Mr. Couch is obviously incredibly intelligent and well versed in the course material, but his teaching style leaves the class without a sense of closure and conclusion to each of the books. To Mr. Couch's credit, this detriment was largely created by the fact that people did the reading with irregularity and the idiocy of a few select classmembers. Mr. Couch starts the discussion by asking a couple question, but the class inevitably gets sidetracked or caught up on a small insignificant detail that stilts discussion. Mr. Couch refuses to get the discussion back on track and tell the kids that are side-tracking discussion to shut up. Also, Mr. Couch's paper are very vague and sometimes indecipherable. I still haven't figured out what he is looking for in a paper. Also, he has this really frustrating habit of looking blankly, as if he was thinking about what he ate for breakfast two days ago, when you are talking. Overall, he's a pretty good, yet enigmatic, guy and a decent teacher. Not the worst, not the best -- but that's probably better than most CC teachers you can find.
I can't believe some of these reviews. I have never even written one of these but I feel almost obligated to defend this guy. I had Couch both semester's of CC and it was awesome! As far as I'm concerned he should be in with all the Gold Nuggets. These people that say his midterms and finals are hard...are you freakin kidding me? I never read one book...just took notes on the questions he posed in class (he writes 2 or 3 at the beginning of each class which the class discussion is centered around) and I got B+'s both semesters...which I was cool with considering I did NOTHING! Seriously, don't believe these other posters...if you get Mark consider yourself amazingly lucky. Let me put it this way...there were people that transferred in to Mark's class second semester because it was so easy. If you can get into his class definitely do it. Oh yeah, even though I didn't read any of the books, this class was so good that I came out with a great understanding of each of the texts...definitely enough to talk about them at some class reunion in 10 years...which is really all the core is about if you really think about it.
Couch is neither the best nor the worst. All in all, he is OK or better. I think the editions he made to the syllabus were very appropriate in stimulating thematic comparisons, and most of the time the readings are manageable. He is also a fair grader, though sometimes I think he spends no more than 5 minutes on the grading. One big complaint: he really needs to work on discussion in class. Most of the time about 2 or 3 people DOMINATED the class, and he was unable to put them in their place. It's one thing to make relevant comments on the reading, but people should not ramble about anything that comes to their mind.
Admittedly there are more interesting CC instructors than Mark Couch. With that said, he isn't the worst one out there either. If you are one of those students taking CC just to finish the Core requirements for the College or SEAS, he's probably the ideal. Yeah, he's boring and tends to drone on in a monotonous tone when he's speaking but at least you know where he's leading the discussion to (more or less) because he writes down three discussion questions he wants to cover at the beginning of each class. He gives a bit of "background" info on whatever the text of the day and then opens the table for discussion. The discussion more or less are centred around these said questions and if he feels students are missing the point, he jumps in and redirects the discussion. So if you want to be gung-ho and join in the discussion, it definitely helps to have read the texts before coming to class. Or sometimes it's possible to just glide along with the flow and jump in if you feel you have something "positive" to say. If you take sufficient notes that give you his answers to the questions he writes to the board, then you should be fine when you write the essays because they are tailored such that you basically reiterate what was covered in class and to give your opinion. The midterm and the final are formatted in the same principle...just go over your notes and perhaps skim the texts if you haven't already. And yeah, he doesn't seem to count your absences unless you are conspicuously absent all the time. In-class participation is OPTIONAL, in fact, it's common to see students nod off during class for mini-naps.
Terrible, terrible, terrible. Classtime is totally useless and boring, assignments are totally useless and boring. There is no discussion of texts, and no real explanation of them either. So, if you're actually interested in learning anything that this course is supposed to teach you, you should avoid this class. He lets whoever wants to babble on about whatever, and then in the last ten minutes of class, he tells the 'correct' interpretation of the text. The essay questions and midterm and final questions, which are supposed to comparing several texts to each other using common themes between them, were always about only one text. So, if you read everything except, say "Utilitarianism", you're screwed. Also, Couch ( I'm fairly sure) is interested in the philosophy of science, so all the extra texts we read had to do with that. He doesn't take attendance though, which is nice, I suppose. I really don't know how to convey how much he sucks. And it's definately him, not just CC. Plenty of people I know loved CC- with other teachers.
I actually thought Couch wasn't all that bad (unlike the other reviewer). Yeah, he was a very nervous, personally uptight, even twitchy kind of guy, but he actually understood the content of the books he was teaching- understood them VERY well, as a matter of fact. Class is basically getting people to explain what the text said, and then to mildly discuss it. I actually really liked it when he joined in the discussion and gave his opinions. True, he did not inspire me to become a philosophy major, but I definately enjoyed the class, and it seemed to me that he enjoyed teaching it. He never took attendance, only called on people about twice the whole year, and was never a jerk about doing all of the readings. I thought it was a pretty great way to get through what a lot of upper classmen told me was going to be hell.
This man is a complete MORON. Avoid him at all costs. First, I'll tell you about this class, then some amusing facts that qualify my calling him a MORON. He turned a discussion class into a lecture. A VERY, VERY, BORING lecture. It was a chore trying to stay awake. I'm someone who reads parts of books well, and skims most of the rest of them, and I usually have good things to say. My Lithum teacher and second semester CC teacher (after I switched out of Couch's class) loved me! In Couch's class, however, I never got to say anything that I wanted to say. Most important, if you read the books and needed help understanding them, you don't come out of the class with a better understanding. If you didn't read the books, the lecture might as well have been in Sanskrit. *CULPA censor*