Based on 66 User s
As an engineering major who took this class for fun alongside another writing 2 class, I can without a doubt say that this was the best course I have taken at UCLA. The class teaches you how to think and to question all the preconceived notions that you hold about topics like aliens. Shorter really makes you think outside your own worldview and really challenges you to question your own worldview. The class isn't even really about aliens, psychics, and ghosts per say. I would characterize the class as a referendum on how we acquire knowledge and choose what we believe and do not believe through the lens of alien encounters. Overall, I would recommend this class to anyone that can enroll because it will change your worldview for the better. Also come into the class with an open mind because your experience will be 100x better than those who are stubborn and not willing to question their worldview.
Discussion sections were the most enriching discussions I have ever been a part of, which was amplified because of people's willingness to share and actually do the readings. Also TA Jackie Davis did not bring her own viewpoints into the section, which definitely allowed for free flowing and exciting discussions about lecture and the reading.
I feel like the people who hated the class were not willing to even consider other viewpoints (literally the whole point of the class) and did not seek help from the TA during office hours for writing advice. I went into TA office hours and we went over my argument structure and which evidence I would use to prove each point. My TA (Jackie Davis) would discuss with you exactly which ideas are fleshed out and which ones could be more compelling. After this, just follow every small detail that Professor Shorter lays out to receive an A.
I took Aliens Psychics and Ghosts with Shorter and it was one of the coolest classes I've ever taken at UCLA. His lectures are interesting and the subject material (as you can imagine) is interesting/freaky/thought provoking. Shorter is a very engaging character who will keep you awake the entire time (guaranteed). Lectures are a combo of discussion of the reading, lecturing, and video/audio clips. There was a lot of reading that you'll have to do to take a lot out of this class, but it is worthwhile. It makes you want to keep reading. There were some short reading pop quizzes. The class focused upon a final research paper that counts for both a midterm and a final. He is a major stickler for writing, but I assure that you will end up writing one of the best research papers of your UCLA career. Anyhow, if you want to challenge yourself to learn about something you probably haven't thought about much, definitely take Shorter's class.
The professor is cool, the class content is interesting, but the grading is by far too demanding. I went into this class thinking it was going to be an easy way to check off my writing 2 requirement and get an easy A. About half way through the quarter, Shorter informed us past bruin walk reviews no longer reflected the class because he had changed up the grading scale (there are no longer 20 points of extra credit, maybe ~8 offered). The class is out of 100 and, even if you write a perfect analytical paper, there are many places to lose points through college rule (college rule covers contractions, 'it,' grammar, etc). Each mistake on the college rule is a .25 to 3 point deduction. On one of my papers, I lost more points on the college rule rather than on the content of my paper, this mistake cost me 3 points/ a letter grade (this class weighs content and grammar equally). Shorter also introduces a very specific writing structure that must be followed in order to not lose points (e.g significance statements, problem and solutions, etc.). There are 5 assignments (1x4 pg, 2x5pg, 1x1pg, 1x6.5 pg) and attendance is worth 15 points. If you care about your GPA, I would not recommend taking this class unless you plan on investing a significant amount of time in it by going to your TA's office hours to review each paper before turning it in and combing through for any possible point deductions. Also, there are a lot of readings so make sure you have time for those too so you can keep up with class discussions and earn the pop quiz extra credit points. If you're genuinely interested in the class content, I recommend getting your writing 2 out of the way with some other class and taking this one P/NP so you don't have to stress about each point you lose on the writing assignments. The class discussions are interesting and Shorter is a fun professor who cares about his students. I learned a lot about aliens and, as a south campus major, I appreciated Shorter's lectures and perspective. However, do not expect an A out of this class without putting in time, it is no longer an easy A.
I do not recommend this for anyone looking to satisfy a writing II requirement. The professor is a nice person overall and shares a lot of his personal stories, but his standards of grading are way too high. If you are a south campus student and care about your GPA, this class does not help as a GPA booster and will give you a lot more stress than other writing II classes. I’m sure anyone could get an A in this class if they go to both the professor/TA office hours weekly and set aside hours of reading daily. But coming into this class as a good writer won’t really help.
Do not take this class. If you are looking at the past bruinwalk reviews IT IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE. The grading is tough and the professor requires you write extensively. The topic of the class is interesting but he requires you to have a certain style of writing. There are extra credit points but are very limited so don't think that it is an easy A. I came into class looking a bruinwalk, but the class is completely different now so think twice before you enroll in this class.
Class taken: W51 Aliens, Psychics and Ghosts
Very eye-opening class. I found it incredibly intellectually stimulating and Professor Shorter is a very engaging and charismatic lecturer. As for the writing portion, just follow the rules carefully and you'll do great. If you're open-minded and interested in the subject, definitely take his class!
I personally found his pedagogical style not a good fit. Not enough freedom to engage in discussion. Interesting?
Yes. Probably not a good fit for English Majors though and talks down to the class even though some of us are hardly children. Interesting material though.
Where do I even start? Professor Shorter...is one of the best professors I have ever met. He's so energetic and passionate about his work. He really does care about the students and really wants them to get something out of his classes. He is incredbily funny which makes the class even more enjoyable. Take it!
I took his Aliens, Psychics and Ghosts class---Haha, I know, this can be difficult to think they'd offer a class like this at UCLA but they do. You know what, Shorter puts up a huge front in the beginning, but he's really not that bad. Yes, he has his methods of lecture that come off somewhat condescending, but his lectures force you to pay attention. He's actually just severely sarcastic, and that can come off as really funny. The readings were, different. I suppose as long as you have an open mind coming into this class, it's not so bad. I had to fight with a lot of the beliefs, because I'm sure individuals like myself, found it hard to take some of the topics very seriously because of lack of tangible proof. You really had to do the readings and attend lecture because he did pop quizzes and took attendance (sign-in sheet). Some people aren't fond of his grading or assignments because he has his way of writing the perfect paper (which is pretty much your entire grade on one paper)--but what teacher doesn't have their way of perfect writing? Just be like me, and keep on his ass about it. The more persistent you are, the more he'll respect you and help you. He's is approachable too, just go in and talk to him. Plus, after you hand in your final (the research paper), he gives you a cookie. I guess this is his peace offering to bitter or offended students, haha.