Review Comment

[AMST 70295] American Independent Documentaries - Women in the Director's Chair

July 05, 2016

Kaul, Kavery
[AMST 70295] American Independent Documentaries - Women in the Director's Chair

DO NOT TAKE A CLASS WITH THIS PERSON. This class sounded incredible on paper, and the seminar format seemed like it would have made for a wonderful semester. This professor chose to lecture at the front of the room every class instead of engage her students in conversations about the course material. The class was about WOMEN DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS. It should have been amazing. I feel so disappointed by this class and the lack of clarity she instilled in me. She presented documentaries and film in general as something other than art. My love for the material was completed drained. She offers two assignments throughout the term and is unclear about what she asks for. She is a rough grader on material that is very subjective. She also regularly experienced unbelievable technical problems both with uploading the material she wanted us to engage with for each week's class and with the classroom's computer.

Workload:

You watch a lot of movies every week on your own and because of her technological ineptitude this can often end up meaning that you have 2 movies to watch the night before class. Lots of reading.
Two assignments, one of which is a final paper that she claims is open ended but that she will hate before reading.

May 14, 2016

Kaul, Kavery
[AMST 70295] American Independent Documentaries - Women in the Director's Chair

This was Kavery's first time teaching at Columbia. She comes off as very sweet and approachable, however, she is far from that. She is extremely stern and unreasonable when it comes to grading and gives very little instruction as to what she expects from students. The class is a small seminar and there are no formal graded assignments besides a brief writeup on three documentaries and a final paper. She basically reads from notecards the whole class, giving synopses of the films, and occasionally asks questions. Kavery is a filmmaker herself and has us watch one of her own films (which is absolutely terrible and literally the biggest waste of time).

Otherwise, the class material and assignments were engaging. Though the workload is minimal, you will be lead on to believe you will receive a good grade, then be completely blindsided when she returns your final paper and you get your final grade. This class requires a lot of participation because it is a small seminar. However, she does not allocate much time for class discussion and even if you participate, she does not take that very much into account for your final grade.

With that said, I would not recommend her as a professor to my dog nor my worst enemy.

p.s. This woman is not technologically savy. It took at least 10 minutes for her to get signed into Courseworks and get movie clips up for each class. She is also not very good with emailing and communicating via technology (or in person for that matter).

Workload:

Very little - watch films and read short readings for homework each week, one page surprise analysis of three documentaries (on 3 of the most boring films), one final paper (15-20 pgs)

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