Fall 2019 - This class gave me my first ever B at UCLA. In every class, I go above and beyond when it comes to working hard for the class, especially with stem courses because math doesn’t come naturally to me. I thought I would be fine with this class since econ one doesn’t use any calculus, but I was wrong. My TA consistently gave us the wrong answers for the weekly section quizzes, and on one of the most important questions, the answer key was incorrect and the professor never sent an email to the class making a correction. It wasn’t until I discovered this mistake and emailed both my TA and professor that the professor emailed out the correct answer on THE DAY OF THE FINAL. The final was worth 50% of the final grade, so even though I got a 98% on the midterm, my hard work in the class didn’t matter unless I did really well on the final. Even after giving myself ample time to study, the final was so hard for me, and clearly it was difficult for the rest of the class because the average was a 74%. If this wasn’t an intro course, I’d understand that average, but I felt the final was much too difficult for a class that’s supposed to be “easy”. Overall, I thought I would enjoy this class much more than I did and it’s disappointing because the professor seemed like a really nice lady.
Spring 2019 - Selling the textbook call me at 212-654... haha just kidding she uses a free textbook so not spending 200 dollars for one class like econ 1. This is definetely a good class to take if you are an econ major and want an easy A for your major. Dont read the textbook before she goes over her slides because she skips certain sections (the hard ones) so the best way to study is the slides. It is certainly possible to come into the final with an 100%. The grading was 25% a midterm which I got a 95 on and was super easy, it was also 10% going to discussion and 15% this graph project which was also super easy to get a 100 on if you follow the rubric and took me only 1 hour to do the entire thing. The final also wasnt hard but it requires that you study. Final also wasnt cumulative which was nice. Final and midterm consist of vocab, multiple choice and some short answer which are really easy if you look over the graphs. Going to lecture is important because she explains everything really well but if you were to skip lecture youd be fine teaching yourself. Also she has office hours which usually dont get busy so if youre confused she can try to teach it again. Shes super nice and the most engaging econ professor you will find at UCLA so taking basic econ classes like econ 1 and 2 with her is a good move because you will learn without completely falling asleep.
Winter 2021 - I'm gonna try to be as objective and fair as possible in writing this review because I don't want to only let my own personal opinion fuel this review. But in all short honesty, DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. heres why: Like everyone else, i took this class based on its past reviews thinking it was gonna be an easy A and a fun time. As a stem major, i also wanted to take an econ class to learn more about the subject out of curiosity and exploration of interests. This class has since killed that curiosity. The idea behind this class is good in concept but not in practice. It's pretty much "designed" to be an introductory economics course where people who are not necessarily econ majors can dip their toes in the water and get a taste of the subject to see maybe if it's something they enjoy. This goal sounds pretty good and is why I wanted to take this class and also because it carried a GE I needed. But in reality this did not work out. This class was WAYYYY too information dense for students to be able to adequately learn. It's like they took every single topic from economics and threw it at your face over the span of 10 weeks BUT they only give you a surface level introduction to each topic which makes it super hard to understand the underlying concept since you are not given any context or deeper explanation. The end result is a CRAP ton of vocab words and definitions that are very jargon-y by nature and impossible to truly understand on your own. The class ends up also feeling VERY fast paced (even if the workload itself is relatively light) because you're essentially learning 2 whole units per week. Now maybe this wouldn't be so bad if the professor was adequate at teaching. (Before I brutally criticize this professor I do want to make a disclaimer and say that as a person, she seems very kind and nice. In fact, I'm quite surprised that she chose to conduct the class in this way to the point where everyone is upset with her because I truly do not believe she is intentionally malicious in the way she does things. I'm not sure why things ended up getting this bad to be honest.) But the way the professor ended up conducting the lectures and class failed miserably. Her lectures were unfortunately unclear and not succinct at all. She basically read off the slides and did a poor job narrating/explaining the concepts. Since most of the concepts were already brand new to a lot of us, this made learning a whole lot harder. None of it was engaging at all. That all being said, I haven't even addressed the worst part of the class yet: the weekly quizzes, the group writing assignment, and her response to student concerns. Each week we would take a quiz on the lecture material that was about 8 questions long and each was worth 5% of our grade for a total of 45% of our grade. The quizzes were horrendous. They were poor representations of the material we learned and she always put questions that referred to a SPECIFIC number value from one of the MANY graphs/infographics during lecture. Oh, and she didn't provide the graph on the quiz so we either had to go back and look for it in the lecture OR i guess she just expected us to remember all the statistical facts she dumped on us from the material :) Not only that but almost every single question was worded vaguely and horribly. She would say things like "based on the graph below..." but then all the answers were things that were NOT based on the graph below and instead were from the lecture. Several times she also worded things so vaguely I had no idea what she was asking for. In short, it was terrible. For the quizzes to be such a huge portion of our grade, they were extremely unreasonable and unnecessarily difficult. One of the most disappointing parts is when SO many students emailed and complained to her about the quizzes and how the way things were currently being done was NOT working. The professor responded by basically disregarding everyone's concerns and saying that if we needed help we could go to office hours. But such a deep rooted issue in the structure of the class wasn't something that the STUDENTS could solve themselves by going to office hours. If there was to be change made it would have needed to be from the instructor's side. Long story short: she didn't change a thing, the quizzes got even worse, and every one's grades continued being tanked. I'm normally pretty reasonable in my judgement against professors; if I see effort being made on their part that shows that they are genuinely trying and caring for their students then that's enough for me even if they aren't the best lecturers or whatever. But the unwillingness of the professor to listen to students in this course was pretty unacceptable to me. In the midst of a pandemic, out of all the professors I've had, she is the ONLY one who gave absolutely no regard to students' wellbeing and their concerns and honestly I'm baffled that she chose to do this that way. If over half the students hate your course that is nobody's fault but the professors, end of story. And as if things couldn't get any worse, the group writing assignment was yet another example of how this course failed miserably. It was another huge chunk of our grade and yet she provided virtually NO instruction on how to do it. All there was was a pdf of "instructions" that was posted and a deadline to submit. The rest was left to us. Keep in mind, we are all REMOTE and it's extremely difficult to coordinate and work together as a group in a virtual learning environment so I have no idea why she chose to do a GROUP assignment any way. On top of that, she chose to grade pretty harshly given the circumstances and when she released scores she had the audacity to say in an email that the reason people scored low was because they "didn't collaborate" enough. Like what did you expect from a group of strangers who are currently living hundreds of miles away from each other and trying to learn virtually online? I was gonna wait until after the final to write this review but this was the last straw for me, and a lot of other people. I will update this review after the final but as of right now, this was supposed to be my easiest class and now it's pretty much inevitable that this will be the class that's gonna ruin my 4.0. Highly, HIGHLY do not recommend this class. Honestly, I see a lot of potential in this class if change is implemented because the topics we learn about seem very relevant to our current society and interesting to learn about but unfortunately my experience (and that of many others as well I believe) was nothing short of terrible. Update: the final was slightly easier than the weekly quizzes but not by much. I tried very hard and got a B+ she either curved the class or rounded me because I ended up with an A- in the class. Not the worst but still annoying because this class should have been an easy A and not the class that ruined my 4.0
Fall 2019 - This class is ridiculous. A significant portion of your grade in the class is completely irrelevant to the lecture material and solely based on outside knowledge. If you are a hardworking, independent student who likes to study material and be evaluated solely on that material I would avoid this class. I don't think background knowledge on the United States and/or another country should weigh so heavily in your performance in a class.
Winter 2020 - TAKEN IN WINTER 2020 - ONLINE 40% quizzes - 4 quizzes @ 10% each 40% group project 20% final exam BEWARE of this grading scheme. Also beware of a grade distribution if one is posted. She ended up giving us all 3% to our grade since she messed up wording on one of our quizzes. I doubt she will do this again, and in future classes you practically will have to do perfectly on quizzes to earn an A since you won't have the extra 3% cushion like us. 3% is one whole letter grade practically, so all the A-'s you see would probably be B+ if not for the cushion. Looks generous because of the 20% final but I actually think the final was okay content-wise. The quizzes will pull you down fast. You can't afford to make many mistakes on them or you will quickly tank your grade. This professor provided the class a lot of grief. She was practically impossible to reach, which was made worse due to the online format. She was only reached through office hours. She held 2 a week on the same day, so if you had a question the day after, tough luck. I think she was also late often and did not show up to office hours on FINALS WEEK. You had to email her to attend her night office hours and I heard she wouldn't email you back confirming she'd be there. How had is it to reply? 3 keystrokes - O, K, send. Pretty sure because of this she wouldn't even hold her 2nd office hour, so if you have class in the morning, tough luck. We meme "sent from iPhone" but she couldn't even do that. She specifically told us NOT to email her and to come to office hours if we had questions. However, you could easily wait the entire office hours and not get your questions answered since other people were there as well. Honestly, all of this grief was unnecessary since the class material is relatively interesting and easy. However, she worded the questions really questionably and provided 0 practice. It was easy to see where she gave up since she gave practice week 1 and 2 and never again. So you literally go in to quizzes blind. Lecture is all easy, teaching stuff a lot of people know intuitively (Wow, building heights rise in the center since land rent is higher there... Most people know this vaguely.) and then with our 0 practice she's like ok apply all the knowledge together and also it's not really clear what I'm asking you and also I'm going to assume you know things about Los Angeles, New York, and Europe even though I didn't go over it. The final was better since you go in less blind after taking the quizzes, but quizzes are actually a lot more important. Part of taking the exam is you trying to figure out what she's asking and then getting it wrong because she emphasized something in lecture, so you assume it is that, but it's something else. Also, a lot of questions are dependent on each other (especially the tough ones) so expect to not get 9s and 10s consistently, if you mess up your score can take down easily. For the final she gave us 2 hours instead of 3. I think a lot of people, including me, had a huge time crunch because of this. I think 3 hours would not be too much time so I have no idea why she did this to us, in fact, it might have been perfect. A good example of her lack of compassion is that she emailed us saying she could not offer a 3rd exam time since it would take too long. Just to be clear, I did not feel entitled to a 3rd exam time and wasn't expecting it to happen or anything, but I could admit it sucked for international students. The reason it seems so tone deaf is because she cut our exam time to 2 hours so if we had a 3rd exam time she'd only proctor it for the same time as other professors who provided 2 exam slots: 6 hours. I realize she has to make another exam, but I just think she should not have cut our final time. Was 2 hours of her time really that valuable that she couldn't sit and watch us? I think another review for another one of her classes said that she expects you to already know about a region. In this case, she expects you to be pretty familiar with LA. This is unfair to international/out-of-state students. She does go over some stuff about LA, but not enough to cover what she expects. The professor does not care for the students of the class nor our learning. She was impossible to reach and did not give much elaborate or give much outside information (no practice or lenience). So the workload was not bad, you just watched youtube videos basically, but why pay so much tuition to learn stuff you intuitively know? It's not even an easy A either. I would not take this class again, it gave me and my classmates more grief than we expected. It's too bad, because a lot of it is interesting. Do not underestimate how wonky quizzes can be going in blind and with her weird phrasing, especially because you need to get practically perfect scores to get an A.
Spring 2017 - Olivia is the sweetest. If you go to her office hours just a couple of times, she'll get to know you by name and do whatever she can to help you succeed in the course. She's also one of the few Econ professors who gives projects (usually 1-2 per quarter) as part of your grade, which is great if you don't like having all of your grade pinned on a couple of exams and you don't mind putting some effort in outside of class. I would absolutely take this class with her again.