Lauren Derby

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Easiness 5.0/ 5
Clarity 3.0/ 5
Workload 4.0/ 5
Helpfulness 4.0/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2020 - I took Food in the Atlantic World over the zoom year. Professor Derby is so nice and if you express interest in any topic she'll do what she can to help you out. Her class is pretty much a straight lecture in which she discusses themes from the readings. I encourage you to go to her office hours. There isn't as much opportunity to engage in class, and she's very understanding and helpful if you talk to her in person. There were no tests, it was all paper based, so people that weren't either already into the topic or didn't take time to talk to her about their papers, had a harder time. You definitely need to know how to write a history paper because she grades like an English teacher. I didn't do as well as expected on the first paper so I followed her suggestions to use the History Writing Center for my second paper and I did well (I had never written a history paper before). For the final paper I talked to her in office hours and I did fine. A lot of people were disappointed in what they interpreted as nitpicky grading and this is definitely not a class in which you learn to write. You have to do that on your own. Most of the complaints were from people with high b's and a high b is into actually a bad grade and she won't treat it as a bad grade or raise it for you when you complain. Its an easy class in that you don't need to prove your participation (there was a weekly blog discussion board for that) and you could skip lectures and she gives lots of opportunity for attending talks and getting extra credit. But its hard in that you need to know how to write a good paper on your own- its not the kind of class where you build the paper in class. There is also a lot of reading and you have to use those readings in your papers. I learned a lot about the food exchange in transatlantic trade and I came into the class with a lot of food knowledge. So, it's worthwhile if you're into food history.
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