All Ratings and Reviews for James Goodwin
(Note: The course that should be listed is Honors 10. Ignore the English 88H)
I should not be one to rate Professor Goodwin, seeing as I only took an honors class with him and do not know how difficult his actual English classes are. However, I found him to be a friendly, caring, earnest man, and our weekly discussions were quite pleasant and enjoyable. The readings he gave every week were not too excessive, and most of them were fairly interesting. He assigned us a movie to watch, which I thought was fantastic, and for our one essay for the quarter he let us pick any topic we wanted to write about. Professor Goodwin really enhanced my knowledge and interest in Plague culture, and I am so happy I took his class. I fully recommend taking Honors 10 with Professor Goodwin if he ever teaches it again.
Professor Goodwin is without a doubt, the worst professor I have ever had. His lectures are completely unorganized and lack direction. In comparison to professors like Dimuro or Kipling, whose lectures are clearly laid out and delivered very succinctly. For example, if a professor wants the class to understand a huge/major/important/stand out moment in a plot or theme, said professor will drive that point home, perhaps repeat the point a few times. Goodwin does not do this. Professors often have notes that they rely on to ensure that they cover everything they want the class to know. I once had a history teacher that sat down with a stack of paper and class would not end till he got through his stack. Boring? Yes. Tedious? Yes. However, he covered everything and his lectures had direction. Even professors that kind of improvise their lectures such as Braunmueller, Lincoln, and Borst have clear direction with succinct instruction. They are encyclopedic on their knowledge of the subject matter. They repeat key themes/ideas. Goodwin does none of this. He rambles and almost all of his sentences trail off with some nearly incoherent rambling string of words that die in volume as he wears himself out from talking in circles. Oh yeah, and his lectures are basic summaries void of any in depth/close reading.
Student discussions? Not in this class. If you have a differing opinion from him his reply is always, “that’s a bit too…absurdist, if you understand what I mean.” No, we don’t understand. Why don’t YOU explain what you mean, Professor. He had the gall to argue with a student over the possibility of a homosexual reading of A Streetcar Named Desire. What the student said was exactly what they taught in an LGBT literature class. Isn’t literature all about opinions, interpretations, and so on? In all of my assignments for Dimuros class and for his essay’s during the final he encouraged us to strive to say something new and different about the literature. “Be original.” Isn’t the purpose of college to open our minds, to experiment and develop new themes, and so on? Unfortunately Goodwin only wants students to regurgitate what he says in lecture.
His grading is absolutely ridiculous. In 500 words he expects students to cover every important point of each play. This is not an exaggeration at all. His questions are so simple that they lend themselves to very broad and easy answers. However, he is looking for a very, very, very specific answer. I confronted him about this and his reply was, “well, it’s implied in the question.” No, you did not ask what is the unifying conflict between both couples. You did not ask what was the main conflict between both couples. You simply asked, “list the onstage/off stage drama between both couples.” You have to be a mind reader to know what he wants you to say. I barely got a decent grade when I should have received an “A.” I busted my hump through two Shakespeare classes, Milton, and Dostoevsky. Those classes were incredibly taxing, rewarding, and challenging. I received B’s and A’s in those classes and they were the hardest classes I have ever taken. Goodwin’s material and lectures are simple. He even admits that the material is not difficult. Yet his grading is unreasonable. How is it that after taking those classes (which are obviously much more challenging) all of the other students and myself had such a hard time in Goodwin’s drama class? He sets us up for failure.
AVOID THIS CLASS AT ALL COSTS. I read the reviews here before I took the class and have to agree, I only took the course because I needed the units. It’s just an awful course. He likes to say, “eeeeeeeedipus themes” a lot. On the last day of class he said, “in the end, I hope this course encouraged you to go to the theater.” Fat chance! You ruined it for me for sometime. With all of the budget cuts, UCLA should fire Goodwin immediately. If they are going to continue this course, they really should find a different teacher. He is a waste of time and money.
THIS IS MY FIRST B IN ENGLISH AT UCLA... I received a B+ on the midterm (highest grade in the class) and I studied my a** off for the final. I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO THE PREVIOUS POSTERS: this class is not wroth it; regardless if you have previous experience with drama, etc. We had actors in our class who couldn't get higher than a B on their exams/essays even though they were professionals and had been acting for 10+ years. I don't know what his problem is, but I don't care! The class is a breeze: cool plays, lively lectures. BUT THE GRADING IS BEYOND UNREASONABLE.
THANKS GOODWIN FOR RUINING MY GPA RIGHT BEFORE GRADUATION!
The lectures were engaging and helpful to grasp the plays. He had an upbeat attitude, showed up on time, was always prepared, and allowed for plenty of discussion. He made sure the plays were on reserve and that movies/films were available to us. He was a bit harsh when someone tried to voices a different opinion about a play. I think the negative reviews stem from his grading. He has a reader but he also goes over the tests and the essays. EXPECT to write REALLY short essays: Midterm was 800 words with only ONE prompt; Final was 1000 words with ONE prompts but two mini essays. You pretty much had to get everything out in 3 pages and for the final, in 2. There are no IDs: he asks for you to talk about the plays and he even gives you lists of characters so you know which play you are discussing. Although the class sounds easy (and mostly it is), his grading on the essay was really draconian: I made one generalization (again, i had 2 & 1/2 pages)and he gave me a B. It's hard because 40% is Midterm, 60% Final. There is no make-up, he will not distribute any test early/late and there is no EC...
He is NICE but your grade hangs on a few pages and as an ENGL major although the feeling should be familiar, I did not feel comfortable with his grading methods or scale.
I took modern drama with Professor Goodwin, and while I think a lot of the comments are pretty harsh, he did give me the only B I have received at UCLA. I loved the material (and I cannot stress that enough, the plays are awesome)and his lectures were informative and engaging. However, as others have written he does not like the people who don't attend lecture or don't participate. Personally, I thought I was participating but... Also, the final paper was on a play that was not discussed in lecture, and we were apparently expected to produce some hard hitting material. I did not miss a single lecture, took extensive notes and still had a hard time with both exams. If you GPA is dear to you, avoid this class unless you are unusually talented at the art of kissing ass. Otherwise, it is a wonderful break from the monotony of literature but be sure to show up, speak up, and read up.
Professor Goodwin is by far one of the most ruthless graders at UCLA. I received my first C at UCLA in his class. His class is not difficult because it is mentally challenging or the material is dense, but his class is difficult because he is unclear about what he expects for his midterm and final-- which is only made worse by his no-mercy approach to grading. He is a charismatic man, but as a professor he is lacking. Avoid taking his class by all means, unless you are indifferent to your grades, do not like to participate, enjoy hearing students read play lines, don't care for support outside of class, and can mind read (for his midterm and final.)
This was one of the worst English classes I have ever taken, in and out of college. We read a bunch of cliche plays that most of us had read in high school (Raisin in the Sun, Death of a Salesman), which seemed harmless and easy, but the grading was ridiculously hard and denied most people an 'A'. My essay turned out to be a B+ because he didn't like my 'word choice' and circled two individual words. He is not very intelligent and makes it very hard to get a good grade, and is extremely boring (the 2 hour lectures were painful). Also, as someone mentioned, he reenacts the play with people in the class during lecture, which just about drove me insane. Definitely NOT a class I would recommend.
If I absolutely had to take Goodwin again because I had no other choice, I would. Other than that, I definitely would not recommend him. We read 15 plays over the course of the quarter. His lectures were incredibly boring and he loves the sound of his own voice. He's a nice guy and loves drama and the theatre but he isn't such a good professor. The class is 40% midterm 60% final. Nothing else counts, but he strongly dislikes the students who miss lecture. The final is also cumulative (8-10 essay questions); could be on any of the 15 plays. Goodwin is also not very approachable. He's difficult to talk to and projects that he doesn't want to do any work outside of what he's required to (simply lecture).
The syllabus for this class was one of the best I've ever seen. The plays we read were interesting and the discussions were engaging. I enjoyed the class thoroughly. However, when it came to the final paper (worth 60% of the grade!!) I felt a bit unprepared. Though we exhaustively discussed the plays, I felt we didn't have enough time to practice out our ideas on paper, regarding the subject of the class, tragicomedy.
The tone of the class is quite deceiving; the class is relaxed, and he encourages any and all questions and idea, while the paper is quite difficult. Since the first paper is also the last, the student has no room to improve on his or her writing and ideas.
It's true that I should have started writing this paper week one, cause he does give you AMPLE time to write your paper, but I'm a student! Let's be realistic; though I could have done more to start my paper earlier, the class could have also given more opportunities to practice these ideas.
if youre going to take a class with goodwin, i would recommend english 118 - film and lit. he's a nice guy, and being able to integrate movie clips with lecture made the two hour class twice a week enjoyable, and definitely manageable. plus, who wouldn't love a class where your homework is to watch movies? :) he can get a little boring but hes usually aware enough to see you're dozing and tries to shake things up.
as far as grading concerns, he's really not a hard grader, you just really need to be thinking about the material slightly above the level of regurgitating his lectures. if you can develop an idea throughout an essay you will be fine. we had in class essays for both the midterm and final and he even provided one of the essay questions beforehand. he really is passionate about the ties between film and lit and it shows. watch the movies and take mental notes.
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