January 13, 2009

Plotkin, Cary
[FYSB BC1156/69] First Year Seminar: Legacy of the Mediterranean I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Prof. Plotkin is probably a very intelligent and knowledgeable fellow, but none of that came out in this class. Instead, the students who could have benefited from some writing instruction were too busy sleeping, watching the clock, or doing other homework (Plotkin didn't appear to notice) to listen, and the students who could already write didn't need to be lectured on how to build a five-paragraph essay.

The reading list was great (if you like classical lit), but Plotkin spent most discussion time talking about his own opinions and calling on the people who usually agreed with him, which meant that a) discussions sucked, and b) reading was basically optional.

I will say that he gave a very interesting 10-minute lecture on Greek roots, and seems like a kind person, but those are the only positive things I remember about the class. And I feel like he managed to bring up fertility symbols every other class period (interesting, given it's a Barnard freshman seminar...)

Workload:

In theory: about 100-120 pages of reading each week, three essays (10th-grade writing level gets an A), and a couple of summaries (read: third-grade-level book reports). In practice: show up to class and laugh at his (terrible) witticisms.