Spring 2018 - Professor Ross is one of the best instructors I've had at UCLA. His lectures are clear, concise, and enriching. He truly cares about his students understanding course concepts and is fairly flexible and generous with grading and assignments. Highly recommend taking this class!
Fall 2021 - Getting an A in this class is not too hard, as long as you do the readings each week, which aren't too bad. Professor Ross provides all the readings which aren't too long. You MUST do the readings to do well in the midterm and final since they include questions that you would only know if you read. You don't need to attend lecture, honestly just doing the readings and going over the lecture slides (which he posts after lecture) is enough. He does admit that he makes the multiple choice questions in exams hard on purpose, so beware lol. All 3 TA's had 2 hour long review sessions the week of the midterm and final, you can attend all of them which I recommend. Take David as your TA if you can :)
Spring 2022 - Let me save you the stress, never take this class. Everyone who is talking about how easy it was took it when the class was online and they probably cheated on every single exam. And also the people who said that they are happy they took this class most definitely spend their free time staring at a wall; this class is WAY TOO MUCH WORK. Look I will be fair, the class content is very interesting, but the format of the class and the way you are assessed makes the class extremely unenjoyable. This class is way too demanding. For starters, Michael is the worst lecturer known to man. He is beyond boring and he talks very very slowly. I do not have any issue with his lecture style, it was easy to take notes in class because of the pace and those nights where I struggled to fall asleep I'd rewatch the lectures to help me doze off. It is also worth mentioning that Ross himself is a half-ass professor; every other class he would have a guest lecturer or TA present instead of presenting himself. Whenever you ask him for additional help or to define something from the study guide, he would redirect you to one of the never ending 50 page plus readings. Why am I paying for UCLA if everything is in the readings, what the fuck is Michael Ross getting paid for. The guy is a PROFESSOR not a librarian why doesnt he do some TEACHING instead of relying on the readings. Tbh I don't blame Michael: I would love to get paid a professors salary and do half the work by having guest lecturers and TAs do everything. But honestly its problematic because he also assesses us on the stuff taught by these guests and TAs and they're often unorganized. Michael’s ineptness really comes to show when it is time for the midterm and exam. On both of the in class assessments, you get 30 points for filling out your name. However, he knitpicks your answers to all questions and uses this 30 point crap as an excuse. For the exams, you have 10 lines to write about certain terms. You can only fill 3 of those lines with relevant facts but if you want a good grade for that question, you have to fill up all 10 lines - a quote from mike himself. So professor basically wants you to write stupid irrelevant little facts and unrelated information to fill up all ten lines. Trust me on this, you cannot fill any of those prompts with more than 3 lines of relevant info. Additionally, some of the terms that he wants you to write 10 lines about are literally titles of readings that he assigned. He literally wants you to summarize the readings as if you are sparknotes or something. These readings are often long, boring, dry and not to forget, stupid. He had us read and write about a 50 page report on how temperature affects conflict where the authors suggested that rising heat makes people more antsy but at the very end they say that there is not evidence to prove that this actually happens, but there is evidence showing a correlation. Like you had me waste my time and read all that crap for what reason? I am a straight A student and got a 97% in this class, but on both the midterm and the final, I was only getting 8.5 to 9 out of 10 on every single question. The same goes for the essays, him and his TAs are afraid to give high grades for whatever reason, they knitpick your answers and it feels like they are out to get you. When you ask them why you did not get full points, they will bring up something completely unrelated or tell you that they will talk to professor and get back to you on that because they themselves do not even know. They do not have an answer key set, when we got our exams back they used other students answers as the answer key. Ross definitely has some sort of ego and is very strict and unforgiving if you submit something late. This class is unnecessarily difficult and hard not in the way where it challenges your mind and way of thinking, but because there is just so much stupid content that you have to waste your time shifting through. The guy does not know how to teach, he is condescending and overall a complete clown. He belongs in the circus, not in our school.
Prof. Ross is organized and approachable. Lectures are straightforward, but be warned, he uses up every second of the hour and 50 minutes of class. You have to keep up with readings, trying to cram them all in last minute is near impossible. Although I received an A, this was definitely one of my harder courses. The midterm study guide and final study guide had 2 pages worth of terms that we had to know, and he only tests on about 8 of them. The major portions of the exam are short answer so you have to be able to write a decent-sized paragraph for each term. This wouldn't be hard but for the sheer volume of terms he gives and information you learn from both lectures and the readings. Part of the final is also an essay. Overall tough class, but a good grade is very attainable.
I took IDS 100b with him and seriously i ve never had a professor who says so much random things that dont make sense. he makes you frustrated. I m usually a good student and esp love the subject he's teaching but his tests were so irrational. What the TAs meant by concise is just say the things they think its important but dont tell you whats important. Like the previous reviews, I spent so much time memorizing the 60 terms and prepare them, but the essay on the final was so irrelevant. You just hear a bunch of people go "what??" during the final exam. if you write more than 5 lines you get points deducted. Basically the tests are designed so they can have a easy time grading. This class makes me question the value of my education at ucla and why i m spending money and effort on something so not worth my time.
Spring 2020 - Such an amazing class and professor, would highly recommend. I feel like we didn't really go deep into any of the themes or topics, but I still learned a lot. Prof Ross is really good at making the materials clear and have really structured, easy to follow lectures. He really cares about your learning and is super accommodating. I really enjoyed a lot of this class, even the readings, which were difficult at times. Overall a great time.