Lecture 1 – An Introduction

As I said, my initial reason for starting this was due to incentive in the form of a better grade provided by my UCLA professor, Dr. Cargill, who teaches a class on the history of Jerusalem. He requires that we write paragraph summaries of the concepts covered and our thoughts on these concepts for each lecture.

Hopefully, in addition to these summaries, I will eventually start to bring in my own writing and philosophies. We’ll see what happens.

All that was went over in this class was the basics of the course, including how the various assignments and online class resources work. In addition, he gave us a short brief on how we will be examining the history of Jerusalem, like true archeologists and historical scientists, looking for true meaning and also using this basis in fact as a lens through which we will examine the three monotheistic faiths (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) that have continuously worked to conquer this small piece of land for the last 3000 years. He also spent a fair portion of the class going through and calling out our names one by one to make sure people enrolled were actually at the lecture…

I made no notes except for a few on the syllabus for this class, because as I said, this was not a typical lecture and I was not required to write a blog entry for this one, as nothing beyond the background to the course was shown. However, I thought it did tell a fair share about what is to come. Besides the inevitably awkward stage I already mentioned, where he called out everyone’s name individually as a means of checking enrolled students were actually there, I think he has already displayed his ability as a professor. You can tell from the way he speaks about the class that he has a passion for the subject and will be able to communicate his thoughts effectively. Any professor with a true passion for what they are teaching tend to be good ones.  I also liked his little speech on the importance of faith (and religions) in our discussion, and that it is inevitable he will offend someone or some faith at one time or another, but to understand that he is just going off the facts he has. I have respect for a professor that is willing to admit his inability to please everyone, as this is a truth to all our existences that I think many fail to fully grasp. It is important to see this in a world where many are only pleased if you abide by their rules or follow their doctrines – these are the people you ignore – for they are stubborn and have much to learn themselves.

I also really liked when he brought up the fact that he webcasts his lectures on iTunes (ie. to the public) because it “keeps him honest.” He argued with more people watching the audience is more likely to find something wrong with what he is saying and let him know about it, and he welcomes this criticism. He urges us to question him and to seek out our own answers. I have not come across many professors willing to admit that their knowledge could come to the point of being questioned by an undergraduate student. Whether Dr. Cargill actually believes he could ever be proven wrong by one of his students remains unanswered, however (haha). I’m excited for what this quarter has in store. I literally know almost nothing about Jerusalem at this point. Knowledge can only bring me forward from here. There’s no going back now.


~ by Andru on January 7, 2011.

One Response to “Lecture 1 – An Introduction”

  1. Hi Andrew!

    I write for the Daily Bruin and I’m doing an article on professors who incorporate Twitter and other forms of social media into their class. Dr. Cargill is one of those professors who will be mentioned in the article. I noticed you said you started this blog because of him, so I was hoping to get a very quick interview with you about this experience (it would be over the phone). If you could please shoot me a quick email with your availability ASAP, I’d really appreciate it.

    Thank you and the sooner the better!


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