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I am Huynh Trưởng at my temple. Not only am I a practicing Buddhist, but I lead others through prayers and teach them about the dharma at least once a week. And I HATED this class omg! I've never been less excited about Buddhism until Prof. Bodiford talked about it. Lectures are incredibly boring, the professor makes Buddhism sound a bit like a cult, and whenever he says "Poota" (Buddha) I die a little inside (he doesn't have an accent or anything, I think he just wants to sound authentic(?)). This class is an easy A if you have your freshman year straight-out-of-high-school work ethic (which I did not). Your grade is based on a 100 point scale, with the midterm and final being 40% and your three papers being 60% of the grade. There are no A-. The grading scheme jumps straight from A (91-100) to a B+. Prof. Bodiford offers 3 extra points extra credit. Your TA may offer more. My TA Tom Newhall offered 6 extra credit points. I still wouldn't recommend him as a TA (he said he's a "harsh grader" and definitely delivered) but that's a different story.
TL;DR - I recommend this class if you are willing to stay awake for an hour and half and take notes on something you don't care about like it's high school (it'll be an easy A! You just need to put in a couple hours a week to write the papers). However, I don't recommend you take this class with Bodiford if you want to be excited about anything!
This class is an easy A for a Writing 2. 4 writing assignments - 3 of which are essays - and 2 midterms. As long as you work hard on the essays, you should be fine. Be sure to go to office hours and have someone peer review your essay before you turn it in! Collab with others and share notes for the midterms.
This class in an easy A. It is not very much work (3 papers and two easy tests). It is also incredibly boring.
Only class at UCLA where I had trouble staying awake every day. Bodiford could not be more boring and the content is very abstract. If you need a Writing 2 and need an A, take this class. It wasn't worth it for me, however. The 75-minute lectures felt like 3 hours each.
Professor Bodiford is awesome and I will definitely recommend this writing II to everyone. Professor Bodiford could make the lecture interesting and could make the abstract concepts understandable. The class was not easy because it had tons of readings and 4 difficult essays, but as long as you put in the effort and have a responsible TA, you will be fine. Your grade depended on the essays and it was very easy to lose points. Writing these essays were so painful... The good thing is that the TAs won't grade you very harshly. I had Britt Marlowe as my TA and I think he is awesome. The readings were time-consuming, but you don't need to read all of them. You will be forced to catch up with the readings before the midterm because the first 3 essays required you to use the textbooks as resources. After the midterm, I only read a couple of pages and I think I still did well on the final. The midterm and the final are all in short essay format (3/4 page to 1 page, yeah!) and they were very easy. Professor Bodiford graded the exams and he is an easy grader as long as you reflect what you learned.
Overall, I put in a lot of effort because I'm an international student, south-campus, not a skillful writer, and having no research experience. I would still recommend this class to people that are also not skillful at writing because the professor and the TAs both want you to succeed, and I feel like this class is very rewarding. Final grade: A
Professor Bodiford is extremely knowledgeable on the subject material (he had to miss one lecture because he was requested to give a presentation in France to present at an international conference on Buddhist studies). There is a decent amount of assigned reading, but it isn't exorbitant, and as long as you at least skim the material you won't have any trouble in the class. However, the reading is actually really interesting if you have the time. He outlines exactly what he expects on his exams, which are mostly short answer and one essay question, and his grading is very fair. Most importantly, get Tyler Cann as your TA. He is amazing, and he makes the material so easy to digest. So whatever you do, get Tyler. Overall, fantastic, easy, interesting GE. I got an A and the material has actually come in handy with future employers who have revealed that seeing this class on my transcripts made me stand out.
Professor: I hold Dr. Bodiford in the highest regard--he is a brilliant professor who is extremely well-versed in Buddhist scholasticism and practice. I found him to be an eloquent speaker who lectures in a story-like manner, which makes his lessons more engaging as well as easier to remember; he does, however, cover a great amount of detailed information in a very short amount of time, so unless you are a fast writer, I suggest bringing a laptop to type your notes.
Exams: Evaluations consist of one Midterm and one Final, which are both composed of a series of essays. The exams are not too difficult as long as you have kept up on the reading and consistently studied the lecture material. The "non-cumulative" Final is much harder than the Midterm, as it addresses abstract concepts and covers more information than the Midterm--you will have to recall information from the first five weeks and reintegrate them into your essays in order to thoroughly answer the Final essay prompts. Study hard, be creative with your answers, and write well.
Grading: There are only 103 points given throughout the entire quarter, so you can only lose about 10.5 points to earn an A. Seemingly impossible at first and extremely difficult later, but definitely doable in the end as long as you are dedicated to shuffling through hundreds of pages of dense, abstract readings and committing the material to memory.
Some Thoughts: One of the most rewarding classes I have taken at UCLA over the past 3 years. The material was overly time-consuming and mentally draining to digest, as it was completely foreign to me (as it will most likely be for you). Your preconceptions of Buddhism will be shattered and reformed over the course of 10 weeks.
Advice: Do not take this class unless you are already a skilled writer. Your grade in the course depends on your scores on the four essay projects and if you are not a competent writer with research experience, chances are, you will not receive an A because it is too easy to lose points.
He is a great teacher and the material is very interesting. The class is all essays all the time and the TAs can be harsh graders but Bodiford himself is an easy grader on the midterms and finals. I really recommend this class!
Professor: Unlike the other reviews below, I found him very interesting, and I didn't find him too monotone. He's also very friendly and patient with those who ask a lot of questions.
Course load: Can be somewhat overwhelming. While there are only 4 writing assignments, there's a draft due almost every week, so you may want to reconsider taking this class if you already have other demanding classes.
Exams: It's completely essay format, but really not that difficult because he gives you the option of picking prompts and you only write one page in the blue book for each prompt.
Grading: Somewhat harsh. There's really little room for error because the class grading system is completely on points. The total points you can earn is 103, and an A is 90, meaning you can only lose 13 points throughout the entire quarter. This can be rough, especially if your TA's ends up grading your essays harshly, causing you to lose precious points.
Overall: A fair class, but probably not one you should take if you're not a decent writer already, since the essays make up 60% of your grade.
Professor Bodiford is a great lecturer. His lectures are very organized because he follows an outline from the syllabus. He lectures pretty fast and he goes through a lot of information, so unless you write really fast, I suggest bringing a laptop to class. I like how he takes the time to ask the class if they have any questions because it creates a very casual setting in class. The tests are based on his lectures, and the books are just supplements to them. At first, for the midterm, I read the chapters that went along with the week's lessons, but after I learned his test structure, I just memorized his lectures for the final. Basically the midterm consist of information from the first 5 weeks of lecture, and the final is the last 5 weeks. If you're good at memorizing information, my best advice is to print out notes you've typed and just memorize them. Most of the lectures are like stories so you could tell them to a friend and you'll be able to remember the information. Introduction to Buddhism is a great GE class and the writing section is also pretty simple. At first it may seem overwhelming, but the assignments are pretty simple. I don't think a lot of people would have trouble writing about, for example, who is the Buddha?