Wow. My first semester was a blast, thanks to Professor Whitford. He exudes and energy and classroom presence that reminds me why I came to Columbia in the first place. (Why does the man not have a gold nugget by his name yet?) Sure, he goes on tangents and talks a little too fast. But he warns you of that on the first day of class. He truly has a passion for his work, and he just wants you to understand the concepts. Even after the class ended I still can apply the concepts he taught, and frequently bring them up at parties, much to my guests' chagrin. The texts can be tedious, but he has accommodating office hours and will stay after class as well to answer questions or just chat. The grading depends on the TA, but the average grade was a B-B+ with a good percentage receiving A's. Do you readings and memos and you should easily get a B. I am not a sociology major, and this class counts as my QR requirement. Still, I enjoyed hearing him speak about interesting and controversial topics, make jokes, and complain about how a 10:30am class is too early. Take this class! You will be glad you did.
By far one of the best classes I have ever taken at Columbia. Prof. Whitford is charismatic, funny, knowledgable, and incredibly good at listening to his students. Sometimes the lectures are hard to sit through, but that's only if you haven't read the book. If you did read the book, the class is fun and fast paced, but not so fast that you can't keep up, you learn a lot about sociology very quickly. This was my first introduction to sociology, and now I'm considering switching majors. Prof. Whitford is very approachable, and his weekly memos are really forgiving (you get four re-do's on the memos). If you decide to take the class, I highly recommend you go to his office hours to ask for help on the paper!
Professor Whitford is so coool!!!! I just loved the way he teaches this class! I like the fact that he does not require us to memorize anything, but to UNDESRTAND the main concepts and to know how to approach any type of scientific evidence critically. The books were just awesome, I had difficulty finishing them because I would stop almost on every page to think about what I have just read or to discuss it with my husband. His lectures are great too. He really wants you to think about the stuff you read. You don't have to agree with him, but you should be able to argue you point while providing some evidence. Class discussions, comments, and questions are encouraged, by the way. Than you have separate discussion sessions once a week with TA's, which were great also. Yeah, I have to admit, reading a book and writing a 2 page memo on it every week, as well as writing a 10-page paper was a pain in the neck, but at least it was interesting and rewarding. The grading mostly by TA's, except for some portions of the exams. And if this is your Quan. Reasoning fullfillment choice because you can't do math, than go for it because there is NO math in this course. I got an A for the class.
Took it last spring. I loved the material and the way the readings were ordered, but the lectures were difficult to sit through for the most part, esp. since he tends to not finish his sentence and also reiterate the same point like 5x like you're braindead. You will learn from his lectures for sure, but it's by no way does it keep you engaged the whole time. As a person he's great and brilliant, but he would do better in a small class setting rather than 70+ people lecture. As long as you keep up with the readings, do the assignments, and go to class 50%+ of the time, there won't be any problems. My TA was awesome, so if you have a good TA, get a lot of help from them in learning how to analyze arguments, synthesize your own, etc.
WARNING WARNING WARNING I do not know where these glowing reviews of Prof Fisher are coming from. They certainly are not coming from her methods class. I have YET to meet a single student in the class who did not find her teaching extremely problematic. For one thing, her lectures are, shall we say, of limited value. AKA she simply reads from the book. Any one of the students could give the same lecture! For another thing, as another review mentioned, her grades do not always seem related to your performance and skills. You can learn the material really well and do poorly. You can also have a mediocre grasp and do well. FINALLY--favoritism. This is pretty unprofessional, but also pretty obvious. It does not matter why. If she does not like you for whatever reason, you will do worse than you deserve. If she does like you, you will do better than you deserve. I hate to write such a scathing review, but I heard the same thing from EVERY other student I have ever met who has taken her methods class. Some got A's, some barely avoided C's. This really sucks, because this class is worth four points. So what can you do? 1) You need to go to lecture. It's part of the grade. BUT you probably will hurt yourself if you closely read the chapters before the lecture. Then you will seem too smart for your own good, and she will not like you. Better to skim so that you kind of understand, then find a way to ask questions that show you have read, without seeming too smart. 2) Choose easy topics for your project. She will not reward you for trying to gain knowledge in a more difficult project, and will probably penalize you. 3) Sometimes she does collaborative projects. Do NOT I repeat do NOT work with a student she obviously does not like. Then you will be tagged by association. If you must work with this student (maybe you actually like the student), make sure to choose the option where you write your paper independently. Do NOT write a joint paper with a student she does not like. 4) Some teachers are stimulated by being challenged in class. She is not one of them. Never challenge her in class. 5) The methods textbook can be a good reference while you write your papers. But be sure not to include anything from the textbook she did not mention in class.
Fisher's classes generally seem to be her causally going over the course material from the book, and/or reading verbatim from them and looking up occasionally to ask or answer questions with the class. This is when material is actually gone over in class. Very often I felt that going to class was a complete waste of time being that she would discuss with a few of her favorites the intricacies of their projects while everyone else simply listened. There was a lot of reading assigned, and very often it was not at all easily accessible by the students. Most people did not do the reading, but were able to follow what they were all about regardless. There were a few very valuable classes which I am glad I attended which pertained directly to introductory sociology, which I found interesting. The rest was a rather big disappointment. The only reason I found myself going to class would be to listen if there were any little clues she would intentionally let slip regarding the midterm or final exams. I learned a lot about the process sociologists go through to collect and analyze data, but as for the overall class experience it was far from remarkable.
When I first joined Professor Fisher's class I didn't expect much. It was too big for my taste (50 stuents +/-) and lectures never seem to keep me awake. However, I was pleasantly suprised. She manages to explain all the material while being lively, creative, and engaging the entire class, but not in a professorial-im-obviously-superior way. She's completely down to earth and willing to talk to students as many times as necessary. The workload is absolutely manageable: three quizzes that test the most basic straightforward sociological concepts, all of which she goes over in EXTREME DETAIL during the previous classes & two field work oriented projects. No need for citing articles you didn't actually read; you just use the concepts learned in class and apply it to basic projects, the first being an observational project, and the second an experimental one. Also, I was away from campus due to an emergency for 2 weeks and when I returned she actually approached me to let me know that I had an extra week to turn in an assignment. Overall I HIGHLY recommend Professor Fisher.
Professor Fisher is a lively and amusing lecturer, though many classes start out boring due to going over a sheet which will later be posted to Courseworks. When she discusses the readings (most of which you don't have to actually read - she speaks about the important details in class), she is amusing and uses many metaphors and allegories to further explain important points. Her grading is more than fair, and simply turning in your homework guarantees you a B in the class. Quizzes are simple - one is based on a text attached to the quiz, one a movie, and a third on another text. [And the lowest quiz grade is dropped.] Overall, Professor Fisher leads a good class which will increase your knowledge of Sociology, though you won't feel too guilty if you miss a few classes here and there.
A good course for someone contemplating sociology as a major. This is a methodology class so you get to see the different types of research sociologists do and how they analyze their data. Don't be intimidated if you start off with Durkheim's "Suicide" and the giant spew of statistical data; there's some easier to read ones along the way and more contemporary stuff like race relations in the mid to late 20th century, getting jobs and social contacts within the last 20 years. Can get away with skipping one or two readings in the first half of the semester but must read all the second half ones for final. GO TO ALL THE LECTURES! This really helps; the professor reiterates the main points and questions at the beginning of each class and he does a good job drawing the main themes and points together. Class is half lecture half discussion; sometimes this is good but sometimes students talk off topic or gets random. Discussion section required for undergraduates; this is helpful if there are things you didn't understand in lecture.
What I really liked about Prof. Whitford was his delivery of the lecture. I liked that he was able to present the material in a way that made things understandable. When something wasn't clear, I was always able to discuss it with my TA in the discussion section. I don't know if he handpicked TA's for this class, but mine was EXTREMELY helpful and knowledgeable. Although some people didn't like his class discussion,I really benefitted from it. He was really effective in being able to transition from lecturing into discussion and often incorporated class participation in his lectures by posing questions for students to debate. This way, you really get to see different ways to think about the readings, and that will help you on the exam. I like that he doesn't try to force his opinion on you - he can accept any well argued position. What I liked most about the class is that he stayed true to the title. We were never required to remember trivial numbers or obscure concepts. What was really important was the author's main argument and how effective the methods used and information gathered were in answering the question. After all, it is a methods class, so that's what's most important. This is not a BS class, but it isn't the hardest you'll ever take. You really need to do the reading, but most of it is manageable. Some of the books are a little dense (e.g. Durkheim's Suicide or Massey and Denton's American Apartheid), but many of them are fast reads (e.g. Mitch Dunier's Sidewalk, Granovetter's Getting a Job). It's also easier because you aren't reading for obscure detail. The big picture is way more important in this class. In all, the subject matter was really interesting and, if you're not into it, you probably won't be into the class so much either. It's sociology, so we talk about things related to social issues.
I really enjoyed this class. I think Bearman is bright and thought provoking. I found myself looking forward to class even though it was at 9am. As stated by previous reviewers, the exchange is a bit loose, however I found every discussion intersting. I am usually a frantic note taker, however I discovered at the end of the semester that I did not have extensive notes on the class rather I just sat, listened and learned a ton. The T.A. he brought along was super cool and always willing to help out. The workload was not bad at all and as long as you followed the directions, the assignments were easy to complete and I thought the grading was more than fair. In addition to this, Bearman has a great sense of humor (although at times it is a bit warped and twisted) He makes funny, quirky jokes that keeps the class rolling and there is never a dull moment. I absolutely recommend this class.
Levinson handed out the syllabus on the first day, and I think that over the semester we made it about half way through. Why? Because he lectures on EVERY detail in the reading. This sentence here, that word here, and continually gets lost on long, unrelated tangents. In this class, you will learn very little, and spend hous in class tuning Levinson out. The material is pretty interesting, but it's lost on Levinson's lackluster and over-obvious analysis. You can definitely find better professors for this class. If you're really interested in the subject (He focuses on medical and technology sociology), then take him. Otherwise, hold out for a better/different professor.
I would definitely recommend Josh's class. He's very intelligent, has a good sense of humor, and genuinely cares about his students, taking the time to learn everyone's names in a class of at least 50 students. He made the lecture class seem almost like a seminar by encouraging class discussions but lecturing when necessary. The readings he chose were all very interesting, giving us an idea of the breadth of areas that sociology covers. He made his points in class very clear so that you knew what ideas about methodology in sociological research he wanted you to take from the course. The written assignments for each book were helpful because they made you read carefully, understand the author's concepts and methods, and come to class ready to discuss the readings. Doing the research paper on suicide was a good experience that helped us learn how sociologists make causal arguments using empirical evidence. Make sure to pick a topic that has enough statistics available to back up your argument and that you'll also enjoy writing about. If you understand the main concepts of the readings, you will do very well in the class since the response memos and the midterm and final all test understanding rather than memorization of details. My one complaint about the class was that sometimes the discussions would become irritating and lose focus because people in the class would talk just for the sake of talking rather than having something relevant to say. For example, it became frustrating when members of the class argued about whether or not Duneier was involved enough in his research because he didn't actually sleep on the sidewalk, ignoring the fact that he was solely researching street vendors (many of whom were not sleeping on the streets) and that he spent years of his life working with the vendors. Even more annoying was when some of the students complained at length about their grades on a response memo when three of the grades are dropped anyway and a single memo grade is trivial when put in perspective. Thankfully, Josh ended the discussion by clarifying his grading standards and telling them to talk to him after class about it. But often times, he allowed members of the class to go off on these types of tangents. I think that's the one detrimental effect of being too nice.
Prof. Whitford is a cool guy and I enjoyed the books he chose for this class immensely. One problem I had was the way class time was spent. He doesn't lecture, though sometimes I wished he would give clearer answers. Sometimes it became a back and forth discussion between him and one student, sometimes about something that seemed completely irrelevant to the class as a whole. That said, I thought the class was okay and that as he keeps on teaching he will get better. He was open and friendly and overall the class was not a bad one.
Not bad -- definitely not what other people are posting about him though. I mean, he's good... but not great. Maybe there's potential there, and he's young and new and all that, so fine, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here, but honestly, I was uninspired and disappointed. Disappointed because I was really excited to take the class before the semester began. And Prof. Whitford is a really nice, fairly enthusiastic guy -- at first engaging, so that I woke up early just to get a good spot in the class. However, while he has a very good idea of what he wants to cover, he is not effective in doing so. I often felt like the lectures were redundant (there were two per book, usually -- except for Durkheim in the beginning), and since he encouraged class discussions, a lot of people made useless comments and brought up discussions based on personal anecdotes that he endlessly entertained. This is all well and good one in a while, but a whole class on it? I left every single class feeling that we hadn't gotten the most out of the books. Yes, they are excellent choices. Yes, Prof. Whitford is genuine and interested in the class. Yes, he's young so he relates to students well. No, he has not yet mastered effective discussions in his lectures. No, he does not present the material well. Perhaps in time he will work the kinks out, but really, don't kid yourself taking this class -- it probably won't be the most enjoyable/interesting sociology class you take. It won't be brutal, but even though the readings are interesting, they become tedious and they *are* extensive (about 150 pages a week -- to be read over the weekend and completed by the first class of the week. Fine if you're only taking four classes, I guess). I don't really know what to say as far as reccommending him. He's not a bad guy, and he's not an awful teacher, but he *is* subpar. I've had *much* better professors at Columbia.
Professor Whitford quite obviously knows his sociology and I did get the impression that he enjoys teaching. That said, he needs to address several problems. To begin with, unless you are sitting in the first five rows in class, you will not be able to hear or understand a good deal of what he says. At the beginning of the semester, he did say that he knows that he mumbles and is hard to hear, and to please let him know when that is the case. He did not, however, make any attempt to improve his presentation style; it just meant a lot of repitition, which gets tiring. In fact, Prof. Whitford is at his best, both in terms of audibleness and clarity, when he lectures, but he does this very rarely. The class mostly consisted of a core group of students going off into tangents about their personal experiences or feelings; be prepared for a lot of irrelevence in this class. One of the best classes was a lecture given by a TA, which came as an all too brief relief from the usual intellectual meanderings of the class members. Finally, Prof. Whitford is often supportive of students' ideas/comments, but also could be very dismissive. Grading depends greatly on which TA or if Prof. Whitford has marked your work.
what can i say? i loved prof whitford. i will add one more thumbs up. he is caring, thorough and involved in the course. i enjoyed the reading immensely. i thought the course was well structured. and i also believe prof whitford will be one of columbia's best.
Professor Whitford is a wonderful teacher. He is engaging and truely interstead in the material. He makes himself available to students for discussion in and outside of class. I was especially impressed that he learned the names of all the students in our lecture so he was able to call on us by name. The class has a fairly large amount of reading, but Prof Whitford has thoughtfully selected intersting works that he is excited to share (and you too will be excited to come to class and discuss). Although on occasion Prof Whitford becomes tied up in summarizing materials, on a whole the class is eye-opening to the study of sociology as well as to various social and economic conditions in society. I left the class with a different outlook on the people around me. Class contributions by other students become enlightening under Whitford's instruction. People from all different backgrounds are able to voice their opinions with equal oppurtunity. This is a great Prof and a great class!
I truly enjoyed this class. Professor Whitford was genuinely passionate with the material and his students. He formed the class around the students and was open to suggestions regarding the way the he structured the class. This was an interesting class, not only because of the information covered, but because Professor Whitford didn't emphasize grades as much as he did the material. It sounds cliche when professors say that grades don't matter as much as students think they do, but he truly believes it. If you do good work, you'll get a good grade. This is his first year teaching, so he's still working out the kinks, but it was still a very good class and one I would definitely recommend taking.
Josh Whitford is a great professor. He's this young guy who knows how to get the class engaged in great discussions. He tries to get participation from everybody, and if he notices that the class is uninterested or that a specific text was generally uninteresting (though most of them weren't), he tries to move on as quickly as possible. He's a fair grader (and so is the TA); the only way to fail the class is to not show up or to not hand in any of the work. Otherwise, most people do fine in the class.
Thomas seems like a nice guy, but is very little help. In response to all the questions I asked him, whether in person or via e-mail, he told me to contact the professor instead. Furthermore, Thomas is a relentless grader. I spent hours preparing for each of the quizzes and I still received "C"s on both of them.
Ok, this class is anything but an "easy A." Professor Cooper is a VERY tough grader and is unclear in his lectures and even more unclear in his directions for assignments/quizzes. There is so little work in this class that it's very hard to get a good grade because there is little room to improve your work. Be prepared to turn in papers before the last ones are handed back, making it that much harder to make improvements upon your work. Professor Cooper passes around an attendance sheet each class, but attendance does not factor into your final grade. If you ask him to check on your grade or to do anything else for you, you will need to bug him over and over again with e-mails and it still may not get done.
I agree very much with the reviews below. I found this class to be very interesting and also think that Josh Whitford has the markings of a great professor. The criticisms mentioned ( his occasional tendency to mumble, sometimes not answering questions clearly enough) are warranted but are indicitive of his lack of previous classroom experience (this was his first class taught) rather then his ability to teach. I thought he made the material engaging and did his best to get to the point of the works he assigned while translating any jargony words or phrases. The reading load seems a bit large at first but the books truly are interesting. I've taken enough sociology to know that some of the stuff out there is difficult to digest but I feel that Prof. Whitford's choice of readings makes this class worthwhile even for non-social science folks. The works assigned run from sociological classics (Suicide and Obedience to Authority) to recent works (Sidewalk) which help to give an overview of sociology as a whole. He does try to turn the class into a discussion but I think any teacher who truly wants to teach effectively should make students talk about the material 9am or not. Bottomline: if you're looking for a good starter class for sociology with a professor young and passionate enough to make you care about what you're learning, take Whitford's class.
Wow, this course blew my mind! If youÂ’re fulfilling this course as a requirement, skip down to my analysis of Prof. Whitfordv If youÂ’re browsing for an interesting course then read on: Let me begin by discussing what this class is: a survey of sociological methods and their faults. I consider myself a hard-science person and this was my first introduction to the social sciences. I found it fascinating and I hope I can convey my enthusiasm (and convince you to take this amazing course): The best thing about this course is the reading list: first, DurkheimÂ’s Suicide Â– a fascinating look at how science and the scientific method can be applied to society. By viewing suicides as a broad occurrence (rather than individual phenomena), Durkheim finds that the rate of suicide varies across different categories. Suicides rates are higher in the summertime, higher at nighttime, higher in urban settings, higher among males etc. Durkheim then introduces social theory to try to explain these findings. The other readings were just as interesting Â– one about the problems with getting reliable data about peopleÂ’s sexual practices. We read MilgramÂ’s classic experiment about test subjects doing horrific things to each other (in the name of science) Â– a book which is very relevant to the holocaust. We read a book about social networks (in the context of finding jobs), a study that numerically measures racism in the job market (by sending out thousands of resumes with an applicantÂ’s name suggesting a certain race). The second half of the course was less numerical but just as interesting. We read a work about book/magazine vendors and homeless in Greenwich Village (written by a professor who spends 5 years on the streets with them). We read a largely-historical book about urban segregation, a book about attitudes of working-class men towards other classes and races, and finally a book about the manipulation of gender roles in Mexican sweatshops. There was a lot of reading and much was hard to read (especially durkheim) but the content was interesting. Ok, ABOUT THE PROFESSOR: Prof. Whitford knows the material well but heÂ’s not the most exciting lecturer...especially at 9am. It was hard to drag myself to class, but the chance to discuss the interesting material with intelligent students was good motivation. He usually introduces the books and the methods, frequently giving us related stats and then he tries to turn class into a discussion, although there were about 40 students. This was only partly successful Â– maybe it was the 9am thing, but only about 10 students regularly participated. In generally, Prof. Whitford explained the concepts and the books well. But a few times, he seemed unable to clearly explain concepts when asked by students (to quote one student Â“I feel like youÂ’ve given 4 different definitions for...Â”) In general, he asked good questions which stimulated class discussion. But sometimes he failed to control the class sufficiently and weÂ’d get frustratingly off topic. He also isnÂ’t the best public speaker Â– he sometimes has to start sentences three times before he gets them out. But these are all minor problems and will only get better with time and experience. I also didnÂ’t feel like he was involved enough with the gradingÂ– it was mostly left up to the grad student TA. More comments on the tests, research paper and responses would have been helpful. Sorry this review is so long! Course Content: 5/5:<br> Professor: 4/5
Whitford has the potential to be one of Columbia's best. He is passionate about the material, assigns engaging texts, and facilitates good discussion in his lectures. Perhaps a function of his youth, he seems genuinely concerned with the progress of his students, and tries to make sure that everybody understands the material before moving on. He goes out of his way to make sure that all of his students do well , and consistently makes himself available after class. He is definately not just there to present a lecture, he wants to make sure that everyone gets the point. He is very flexible in all areas, and is a fair grader IF you come to class and do the assigned readings. Dont be fooled by his easy demeanour, if you dont go to class and fail to prepare the readings, you will not get over.
This class had sooooooooo much reading. In particular for a 1000 level course. As nice as Danny is (& he is), he let's discussion take place of lecture & is not necessarily interested in your opinions when it comes to the papers. Basically, what he wants is a book report on what you read. Having said that, it is not a bad class for those of us who are not mathematiclly inclined.
He is a very good teacher for an introduction to sociology. He is young and genuinely interested in the material and allows for good discussion in his classes with good texts. When students find a text boring he summarizes it and tries to help the class move on as quickly as possible while retaining the necessary information. The readings are almost all interesting with one or two exceptions and quite manageable. He is a very fair grader and if you do the reading, go to class most of the time and hand in the assignments you will do well in the class.
Believe all you've heard. Yes, Daniel Cooper is a very nice man. Yes, the class is easy. True, it's often boring. But for those of you who are shopping for a pretty enjoyable and not-too-painful filler class, I recommend Evaluation of Evidence. I'm an Econ major and I took this class in Spring 2003 to pad my schedule. It's that rare easy, breezy elective you're always looking for and can't ever seem to find. First of all, it's very easy. Obviously the ready can get heavy considering it's an intro level sociology course, but it's always manageable and it's also not at all hard to tell when it's important to read and when it's not. There are five books - three of which you have to write about book-report style. One's required, the other two are your choice. 'Nuff said. Read three if you want. The truth is, most of the material's actually pretty interesting even if Cooper's presentation leaves you cold. Though he's likeable enough, he definitely has the ability to lull you to sleep with his monotone delivery and bland lecture style. I say take the class for the Durkheim book on suicide, if for no other reason. That's really just a fascinating piece of work. This is also a class I skipped out on more than a few times and managed to get an A in anyway. So, take Cooper's class when you have other, tougher coursework to tend to and are searching for the fifth course that won't break your back.
I agree with all the other reviews--he is energetic, interesting, and dedicated. He's extremely available outside of class and really works hard to get to know his students. Unforunately, I found the class itself kind of stupid. It usually went from people talking about the reading to then talking about whatever they wanted--which was great because I could participate without doing the reading--but was rather irritating sometimes.
Greg is a great teacher. He designed the class in a very unconventional way: there was a choice of readings, so for each class not everyone was reading the same books. I doubted at first whether this would work out, but it turned out to be great because we brought in so many more angles than would have been possible with a single reading list. The readings he picked were all great; the title of the class "Evaluation of Evidence" is a misnomer, because no individual book is about that; the evaluation comes in comparing the books. Also, he brings a ton of energy into class, and he creates a really supportive learning environment: no matter how incorrect your comments are, he'll find some element of value in them and bring it out. He also uses a lot of real-world examples to explain concepts that might be hard to get otherwise. Really dedicated, incredibly helpful, and fun. Take any class with him. I would also disagree with the previous reviewer's comment that going on strike shows a lack of dedication to students. The afternoon before the strike, I had a long conversation with Greg in which he gave me a ton of help on my final paper. He was dedicated to his students to the end; I get the sense that when the strike is over, he'll return to the classroom just as dedicated as before.
Greg's class was extremely interesting and I enjoyed the nonstop discussions. We learned about contemporary issues that are actually pertinent to everyday life, something rarely found in college curriculumns. He's young, enthusiastic, and brings excellent insights into topics which have already been discussed at length (race, poverty, corporate exploitation, etc.) Pretty much what we did was read one book a week and talk about it, letting the conversation go where it wanted. I'm not sure what exactly I learned about "evaluating evidence," but at least the class made me think. I'd definitely recommend it; everyone in the class was brilliant. From his teaching style I was under the impression that he truly cared about his students, and when he dropped us like a hot potato for the strike I felt extremely let down. That makes me question his committment to his students.
I disagree with the previous reviewer. Prof. Cooper is a sweet man. His class is very organized and structure. although at times it may be boring overall this class is good.
Mr. Cooper is not a full time teacher. He is an adjunct, and this is for a reason: he should not teach. His class in painfully boring and made me decide not to major in sociology. Each class he simply outlines what the assigned books said, verbatim. It is a ridiculous waste of time. The papers are in actuality book reports. He explicitly tells students to refrain from giving their opinion or interpretation of the material. While the class may not be demanding, his grading is rather nit picky. Basically, steer clear of this class.
He is a great instructor, who cares about students and enjoys teaching. The lectures are interesting and if you're a sociology major, take Ev of Ev with him if you can fit it into your schedule. The class is pretty informative and his selection of books/topics is very good.
Great Professor...he actually talks to the class like the students are worth something and makes a great effort to call on people that want to speak and listens and responds in a respectfull manner unlike most Columbia professors who really like to hear themselves talk. The readings Cooper chooses are very interesting (except the first few that are staples for Sociology class but are really boring). Bottom line: Cooper has good, clear lectures, is very approachable and actually seems to care that his students get the material. I cant say that its a super class to take as an elective but very worthwhile and rewarding as a required class. for some majors.
Right now I'm skipping this class to write this review... The reason? Simple. The class is so amazingly boring that I can't stand to go. On my way to each class, I nearly cry at the prospect of sitting through another one of cooper's boring lectures, which offer NOTHING that is not already found in the readings. If you are the type of person who loves to have very organized notes and a very structured class, then by all means this is your man. However, if you are looking for some sort of engaging learning experience, then you should not take this class with cooper. He is a fair grader, and certainly covers all the information that he expects you to know.
This class was really wonderful. I am not saying it was the hardest class in the world--on the contrary, it was fairly easy. But many things distinguished this class from other typical intro level classes. The books were really interesting, representing 5 different styles of sociological research. And the teacher was great! He was friendly, knowledgable, and relaxed. Everyone was so at ease in his class---people asked many questions and raised interesting concerns with the books. People were comfortable participating in class especially because the teacher was so encouraging, respectful, and engaging. I also think Prof. Cooper was an incredibly fair grader. He definitley did not arbitrariliy hand out good or bad grades. What was so striking about this class was the fact that although it was an intro-level class, and it was not so difficult, I came out feeling like I had learned a lot.
This is probably the most boring class I have ever taken. The sad thing is that some of the books read are interesting, but going to lectures is the most pointless eercise in the world. Prof. Copper recites what was in the reading, and does not make anything clearer or easier to grasp. If you do the reading you can understand everything on your own without a problem. Attendance in the class is not that great, so he tries to be really strict and picky on the exam. The only reason you would take this is if you are already so enamered with the science of sociology that nothing can ruin it. Because if there is one thing that can turn you off from this subject, this class would be it.
prof. cooper is a wonderful teacher. i can't say enough good things about him. the lectures are clear and organized; notes come out making sense and actually help when studying for the midterm and final and while writing the three papers. he's laidback and a fair grader. he knows what he's talking about
Bearman is a brilliant teacher, I loved his class. He makes insightful, complex, witty and otherwise critically interesting arguments about all facets of social interaction,and refuses to reduce concepts to simplicities or examples. He is well versed in many areas of social theory, but instead of throwing them in your face, he tries to draw these ideas (in their full strength and weakness) out in class discussions. Some of the best discussions involved the above criticised "tangential ideas", but as off topic as they might have been, they were satisfying and just as interesting as what we were 'supposed' to be talking about (its a survey course anyway, why all the fuss?!) . The class operates on the astoundingly simple notion that thinking very critically and very specifically about things in a certain way (Evaluation of Evidence!) can lead to interesting ideas. On the other hand, those students who dont understand this approach feel frustrated by the looseness of the exchange. I could practically hear some students going "Huh?!" as they looked at each other, during some class discussions. Too bad, but if the class is not for you, its not for you. One or two days should let you know.
Professor Bearman comes across, at first, very charming and engaging. However, he will spend the rest of the semester going on tangents that have nothing to do with anything. Even though he brings along 2 TA's, you hardly ever get any guidance from the 3 of them about the projects. You never really know how you're doing in the class and never really get a grasp on what the point is. Stay away if you're not a sociolgy major
Any class that this guy is teaching, you should take. He's super-bright, energetic, and entertaining. The workload is very reasonable for a social science class, and he's generous with the grading. If you stay current with the reading (which is on the light side), you will walk out of the semester having definitely learned something and with a very good grade to show for it. I just graduated with honors as a Sociology major, so I can attest to the fact that this department has its fair share of nitwits. The problem is that it's superb guys like Weiss that this sucky department can't hold on to (as with David Gibson and Mary Ruggie -- two sociology professors who both left Columbia last year to teach at Harvard). So, take Weiss while you still can......he's worth it.
This was possibly the worst class I have taken at Columbia. There was absolutely no point to ever going to class, because nothing substantial was covered. There were three analytical assignments, and a final paper which we could chose any topic we wanted. Absolutely no guidance was given for any of work, and the class leaned nothing about what sociology is. Bearman is the worst professor I have ever taken. You will learn absolutely nothing by taking his class.