Review Comment

[COCI 1102] Contemporary Civilizations

April 24, 2016

Billows, Richard
[COCI 1102] Contemporary Civilizations

If you want a good grade, don't want to put in too much work, and want to walk away from CC having learnt something, THIS IS THE CLASS FOR YOU!

He begins with class everyday rocking in his chair like your typical grandpa, and briefs us about each author. It is obvious he is very well-read, has his own perspective on each of the others. After an introduction, he usually asks for our opinions. Most people haven't read the material or don't know what to say about it, and Billows doesn't mind continuing talking by himself.

We spend most of the class debating a lot of contemporary issues. So if that's problem for anyone, this isn't the class for you then. However, Billows is able to tie back those issues to the text, and draw some interesting conclusions. I have probably put in zero work (besides essays), but I've walked away learning something substantial.

He takes forever to hand back assignments, but its not that big of a deal.

Grading: Overall, he seems relatively simple. Just agree with what he says in class, and you can't do too poorly.


Two Essays-he comes up with the topic on the spot, everyone writes on the same topic. (you can tell he cares A LOT about this class)
Final-hoping for the same format as the midterm

July 28, 2015

Chandrani, Yogesh
[COCI 1102] Contemporary Civilizations

This was by far the worst class I have ever taken at Columbia. My biggest regret to this day has been switching into this class second semester. I will corroborate previous comments referencing his knowledge of course content but his efficacy as a professor unworthy of any praise. He is so soft-spoken to the point that students 3 chairs away from the head of the table will only hear indistinguishable mumbles. If you are so blessed to actually hear what he says, he provides explanations without any references to the text. Seeing as though papers and examinations are all take-home, you end up with a notebook full of notes, without any textual support. His grading is extremely harsh with minimal feedback and only question marks on the margins. He does offer to discuss papers before they are due but you basically have to have the entire paper written weeks in advance in order to receive any meaningful feedback. Finally, his course expectations are extremely unclear. For instance, he provides no feedback on weekly discussion posts, yet these posts are graded based on quality and content. As a result, you spend the entire semester trying to ask meaningful questions with no idea whether these questions are acceptable. Overall, his grading criteria for all aspects of the course lacked transparency and detail. STAY AWAY FROM THIS CLASS. Yogesh has the lowest A-range percentage out of any CC professor. Even if you want to learn philosophy or political theory, you won't learn anything here unless you spend hours and hours poring over notes and trying to comprehend his esoteric pedagogy. Seeing as though most students have 4-5 other classes to worry about as well, doing well in his class is nearly impossible without sacrificing time and effort for other courses

TL;DR: Yogesh is an extremely knowledgeable individual who is able to draw upon his expertise in anthropology but as an educator, he fails at every aspect.


2 Papers
Take-Home Midterm
Take-Home Final
Weekly Discussion Posts on Courseworks

May 11, 2015

Shaw, Beau Gold_nugget
[COCI 1102] Contemporary Civilizations

For anyone considering taking Beau Shaw, a few words of warning. His class is 'intellectually engaging' in that he attempts to make philosophy interesting. Though you probably won't fall asleep in class and he keeps conversation interesting, the work you do for his is very time-consuming as compared to other CC sections. The papers especially are a struggle because of their much greater length. The midterm and final are straightforward. His grading is very inconsistent and unclear, and he is absolutely unflinching on changing your grade after he decides it. His method of calculating the final grade is also not clear. Overall, Shaw is completely undeserving of the gold nugget he has- I'm almost certain there are professors who can both facilitate good discussion and not give busy work.


Weekly response papers (they are supposed to be about 3 pages but I did 500 words and he was generally fine with this, these are mostly busy work). Two long papers, 8-12 pages. Midterm and final are about 8 text questions and an essay- no passage IDs. Shaw also likes to see class participation.

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