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This class (spring 2005) was a test for prof. Peri to find out what to expect from UCLA students. It was the first time he was teaching ECON 110 to non-econ. majors, and therefore was very careful with the lectures, homework, as well as tests. He adjusted the pace and difficulty to our needs and abilities, which I found very admirable. In general, he was very receptive to our feedback, questions, how we felt about topics, pace, difficulty. As belonging to IDS major, I found this class little bit too heavy Excel oriented. Math part was easy. Calculators and Excel did the work. No calculus required. The only frustruating thing about prof. Peri is his heavy accent. Being foreigner myself, I'm pretty good with accents; however, first 2-3 lectures I had hard time understanding him. As a teacher, prof. Peri is more than decent. He is very dilligent, organized (overheads also posted online), and approachable. He takes time to explain things that people don't undestand, answers the emails, is always punctual, helps a lot during the office hours. Surprisingly enough, the subject matter was pretty cool and very useful. Prof. Peri is teaching it well, doesn't require memorization, assigns very little reading, and homework assignments are highly practical and fun (using the actual data).
Peri was visiting from UC Davis, and for that reason I think he may have expected a lot from UCLA students- and was disappointed. The class was much more math-heavy than the course description would make it seem, and a lot of the students in the course were not prepared for this.
The truth of the matter though is that the math was VERY simple considering there was no calculus involved. If you are comfortable with algebra involving logarithms and graphing functions, then the math should not concern you too much.
However, as a warning, it seems most IDS students seemed to suffer on the midterm, most likely because of their lack of exposure to any math in their previous classes. If you've taken Math 3 or 31A/B, then you should be OK.
As far as the actual course material, it was extremely interesting. There were discussions of the growth of the Asian Tiger countries, how political corruption stemming from colonial times is the most likely force holding down African nations, and the relationship between democracy and economic success. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in geography, history, or economics, but I highly encourage people who had trouble passing calculus or never taken it to stay away.
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