Where to begin? Ok first thing to know, get on his good side. If he likes you, you will get an A. If he doesn't like you or is in the middle, you shouldn't bother keeping your hopes up. I was warned about him in the beginning of the semester but I chose to ignore the warning - He picks his favorites and they stay that way. They are the ones he picks to talk during discussions when you have something to say and you are the one picked to talk when you have no idea what the discussion is on. Speak up the first day, seem interested, kiss up if you must but at least you'll have a chance in his class. He's not a bad person - I mean he's nice I guess but he can't teach. Sticks to the syllabus (a blessing and a curse), speaks mostly spanish in class (which is fine but he'll try to explain your question in spanish and he can't do that in english anyway, so your screwed). Basically, don't take his class...Take Int. Spanish II but just don't take it with him.
Carlos - what a nice guy! what a terrible teacher! Carlos was indeed lovely and smiley and funny in class, but could never explain things; often didn't understand your questions; often explained simple concepts with the most complicated, linguistic vocabulary ever and for the love of God, would not veer from his departmental syllabus - even if we were truly curious, or it would explain things or really, anything. You will not learn anything that is not on the syllabus - even if Carlos really thinks you should. He will never (unlike other Spanish teachers I've had), teach you something "that you might want to know, but will not be tested on." Nope, if its not there on the syllabus, you ain't learning it. He also tests you (at least on the first test and on the essays) on stuff that he neglected to tell you about, or that you knew, just didn't understand the directions "change into the present perfect subjunctive." I got the third highest grade in the whole class on that first test - and that grade, mis amigos, was a 72 (and he wouldn't curve it). I was often also frustrated by his essays, where I'd be marked off for getting something wrong, I'd try to correct it (since I didn't get it), and on the final version it would still be wrong, because it was an idiomatic expression. But, according to him, I couldn't have known that - but, Ishould have looked it up, so its still wrong, so, you're still marked down. This made me livid. Also, his tendency to speak more English than Spanish seemed to annoy most of the class. Also, as someone stated before - if he likes you, you're gold. If he feels "eh" about you, then you're screwed. I sound bitter, but, honestly,he was a really nice, funny, smart, interesting guy. To get him to like you more, go to his office. If you really want a carefree or even difficult, but education way through intermediate II, this isn't the way. This was just painful. I think he'd be really good in upper level lit classes (where all this has been covered already and he doesn't need to explain - dear God, don't make him explain). But, yeah, I don't recommend this. It hurt and I didn't learn enough for it to hurt so much.
In my opinion, Carlos is an easy grader if he likes you. Class participation is very important. His intro. classes are very different from his more advanced classes: in the former he has a hard time teaching students with varied levels of familiarity with Spanish (like many professors), in the latter he is wonderful, introducing contemporary debates in other fields and making his courses interdisciplinary in a new and exciting way. I highly recommend his more advanced courses.
While many of my friends complained of numerous tests and long and difficult readings in other classes, my class did not require any additional work than what the syllabus required: grammar exercises from the textbook, 4 essays, 2 tests, and the final. Professor Riobo was a generous grader, which made up for his teaching style. Although he "covered" the material and tried to get students in my class to understand it, he was not very successful. Basically, one needs to spend some quality time with the textbook to really understand the complex grammar. Riobo would spend time in class, talking about the grammar but refused to write on the board due to "allergies to chalk" and did not have any worksheets to practice the grammar we had to learn. He also allowed us to use a great deal of English which was opposite to the previous Spanish classes I have taken. All in all, Professor Riobo is a really bright guy, but I think our class suffered from his lack of preparation. If you are looking for a painless and relatively easy way out of the language requirement, Riobo is the professor for you.
Riobo is a really nice man, but a horrible teacher. He is extremely disorganized and often forgot to grade papers, percieved instructions differently than the students, and once didn't remember to prepare the second half of a lecture. However, he is very flexible as well as understanding. The students can tell he sincerely wants to be a good teacher, but his abstact and jumbled way of thinking often prohibits him from doing so. Also. he teaches this same class in Spanish and confuses what he told each class. On the upside, he grades fairly easily.
I love Professor Riobo. He is very passionate about his lessons and knows quite literally everything on the topics covered--I have the feeling that if he didn't know a certain fact, he'd quickly look it up and e-mail the student that night. He is prompt in communication and welcoming and helpful during office hours. The reading material is interesting and had not been touched upon in other Spanish literature courses. He allows second drafts and will discuss any grade with a student. He's a very fair grader--make sure to participate in class and show him that you are a hard worker.
Professor Riobo is a wonderful professor who leaves you feeling like you learned a great deal about the history of the Caribbean along with the rest of the world in his Lit. of the SP. Caribbean class. The literature focuses a great deal on Cuba and then on the Dominican REpublic and Puerto Rico with a touch of some South American literature, and is great if you would like to learn more about the countries. He is very open to participation and is a fair grader, if you have your sh*t together, you'll get a decent grade. Once comfortable with the class he makes jokes and is overall very welcoming and friendly during office hours. I strongly recommend this class for anyone who can handle taking a literature class in Spanish.
Professor Riobo is a really great guy with a great personality. If you take the time to get to know him, he appreciates it. I took this class in the fall of 2003, and I still see him around campus and town, but the difference is that he, unlike others, takes the time to talk with you and see how the rest of your semester is going. Come into this class with the expectation that you will be doing all the work on the syllabus and I guarantee you will come out happy. Riobo is a fair grader and generous at times. I came out of this class feeling really good about my Spanish skills and will definitely take another class with him before my time here is up, even though I am not majoring in Spanish.
Having prior spanish lit classes in the college and enjoyed all of them, I came into this one assured that I would in the end enjoy it. I was very wrong. I'm not a native spanish speaker, but those that were, made it hard for others to comprehend what they were saying they spoke so fast. Not only that, but the teacher allows the same two or three people to participate and ask the dumbest and most banal questions, increasing the already alive boredom thriving in the class. Riobo, though his implied intelligence is ever reiterated, takes the joy away from the interesting nature of the first literatures from Latin America; and though he may be an "fair" grader, there is no soul or passion imbued in his lessons.
Professor Riobo is a good enough instructor. His lessons are very much grammar based, which suits the style of some, but is annoying for others. He is an easy grader if he likes you; make sure to participate a lot towards the beginning of the semester, and you're set. I would take another class with him.