David   the death of socrates

The Fall semester is coming to an end, and course evaluations can come in handy for students that are thinking of taking certain courses next semester or eventually. For these evaluations, the courses will be evaluated on five criteria; the attendance factor, the professor, overall level of difficulty of the class, overall workload for the class, and exam difficulty. At the end, there will be an overall rating for the course as a letter grade (A-F).

This course evaluation will cover PHI 200, or Introduction to Ancient Philosophy taught by Professor Roy Ben-Shai.

1. The attendance factor

There are weekly quizzes each Tuesday in this class, so you would be serving your best interests if you came to class on that day. Other than that, technically you don’t really need to come to class because there are no quizzes on the other day of class. However, the weekly quizzes will test you on the discussions in class so if you skip class frequently you will probably subsequently not do well on the weekly quizzes.

2. The professor

Professor Ben-Shai truly does care and listen intently to your philosophical musings and he values student input. He makes a sort of dreary lecturer and it’s not hard at all to fall asleep in his classes, but occasionally you might find yourself interested in his philosophical questions and engage in a conversation with him about them yourself. If you’re willing to pay attention and care you won’t mind his lectures, if you don’t you will most likely fall asleep. But he is caring and willing to help you if you ask and go to his office hours.

3. Overall difficulty of the class

The weekly quizzes can be really tricky, even if you do come to class and pay attention, but he does curve some of them. The midterm is not easy because they grade very harshly and we had no curve for ours. However, once you get the hang of the quizzes you can learn to ace them. And, the final was take-home and we were allowed plenty of time. Also, if all of this still won’t help you, participate in class! At the end of the semester, a participation bonus is awarded to students who participated frequently in class.

4. Overall workload of the class

Because of the weekly quizzes, you have to study and read the required weekly readings. But this does not take much time, and if the text is too long you can usually skim through it and gather the main points. Overall, the workload is not too bad and definitely manageable.

5. Exam Difficulty

Both exams involve writing two essays answering two questions that are posed. The midterm was in class and difficult because the questions were vague and strangely worded, and it is very easy to lose points. However, the final was take-home and much easier. So, it just depends. Don’t worry if you don’t do well on the midterm because you will most likely do better on the final.

Overall, the grade for this course, considering all the factors, is an B+. The only cons for this course would be that the professor’s lectures were a bit boring and could have been more interesting, and the weekly quizzes were sometimes very tricky.


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Mehar Bharatiya

Hi, I'm Mehar and I'm an Anthropology Major and Geology Minor at Stony Brook University! I like reading, writing, art, and cats. In my free time I like pondering philosophical quandaries, watching meme compilations, and engaging in political discourse!


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