Fall 2017

UGC 111 World Civilizations I

Instructor: Heather Bennett

So I took UGC 111 during the fall semester in 2017 and from what I hear, this module has been conducted really differently earlier. Like for instance Prof Bennett did not have any exams when she taught the previous class- batches.  A lot of my seniors told that it was filled with more group projects and twitter activities.

Prof Bennett is a really great lecturer and extremely helpful. Personally, I really like history as a subject and her classes were really enjoyable throughout the semester. Her first two classes are really interactive (well all her class are interactive but if you take her class you’ll see what I mean haha) and from what I heard from my friends, some of them found it to be a little bit too overboard on interacting with class-peers.

About the teaching part, she prepares all her slides and there’s actually a class blog where you can find all the class notices, updates or just other important things. Her explanations are based on the slides. But then do take notes while she speaks cause they’re pretty important especially for her the MCQ questions for her exams. For ugc 111 with her, I’d say that you don’t really need a textbook (actually I did find a textbook online and asked her whether I could use it! Prof Bennett doesn’t stop you from referring a textbook if you get one. But I’ll just say that when she starts teaching you’ll definitely start feeling overwhelmed by the information)

The grading scale of this class-:

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For the percentage component regarding this module you can refer to the previous writer’s (Desukah) entry. Personally, I feel her grading scale is quite strict as this module is assessed out of 234 points. Exam 1 and 2 has each of 50 points and all the remaining gets allotted for participation, bonus (hehe which I promise are SO good and worth it), pre-class responses and attendance. Although it’s quite a high bar if you really intend on getting an A you have to score full on all the sections like attendance, pre-class responses and participation points before the first exam. The pre-class responses can be quite tricky (as it totally depends on what you write) so allow yourself to learn from two tries and aim for five points for the rest. (tip: Prof Bennett usually puts up a sample format on how you can write your first-pre-class response and you can follow the same format too! From what I’ve seen try to not include personal references in the pre-class responses. For example – I remember once Prof Bennett told us that she was an atheist. In one of my pre-class responses I started off writing “being a catholic myself….” and for that entry I got 4 points.  And from what sgubkid wrote much before she strongly believes in feminism, so if you can connect ideas from what you’ve learnt in class with this (but um it should be a good point, don’t anyhow write ok??) you can score high! Prof Bennett will give replies to your first 3 pre-class responses. So, do take her feedbacks and improve from your current standing.) Prof Bennett is quite lenient with the attendance component and she allows you to miss 2 classes for whatever the reason may be.

Her classes are assigned in a way such that – for the first half she discusses about the new topic and then she forms groups to discuss on the answers for the earlier reading which are usually up on the slides (the class before) and ends with a brief introduction for the reading for next class. The classes can be content heavy on some days, especially those lessons before exam 2.

So, the exam is divided between 20 multiple choice questions (MCQ’s), 30 marks for the essay and a bonus question worth for 3 points all to be done within an hour if I remember correctly. There isn’t any maximum length for her essays BUT, before exam-1 she mentions six paragraphs is quite enough including an introduction and conclusion. But you don’t have to follow this too, all up to you! The essay format is a compare/contrast one and she gives 3 options as themes (choose one while writing). Tip for the exam: One of the main tips I’d really suggest you to keep in mind for writing her exam is proper time management. Because in exam 1 there’s always this tiny possibility that you may want to extend your essay just cause, you aren’t satisfied with it BUT please remember to do the bonus questions too. They really pull up your marks. I missed this for my first exam (oops lesson learnt). Apart from that it’s really important to have a strong understanding on the readings to analyze themes.

For this module, I got a 5 (the highest point which you can get) for all my pre-class responses except that example which I mentioned earlier. But then for my exams I didn’t actually do really well, partially because I think I’m not a really good writer (oh gosh) and also for the second exam I didn’t have many good references linking both the class lectures and the readings.

On the last day of class when my group was talking with Prof Bennet, she mentioned that there are high chances she’ll include the tweeting activity again so you may not follow the same pattern of this course. Although she might keep some things the same too.

My grade for this course: B+


SOC 349 Classical Soc Theory

Instructor: Jorge Arditi

This review can be really subjective because from what I hear from a lot of my friends and seniors who have taken his classes, it’s either you like his way of teaching or just find it really boring. Being really honest, I was one of the ones who would’ve chosen the second option earlier but now I’m hoping to get another sociology class with him when he comes back again in fall 2018

So, classical sociology as the name sounds is really dry and it’s a theory module. We had

  • two open book exams (40% of the final grade)
  • presentations, attendance (20% of the final grade)

 We learn 4 theories by the end of the semester. The first two comes for exam1 and the next two for exam 2. You’ll have to write an essay based on what you’ve learnt. The exams weigh 30% each so it’s quite a heavy weightage plus the presentations are for 10% so yeah be try to score well for both! The exams are open-book so basically you bring in your notes and the textbook, just no electronic devices.

Prof Arditi is that type of lecturer who speaks throughout his class and you really gotta pay attention. He has a tendency to speak at a very long stretch and sometimes he may bring in his own example which probably may not be related at all from the original idea. So, while he lectures and when you’re writing notes it’s like you have understand whether what he says is important or not otherwise haha your class notes can extend up to four pages or more. Oh, yeah and the most important tip for this class will be – don’t dawdle in his class cause otherwise I bet you’re going to lose out on really important details.

His classes are based on his own slides and are not uploaded later, so it’s always a good thing to take a picture of his slide or copy the exact same in your notes. Well yeah, you also got to buy the textbook for this class but then in my opinion I feel you’d just need the readings for the first half of the semester- i.e for Karl Marx and Weber’s theory and for the last 2 chapters you may need everything in the book. Also from what I’ve noticed because since I photocopied the entire textbook (oh wait actually my whole class did haha) he does not actually cover a lot of things from the textbook. Yes, he does cover the important concepts which are written (and usually in the textbook it’s usually written on a touch and go basis) but then if you get the textbook you’ll see the super long readings and lots and lots of explanations. Prof Arditi doesn’t actually go through a lot of them. Like I previously mentioned, he gives a lot of his own explanations and many concepts which are not in the textbook too.

He’s actually a really good professor. I just didn’t actually pay attention for his first half of the semester while he taught. Tip: while teaching he gives lots of examples based on the particular concept he is teaching about. Do note these because they’ll really help you when you revise your notes while studying for the exams. The first two theories are more on capitalization and economic activities (which tbh I found them hard to cope up with) The second ones, I feel is more relatable in a sort of way? I really liked the last two chapters more than the initial ones. I feel it’s really important to take down what he explains cause for your exams, although he doesn’t mention for the first exam, he expects you to mention relevant concepts (what he explained in class) in the essay you write.  Completely out of topic but just a heads up if you’re attending his classes – for his exams Prof Arditi does not like really like you copying the exact same thing or e.g.  process from the textbook and including in your answers. For example. I didn’t attend one class and I missed on some parts of the chapter so I asked my friend who took this module with Prof Kris D’amuro a semester before and got her notes for the chapter. So, for my essay I followed her notes and I didn’t really score well as much as I expected? From my understanding, even Prof Kris D’amuro takes classical sociology but his way of teaching is completely different from how Prof Arditi teaches. Like for Prof Kris, everything he teaches is from the textbook (from what I understood from the notes) but Prof Arditi teaches from his slides, and he doesn’t teach everything from the textbook like there could be a lot of new parts too!

Tip: I feel it’s really important to take down what he explains cause for your exams, although he doesn’t mention for the first exam, he expects you to mention relevant concepts (what he explained in class) in the essay which you write. While teaching he gives lots of examples based on the particular concept he is teaching about. Do note these because they’ll really help you when you revise your notes while studying for the exams.

Prof Arditi doesn’t specify exactly what you have to write for the exam. Actually, I feel Prof Arditi is one of those lecturers who does a lot of his activities on a freestyle basis. Like for presentations he doesn’t specify what he wants to see, even for his exams he doesn’t give you a clue on how the exam questions will be structured. If you’ve attended other classes taught by him, you’ll also see that for in-class activities he gives you a wide range of options and you don’t feel restricted to any component. And also another one which most people miss out and don’t actually come for – all his revision classes are seriously worth going for. Don’t forget to attend those classes!

One of the main things which I learnt while taking this class is that – just remember to pay attention and write extensive notes (I swear they’re really important). I can’t say much for the theories cause haha, they’re all what you got to learn by yourself. If you’re the type who prefers more of group work, you do have to put in extra effort for this class. Otherwise, take his classes, it’s definitely interesting, at least according to me.

My grade for this course:  B+


SOC 294 Basic statistics for Social Sciences

Instructor: Dr Radhi Raja

This module can be easily done if you’re strong in mathematics. Personally, I don’t do really well at any subject dealing with numbers  so this was a hard module for me. But yeah many of my friends found it really easy so this review can vary.

This module has three tests (30% each) consisting of a mix of true/false, multiple choice questions and short problems to do. There are also in-class-assignments in every class where Dr Raja usually gives five to six questions to complete and hand it over to her after the class gets over. Even after the regular class timing she still stays in class for a very long time so not much of a rush to hand out the paper.  Dr Raja only gives a formula sheet for the last test so be sure to remember them all till test 2. Normally the first test like she says is very easy and I think it’s everything based on the slides which she uploads them later on. The second and the third test can be quite hard, but yeah like I told it depends on your difficulty level.  Tip: for all her exams make sure to read the textbook thoroughly, although sometimes she says reading from the slides is enough to understand concepts, I’d highly suggest you to read the chapter in the textbook too. For the third test especially make sure to read every definition in the chapters being tested, I feel that she tests a lot on these definitions (basically stuff what you don’t really expect them coming for the last exam when there’s a lot of solved problems with applied formulae’s to do).

So her classes are mostly like – she teaches the lesson following the slides put up in the class, then there might be practice questions midway which she expects you to do (but these are not included for the in class assignments), a short break mostly and then you’ve got to do the in class problems.

About her teaching style I think it’s quite okay, although sometimes the class can be quite noisy cause she doesn’t really control the class so much (compared to other professors). Oh yeah and idk really why but for the class I was in she was really irritated on some days mainly cause I think noisy class? But apart from that if you’ve got doubts relating to what she taught on that day she’s always willing to help out.

Oh and also if you’re taking this module in spring 2018, this module will be for 4 credits so she was saying that it’s going to be more harder. Good luck to you!

My grade for this course: B-


SOC 293 Social Research Methods

Instructor: Dr Kriston D’amuro

For this class, we had

  • in class assignments which were for 10% each
  • Homework (80%)  which includes the CITI training for 5% , participation/observation notes and field notes for 10% , research portfolio for 65%
  • test 1 for 10%

yeah some of you guys must be super happy to see that there’s just one test but it’s not that easy. I think it was quite a balanced one i.e.  a mix of easy and hard types. Prof Kris asked a lot of the hard ones from the lectures he spoke at. He emphasizes to read the textbook which I think is a must too, if you want to score at the theory part well.  Oh and if you’re wondering what the CITI training is – it is a must to complete before any of you conduct a research activity, so he asks you to print the final certificate which basically tells that   xxxx has thereby finished the citi training.

In this class, the main percentage of grades are from the research paper so you’ll basically do part by part work with your group mates starting from gathering field data, quantifying the data and so on. At the end you’ll have to present a research paper with a follow up essay writing about how you and your group mates worked together for this project. It’s not really hard to get an A actually. I think Prof Kris is pretty lenient although he looks like he’s not especially when he discusses about marks but so long as you do your work well with groupmates and follow all the instructions for individual assessments you should really be doing fine.

This module can be quite stressful if your group mates don’t work efficiently because apart from the individual assessments I think most of the effort comes from the group. Prof Kris is a super chill lecturer, he’s really helpful. Tip: for all those individual assessments, usually while telling the class he doesn’t actually explain how to do  in detail. If you’ve got any doubts or kinda don’t understand his question, don’t hesitate to ask him questions! My group asked him a lot of questions even for the individual assessments like every single assessment haha. He’s super friendly too, some people chats with him after class so he’s definitely a chill professor. Oh, and a lot of times in his class he gives out bonus points so watch out for those opportunities coming by!

My grade for this course: A