Comparative Analysis of Wealth, Policy, and Power

Foundations of Society and Culture - Social Analysis

Darin E Christensen

Comparative Analysis of Wealth, Policy, and Power

Public Affairs department

Darin E Christensen

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from 27 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 4.6
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 4.1
Easy
Heavy
Workload 3.9
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.9
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.7
Helpful
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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Participation Matters
  • Would Take Again
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Is Podcasted
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Snazzy Dresser

Grades

Spring 2020
59.5%
49.5%
39.6%
29.7%
19.8%
9.9%
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 2020
33.9%
28.2%
22.6%
16.9%
11.3%
5.6%
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.

Spring 2019
31.4%
26.1%
20.9%
15.7%
10.5%
5.2%
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.

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1 of 3

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Fall 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted Jan. 5, 2021
Grade Received: A

I took this class during my first quarter at UCLA which was online. I was hesitant when registering for this course because I'm a stem major and don't know a ton about politics/policy/etc and I was afraid that this class would be a lot like AP gov in high school which I hated.

I was pleasantly surprised by the content of this class. The topics we learned about were actually very interesting (to me at least) and I loved it. Even better was the fact that it wasn't anything like I had been afraid of so I definitely recommend this class to anyone who is interested in it even if it is completely unrelated to your major. The topics are also very relevant to today's society and the professor did a wonderful job applying what we learned to real life situations. It definitely gave me a new lens to view the world through. I read some previous reviews where people complained about the math that was involved in this course so I was slightly apprehensive as well but it honestly turned out to be not bad at all. If anything, it provided greater clarity to what we were learning about and made it easier to understand and was pretty simple. Either way, I don't think the math was completely necessary to the content. It was more a supplement to help you understand the topic better but you can definitely get by without paying too much attention to the math if that's what youre worried about. Definitely don't let it deter you from taking this course.

As far as workload goes, I thought it was pretty light especially for a social studies class. There wasnt much actual "work" besides watching the lectures and the readings for each lecture. Some of the readings can definitely be lengthy and I skipped or skimmed a good amount of them. But you can definitely get by without doing all of them because the professor discusses the readings in the lectures anyway. There were however questions about the readings/authors on the midterm and final so a solid understanding is still required overall.

I really wish I could've taken this class in person because professor christensen is such a great guy. His lectures were always pre recorded so you could watch at your convenience and his explanations of the content was always very clear and easy to understand even if you've never heard of it before. The professor was also very understanding of the difficulties of school being online and with COVID and so there was some leniency with assignments and due dates. Overall great professor who was very understanding.

There was also 2 writing assignments throughout the course. They weren't your typical essays and I thought they were pretty fun to write especially because you're given some room to decide on your topic. They're not very difficult either if you have a solid understanding of the course content and you have plenty of time to work on them.

Both the midterm and final I think were pretty representative of the course. There's always one or two tricky questions but again, if you're comfortable with the topics from class then you will do just fine.

Overall, this was my favorite class of fall quarter and I learned a ton. Definitely recommend it to anyone who is on the fence about taking it or not!

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 19, 2020
Grade Received: A

(remote) The way this class was structured was perfect. Christensen was SO organized and everything was pre recorded so you could go at your own pace. Lectures were so informational they filled the need to do reading and even attend section. Grade is distributed evenly, so not everything is riding on tests. You do two writing assignments that are easy to complete. Definitely one of my favorite classes taken so far. If you are interested in the subject, this is a good class to take for a GE as well.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted Dec. 28, 2020
Grade Received: A+

This is an extremely engaging class that I would recommend to anyone as a useful GE. Initially, I wasn't super excited about the course material, but this class broadened my understanding of how policy is made and how every social issue can be categorized into a specific dilemma. What I like about this class is that the Professor doesn't care about the specifics of you memorizing every fact. The readings are designed more for enjoyment and to deepen your understandings of the lectures. As long as you understand the concepts within the lecture, you will have no problem getting an A. The class has weekly multiple-choice quizzes (designed to pad your grade), two major exams, and two major papers. All of which I found very enjoyable to complete.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 17, 2020
Grade Received: A

One of the greatest classes I've taken so far at UCLA. Prof Christensen really knows his stuff, and I learned a lot even with this class being online for Spring 2020. Lectures were asynchronous and uploaded to Youtube so you can watch on your own time. There's short lecture quizzes to be completed after each one; they're super simple and taken directly from the powerpoints. The reading's can be a little long-winded especially as you get further along in the course, but I found them super interesting. He talks about some of them within the lectures as well, but you don't need to read them beforehand to follow along. Live discussions were required with your TA once a week; my group always finished beforehand. Attending gives participation points, with one absence excused. The one midterm (final was made optional later on) was pretty fair if you understand everything from the lecture. It's closed books/notes, but I definitely found it doable given all the discussion exercises you do. There was a small extra credit opt-in opportunity available centered around one of the class topics- no spoilers, but I don't think he actually ended up docking anyone/following through with the conditions. The midterm format was a lot of multiple choice/ T/F and two diagnosis problems (you write an paragraph based on social dilemmas and classification).

10% lecture quizzes (lowest two dropped), 20% midterm (extra credit can be used), 30% final, 30% papers (one op-ed and one policy memo), 10% discussion participation (one absence excused).

The papers were definitely doable given the time frames, but there's no feedback given other then where points were taken off from the rubric. I can't speak on the final, but I expect that he followed the same trend of testing lecture concepts combined with a few T/F from the reading.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 12, 2020
Grade Received: A

Professor Christensen is a king.

His organization of the course material was amazing: a very clear syllabus and well-managed CCLE page which listed each lecture/assignment/reading on a week-by-week basis.

His lectures were interesting and the course content directly relates to current events and many other conflicts/problems. It teaches you to think from a different frame of reference – as if you were playing a game – except this time, it's with real money and real lives.

Also: he's compassionate. This quarter, we were forced to transition to online learning, survive a pandemic, and fight racism head-on. Professor Christensen listened to students' needs and made generous accommodations for the whole class.

Take this course.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 22, 2021
Grade Received: B+

Professor Christensen does a great job at teaching this class. In the midst of all the COVID panic, he has been more than understanding and accommodating. You really get the impression that you can come to him if you have a problem. He teaches the course material really clearly and is always receptive to clarifying something. The tests are not necessarily easy, but they are also not crazy hard. The key is in the wording as some of the questions can be tricky. The other assignments are pretty fun and easy to do as long as you pay attention to lectures and do most of the readings. There is also a manageable amount of reading.
That being said, he did not round my 89 to an A so keep that in mind. Make sure you do that extra credit!!

Quarter Taken: Spring 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 18, 2021
Grade Received: A+

Content:
This class focused on how we can change people's decisions for the better. Professor Christensen does use some math at times, but this math is not necessary for understanding (though it does help make things a little clearer). A large portion of this course was on policy implementation--while it was not exactly what I had expected, I enjoyed the class nonetheless. We considered how people might react to policy differently based on the situation and how best to tailor said policy to a given scenario.

Grading:
Professor Christensen distributes the grade relatively evenly across multiple sections, helping to reduce the stress caused by a single assignment or exam. Starting early on the two papers does help because you can discuss ideas with your TA (mine was Laurelyn, who was extremely helpful) to help focus your paper. The exams are not too difficult, but do pay attention to details and the careful wording of the questions on exams.

Overall, this class was an exciting class with Professor Christensen helping us understand the material and ensuring that we had a place to talk if we ever felt uncomfortable. I enjoyed this class and wish I could have taken it in person because it would have been that much better. Do be prepared to learn a little about policy implementation and how that affects people's decisions; a willingness to use math can help make the material more easily digestible.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2021
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 17, 2021
Grade Received: B+

This class isn't hard. I could have gotten an A in non-COVID times, but alas.. I didn't really enjoy this class as much as I thought I would. It's essentially political science, and I've just switched from poli sci, so maybe that's why.
Anyway, the lectures were very clear and easy to follow, but on 1.5x speed. The pre-recorded lectures are good quality, but unfortunately I found the pace and volume to be very sleep-inducing. I couldn't make it through a lecture without a break or other distraction. However, when I did pay attention, I understood everything. But usually I preferred to just read the slides myself without the lecture.
Super easy quizzes, just make sure you understand all of the slides and you'll be fine.
There were a TON of readings, so much so that scared me into not doing them. They were interesting when I read some, tough.
The policy memo is why I have a B; it was my first kind of paper like that and I didn't do well. The op-ed is a lot easier, though.
Overall, not a good choice for a GE unless you just want political science. But easy and interesting depending on your attention span.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted March 29, 2021
Grade Received: A+

Professor Christensen is THE BEST! He truly cares about his students. His lectures and engaging and clear. His slides include only useful information. The readings are not entirely necessary for the tests, but if you want to do well, they are recommended. I highly recommend this class.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted Feb. 23, 2021
Grade Received: A-

I took this class as a last minute GE because I thought it would be interesting. I found it incredibly boring, but at least it was easy. I had to put the professor on 1.5x speed because he talks so slow and I never did a single reading but still managed to do fine. There are two big papers-- the policy memo and the op-ed, both of which I found incredibly easy and we had plenty of time to do them. We also had a midterm and final. This class was really easy but soooooo boring that I wouldn't recommend it.

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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Participation Matters
  • Would Take Again
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Is Podcasted
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Snazzy Dresser
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