middCourses
with Rebecca Mitchell2 months ago

I'm a junior at Middlebury and can confirm this is the worst class I've ever taken while being a student here. Our class started with over 40 kids and is ending with just 15 of us - and it's painfully clear why so many students dropped. I signed up for this course because I've had friends take classes with Damascus and loved him. What I was not prepared for was the secondary professor, Rebecca Mitchell. Not only is she a grating and unengaging lecturer who clearly wanted to only teach from her knowledge on European history and little more, her expectations for a 100-level course were absurd. More, her lack of empathy for her students was borderline disturbing. The class itself was clearly poorly designed, as we basically rewrote the entire curriculum after the initial classes when it became clear that the amount of reading we were given was impossible to complete and synthesize into weekly papers. Even after they changed the amount of reading, we were still given roughly 100 pages to write weekly essays on, on top of doing discussion posts, listening quizzes, and other projects. I took this course because I was genuinely interested in learning about music in this context, and was excited to be a student of Damascus. While I do appreciate what I learned from him, it was overshadowed by Professor Mitchell's own desires to teach from her own area of study. As this course ends, I can't help but lament that I now know far more about European music history than any other part of the world - a shame, for a course meant to engage us in decolonial thought surrounding music and resistance in places beyond the west. I would not recommend this course in its current form to any other student. I would not recommend taking a class with Professor Mitchell if you are someone who values engaging, compassionate, or even just tolerable instruction from teachers. I am disappointed to be leaving this course with much less excitement for both history and music-making. If you are passionate about either of these things, stay away.

I'm a junior at Middlebury and can confirm this is the worst class I've ever taken while being a student here. Our class started with over 40 kids and is ending with just 15 of us - and it's painfully clear why so many students dropped. I signed up for this course because I've had friends take classes with Damascus and loved him. Wha …Read more

Fast-PacedTough GradingEndless Writing
9hrs / week Extremely difficulty Low value Would not take again
with Damascus Kafumbe2 months ago

This should NOT be a 100-level class!! Do not take this to fill your art requirement!! I took this because I love history and needed my art credit and it was so bad that 3/4 of the class dropped it. Every assignment can only be described as unreasonable: every week we had to write a 2-page essay (due on Friday!!) that talked about 100 pages of reading, 2+ musical pieces, and examined questions of power. It was literally impossible to do that much in 2 pages and they were not easy graders! I consider myself a strong writer and I've never gotten above a 90 on an assignment. There would be weeks where multiple papers were due and it felt unreasonable for a 100 level class. The lectures are boring and feel directionless- the two professors have clearly never taught a class with someone else. They try to make the class discussion based but ask such niche, loaded questions that everyone is too scared to speak up. In its current form, no one should take this class!

This should NOT be a 100-level class!! Do not take this to fill your art requirement!! I took this because I love history and needed my art credit and it was so bad that 3/4 of the class dropped it. Every assignment can only be described as unreasonable: every week we had to write a 2-page essay (due on Friday!!) that talked about 10 …Read more

Endless WritingTough Grading
4hrs / week Extremely difficulty Very low value Would not take again