Fall 2020 - I guess the pros and cons of this class can be summarized by the following: --The professor cares and you will learn A LOT about Islam Now normally, a class where you learn a lot, and where the professor cares is a good thing. In many ways for this class, it is a good thing: the professor responds to emails, the professor has engaging lectures, and the course modules are very well designed. Furthermore, I learned more about Islam than I ever imagined I would have. Regardless of your experience with Islam, you WILL learn about things you will have no idea that existed. This class really opened my eyes about what Islam is and isn't. That said, the professor acts as if this class is the only class we're taking. The workload makes engineering upper-divs look like cakewalks. During a typical week, you will be assigned 80 or so pages, and you WILL be tested on them. One week, I was assigned 160 pages of reading. Yes, that's right, 160 pages of dense reading, that ranges from really engaging to mind-numbingly boring. You will also need to acquire Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World and An Introduction to Muhammad. Those books are NOT listed as required books, but they are. Exams are generally not too bad, but you will have 3 of them, weighted equally. You will be given a study guide for each of them, and exams are short response. Fortunately, the study guide has questions that will be on the exam, and since they're open note you can really prepare for them. Modules are also graded on correctness, and discussion sections are mandatory, with participation graded. Discussion sessions do cover tested materials. Like most GEs, the discussions were well organized (Azeem Malik was an awesome TA). Apparently, there's some extra credit, but never needed it; my grade was never seriously in jeopardy. In normal years, there is a final paper required for this class. Fortunately, due to COVID, it was made optional (no-harm), but I imagine it would be hard to do Maybe if we were on the semester system, the class would not be as bad. Then again, Dr. Sayeed would probably use the extra time to pile on even more work. Regardless, we're on the quarter system. so the class has horrible amounts of work. But if you are really interested about Islam, and have a lot of time on your hands, this class actually teaches you a lot.
Fall 2020 - This class and professor Sayeed are excellent. The lectures (and weekly readings) are consistently interesting and the professors always leave sufficient time at the end of class to answer questions. Also, having multiple professors teach the course means there are many more office hours than typical courses, making it easier to attend, ask questions, and get to know the professors. Unlike what my high school teachers warned of, the professors care about the individual students in the class and actively respond to student feedback. In my class, we mentioned that the workload was too much and the professors responded and decreased it to a manageable level. The TAs are really exceptional; they are easy to talk to, extremely knowledgeable, reachable outside of class/discussion, and are accommodating of personal issues. I highly recommend this class to STEM students looking for GEs. The cluster covers a wide variety of subjects and methodologies, letting you focus on the things you enjoy doing. Also, it forces you to get accustomed to reading peer-reviewed academic papers, which is a good skill to have if interested in doing research of any kind, including STEM research.
Winter 2016 - Islam in the West with Professor Sayeed was one of my favorite classes at UCLA. Her lectures are very engaging and thought-provoking. The discussion sections are also fun; I had a lot of meaningful discussions with my TA and classmates. By taking this class, you will be one step ahead of everyone else in understanding issues regarding Muslims in the West.
Winter 2018 - Professor Sayeed is a great professor who really cares about her students and their learning. She is very fair and willing to adapt the syllabus and give extra credit when needed. The class was very interesting and I enjoyed going to lectures. The information covered is very contemporary, relevant, and feels like it is actually applicable to real life. There is a required field visit to an Islamic institution to be incorporated into the final paper for the class, which was relatively difficult to arrange and actually do, but it was a meaningful experience that I ultimately enjoyed. Overall, I would definitely recommend this class and would definitely take it again with Professor Sayeed.