First let me just say that I got an A- on the midterm, i have gone to every class and done all the readings ahead of time. That said, professor coffing is the second worst prof. that i have had at ucla. When she is lecturing, it sounds like she is trying to be quiet because she is at the library. Her voice is so low and monotonous that i just about fall asleep everyday in the front row. The only reason that I did well on the midterm was because a lot of the material was the same as LS 15. I really feel sorry for those students that did not know the material ahead of time. She rushes so quickly through the important material that you do not have enough time to take good notes. If it weren't for Lecture Notes from Ackerman, I would be lost. She really makes no attempt to make the material interesting and she seems like she lacks a personality. I'm sure that she is a very smart person and she might be well trained in her field but she is not a great professor. You would be better off taking this course when it is taught by a different professor; just wait the extra quarter or whatever it takes.
Like the previous review, I find her to be the 2nd worse prof I have had at UCLA. This class is billed as a lecture, however, she calls it a discussion class. There was absolutely no meaningful discussion whatsoever the whole quarter. We had an 800 page reader with reading assignments for each class. The readings were very interesting, however, they were very redundant. The whole quarter consisted of reading for the day and then coming into class and reiterating what we read. When a student would question the readings she would basically ignore it. When she chimed in with her views she was very dry, boring, and monotone. Stay away from any class she teaches.
This class could have been incredibly boring as, though I love Anthropology, australopithicines can be very dry. But it WASN'T! Dr. Coffing is a great professor. She's engaging, aware of the curent developments in the field, and encourages you to think for yourself. The midterm and final come almost entirely from the questions the students submit, so you have a very fair idea of what to know. She's very dedicated and interested in making you interested in the subject. I can't wait to take another class with her.
Professor Coffing led this seminar of about 16 students very well. Although there was a lot of reading involved, we would critically discuss each of the topics. "Critical discussion" may not be the appropriate description...it was more like ripping up some of the theories and laying down the truth. Coffing has made me more aware of my ability to be skeptical, which sadly seems like a new concept in a university setting where we are almost always expected to simply regurgitate others' opinions. Take this class if you want to be challenged and to challenge the work of other anthropologists.