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Arts & Human Sciences Subject Review Thread

Azure

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Welcome to the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Human Sciences subject review thread.

The aim of this thread is to allow students to offer feedback on the units they are studying/have studied.

Reviews should be made in the following format:


  • Unit Code:
  • Difficulty: (Easy/Moderate/Difficult)
  • Lecturer:
  • Tutor:
  • Year and Semester Taken:
  • Workload:
  • Comments:
  • Assessment Breakdown:

In order to find a particular subject review within this faculty, simply click on the "search thread" function and enter your unit code.



Good luck with your studies.
 
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andyfg88

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Hi all, since i've been rooting for this thread for sometime now, I might as well be the first to reply.

First a little background about me to help contextualise it. I transferred into a Bachelor of Arts with a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie in 2011 from another university where I was doing a single BA majoring in Sociology. I transferred in my last and final year of Arts and so I completed only 6 300 level Arts units all from the sociology department to satisfy my major. I started my LLB from scratch.

I've made a few amendments to the prescribed review structure just to help give a bit more insight. I'll try and be as detailed as I can but if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Disclaimer: These views are my own subjective views formed by attending classes and lectures throughout the year and interacting with various tutors and lecturers. They are not in anyway intended to be of a defamatory nature of any kind. Their sole purpose is to share knowledge, experience and inform others through my own reflexive experience at the university.

Macquarie Law School
Unit Code: LAW115: Foundations of Law
Difficulty: Moderate
Lecturer: Archana/Carlos
Tutor: Shireen
Year and Semester Taken: Semester 1, 2011
Amount of reading required: 50-60 pages per night
Workload: Fairly Heavy
Comments:

In this subject you can expect to learn a lot about legal theories. It basically introduces you to various types of legal theories by different key thinkers. We learnt about Islamic law, Aboriginal law and the Common law. We also learnt about the way in which each system of law came into being - the origins of each system of law. We were also taught the differences between the adversarial system and the inquisitorial system from various aspects. There was a lot of reading to get through and there were no published materials (it was all online), this was incredibly frustrating. I actually ended up printing it all and it ended up being over one thousand A4 pages. The amount of reading was really quite a lot for an introductory course.

The lectures were split into two sessions, the first half of the semester was lectured by Archana and the second half by Carlos. Archana is an excellent lecturer who provides very detailed slides (sometimes almost too detailed), however she can be hard to follow during the lecture at times. Carlos can also be hard to follow during the lecture at times, however he is very entertaining and engaging, he encourages participation throughout the lectures and is quite humorous. His lecture slides are simple and usually contain pictures as well.

Shireen, really really knows her stuff. Her legal knowledge is second-to-none. If you're lucky enough to have her as a tutor then you'll do just fine in this course, however beware.... she marks really hard!

Assessment breakdown:
  • 20% 850-1000 word essay on Aboriginal, Islamic and Common law
  • 20% Class Participation
  • 60% Final Take Home Exam with 1 hypothetical question and one theoretical question
Unit Code: LAW109: Criminal Justice and Procedure
Difficulty: Easy
Lecturer: George
Tutor: Anne
Year and Semester Taken: Semester 2, 2011
Amount of reading required: 30-40 pages per night
Workload: Fairly Heavy
Comments:

The cases in this course are probably about as interesting as it might get. You've got murders, BDSM, Rape, Battered Wife Syndrome, Drugs etc... pretty much all the sort of stuff you need to make your modern day law and order type show. For the most part George is an excellent lecturer, there is no doubt that he knows his stuff and his lecture slides are straight to the point. His lectures are incredibly engaging and he uses a combination of videos and pictures and stories and examples to keep you engaged. In attending his lectures you'll pretty much always understand what he's saying - it's hard to get lost. The course material is engaging and obviously the cases are interesting. The texts are not your typical black letter law type texts there are case studies and historical facts. George contextualises all of these things with relevant examples which is very good. He also brings in guest lecturers such as ex-magistrates.

The downside, from my experience, George often got carried away with explaining/justifying the rubric or assessment scheme and this would occupy much of the lecture time. The other thing that would occupy much of the lecture time is that he would only really get through a few points in each topic (maybe 3 or 4 at the most). This is because sometimes he spent a bit too much time on the entertainment part of the lecture.

The assessment criteria is absolutely ridiculous. It's incredibly demanding (see below). Basically, there was an overemphasises on researching for law reform commissions. Most of the assignments actually involved writing unofficial law reform submissions. It gets really tedious and boring. You never actually really get to "apply the law".

Another crucial downside which pretty much everyone I know complained about is that the assignment questions were never posted up on time. Throughout the entire semester promises were made that assignment questions would be posted up on Blackboard at specified times, a majority of the time these assignments were posted up hours late and the deadline was only extended by an hour or so. The blame for this was always placed on the IT department. There was a heavy reliance on blackboard and collaborating with groups through blackboard. In my opinion the short comings of the assignments being posted up so late were never adequately compensated for, and the group assignments were hellish.

Anne is a lovely tutor, she's been teaching for quite some time so she has extensive knowledge of the law, however she speaks very very quietly.So you need to sit up close to hear what she is saying.

In retrospect, this course was enjoyable, probably one of the most enjoyable you'll ever do at the law school... if you can overlook the crazy assessment demands.

Assessment breakdown:
  • A Short Essay (15%) - 1,000 words
  • Collaborative Online Blog (15%) - Part 1 - 1,200 words: this requires you to collaborate with a random group of people online using blackboard
  • Collaborative Online Blog (15%) - Part 2 - 1,600 words: this requires you to collaborate with a random group of people online using blackboard
  • Online Journal (10%) - You need to answer approximately 5-6 questions each week and post them online (these honestly take about 5-6 hours a week depending). One of them took over one day.
  • Final Assignment (45%) - 2,000 Words: This is a three part assignment, its all theoretical and there is no hypothetical element at all. You don't need to answer any scenario based question or anything like that. And you don't really get to "apply the law", only talk about it.

The upside to this overly demanding assessment criteria is that there is real potential to get a HD in this subject (I missed out by a mere 3 marks).
I'll write more when I get the chance :)
 
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AsyLum

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Perhaps developing some sort of rubric to create consistent and less subjective reviews are in order? We don't want people slagging people off but that information may still be important: "X lecturer was shit" vs "The lectures were difficult to follow due to a, b, c"

</teacher>
 

andyfg88

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Perhaps developing some sort of rubric to create consistent and less subjective reviews are in order? We don't want people slagging people off but that information may still be important: "X lecturer was shit" vs "The lectures were difficult to follow due to a, b, c"

</teacher>
Agreed. I was careful not to do that in my own one, for every time I said something negative or positive I qualified it with a reason.
 

AsyLum

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Haha yeah, definitely wasn't aimed at you :)

Just as a more rigorous process, perhaps even if they were submitted to the mod and verified and 'cleaned' before being put up, it might even be better.
 

andyfg88

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Haha yeah, definitely wasn't aimed at you :)

Just as a more rigorous process, perhaps even if they were submitted to the mod and verified and 'cleaned' before being put up, it might even be better.
Yeah we need to prevent this from turning into an arbitrary slandering session while also retaining the need to have students review/reflect on their experience with their lecturer/tutor. If this isn't regulated properly somehow this whole thread could potentially turn counter productive.
 

-may-cat-

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Unit Code: AHIS218 Latin A
Difficulty: Moderate
Lecturer: Alanna Nobbs
Runs: Semester One
Workload: Moderate – half an hour of study 6 days a week puts you in good stead
Comments:

This unit provides an absolute beginners introduction to the Latin language, by the end you should be able to read short, easy passages of both adapted Latin (for learning purposes) as well as real Latin, such as the love poems of Catullus. The unit has three contact hours a week; a two hour seminar followed by a one hour seminar. Usually you will spend the two hour seminar briefly revising the previous week’s grammar, learning new grammar and working through non-assessable in class exercises. The one hour seminar usually involves going through Latin readings as a class, applying the newly learnt grammar (the passages in the exam are taken from these readings).

The unit moves at a very fast pace, if you slack off for even a week you will find it difficult to catch up as the grammar is constantly being built upon and applied in readings. Mostly the study will involve getting your head around the grammatical difference between English and Latin and memorising paradigms and vocabulary. Getting your head around the differences between English (a non-inflected language) and Latin (a heavily inflected language) can be quite difficult if you have never studied inflected languages before, if you have, you will find this unit considerably easier than other students. The endless rote learning of paradigms and vocab gets very dull very quickly, however if you do not consistently force yourself to memorise these things you will have great difficulty with the exam.

Alanna Nobbs is a fantastic lecturer; she is extremely committed to her students learning and will go above and beyond for you if you need extra help. Her lectures are very upbeat and she is able to render difficult grammatical concepts into simple, easy to understand language. The assessment is very light; the four exercises are not particularly difficult providing you have understood the in-class material. Similarly, if you study consistently throughout the semester you will find the exam very, very easy; everything in the exam will have been looked at in class (for this reason it is important to attend all classes and take diligent notes).

You cannot let yourself be lulled into a false sense of security by the light assessment load, you must study consistently throughout semester. If you decide not to study during semester and cram before the exam be prepared to do very badly; there is simply too much material and too many paradigms to reach any sort of practical competency through cramming. A good mark in the four assessments will mean little if you bomb the exam, which is very heavily weighted at 60% of your final mark. The only thing i did not like about the unit is that you use prepared 'study guides' to teach you the material rather than a real grammar and lexicon. Students that decide to take their Latin further than A and B level may find it difficult to adapt to these crucial materials later on, being instead used to their 'study guide' (which while good at this early stage will quickly need to be upgraded at C level).

Assessment breakdown:

• 4 take home grammar and translation exercises worth 10% each. (40%)
• 2 hour Final Exam (60%)
o Latin to English Translation of short sentences with grammatical commentary (parsing, syntax etc.)
o Latin to English Translation of larger passages taken from readings done in class.
o Vocabulary test worth 10% of exam mark
 
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-may-cat-

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Unit Code: AHIS219 Latin B
Difficulty: Moderate
Lecturer: Alanna Nobbs
Runs: Semester Two
Workload: Moderate – half an hour of study 6 days a week puts in you good stead
Comments:

This unit carries on from where AHIS218 Latin A finishes off and in many ways the two units are very similar. By the end of the unit you should be able to read longer, more advanced (comparatively to AHIS218) Latin passages from authors such as Catullus, Cicero, Ovid, Augustus and Suetonius. The unit has three contact hours a week; a two hour seminar followed by a one hour seminar. Usually you will spend the two hour seminar briefly revising the previous week’s grammar, learning new grammar, working through non-assessable in-class exercises and going through Latin readings as a class, applying the newly learnt grammar (the passages in the exam are taken from these readings). There is a lot less grammar to be learnt in comparison to Latin A, however it is considerably more complex with the emphasis being on clause constructions; indirect statements, indirect questions, conditional sentences, gerundives etc.

Latin B differs from Latin A in that the one hour seminar involves a different guest lecturer every week who speaks on topics relating to the various uses of Latin such as numismatics, papyrology, epigraphy etc. While some of these lectures are very interesting, they are general and introductory at best… I personally believe that the time could have been put to much better use revising readings and grammar. Even though you may be tempted to skip these lectures, don’t! You must attend and take notes or you will be screwed for the essay section of the exam; out of the 13 lectures given, only 5 essay options will be offered in the exam (of which you get to choose 2). One aspect of the course that I thought was outstanding was the emphasis placed on translational differences; understanding and recognising the reasons why not all translations of a text will be the same is one of the most valuable skills you will probably get from this course.

Latin B moves a bit slower than Latin A, however the material is covered in much greater depth. The four assessments are a bit harder than in Latin A but still more than manageable. Once more it is very important that you maintain consistent study of the material if you wish to do well in the final exam. The exam itself has a lot more to it than the Latin A exam, all the old features are there but with 2 new questions tacked on; a pre-circulated compulsory question on translational differences and 2 short essays on the guest lecture topics. Keep in mind that the exam is still only 2 hours long, so you have to work quite quickly. Again, I would have preferred the use of a real grammar and lexicon over the study guide and I think students moving on to Latin C would have trouble adjusting.

Assessment breakdown:

• 40% - 4 take home grammar and translation exercises worth 10% each.
• 60% - 2 hour Final Exam
o Compulsory pre-circulated question comparing different translations of a single Latin passage.
o Latin to English Translation of short sentences with grammatical commentary (parsing, syntax etc.)
o Latin to English Translation of larger passages taken from readings done in class.
o 2 short essay questions options relating to the guest lecture topics given throughout semester.
o Vocabulary test worth 10% of exam mark
 
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Azure

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The improved criteria for subject selection looks much better then what I had initially posted, so I'm more than happy to go with that. :)

In terms of moderation, I think it may be a little tedious to pre-screen all reviews. What I will do however, is keep a close eye on these threads and do my best to ensure that reviews are as objective as possible.

If there is anything you feel is questionable, you're also free to report it.
 

rayy_bann

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Is LAW115 a prerequisite for LAW109? I never knew that until my enrolment day...which resulted in me changing my WHOLE timetable around. Plus I find it weird how its difficulty is 'moderate' as opposed to LAW109 which is done later and is classed 'easy'. But yeah :)
 

misericordia

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Unit code: LAW 488 (Access to Justice Placement Program)
Difficulty: Easy
Convenor: Debra Ronan
Year and Semester Taken: 2012 sem 1
Workload: Light
Comments: LAW488 is a placement program in which you visit various places (e.g. courts and CLCs) to gain better idea about how law operates and access to justice issues. The program is quite relaxed – there aren’t much tutes to attend (just in the evenings) and there aren’t many readings to do so it lets you focus on the placement experience. The convenor is really nice as well. Selection is only based on your application letter so everyone should give it a go.
Assessment Breakdown: CP (10%), reflective report (25%), class presentation (15%), research essay (50%)

Unit code: LAW 551 (Professional and Community Engagement)
Difficulty: Easy
Convenor: Debra Ronan
Year and Semester Taken: 2012 sem 1
Workload: Moderate
Comments: LAW 551 is another placement program in which you research and summarize cases for development of a case law database by Aboriginal Legal Service. This program is relaxed in that there aren’t much tutes to attend (again, just in the evenings) but it does require you have some research skills as assessments are purely research based. Definitely give this a go if you love research based units and if you want to contribute to the area of indigenous peoples and the law. Selection is based on your application letter and your academic performance.
Assessment Breakdown: Research summary (20%), selection of cases to summarize (30%), case summaries (50%)

Unit code: LAW 555 (Remedies)
Difficulty: Moderate
Convenor: Francesca Dominello
Tutor: Tim Fitzpatrick
Year and Semester Taken: 2012 sem 1
Workload: Heavy
Comments: This is a compulsory unit that covers broad range of remedies available in tort, contract, equity etc – it’s a bit like revision of everything we’ve done with focus on remedies aspect. You might find it boring and the workload is heavy but assessment structure is such that it caters for everyone (mixture of CP, problem solving questions and essay questions). Some people thought the assessments were marked harshly but I thought it was ok (i.e. you get what you put in).
Assessment Breakdown: CP (10% + 10%), take home exam (20% + 20%), research essay (40%)

Unit code: LAW 461 (Discrimination and the Law)
Difficulty: Easy
Convenor & Tutor: Therese McDermott
Year and Semester Taken: 2012 sem 1
Workload: Moderate
Comments: This is a relatively easy and interesting unit that is mostly research based. I don’t think you can go wrong with choosing this unit because Therese is very organized and she is good at lecturing – but note that the final take home exam only goes for 3 days and you have to write 10 pages.
Assessment Breakdown: CP (10%), research essay (40%), take home exam (50%)

Unit code: LAW 580 (Human Rights and Moral Dilemmas)
Difficulty: Moderate
Convenor & Tutor: Denise Meyerson
Year and Semester Taken: 2012 sem 1
Workload: Light
Comments: If you enjoy debating about things like freedom of expression and anything jurisprudence related this unit is for you. Denise is an excellent academic who is also very organized and good at lecturing. I liked the way materials were taught – lectures focused on theories and tutes focused on cases. Some theories and cases were hard-going at times but this wasn’t really an issue as most topics covered were really interesting. Annotated bibliography assignment helped students in formulating their essays.
Assessment Breakdown: CP (20%), annotated bibliography (25%), research essay (55%)
 

Azure

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Thank you so much for that. I was going to post a few questions about LAW555 (not there yet, but still curious) but I think you've pretty much answered them for me.
 

rayy_bann

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Wait, so Law doesn't really have final examinations based on campus like most subjects? :O
 

rhysmadgwick

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This is my first post on BOS, usually I just browse and read but I have to make comment, the reviews for the law units are great, I am starting BA/BLaws mid year entry at Macquarie and am looking forward to it, just as the post above me has asked, are there final exams for LAW prefix units or is it all assessment? Thanks!
 

Proteus

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Unit Code: LAW115
Difficulty: Easy
Lecturer: Carlos + Guest Lecturers / Other unit conveners
Tutor: C. Greentree
Year and Semester Taken: 2012 S2
Workload :Moderate
Comments:Making a new review as the subject has been overhauled. It is now a Pass/Fail unit, but that doesn't mean no work is involved. Make sure you learn everything and take advantage of the multiple assessment submissions. It should help you develop skills that you will require in the future for LAW subjects. Does not cover Islamic / Aboriginal law anymore, which I think is probably great.

Assessment Breakdown: 6-7 Assessments with multiple submissions
 

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