Politics and Strategy

Barry O'Neill

Politics and Strategy

Political Science department

Barry O'Neill

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from 30 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 3.4
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 3.2
Easy
Heavy
Workload 3.4
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 2.6
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.6
Helpful
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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Often Funny
  • Issues PTEs

Grades

Winter 2019
25.0%
20.8%
16.7%
12.5%
8.3%
4.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2017
20.7%
17.2%
13.8%
10.3%
6.9%
3.4%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2016
23.2%
19.3%
15.5%
11.6%
7.7%
3.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2014
25.6%
21.3%
17.1%
12.8%
8.5%
4.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2010
24.4%
20.3%
16.2%
12.2%
8.1%
4.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Reviews

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 18, 2020 Grade Received: A

I have very mixed feelings about this class.
Barry is probably one of the most genuine professors at UCLA. He is unashamedly himself during lectures, but this, unfortunately, comes across as extremely confusing . This class was an overwhelming experience because the professor only talked about what interested him; he didn't take a whole lot of time to teach the basics of game theory. Barry is undoubtedly a brilliant mathematician and game theorist. He just had a lot of difficulty breaking it down into simpler concepts and making it clear. Barry said at the beginning of the quarter that the textbook was mandatory, but he didn't actually use it (DON'T BUY IT).
Another downside to this class is that you have absolutely no idea how you are performing. The TAs try to be as up front as possible with you, but Barry doesn't even tell them how he's grading the class. The midterm grade was determined by quintiles- the top 20% get As, the next 20% get Bs, and so on. Barry told us at the beginning that we would get put in a quintile relative to how the entire class performed. During sections, though, the TAs said that they were told to put us in quintiles according to ONLY their sections. Because of this confusion, I had no clear idea of how I was performing in the class.
Without my TA, Cybele Kappos, I would understand very little about game theory. I probably would have flunked the midterm.
If you take this class with Barry, expect funny, but confusing, lectures. Expect to learn everything from your TA. Expect to watch Kathy Bawn's pre-recorded lectures on YouTube. Expect to watch GameTheory101 on YouTube.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 21, 2020 Grade Received: A+

Ok. Can Professor O'Neill be confusing at times? Yes. There were times during lecture where my friends and I would just look at each other in complete and utter confusion. However, this doesn't make Barry a bad professor. Barry is probably one of the nicest, funniest professors I've had the pleasure of having so far. Sometimes I would leave lecture actually understanding the material! That being said, my godly TA (Cybele Kappos!!) would fill in all the gaps during section. As a Poli Sci major with zero affinity for math or stats, some subjects made me nervous when we first learned them, like chance and mixed strategy nash equilibrium. Learning these in lecture certainly made me nervous, as sometimes it was hard to keep up with what Barry was saying. However, when he got to the actual calculations, it became pretty straight forward. He also demonstrated "games" for us often, which was fun. From what I've heard from my friends in different sections, your TA can possibly make or break your grade. The midterm was EXACTLY like the homework and practice problems he gives, so it was fairly easy for me. There's also the fact that Barry doesn't believe in "traditional grading systems", meaning you do not receive an actual letter grade for your midterm, but a percentile. This was nervewracking because, despite knowing our percentiles, everyone went through the entire course without ever knowing their actual grades. Overall though, I enjoyed the course and loved having Barry as a professor and Cybele as a TA :)

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 16, 2020 Grade Received: A

While Barry was sometimes disorganized with his slides, he is an extremely nice professor and we usually just laugh off any minor blunders. The class itself is not difficult; like any other, if you put the work in, you will succeed. TAs were helpful in explaining anything that was still confusing from lecture. If I'm honest, sometimes going to lecture made the content seem more confusing than when I learned it myself. You can decide whether or not you want to attend. All in all, I would take this class again because I found the content enjoyable and Barry's a sweet old man with an obsession for swiffers.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted Jan. 28, 2020 Grade Received: NR

This is one of the worst classes I have taken at UCLA. The professor is nice which is great and all if we are evaluating him as a person, but the reality is he is supposed to be a good educator, and to say he does not know how to teach is simply an understatement. Despite how well he knows the material, he lacks the ability to articulate it. His lectures are not structured in any way and consist of him rambling on and typically leaving you more confused than you were before you walked in. The teaching assistants try to be helpful but the material is just overall poorly organized and communicated and it is just a shit show. I read the reviews of this class prior to taking it and decided to disregard all of the negative reviews and give the professor and the class a chance, and it was the worst mistake. I strongly recommend everyone to not take this class and take it with a different professor if you can. 0/10 would recommend. It baffles me that such a top tier university like UCLA has professors that are this awful at teaching. It is classes and professors like this that turn an individual who used to love learning and going to class to hating the education system and dreading the mere thought of going to class. Thanks for coming to my ted talk

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted April 1, 2020 Grade Received: A

I can not stress this enough, Barry is the nicest professor I have ever had the pleasure of learning from.

However, he can not teach in an understandable or concise manner. He's fun to watch but the only time I ever learned anything was in my TAs section.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted April 3, 2019 Grade Received: NR

Barry is a nice professor and cares very much about his students. However to say he is disorganized and aloof is an understatement. His lectures are basically ramblings about random topics sandwiched between actual course material. When he goes over how to solve a game he often gets distracted or jumps to another topic which leaves the class more confused. His slides are a jumbled mess and its hard to really discern what they are saying. Even Barry admits he does not do a good job writing the presentations. The area you will get any clarity is in section where the TA will go over sample problems and give out a handout that breaks down the problems and concepts step by step. However not all the TAs are of good quality and sociability. My TA Yana Otlan was excellent about clarifying problems , and admitted that if you found Barry confusing you should take Kathy Bawn's PS30. Tamar was a other good TA , has she created review sheets for the exams. Aresiny is the worst TA, and my TA, told my section to avoid his reviews to prevent getting more confused.
The exams like his powerpoint where a jumbled mess that where literally written the day they were administered. The Midterm especially contained numerous mistakes which caused him to revise the exam while people were taking it, and he literally changed one of the questions after a sizable crowd of people finished and left. The actual game questions where pretty straight forward but the "conceptual" / multiple choice section was something out of left field. They asked about some of the most random diatribes he had in class, and I attended every single lecture. As of right now Barry has still not submitted the grades to the registrar, because he claims he made a mistake while attempting to submit them. If you want to take PS 30 and listen to random stories about Durians, bird courses, and other mundane topics with game theory sandwiched in between take this course. If you want to get game theory delivered in a more orthodox way I suggest you take Kathy Bawn or Michael Chwe.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted April 2, 2019 Grade Received: N/A

Don't get me wrong, Barry is a sweet old Canadian guy who is extremely knowledgeable in game theory. However, he is also one of the most disorganized lecturers that I have ever had here at UCLA. Every lecture, I walked out of his class much more confused about the material than when I came in. He frequently jumps around between slides and even in the middle of doing example problems, which made it very difficult to even know what he is talking about, let alone understand the material. Another part of his disorganization is that he literally procrastinates more than the students. As of right now, the deadline for posting grades has passed, but they are still not up. Also, the midterm was written the day of the exam and had so many careless mistakes, but the class has this weird policy where you can't ask clarification questions during the exam. The actual problems on the exams were fairly straightforward if you took the extra time to learn the concepts yourself (because you probably couldn't understand them from class), but don't get me started on the mostly irrelevant multiple choice section that includes questions on the most random anecdotes and phrases that me mentioned throughout his ramblings in class. Despite all these issues, some youtube channel called game theory 101 saved my life in this class because my TA, Arseniy (the Russian guy), was pretty much useless compared to the other TAs. If you are stuck taking this class with Barry (really don't do it though), do not enroll in Arseniy's section. From my friends that had Yana and Tamar, I heard that they are much more helpful.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted March 23, 2019 Grade Received: B+

Terrible lecturer. TA Yana and AAP PLF's are the only reason I understand anything in this class. Lectures are pointless because you leave more confused than when you walk in. Professor O'Neill is a cool dude, but that is about it. He is awful as a professor, but truly does care about his students.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted June 12, 2018 Grade Received: A

My favorite part of this class was my TA. I'm gonna give a huge shoutout to Yana Otlan, if it wasn't for her honestly I wouldn't understand anything going on in this class. She makes understanding the material SO much easier!! Professor O'Neill was not very helpful/clear in his lectures but Otlan was super helpful she even made extra review session for students to attend to. I got an 29/30 on the midterm and idk about my final but I must've done well since I got an A in the class. The midterm and final do consist of 1-3 multiple choice questions but basically everything else is written but if you have Yana you'll do good.
I also purchased the textbook, however, it was completely useless because I didn't even open it once, so you don't really need it so don't waste your money on it.
Also, I went to the test bank for previous tests to see how the midterm/final were gonna be. It was alittle similar but not really, but it was great practice. I would take this class again if Yana Otlan was gonna be the TA. My friends had another TA and honestly they were disappointed because their TA didn't teach them anything.
There are also homeworks due each week but find a friend in this class and you'll be fine, the homework's are pretty easy and DO give you a boost in your final grade.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted June 11, 2018 Grade Received: A

Barry is funny and a nice professor, but his lectures are frankly disorganized and prone to errors. Super easy to get an A if you put in minimal effort and go to most classes. I am selling the textbook (which is not necessary to buy but helpful if you don't understand everything in class)
email me about the textbook if interested in buying! carcar5618@gmail.com

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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Often Funny
  • Issues PTEs
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