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HORRIBLE. I'm a fourth year and I have never walked into a classroom and wanted to drop a class so badly within 2 minutes of a professor lecturing (nor have I dropped a class after the quarter started), but I dropped the class right after the first lecture. It took him about 10 minutes of the first lecture to set up one of those old school projectors that your teachers in high school used, y'know the ones where the material is on the ceiling or the floor most of the time because they don't have to common sense to angle the projector so you can actually see what the hell they're talking about. He literally kept the projector in the middle of the screen so that most of the material was on the floor. We mentioned it to him several times and even explained SPECIFICALLY how to angle it, but he just ignored us and kept lecturing. Then someone asked if he'd put up the lecture notes online and he said no, after which he proceeded to put up massive essay type notes (instead of bullet points) on those transparent slides and barely gave us time to copy down half of what was up there. People kept asking if he'd put up the notes online after the first monster slide (clearly hinting that he's insane if he expects the class to actually copy all this down), and all he said was that hopefully someone will take notes and sell it to the textbook store for us, then continued lecturing. Useless. And don't get me started on his accent, you can't understand a WORD the guy says, on top of that he is way too soft spoken and won't use a mike. Even if you could understand him, you don't even have time to listen because you're trying to frantically scribble down the notes he refuses to put online. This senile, disorganized, apathetic professor needs to retire oh-so badly.
He is a horrible professor and doesn't care about his students at all. He isn't concerned for his students but is simply focused on publishing more books (which he makes us buy!). The curve is VERY generous. I was afraid to take this class during the first few lectures, but I got an A in the class because I studied the lecture notes! You don't need to go to class and you should study the lecture notes.
It is by far the easiest Econ class that I have taken at UCLA. ALL you have to do is buy the lecture notes and read them carefully before each exam. You don't need the books and you don't need to go to lectures (don't bother trying to take notes in this class...the lecture note taker will do it all!) because it is difficult to understand anything he says. Both his midterm and final exam consisted of questions that can be easily answered by reading and understanding the lecture notes.
if you want an easy econ elective, take Econ 112 with Lal. it's cake- you don't have to do any of the reading and lecture definately becomes progressively more optional as the quarter progresses. get the lecture notes and learn the key concepts and graphs and write as much as possible during the tests. Lal is old and boring but he is a respected scholar and his globalization rants are pretty funny. I think he's been made out to be worse than he really is in these ratings. if you want an easy class, take him.
Professor Lal is very difficult to keep up with. He encourages purchase of lecture notes for a reason. If it were not for the lecture note taker 95% of the class would be pulling their hair out. He also is hard to reach at times. I think he is overall disgruntled with teaching since many students are very rude and leave class while he is lecturing. This has probably worn thin on him through the years and I can see why. As a result his frustration is taken out on his students and in the method by which he is teaching. The exams are mostly composed of short answer and graphs. Everyone just memorizes like mad without understanding so the curve is high. Take this class if you have a propensity for memorizing many things without understanding much. All the accounts are very accurate. What you see is what you get.
Deepak Lal easily ranks as one of the premier contributors to the field of Economic Development. Pick up just about any textbook on Growht, Development or Macro-Econ.
However, he isn't winning any points with his teaching.
He often mumbles, he rarely draws out his charts from scratch, he makes it insanely difficult to keep up with his notes and to make matters worse he stands still for the entire lecture.
But the upside is that his exams are fair. If you study your notes you'll do well.
If you're interested in Growth and/or Development, take the class.
If not, find something you'll be more interested in.