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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.
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:
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 COURSE: ANE 15, Women and Power in the Ancient World
She is one of the best professors I've had at UCLA. Her lectures are so entertaining and more importantly, engaging. Whenever we got to a fact or trend that she found interesting or confusing she'd always open up the class for discussion, which would often take a good 15-20 minutes and sometimes put us off schedule. In that case she just changed the schedule/syllabus instead of trying to cram things in last minute. She really tried to make the class as interesting as possible, and it showed. We compared the systems of several different ancient societies as well as some discussion of the modern world.
There's one midterm, one final, a research paper, and some discussion section points. The midterm and the final are both 2 essays, the prompt of which she sent out about a week in advance. She would give us 3-4 options, but my friend and I correctly guessed which ones she would choose based on what she focused on in lecture. Everything you need for them is in her lectures, powerpoints, and assigned readings. Also, the TA's made it very clear what they were looking for in terms of formatting and structure, so you had some idea of how to approach each prompt. The paper was 10 pages and was very broad, allowing for virtually any topic in relation to women and the ancient world to be discussed. Our TA's kept us on track by having little assignments due every few weeks, like a general summary of your topic, or a bibliography/outline, etc. All of the grading was done by the TAs. It wasn't the easiest thing to write but the TAs are very fair about grading if you understand what they are looking for.
If she ever teaches this class again, I would DEFINITELY recommend it! I was taking Physics 6B and LS4 with it, and the workload was totally manageable. It isn't a free A, but you learn so much about the power systems of the ancient world and it's something you shouldn't avoid just because it challenges you to think.
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!
Excellent, fun, engaging professor! Cooney makes something ancient seem like something that we might all consider cool nowadays. She is a fresh professor whose lectures are entertaining, funny and super informative. I recommend her to anyone who is taking any ancient near east classes for the first time since she is patient and understanding since not all of us grew up taking courses like these since middle school. Grading was fair, the TA's she has are excellent and I found myself showing up 20 minutes early just to find a good seat and feeling like I was about to walk into a movie theater. SUUUUUUPER fun professor !
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.
Ancient Near East 15
One of the best teachers I've had! She is so engaging and absolutely hilarious. Not to mention she's super hot. I highly recommend taking her-- she is very knowledgeable and class is super fun. Would definitely take her again!
Amazing professor! One of the hardest classes I've taken but with one of the best professor I've had. The material was difficult but she made it fun and really knew how to explain things. You have to put a lot of time into this class, it's not an easy A. I highly recommend and would definitely take any other class that Kara is teaching!
Professor Cooney is an EXCELLENT professor. Her lectures are interesting and enjoyable. She really cares for her students. One of the very best classes I have taken at UCLA and I highly recommend her courses.
ACTUAL COURSE: Ancient Near East 15 (Women in Power)
She's the most entertaining professor I've had at UCLA so far. Seriously, she's funny and engaging and explains things really well. I don't love history classes, but this one was pretty great.
I would say it's a moderate workload for a GE--not too bad. There's not a TON of reading, but it's regular and you should do it. You don't get quizzed on it though--just talk about it in section. (I had Jacob Bongers as a TA and DEFINITELY recommend him! He was great.)
The research paper wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Of course I didn't like doing it, but pick a topic you like and you should be fine. I totally procrastinated. I started the week before and wrote the actual paper in a few days, finishing it the very day it was due, but I still got an A in the class. DON'T do this though, it's hell. Start early.
Midterm and final are fine because you get the questions beforehand. Studied / outlined the day before and got an A- on the midterm (not sure what I got on the final).
Prof. Cooney is all about systems and patterns, so no memorization of minute details. Just the basics. Midterm and final is basically just spitting out as many facts and big-picture ideas as you can remember in a mostly organized way (research paper isn't like this, though).
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