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100% recommend this class for any student--definitely my favorite class I've taken at UCLA so far. Manville is super helpful and teaches you skills like how to be persuasive, make effective arguments, avoid logical fallacies, and understand differing perspectives. The big assignment was picking a topic and arguing it as hard as we could from both sides through op-eds, then culminating in a policy memo where you picked a side. This project allowed me to explore a different position from a topic I feel strongly about.
I think my TA graded sort of harshly but I did well in the class overall. He doesn't give A+'s.
Lectures are not mandatory nor are they really helpful. It's all about the sections – that's where you will be asked to heavily participate. The discussions are really interesting and the workload is super minimal.
Prof. Manville was a great professor. He made the content very relevant and was very flexible throughout the online quarter.
Essays: The main component (85%) of the class was a series of essays on a public policy issue of your choice. Essentially, we had to present both sides of the argument in op-ed form and then tie both sides together in a final memo (made optional at the end of the quarter). He provided info on the assignments in a timely manner and the TAs took time to share resources and support peer review in sections.
Lectures: Lectures were asynchronous and helpful in explaining tips on how to persuade others and build a successful argument. Although none of the content was directly tested, it was helpful when writing the essays and definitely relevant in my own life. He also held some live sessions during class time to answer any questions or to have a discussion on current events.
Discussion Sections: The TAs were very nice and flexible throughout the quarter. 15% of your grade is based on participation which included attendance/speaking in section and written responses (i.e. top three takeaways) to podcasts or documentaries. Not bad at all.
Readings: He did assign two books and articles posted on CCLE, but there was no need to read them. Occasionally I would skim through the articles but none of the reading material was directly tested.
TLDR: Prof. Manville is a great professor and very attentive to his students! Take this class and you will learn skills that are highly relevant and useful.
This class is honestly really interesting and very relevant. The reading assignments often felt optional but they're still engaging to read nevertheless. There's no midterm or final but there's several writing assignments structured in a progressive manner (like you write one part of the research, then the other... etc). It's honestly a really good class and the Professor is also really approachable.
Of course this quarter being online made things more strange, but Manville made things relatively painless. He made the final optional, as well as prerecorded lectures. The lectures and the assignments were pretty disconnected but this class was not difficult at all.
(Remote Review) This class felt relevant and had a light workload. Professor Manville was approachable and made this class interesting. There were no tests, only a series of writing assignments that worked up to a big paper at the end. The writing assignments were straightforward, and TA's guided them and were usually helpful. Since there were no tests, lectures and readings felt optional, but I still found them interesting regardless.
Professor Manville's class was really refreshing and relevant. The transition to remote learning was really good with a mix of pre-recorded lectures and some documentaries that we watched. The whole class is about learning how to effectively convince someone of your beliefs and really challenged me on my own. He really analyzes how antagonizing politics has become and teaches us how to avoid that in our own arguments. Everything is graded by your TA and mine, Amy Z. is super nice and awesome. Our grade is mostly made up of writing assignments and none of them are too hard. We wrote two op-eds on any topic we wanted to, each one arguing the opposite side from each other, and it was honestly really interesting. There are no textbooks to buy either. He was also really lenient about the final exam with everything occurring in the country. I wish that I would have been able to take this class in person and feel like it was definitely worth it.