All Ratings and Reviews for Gabriel H Rossman
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.
I took this class Fall of 2020 and I feel like Rossman gets a very bad rep when he's a great professor. All my other classes were 10 times more work than his, so even though people complained that it was too much work, it was pretty light for me.
His lectures were fantastic. Unlike professors who rant for an hour and a half, Rossman edited his lectures, so that he only provided the most important stuff. Often, they'd be 30-45 minutes which is very little time when you're watching on 1.5x speed like I did. I would pay close attention to what he says and take notes of everything on his powerpoints because they really were useful. I was SO happy that he didn't make discussion mandatory because all my other classes made discussion mandatory and part of my grade.
If your classes are light, this class may seem like a lot. If your classes are heavy on coursework, this class will be nothing in comparison. Yes, we had to write 5 900-1200 papers in the ten weeks, but some of the topics that Rossman discussed were very interesting. If you pick topics that genuinely interest you, the writing flies by. This also wasn’t an unreasonable request because I had another professor also having us do the same work that quarter. Therefore, I used it as a way to understand the lectures and the readings better. I don't think they were harsh graders because I got A's on all of them and sometimes I felt like I just wrote my thoughts.
We also had a midterm and final that were literally a walk in the park. He recommends you write 300 words for each response, but I wrote 100 for two responses in the final and got a 94%. I also got a 94% on the midterm. The final wasn't cumulative. My midterm and final study guides were a compilation of all the notes I took up to that point. If I recall properly, he said that for the midterm he’d only test us on lectures and for the final, he’d test us on the lectures and some readings.
The book report sounds like a lot of work, but 20 pages double spaced is only 10 single spaced pages. That means between two people, it’s only five single spaced pages. They provide a partner and book you will read early on in the quarter, so you have plenty of time to read it. It took my partner and I a week to write the entire 20 pages and another week to do 3-4 edit runs. We split the book reading in half, so we didn’t have to read the entire book.
If you pace yourself and allow yourself to have enough time, this class is extremely reasonable.
Rossman is sarcastic and his emails could be harsh, but this was also after a handful of students emailed him complaining and calling him the worst professor.
The class was not easy. However doing the readings and understanding the methodology, arguments and main points are key to doing well on the final/midterm. Professor Rossman is a funny professor who presents interesting topics so I would definitely take him again! Doing the memos are very helpful for the exams so I would suggest that you do memos for all the readings in order to get the concepts well for the final and midterm. There isn't extra credit but he does podcast his lectures which are really helpful!
OK SO I dropped this class because the professor was extremely not understanding. Students reached out multiple times because of the heavy courseload but he refused to change his mind. Basically the work for the class includes picking 5 weeks to write a "memo" on which is supposed to be about 1200 words. On top of that you also have a midterm and a final test. If that was not enough a 20 page paper to top it off<33 yes you get a partner with the paper but who wants to write 10 pages on a BOOK REPORT after already writing ~4 pages for half the quarter (memos). I dont know there is so many other soc classes don't stress yourself out with this one!
Worst professor I've had at UCLA. He's not helpful and the lectures are boring.
Also, you get zero feedback throughout the quarter on assignments, so there's no way to know how you can improve or learn from your mistakes.
A truly brilliant man. His broad knowledge and interest in many topics really fills out his lectures, makes them more memorable and relevant. As many here note, he does talk fast and the podcasts are essential for review. No laptops in classs, so your hand may cramp from writing so fast. I took pretty good notes in class, typed them up, then listened to the podcasts just to fill out the parts i missed.
TA was awesome in going over some very dense readings - that was probably the hardest part. Lots of pop quizzes on reading that are mostly about methodology "is this a quantitative analysis or a mathmatical model?" but if you ask the TA, you'll get that info in section.
Overall, a fascinating class! Hard, but worth it.
Rossman is an excellent professor, very witty. The best lecturer in the sociology dept., in my opinion. Not necessarily easy. He likes to ask what methods were used in a study on tests, so pay attention to that kind of stuff. If you're a Soc major who's taken microecon or are interested in economics, this is the class for you. Uses examples from Greek mythology and popular culture to demonstrate how economic or sociological theories work--a social scientists wet dream, really. Funny dude, follow his twitter, lol.
such a good professor- very intelligent and knows what he is talking about- i would highly reccomend this course...so interesting and something that you can actualy learn from and apply. his work load is just right- 3 take home exams. you actually learn and want to learn in this class. his examples are great. take the class
Professor Rossman is an all-around brilliant guy. His specialization is media but he was extremely knowledgable about war, popular culture, and a variety of other subjects - in fact, I don't think there was anything posed to him in class that he DIDN'T know at least a little about.
I disagree with the previous review that said there was a lot of reading in the class, in fact the amount of reading he gave us was laughable, but all of it was interesting and applicable to the class. The readings are meant to support points made in lecture, so if you didn't attend lecture and take good notes you'd find yourself up a certain creek without a paddle when trying to do the midterms.
A lot of professors are more interested in the sound of their own voice than they are the material, but I got the sense that Professor Rossman was genuinely excited about the stuff he got to teach. He's relatively young so I think he connected better with the class on most levels.
Plus his jokes are gold too. Take his class!
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