Transcription of Student Evaluations

Judaic Studies 191N Ė Spring 2000


1.This course has been one of the most fascinating and original courses Iíve ever participated in.Professor Ellisís knowledge Ė in all its breadth and depth Ė encouraged and challenged us not only to learn but also to rethink and explore our understanding of the Book of Job and of The Trial by F. Kafka, two amazing but also difficult and complexly written texts.Itís been quite an enriching learning experience, so stimulating that it leaves me eager for more!!Many thanks!!


2.Professor Ellis seemed to thoroughly immerse himself in the material.In addition to the two texts used in the class, Professor Ellis had found close to fifty separate articles, essays, and reviews to augment the main texts.All of those provided fresh insights into the material.He allowed for free and open discussion among the students and was always sympathetic to the opinions of the class.He was also remarkably well versed on the topics discussed (e.g., Jewish literature, history).

††††† One suggestion I have for next semester: mandating attendance.Attendance was generally poor, likely because the course was for only one credit, and Professor Ellis was far too nice to mention [it] as a problem to the class (though he did hint at it in several e-mails, which were usually rudely ignored).Discussion is very important in a class like this, so in a class of 5 participation becomes immensely important.Outside of this, the class was excellent.


3.Professor Ellis presented our class with an extremely enthusiastic attitude, provided us with an abundance of material, displaying his immense interest in the subject.The class lectures and discussions were thought-provoking and insightful, enabling both spiritual and intellectual realizations.


4.The instructor was fair and impartial, gave everyone in the class lots of attention.There could have been more class participation, maybe more in-class presentations, maybe some collages, instead of straight lecturing.The instructor stayed true to the aim of the class and went well beyond the expected information.


5.The instructor made this course very interesting.He clearly had an in-depth knowledge not only of the text we studied but of other philosophers, scholars, authors, etc., who shed different light on the text invoked.This was especially good because the texts we read were complex.Perhaps the best part of the course was hearing in-depth responses from different students to the works we studied.Perhaps the course might work better as a 3-credit course with more time for response papers and oral reports.I thought the course worked best when we focused on a particular chapter in the novel.Sometimes I felt that when we focused on larger concepts of the texts, the conversations became too unfocused and there was less response from the students.The talks on smaller sections usually naturally lent themselves to larger subjects.Once again it would have been good to hear more response (papers, etc.) from students.But otherwise I thought this was a very rewarding course.The instructor added a lot of help and his enthusiasm was often infectious.


6.What I liked best about this class was the informal and open nature of the lecture and discussions.Richard Ellis knew the subject matter well, was enthusiastic about what he taught, and created an open structure to his classes.Although class participation wasnít very high, the teacher listened to his students, and sometimes let them determine the direction of conversation.Classes mainly consisted of conversation about our readings for that particular class, but often digressed to related topics.Much of the time, I found the digression to be the more stimulating.

††††† Although Ellis was open, I think he could have encouraged better participation.He likes to talk a lot and sometimes doesnít look for other peopleís opinions.