Winter 2017 - This class has good reviews, but Professor Cooney probably writes them herself. This is genuinely the worst class I've ever taken in my entire life. I am a south campus major and this class caused me more stress than my other classes. My TA, @Dani Candelora, was absolutely horrible. She accused me of academic dishonesty and was very impolite and rude to her students. That being said, the grade you get depends entirely on your TA. Cooney is very pretentious and only talks about her own experiences, not what we need to know for the midterm and final. Pretty much half the class is pointless because very few of the lectures pertain to what she actually tests you on. There were a lot of students who tried to kiss up to Cooney and talk about their own views on feminism, which none of the other students actually care about. The lectures are incredibly boring and truly pointless to attend. The final paper is ridiculous because no one teaches you how to do it, it's extremely long, and the process of choosing a topic is difficult. The topic she suggests are too specific and obscure, and the TAs claim most topics are too broad. She doesn't know much about India, China, and Persia but still tried to lecture about it. It looked extremely unprofessional. No matter what any of the other reviews say, I promise you will regret taking this class. It is absolutely horrible.
Fall 2021 - If you're looking for an easy GE this class might not be it simply because of the amount of writing you have to do. Although the material itself isn't hard, there's atleast one thing always due at the end of the week. There are weekly 1 page "activity journals" that you have to complete by Friday 11:59 pm, alongside any other assignments, and often you had to have watched the lectures in order to answer the prompt. Some of the readings are short but most of them are pretty long, usually 20+ pages. I got by without really reading anything, besides skimming for quotes when I needed them for the paper/weekly activities. Watching the pre-recorded lectures and TA videos are required for participation, as well as having two zoom meetings with your TA. Alonside the weekly activity journals is a 3-4 page paper on Michael Mann's book on "Sources of Power" (due week 3), which is a topic you pretty much have to deal with the rest of the quarter. A general consensus the class had on Michael Mann's book is that he talks a lot but says nothing, where he goes on long tangents that aren't always entirely related to what the TAs are looking for. You will have to implement Michael Mann's IEMP model into your research paper/podcast. There is a project that can either be done in paper or podcast form. There was very little guidance/detailed instructions on how to do the podcast, and because this class is online/asynchronous, it is hard to get help on it. Thus, I did the paper and I will only give details on that. The final research paper is due at the end of week 10/beginning of finals week depending on your TA. It has four parts to it. The first part is introduced around week 4 in which you have to start an annotated bibliography and begin forming your preliminary thesis/research argument. The annotated bibliography needs 4 primary and 4 secondary sources, each with a summary of what it is, who its written by, how is it useful for your research, etc. This portion was due week 6 at 11:59pm and is 5% of the total grade. The second part of the final paper is your rough draft, which must be 10-12 pages in length, and must include a bibliography and a "figures sheet," which is pretty much where you put images of primary sources you used, considering many primary sources you will use consist of ancient relics like tombs, stone carvings, etc. This portion is 10% and due week 8 at 11:59pm. Week 8 is also the only week where there was no activity journal due. The 3rd portion of the final paper is a peer review due week 9 at 11:59pm and is part of the participation grade. The 4th portion is the final/revised draft due around week 10 at 11:59pm and is worth 30%. A recording of you presenting your research is the final assignment, and is worth 5%. I personally did not read or buy the professor's book. She also includes online access to other required readings, but her book is not one of them. Professor Cooney's lectures are engaging and she is a great presenter. However, there isn't much guidance on how to formulate your research psper, but it helps to base it on how she dissects each ancient society and what it means for a woman's access to power there. She has a total of two live events, and attending them in full gives one extra credit point for each event. Overall grading breakdown: Participation 20% Reading Journal 20% Assignment #1- Mann Synthesis 10% Assignment #2- Research Paper (45% total) • Part I- Thesis & Annotated Bibliography (5%) • Part II- Rough Draft (10%) • Part III- Peer Review (part of participation) • Part IV- Final Draft (30%) Assignment #3- Final Presentation/Podcast 5% Depending on your TA, the grading can be strict or lenient. I had Aaron Samuels; although he can be a bit curt, I found him to be pretty chill and a lenient grader conpared to other TA's. Overall, the class material can be interesting but I wouldn't go out of my way to take it.
Actual class taken: Ancient Near East 15 Amazing professor! She made the class really fun and engaging. The workload is very light, and your grade is made up of a midterm, final, and 10 page paper. Professor Cooney makes boring material lively, and I know I am leaving this class with valuable information in my brain!
Fall 2018 - Grading is handled by the T.A.s and for the reason that TAs often change, my review is mostly for Professor Cooney. Her lectures were interesting, although she unnecessarily injects her own political views into the discussion. This is a bit hypocritical, for when students asked about whether or not ancient Egyptians were 'black' or darker toned skin, she told us to stop "obsessing" about these types of issues and projecting our own ideas of 21st century race relations onto the ancient past. True, but she should also do the same. What really disappointed me about Cooney was our after-class discussion. I approached her with questions about other Egyptologist's, like John Anthony West. She was very closed minded about new findings & research. She even told me to rely on wikipedia rather than on books I mentioned regarding these topics. When I told her wikipedia is unreliable for anything other then hard facts/general reference, due to biased/anonymous editing, she scoffed at me. I thought professors, esp. those at UCLA, would have better suggestions for research than wikipedia? What we had discussed must have angered her, because over the weekend, she had added a slide to the following class lecture. I know she added it because it had nothing to do with the day's subject, instead it had a photo regarding a topic I had mentioned to her. Specifically, it was a picture of a book, alongside a picture of a UFO. I could not believe how petty this was! The book doesnt mention anything about aliens, it was about dating the pyramids as older then 2000BCE, and written by a geologist. If she took the time to skim through its contents she would have known this. But instead, she tried to humiliate me in front of the class by associating new research to unrelated alien theories in order to defend her own dogmas. Not ok and very unprofessional. She is not a supportive professor, and if you disagree with her, she will use her status to try and demean you. Beware.
Professor Cooney is by far my most favorite professor EVER! She is very entertaining and makes each class a joy to look forward to. She really does not have much of a structure to her class it is very flexible and fluid. She is hilarious and simplifies the information for everyone so that it is easy to remember. There is only one midterm and final. Her tests are not necessarily hard, but it is a challenge because there is not enough time to write down everything. If you attend lecture you are golden because everything is comprehensible. I did study a lot for her tests but her encouragement helps in pushing oneself to do their best. She is helpful and easy to approach and will answer ANY questions you have. I highly recommend her, even if the class is not in your major just take it for the fun of it!
Professor Cooney was an excellent professor. She is a great lecturer, and also has a very cool, down to earth vibe about her. She does not take herself too seriously and was constantly cracking jokes about Egypt and especially its themes of sexuality. As for difficulty, I can't comment on her grading expectations since all of that was handled by her TA's (who were awesome and incredibly helpful). Her class format was not easy, however. Grades consisted partialy of a midterm and final, both essay format in which two prompts would be selected for in-class responses. The midterm pool of potential essays was 6 which was subsequently narrowed to 5, and the final pool was 4 narrowed to 3. The list of prompts came out 2 weeks in advance which was generous. The process of researching and memorizing up to 5 essays was tedious, but the test day selection process didn't appear to be entirely random, and I would suggest putting more time into the prompts which cover the most significant points of the course material. On top of these exams we also had a 12 page research paper which could be on virtualy any topic regarding the Middle and Old Kingdom of Egypt. Definitely dedicate a sufficient amount of time to this assignment. Many people in the class put it off until the the weekend before its due date (which was Wednesday of finals week), and I'm sure the necessity of finals study combined with the research paper brought them poor grades. A nice boost comes from 10% of your grade being participation and attendance, so definitely show up to compensate for any exam or paper shortcomings. A tip for sucess in this class is to take advantage of the TA's copious office hours. Check in with them frequently, as they will tell you straight up if your paper is up to snuff. I haven't recieved my grade yet, but I am expecting a hard earned A.