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Title: Palestine 1948

Course Description on SIS: “This course explores the dramatic war of 1948 in Palestine from the UN partition resolution of November 29, 1947 to the cease-fire agreements in early 1949. It covers the political and military progression of the war, within international and decolonization contexts, while paying special attention to the two major outcomes of the war and how they came about: Jewish independence and Palestinian dispossession.”

Professor: Alon Confino
Class Size: 60 students
Meeting Time: T/R 4-4:50 Discussion

Former Student Says: “The professor didn’t have an ‘agenda’ on either side of the line, but was much more interested in putting forth the truth without an agenda to win supporters on either side of the conflict,” fourth-year College student Emily McClure said. McClure said she enjoyed it, “because the professor told us the story, the history — we learned about people, not as much just events.”

Ease: “It was challenging,” McClure said. “It wasn’t the hardest class that I’ve taken, but it was worth all of the time that I put into it.”

Difficulty to get in: This class has a short waitlist and doesn’t require instructor permission to enroll.

Title: The Best of U.Va.: A Collection of Unforgettable Lectures

Course Description from the University Registrar: “This course is a lecture series by prominent faculty at the University. Each week a different kind of academic inquiry is introduced, the purpose being to broaden students’ perspectives and perceptions of the world around us.”

Professor: Barry Condron
Class Size: 140 students
Meeting Time: W 5-6:15

Former Student Says: Targeted to mainly third and fourth years, this class featured many “interesting personalities from around the University,” fourth-year College student Jay Aswadi said. This seminar was not what Aswadi called a “traditional classroom,” as a new professor or figure was introduced each week. In the past, the lineup of speakers has included Dean Allen Groves who spoke about his position on Grounds and what makes the University unique, to Wayne Cozart, vice president of development for the U.Va. Alumni Association, who spoke about the history of secret societies at the University.

Ease: Aswadi said the class was fairly easy, as the only assignment was a short, weekly paper reflecting on classroom experiences. On the Course Forum, the class received a difficulty rating of 1.2 out of five and the reported average number of hours per week spent on reading and writing combined totaled 2.05 hours.

Difficulty to get in: High difficulty with a large wait list.

Title: Acting I

Course Description on SIS: “Explores basic theories and techniques of acting through exercises, improvisations and scenes from contemporary dramatic literature.”

Professor: Colleen Kelly, Bradley Fraizer, Christopher Murray, Amy Barrick and Amaree Cluff
_Class Size: _12 students
Meeting Time: M/W or T/R 2-3:15 or 3:30-4:45

Former student says: “[Acting I] was a really great opportunity to play games and have fun while genuinely improving your confidence, stage-presence and self-awareness, skills essential for acting but also broadly applicable to most areas of life,” third-year College student Robbie Richards said. Richards said he had a good idea of what the class would be like going into it, but he did not expect, “the communal nature of the class with the 12 or so of us [classmates] becoming very close over the course of the semester, in many cases learning through and from each other.”

Ease: “It does take a good amount of effort to succeed,” Richards said. “You have to memorize your scenes and monologues, you have to be committed and enthusiastic in class and when working on scenes and monologues outside of class, and most of all you really have to go to class.” According to the Course Forum, difficulty rankings range from one to two.

Difficulty to get in: Not hard considering there are 12 sections to choose from, many of which are still open.

Title: Concrete Technology

Course Description on SIS: “Fundamentals of concrete: ingredients, hydration, and proportioning; production of concrete; batching, transport, finishing, curing, testing, and inspections; special types of concrete; high-performance, fiber-reinforced, roller compacted, polymer, shrinkage compensating, structural light-weight and shotcrete; and design and code provisions: working stress and ultimate strength design, and provisions of ACI code.”

Professor: Hamdi Ozyildirim
Class size: 17 students, capacity 43
Meeting Time: MW 5:00-6:15

Former student says: “It was unexpected, because you might think concrete in general is boring, but we learned about the strength of concrete and the design of structures using concrete,” fourth-year Engineering student Mimi Fon said. “The class was structured as a lecture, but he led it as a discussion. It was a small class size of about 20 people, so you pretty much knew everyone in the class. I would recommend it to all Engineering students who need an elective, but students outside of the E-School could take it too.”

Ease: CE 4010 scored a three out of five for difficulty on the Course Forum. Students spent an average of one hour reading and half an hour writing each week. “As long as you go to class, you should do well,” Fon said.

Difficulty to get in: There are still several open spots.

Title: The Politics of Developing Areas

Course Description on SIS: “Surveys patterns of government and politics in non-Western political systems. Topics include political elites, sources of political power, national integration, economic development, and foreign penetration.”

Professor: Robert Fatton
Class size: 300 students
Meeting Time: M/W 9-9:50 Discussion

Former student says: “It’s a good introduction to development because it familiarizes you with the NGO and governmental landscape and policies,” third-year Batten student Kanchana Sthanumurthy said. “Fatton is very negative about development, and the class shows you how much governments like the United States can screw up when they intend to do things in countries that they don’t know enough about. [It’s] for those who are interested in foreign service or development work, it’s a good course to get a more realistic view of things.”

Ease: PLCP 2120 scored a 2.79 in difficulty from the Course Forum, with students reading for an average of 3.28 hours and writing for an average of 1.6 hours per week. “I’d say it was medium — it wasn’t the hardest class ever, but the final paper was a big part of your grade,” Sthanumurthy said. “If big papers stress you out, it’s not the class you want to take.”

Difficulty to get in: High difficulty with a large wait list.

Title: Dracula

Course Description on SIS: “An introduction to Slavic folklore with special emphasis on the origins and subsequent manifestations of vampirism. Western perceptions, misperceptions, and adaptations of Slavic culture are explored and explicated. The approach is interdisciplinary: folklore, history, literature, religion, film, disease and a variety of other topics.”

Professor: Stanley Stepanic

Class size: Two sections with 75, 40 students.

Meeting Time: M/W 5-6:15 or T/R 2-3:15

Former student says: “We talked a lot about the vampire figure in Slavic folklore and modern interpretations as well as Slavic prehistory and the development of the vampire myth,” third-year College student Jessica Roberts said. “It’s really fun, you watch a lot of movies!” Roberts said she would recommend it to “someone who would like learning about other cultures and is interested in how an aspect of folklore can integrate into modern society,”

Ease: “Easiest thing I’ve ever taken in my life,” Roberts said. “I loved it!” Students on the Course Forum seemed to agree, spending an average of two hours per week reading and rating it 2.57 on the difficulty scale.

Difficulty to get in: High difficulty with a large wait list.


Published January 16, 2013 in FP test, Life







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