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I just had Krop for Fall 2010 and I'd have to say I was completely surprised by the below two reviews! (But then upon further thought, I really wasn't.)
My experience with Krop can be summarized by the following:
1) The textbook is garbage. Krop doesn't teach from it at all and I wonder if he's even read the updated version of International Economics. Also, the book does not remotely cover on any of the models Krop lectures on. The models in the text feel simplified for high schoolers and first year Economics students and the models Krop tests on are definitely ECON 102+. What he does expect you to know from the textbook are some of the key terms. My advice is to just skim the book and review vocabulary.
2) His lectures are boring. Admittedly, every professor's lectures are boring but Krop suddenly rambles off onto a random vector about history and current events which he is really passionate about and this really could have less to do with the course. You have to have the skill to close and open your ears and realize what he could and could not possibly test you on.
3) His slides are rather vague. They're not well labeled and they're really bare minimal annotations. You know how some professors have slides that are so good that you could skip lecture and just read the notes? Well Krop is not one of those professors. The slides only give you a gist of what's going on in the models.
4) Krop's assignments are crazy!!! He doesn't make you turn them in but there is so much stuff on the assignments it feels like you're back in high school. He tests on like 6 different shifts for a model and expects you to know the impact on roughly 10 exogenous variables!
Krop will provide the answers to the shifts in very convenient charts. Literally just MEMORIZE what happens in each of the 3 instances and you will ace the test. Memorization is necessary because, like the person below said, Krop never explicitly writes down how X Y Z shift from an increase in W like the ECON 102 professors did.
Studying the assignments (more so than the slides and significantly more than the textbook) will be the key to doing well in his class.
Overall, I think despite the test and the obstacles, taking ECON 122 was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had at UCLA. After taking this course, I have a much better grasp of why and how governments interact in the way they do. It's a very interesting course and I would recommend ambitious students not to be deterred by negative reviews.
Krop is HORRIBLE.
worst UCLA experience i have ever had in my 4 years for these reasons:
1. Krop is extremely smart, i am not going to deny that; but he has to be the worst teacher. He is smart, therefore the material he covers is difficult; and with his sub-par inadequate teaching, makes his class intolerable.
2. Lectures are bad. Talks way too fast, doesn't stop and spend time on important material, he just cruises through everything as if its insignificant...its not.
3. Unorganized. His slides are always out of order, tests CONSISTENTLY have mistakes and even ANSWER KEYS have mistakes. For a class that is 99% self-taught, this makes studying near impossible.
4. Graphs dont help at all, if anything they confuse students more.
5. Makes the most simplest, easy to understand, graphs and conclusions difficult and hard to understand. It took my study group 5 hours to understand one graph that he based his whole class on...
6. Tests are bogus. He pulls questions from information he spent less than 1 minute on.
7. Makes you feel stupid. If you ask a question in his office hours or in his class, it better be smart...otherwise he is just going to make you feel inept and lost.
8. He simply does not care and is lackluster professor. I took Econ 122, my midterm said Econ 192 as the class....The final he gave us said to choose 2 of the following 4 questions, 1 from each of the 2 sections. Then later on, the instructions for each section say to, "do all of the following questions"...
I will never take Krop again.
If you end up taking him please give him a horrible evaluation so he gets fired.
Took him for ECON 122 in Spring 2010.
horrible horrible experience. it's difficult for me to dislike professors and dread going to class, i've taken mcdevitt, gardner, litt, etc, and happily survived.
but i really can't stand krop. at one point i wanted to switch to P/NP, which would have been my first P/NP in these 3 years in college. I admit the material's difficult, but it's definitely doable, it's just that krop's teaching doesn't help AT ALL. you'd be better off studying on your own.
I dislike him for several reasons:
First, he talks too fast. that's okay only if he makes sense, but since he's always switching topics, adding side notes here and there, it's difficult to make out his main points. plus the class involves many graphs and curve shifts, and he'd just verbally list how each endogenous variable changes, without writing them down or showing them on powerpoint slides. it would go on and on, jumping from one topic to another. it's extremely difficult to follow him in class. and he doesn't seem to care if you do anyway. his lectures are dry, his jokes are not funny, it's understandable why there are noticeably fewer people at lecture by week 4/5.
Second, his powerpoints are very scattered and unreliable. when a professor's lecture does little to help you learn, the least you expect from him is to provide accurate powerpoint slides that you can fully rely on when you're trying to make sense of the material on your own. but a number of his slides are erroneous. he doesn't even know himself. that's why some of his slides contradict with the problems sets he gives out.
Third, he tests on textbook material, which is reasonable, but the thing is, he barely covers the textbook, so you're on your own. at first, i thought fine, i'll just read on my own. but then, i start to realize many models/equations in the textbook are different from those in his powerpoints. he admits there are several versions of the same thing, but then lets the issue slide. this only makes the already difficult material more confusing. i wish he'd only spend more time choosing a better textbook that really enhances the learning process. but he didn't. he even posted chapters for an older edition of the textbook, which is different from the newer edition that the bookstore sells.
Fourth, he doesn't reply emails, at least not mine. i won't take it personal, but several of my friends who took the class with me didn't receive any response either. questions posted on the class forum online weren't answered. this only tells me he's not very helpful, and couldn't care less about student learning.
Lastly, his graphs are so unclear. this class covers many economic models, which are all represented by graphs. the graphs shown in the lecture notes are already small, plus distorted due to bad resolutions. but the graphs he draw in class are even worse. some notation he uses are different from the notes. sometimes he'd use the wrong notation and not know until someone points it out. sometimes he'd even shift the wrong curve (im serious). then he'd expand on the graphs and at one point give up drawing and just "talk" it out..like "this curve would shift left, money supply would go up, interest rates go down, investment goes up" in a rate that it's impossible to write the effects down clearly. all in all, his graphs are just a mess. and he knows it.
If you're going to take this particular class with him, and the format stays the same (powerpoints, gives out problem sets for practice, midterm, final), then i'd recommend you to focus on the lecture slides, do the problem sets (very important), and read chapter summary in the textbooks. if it weren't for the problem sets, i don't think i'd have passed the class. after all, i appreciate krop for posting sample midterms and finals online. thats probably his most helpful gesture in this whole quarter.