what to include in the weekly assignments, and you have a chance to rewrite all of them for a better grade.
This class was a really nice GE to take during COVID since there were no tests just an assignment once a week. I pretty much waited until after the discussion to write the paper since my TA went through the prompt and what we should write about. I would say the class took me around 2 hours a week (minus the lectures) so I would def recommend if you are looking for an easy class. The content itself was also pretty interesting and lectures were a little long but prof duthie made it go by pretty fast :)
this is regarding the A portion of the class in the A/B series. you're supposed to study both grammar AND classical texts in this class, but in lecture he barely goes over the grammar (maybe about 10 minutes) and you're supposed to learn a new chapter of grammar for every single class. the rest of the class is devoted to translating the assigned texts. i wish he'd teach the grammar more because it's very difficult, rather than spending almost the whole time on the text, which you can look up translations for and explanations online.
When I took this course freshman year, it was his first time teaching it. Even so, he did a great job! The lectures were interesting and he mixed it up a lot so there were videos too. The material was not hard, just memorize what's on the midterm and final review sheets and you'll get a good grade. What you put in will reflect your grade in the class.
You TA will pretty much determine your grade, since they grade your responses, participation and your tests. The only thing Duthie grades is you response paper, which he admits he will give you full credit if you turn it in (barring that it is no complete BS.)
Nice guy, though lectures can get pretty boring. A pretty easy GE course.
Prof Duthie is totally awesome! He's super chill and wants people to learn for the sake of learning and not for GPA's. So like, his class isnt hard, but it isnt easy. Basically, if you put in the work for your grade, you'll get the one you deserve. You wont study hard and then get a crappy grade.
As said below, Duthie builds his class around learning rather than grading. You could reasonably skip the lectures and just use the study guide he emails out. It has all the possible questions. The midterm and final are basically the same format and length, not cumulative. The TAs determine your grade so either hope you get a nice one or talk a lot in discussion (attendance and participation in discussions count towards your grade). He assigns a good amount of reading (20-50 pages per week + textbook) so if you don't particularly care for Japanese history it will bog you down and you do need to read for the tests as well as discussion.
Duthie has a British accent and talks fast but he's usually easy to understand and has a good sense of humor. He likes to show pictures and short video clips, which helped keep me awake. It should be an easy A if you do most of the work. I give him an 8/10 overall.
Even though I did not have much interest in Japanese Civilizations, I found that his lectures were very well prepared, filled with videos, sounds, and images to make them informative and entertaining. The readings for the discussion sections as well as the suggested reading from the textbook amounted to a lot of reading, although the readings for the sections were fairly entertaining. Pretty easy GE, although there is quite a bit of information to memorize for the midterm and final (non-cumulative).
The structure of this course is like a typical translation course except here you alternate days where you're the translator or the reader. There's a mid-term and final that aren't comprehensive and a final paper.
This course was a disaster, Duthie steamrolled too many texts and didn't ease students through the work at all. He'll start the class off talking about how he wants you to "just dive in" and "ease you into" the text, but he fails on so many levels.
First off, he'll never discuss grammar or any relevant aspects of the stories, you just get PDFs of Japanese textbook scans (with the original in the middle, footnotes at the top, and if you're lucky the modern version at the bottom), but these texts are usually out of date and contain numerous out of use kanji and 1930s spelling, not to mention that if you aren't a native Japanese most of the supplemental text that appears in the textbook will be a pain to decipher.
Second, he'll start you off with English translations for the readings, and make an effort to give you passages with no English translations later on. While I get the whole trying to make us better at Japanese idea, it fails because we never utilize the grammatical analysis you work so hard on for J110. As a result, homework usually comes out being a copyfest with a couple of students doing the actual work and the rest mindlessly regurgitating translations.
Third, the tests are either too easy or too hard. There's 3 sections, 2 passages from previous readings and a third, brand new section. The third section he said he'd give us supplemental vocabulary for but the midterm was a disaster and only 1 person could actually understand the passage. He compensates for the difficulty by grading generously. Overall you don't utilize any Japanese skills, just memorize all the translations from class and you'll ace the tests.
On a final note about the English translations he gives you, I don't know if he intentionally chose to use the WORST English translations or what, but the English translations are very unfaithful and thus, make the readings that much more painful. If you're smart you'll research the stories beforehand and check to see if its translated by more than one author, usually the more modern versions are faithful.
I got an A, but this class wasted too much time and I don't feel like I learned anything at all.
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