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I am actually a political science major and took the course because I personally feel like understanding other cultures is key to being able to get along and create peace within the globalized world, and in my experience art history has been an extremely effective way in getting a more holistic understanding of not only the government and institutions, but of the normal life of the citizens and their culture. The political climate today makes it especially imperative. After the first lecture of this class, I considered changing to pass/no pass because I had almost no background knowledge at all and felt so intimidated with the material. I felt like all of the classes I took in middle school, high school, and college were built off of things that I grew up being taught (for example, most students already know a lot about western civ but know almost nothing about eastern civ). I was extremely worried about this class to say the least. Doctor Overton, who is honestly extremely intimidating because she is so smart and so well versed in the field, has blown my mind with this course. She realizes we aren't experts and doesn't expect us to be, and has in turn structured the course accordingly. She incorporates relevant readings and interactives that allow students to get an actual understanding of the material, it's not just pure memorization. Her unit worksheets help so much with studying and her lectures are structured in such an organized and effective way. She constantly brings up the "big picture" ideas which help students actually synthesize information. The tests are multiple choice, fill in, short answer, etc. and are done in an odd way so the midterm feels harder since you don't know what to expect but you'll have the structure down for the final. There are no papers or anything, just a midterm, final, and four take-home quizzes. Dr. Overton does offer extra credit (in our quarter she offered 3 opportunities) that require effort and going into the library reserves but they help a TON. They're 3-5 points of extra credit each but when the tests are only 50 points it makes a huge difference. As I mentioned, I was terrified when I first started this course but I have learned so much and now walked away with an A+ in the course which I never would've expected. This professor and the course really reflect the ideals of UCLA and I have nothing but good things to say about it. I have had to work extremely hard, but the professor has provided me with the materials to succeed. This is a professor that truly cares about providing knowledge and a deeper understanding to her students. She touches on all forms of art so that students can get a holistic view of Eastern Islamic Art. So glad I took this course (yes, I am an actual student who took this course) and hope to take more courses with Dr. Overton in the future.
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