Undergraduate Variable Topics Research Seminars: History -- Europe
History: 191C - Spring 2010
Pass: 0 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
History of Russia: Culture and Society in Imperial Russia
History: 127D - Spring 2010
Pass: 0 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars
History: 19 - Spring 2010
Pass: 10 ~ No Pass: 1 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
History of Russia: Imperial Russia from Peter the Great to Nicholas II
History: 127B - Fall 2009
Pass: 0 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
Introduction to Western Civilization: Circa 1715 to the Present
History: 1C - Fall 2009
Pass: 6 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
I think Frank's rep is entirely unfair. I think people take him entirely too seriously, because he's funny and he's actually very nice.
When I showed particular interest in a war he was lecturing on, he sent me a link to a website entirely devoted to that war. I spoke to him for two seconds about it in a class of 70 kids, and he went out of his way not only to remember me, but to send me something cool.
I got an A- in both classes I had him for, both 1C and 127B.
He's disorganized to be certain, but followable. I like his lecturing style, and he's an absolute fount of information. I was very fond of him, and would gladly take another class with him if I could.
He does not give a fuck to his students, either to how people think of him. I happened to bump into his self-introduction on the history department webpage. He actually makes fun of himself not being liked by students or the faculty. He does not care a bit. He rushes through the material. We were in chapter 26 in the second last lecture, and we were done with chapter 30 in the last, which I did not go. AVOID HIM.
And yes your grade depends on your TA. If you are to take this class anyway, make sure you have Mike Wallace. He is really nice and helpful. My friend is in his section and she forwards his emails to me, which are really considerate and humorous. He graded the paper with much mercy because many people did not do well in the midterm. My TA never replies to my emails. She did nothing during discussion. She isn't helpful at all.
Professor Frank is an asshole. He showed up late to every lecture and would make very rude statements to students. His lectures were dry and useless. He literally read a script to the class followed by useless power points. He would start most classes with a quiz to take roll. He said that each missed quiz would hurt your grade but I think he lied.
As for the class, expect to read 400 pages + a week. Your grade is almost completely determined by your TA which sucks because I had the most biased asswipe and I've heard most of his TAs are similar. If you would like to stress over how some pompous ass is going to grade your work take this class. Students would give answers that were completely correct, but our TA would tell them they were wrong and then repeat their answers. Just for the love of God avoid professor Frank. It's such a disappointment that this guy works at UCLA.
Let's say this to start: I LOVE the period and scope of history covered in this class and I got an A in the end.
With that out of the way: DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS WITH FRANK! The only reason this was at all tolerable was because of my TA, Steve Rodriguez. If you insist on taking this class, at least make sure you get him as a TA. He's a much fairer grader (the other TAs gave out 50%+ Cs on the papers and I shudder to think what happened to their students on the final). More importantly, he made the class interesting, brought up perspectives not covered by either of the textbooks, the lectures, or any other history class I've ever taken. He was very in touch with us as students, gave helpful advice as to how to write the paper - and academic papers in general - and every lecture he gave was enormously engaging.
That said, Frank himself should not be teaching. His powerpoints are useless, just pretty pictures without even the spellings of the people/places/events/etc. he's bringing up. His style is incredibly dry, his jokes either fall flat or are offensive (you can tell who the suck-ups are by who always laughs), and he talks a long time before he actually says anything. By the end of the quarter I swear he was just outlining the textbook. I would have skipped every lecture except he knows how much we want to escape and takes and grades on attendance. (He gives "quizes" and it took us a while to realize that it didn't matter what answer we put on the paper so long as it had our name on it. This isn't mentioned in the syllabus or by the professor, so beware.)
The midterm was difficult, to say the least. The mean grade, after a "generous" 6 point curve, was a 70. He says he doesn't cover any obscure events/people in it, and he's right, but the facts he chooses to test us on /about/ these major terms are obscure. He asked a few "Who said '----'?" questions, for example. Got a 76 pre-curve and an 82 post-curve and still got a solid A in the class, though, so take that as you will.
The paper wasn't too bad for my section since Rodriguez wasn't trying to, with a single class, rein in grade inflation like the other TAs. Most of my section met with him after class a week before it was due and he answered our questions about the prompts and helped us get a general idea of what we should talk about. You have to use the primary source textbook for this (the only time I read it, so I guess another piece of advice would be to a) not read the chapters assigned here and b) not buy it, assuming the library has a copy and/or you have someone in the class willing to share). That was the most difficult part of the assignment since Frank expects you to be able to write 7 pages of in-depth analysis of a topic that you, as a lowly 1C student, only have a vague, broad knowledge of. With the topic I chose, for example, he expected me to use, almost exclusively, three documents (about ~5 pages) to write a paper whose scope would have to expand beyond those documents. Not really possible.
The final wasn't too bad, though. He gives you about 40 terms to memorize the definition of, why it was significant, and the general timeframe of when it was significant. The "themes" he puts in the study guide are so broad they were really intimidating, but the actual essay prompts themselves weren't too bad. Just remember that you don't need a thesis unless it asks for an OPINION so they're not really "essay questions" (more of elongated short answers). Just answer the question as bluntly, completely, and with as much detailed support as possible/necessary and you should be fine.
All in all a fine class with a horrible professor.
This professor was really a nightmare. His lecture is incredibly dry minus the jokes he occasionally drops in. Takes roll every class, and gives a take home essay for the final along an in class midterm. The Midterm was a 10 ID question format out of about 100 terms, all of the 10 he chose were not on his study guide, and fairly obscure. Very hard grader on the final paper, all in all don't take this class.
If you want to pull your hair out and cry for a quarter, take his class. He's the worst professor in the world! The workload is enormous! You're reading about 200 pages a week. His lectures can be interesting, but your hand will hurt by the end of class trying to keep up with him. He has office hours, but he won't reaturn emails even when he says he will. He seems approachable, even nice in person, but he doesn't care about his students. I think he's super jaded and although he knows a lot about Russia, he really needs to get out of teaching.
He's an asshole. Avoid his classes. His lectures don't make sense, are not chronological and he never gives you any of the Russian spellings. Won't return emails and doesn't have office hours. I did get an A though by basically writing a paper straight from the readings, no lecture notes... however he does take attendance.
Lmao at the reviews. The reviews describe him so well. He is an uber douchebag. For one, being a jerk to his students. Secondly, for giving his students B+s after they performed so well on the midterm. Ahh to be a history major. Anyway, stay away from this guy if you're a hard worker. This was the only class that I studied for alotlast quarter and I didn't get an A.
I had him for a fiat lux about the Romanov's, and he is by far the worst professor I have ever had. I would do anything to avoid ever having him again. I am a very conscientious student; I don't rate a professor badly just because he demands a lot of his students. Frank literally insulted us, and when we weren't jumping to answer his belligerent questions he yelled at us for not doing the reading (which was 50 pgs for a fiat lux) and kicked us all out (although we actually had done all the reading). I dropped the class after the 4th week, and everyone I know who stayed in regrets it, as he is failing almost everyone in the class and still insults them, while the readings are now 100 pgs a week. For a fiat lux. Rude, demanding while assuming the worst of all his students, and not even teaching anything in our fiat lux, I urge everyone who sees his name on a class listing to RUN AWAY. seriously.
The worst professor I've had so far at UCLA. He spends forever getting ready for lecture. His lectures are dry, boring, and obviously pre-written as he is reading off a paper on his podium.
The workload is enormous. 50+ pages of chapter reading plus 50+ pages of primary source reading a week, and in the middle of the quarter it was closer to 100 each. Also, his lectures rarely recap stuff from the book.
You have an 8-page paper to write. Pretty easy topics, but it is graded by your TA so it is all up to how nice your TA is. I had Alexander Zevin who was a great TA who really helped me out with knowledge I used for writing my paper and writing my essays for the final.
Midterm was a 50 question multiple choice. A lot harder than I thought it would be, and I studied real hard. I ended up with a B+ on it after the curve. I must have nailed the final, which was 2 essays and 5 short answers, as I ended up with an A in the class.
Like I said, I ended up with a solid A in the class. However, I realized, after finishing it, that my dumb freshman ass could have never gone to a single lecture and still would have got the same grade, as I never learned ANYTHING that helped me in the lectures. So, if you do take this class, know that if you just do the readings and do well on the paper, it's very easy to get an A in the class. However, if there is one thing you learn from this review, it is: DO NOT GO TO LECTURE! IT IS A WASTE OF YOUR TIME AND WILL NOT HELP YOU, AT ALL!
Frank is the worst professor I have ever had. He's a complete jerk. I went to his office hours one time, to ask a simple question about the midterm, and instead of getting a friendly response, he spent the whole time insulting me! Apparently, he had said something in class that I did not catch (this was a huge classroom, and he doesn't use a mic, so the students toward the back will have trouble hearing). He immediately assumed that I'd been sleeping during lecture, and said to me, "are you going to sleep during the midterm as well?" I didn't mind the sarcasm at first, but as I thanked him and started to walked out of the office, he called me pathetic! Also, if he considers your questions to be stupid, he won't answer your emails. I know, because when I emailed him about the final prompt, he never answered me. However, he did manage to send out a mass email to his students the next day.
Anyways, if you're going to take him, there's an in-class midterm (He only gave us 10 identifications to answer, and he curved it). The final was two 5-page papers, which weren't too bad. Russian history is interesting, but his lectures can get so boring, his sporadic jokes can't save them. In the end, I learned more by reading that tome he assigned than by going to class. Anyways, if he weren't such I jerk to his students, I might have thought his class bearable.
Professor Frank is an absolutely terrible lecturer. He makes awful jokes, and his power point slides are completely useless. He is extremely condescending to everyone in lecture and spends so much time doing NOTHING instead of lecturing at the beginning of class. All he does is read off of a pre-written script that, though it sounds beautiful, goes over an astonishly small amount of actual material. It's ridiculous. Very few people go to class, or if they do, they fall asleep. I went to about a third of the lectures and stayed awake for about a quarter of them. He did something pretty douchebaggy though: he gave two "pop quizzes" to check for attendance when he had not stated anything about pop quizzes or attendance in his syllabus. I missed both of them, but I still got an A. Make sure to go to discussion, it's worth 25% of your grade. His exams are pretty easy and he gives very explicit study guides. I'm a south campus major and absolutely detested this class, but it was definitely an easy A and more tolerable than some of the other GEs available.
Going to lecture for this class seemed to be impossible for me, even though it was an 11 AM class. I hated going to lecture AND discussion. However, since I'm double majoring in history, I made it to lecture sometimes. I always attended discussion because it counted for 25% of the grade. The lectures were not that great. His power points seemed to be pointless and he always read from a paper. Everyone was aching to leave. But the lectures did help me when I would not read the chapter. Reading the book is crucial, and read the important primary sources. There's a lot of reading for this class, so be prepared for that. If you do not like Western History, then please, do not take this class. Most of the information I already knew was from AP Euro. The midterm is multiple choice, the paper is doable, and the final is identification of terms and two essays (it's not as painful as you would think). I got an A- in the class.
I was looking forward to learning more about Western Civ during this time period... Unfortunately, Professor Frank managed to kill any interesting aspects of this course. His lectures are long-winded and extremely dull (even when he lectured on WWII... I don't know HOW you make that uninteresting, but he did.) However, I absolutely LOVED my TA (Kelly- get her if you can!), which made the 8am discussion completely worth it. I learned more from our discussions in section than I did at any number of Frank's lectures.
This course was rather easy, with only one major paper and a multiple-choice midterm. My love for history made this class bearable, but honestly, if you're not a history person... Don't take this class. It's the only thing that got me through it... And my awesome TA. Then again, my friend who took this class though Frank was a phenomenal lecturer... But he is a history major.
Best of luck! Glad to be done with this class.
Professor is funny from time to time during lectures, tries to keep it interesting. Always has ideas well laid out and does not waste time during lecture. That being said he talks a lot without really saying much, he does have important facts in lectures, however, he buries them under pages of other dialogue about the subject. Discussion was very useful, grade consisted of discussion (25%), midterm, essay, and final. With minimal effort besides the required reading in the actual history book I got a B+.
Overall he is a nice teacher, his jokes are funny, midterm and a final are not too hard. Midterm is a test, and a final is a take home paper. Knowing Russian history helps a lot. There is way too much reading, I stopped trying after the midterm.
First of all, Western Civilization is a boring topic to begin with. Letting him lecture just makes it worse. His lectures are pretty mundane, and it's the same thing every time! He attempts to make PowerPoint presentations, but all it has is pictures and maybe a caption. He TRIES to be funny, but many of his jokes are crude and offensive. He gives off a very arrogant air, and he is really full of himself. His lectures consist of him failing at handling the microphone, reading off a paper, making rude jokes, and tapping the podium (it gets really annoying). The midterm is relatively easy if you read and at least stay awake during lecture. Paper topics aren't too overbearing. As long as you can handle really bad attempts at jokes, you'll survive this class.
This guy is not a nightmare, but man is he boring. EVERY freaking class I would promise myself i am gonna pay attention and take notes.. it wouldnt even last 5 before i would be sleeping with my eyes open (sometimes closed lol). Anyway hes definitely not the worst thing, if you have no other options its not like its not doable, it is, its just a pain in the butt. If you absolutely have no other choice but to take him, go ahead you work a bit, read the material, meet with your TA, you should get an A. I got an A by almost no notes from the lectures, or lets just say about 10% of the notes, because after the first few attempts i stopped going to lectures. But again if you have other options, take them pleasee
You can learn anything you need to from the book. The primary sources book sucked horribly, so just read what you have to in order to get through the discussions. His jokes are witty, but there's too many and they're just low quality and I'm someone who usually enjoys witty jokes.
The grading really depends on the TA who's in charge of your entire grade, so if you decide to take this class or professor, hope to god that you get a good TA.
Other than the textbook, you don't need to read the supplementaries at all and won't be quizzed on it. Yes, his lectures can be boring, but his jokes aren't that bad...