Economy and Society
Winter 2017 - This class is a fantastic combo of being both generously graded and an interesting subject, I definitely recommend it as a Soc upper-div (and honestly maybe even just as a relatively easy upper-div for anyone). The readings are interesting and fairly short for a Soc class. The one weak point of the class would be lecture. Berend lectures without any sort of slides or whiteboard use and tends to ramble so it can be rather dull, but her lecture outlines are both handed out in class and posted online which makes following along fairly simple (and attendance probably optional, although the EC on the final was based on something only said in-class). Class also ended 20 minutes early every day which was great. There are four short multiple choice quizzes, pretty easy to figure out if you’ve done the reading or at least know what’s going on in class. There are also two short papers (single-spaced, less than 1 page) that are pretty easy to throw together and interesting to write. The midterm is 20 multiple choice and some short answer, plus extra credit questions. The final is in-class and not cumulative, basically a second midterm. I scored over 100% on the midterm and felt good about the final, too. There’s also an additional extra credit opportunity at the end of the class which only requires you to write three sentences, so I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t do it. All in all, though lecture is a little dry, the readings are actually useful and an A basically requires the minimum effort.
I think Prof. Black is a great professor and this was the 2nd class I took with her, and you have to give her a chance. At first I wasn't very fond of the class structure, and her exams were very challenging because of the wording, but I did have a very fun time in her class. She is a very nice person if you ever get to go to her office, and it's not that hard to get an A in. I would just say to be patient and enjoy it, because it is fun and other professors just sit and talk, and she really engaged us to work together and participate. It was pretty fun overall.
I thought that the class was overall a good one. She was great about answering student\355s questions in class, and was easy to get a hold of if you had any questions (if you couldn\355t make it to office hours she respond to your e-mails rather quickly). The midterm was a little too detail oriented, but it was easy if you reviewed your notes and went to lecture. The paper involved wasn\355t too bad either, just be sure to start early because it\355s a biggie. The final wasn\355t that bad either. She basically gives the final out and goes over before the final. If you prepare for the final by going over her guide you can easily get a good grade.
A knowledgable professor, nice man, boring lecturer. Subject matter is quite dry and his monotonous lecturing makes it even worse. Light produced the best syllabus I've ever seen, gave us outline and questions before midterm, and had TA that was a fair grader. There was no hidden agenda; we knew what was expected from us. Unfortunately TA's heavy accent and lack of confidence made discussions unproductive. This class required little homework. Previous knowledge of Marx, Weber, Smith and Ricardo came handy. Prof. Light has an excellent sense of humor which I only got to experience during his office hours. At the end of the course, he freshned up his lecturing style and even envolved us in a role-playing, which was a nice change. I would recommend this professor only if you are very interested in the subject matter.
Fall 2020 - I know that there are some pretty negative reviews for Rossman (especially for Fall 2020), but I wanted to jump in and give my opinion because I completely disagree with them. Hear me out before you decide that Rossman is someone you don't want to take a class with. Sociology 173 is my favorite sociology course that I have taken at UCLA and Professor Rossman is among the best instructors that I have had the pleasure of learning from. He created an incredibly engaging course that was well-paced and provided me with a thorough overview of economic sociology. I seriously enjoyed every week of material and his lectures are so good. They were all pre-recorded, which made it really easy to follow along with the transcript while he was talking. He doesn't use slides, but he has so many examples from real life and pop culture that it's easy to follow along. All of the material is so useful for understanding our world and is immediately applicable to so much of what I see around me. The readings were very relevant to the course material and enhanced my understanding by providing examples of the course concepts in action. They were not excessively long, and there was approximately 40 pages of reading from journal articles per week. For two of the weeks one of the readings was replaced by a This American Life podcast that was super interesting. Here's the grade breakdown: 25% midterm, 25% final, 30% book report, and 20% for the memos Memos are 900-1500 words that summarize all of the readings for that week and then apply them to your experiences or anything else outside of the readings (basically summary and your own examples). Some people thought they were too long, but honestly by the time you get done with a summary you only need to come up with like 2 examples and you've reaches the word count. For that reason, I thought the memos were a reasonable length and truly did help me work through the ideas presented in the readings. The fact that we only had to do memos for 5 out of the 10 weeks also provided a huge amount of flexibility, which was very helpful in managing online learning. The midterm and final were 3 short answer questions that we had 1 hour to complete. They were very fair and came directly from the lectures - there were no tricks, you basically just had to summarize the lectures so taking detailed notes really helps here. For the book report we chose one of two books to read and wrote a 5,000 word paper with a partner (so about 2,500 words per person). You just had to apply 4 weeks worth of lecture material to the book you read, so it's basically 4 mini essays of 1,250 words each. It was not bad at all, and my partner and I got a great grade after working on it for only 1.5-2 weeks. Professor Rossman himself was very knowledgeable, kind, and approachable. The optional Q and A that he offered each week in addition to his regular office hours was extremely helpful for me as he was able to clear any confusion that I had about the material. He also made himself available to talk about connections to our own lives and personal interests, which proved to me how much he cares about his students as human beings. I was also in the honors section for this class, so I got to speak with Rossman frequently (even though lectures were pre-recorded), and anybody who takes the time to speak to him outside of class can see what an excellent instructor and person he is. I will agree with the other reviewers that this class is a lot of work. To truly understand the course concepts, you have to be willing to dive deeply into the readings and set aside extra time to really understand the lectures by going to office hours or the Q and A session. If your other classes aren't too demanding and you're up for a bit of a challenge, though, this class with Rossman is one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences that the UCLA Sociology department offers.