Tyson Roberts

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Introduction to Data Analysis Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Introduction to Data Analysis See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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Introduction to Statistical Reasoning See Full Profile

Overall 2.5 Easiness 2.5 Workload 2.5 Clarity 2.5 Helpfulness 3.0

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I am a stats major so I knew everything before the course. Had I not been a stats major, I would not have been able to follow the course because the Professor has no idea what he is talking about. Plus, he doesn't understand some of the concepts he teach (standard error vs standard deviation and anova and such) so it is painstaking watching him crash and burn. If I met him outside of class, I wouldn't have noticed him.

(Fall Quarter 2015)
Introduction to Political Theory See Full Profile

Overall 3.6 Easiness 2.9 Workload 2.3 Clarity 3.6 Helpfulness 3.3

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Took Stats 10 with him - it was his first time teaching it. His lectures were all ppt based, and though he seemed to be engaged with the class, ultimately it felt like he's just reading off the slides and not teaching the concepts. If I hadn't taken AP stats, I would not have understand most of what was presented in class.
Course had weekly hw, biweekly labs, two midterms, final - there is no curve! final grade is what it is based on score on all assignments.

(Dec. 23, 2015)
Politics and Strategy See Full Profile

Overall 3.5 Easiness 2.9 Workload 3.2 Clarity 3.4 Helpfulness 3.6

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Professor Roberts gave engaging lectures and always asked if clarification was needed for any topic he had covered. He is funny at times and you do not feel uneasy asking him questions for anything from the class material to your grade. My TA Alex Munoz was amazing and I would recommend everyone get him if you can and consider taking Professor Roberts for this class as he makes the material fairly easy to understand. The only bummer is that I was less than 0.1% away from an A+ but only got an A. Regardless, this class was amazing and it is likely you will end with an A and if not the worst you will get is an A-. Try your best and do not slack off!

(Spring Quarter 2020)
International Political Economy See Full Profile

Overall 2.4 Easiness 3.2 Workload 2.3 Clarity 2.2 Helpfulness 2.9

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This review will consist of 1) my overall summary of the class, 2) an outline of the class structure, 3) the Bad parts, 4) and the Good parts of the class.
____________________1) Class Summary______________________
The class structure is disorganized and confusing due to how poorly the material is presented. Roberts rambles during lectures, does not explain key concepts clearly, and will rush through important economic and game theory concepts. Reading is moderate, but you will be swamped with weekly assignments that are unhelpful busy work. Essay assignments are relatively “easy,” but they are graded harshly, do not have a clear or consistent grading rubric, and were NEVER graded quickly (i.e. within 3 weeks). Exams were difficult, in large part because you are never told which material to focus on and because the assignments don’t really mirror what the exams are like. All that said, Roberts is a nice guy. He pushed back deadlines when he did not post an assignment on time (which happened A LOT), was understanding of student’s technical errors, and made the class easier when the class did terribly on his assignments. He’s a nice guy who knows a lot, but he just isn’t a good teacher and you will suffer as a result.
Out of all the Poli Sci professor’s I’ve taken, Roberts is the worst. Definitely not the worst in the department, but the worst that I’ve taken. I HIGHLY recommend that you save yourself a quarter-long headache and do not take a class from Roberts.
_______________2) Class Structure________________
Grading had two methods:
* Synchronous-- In-class participation: 10%, In-class Exams: 50% (Midterm 20%, Final 30%), Reading quizzes: 10%, Problem sets: 10%, Research exercises: 10%, Final paper: 10%
* Asynchronous-- In-class participation: 5%, In-class Exams: 25% (Midterm 10%, Final 15%), Reading quizzes: 15%, Out-of-class participation: 10%, Problem sets: 15%, Research exercises: 10%, Final paper: 20% (The Asynchronous method is only used if you score less than a A using the Synchronous method.)
In-class participation consists of showing up and responding to in-class polls.
Exams were open book/note/google, around 30 questions, and mostly multiple choice with about 4-5 short answer Qs thrown in. There was some extra credit on exams and the Midterm was curved because most of the class did very badly. Apparently, Roberts will curve so about ⅓ of the class gets an A. The Final is cumulative, but 80% will be on material from after the Midterm.
There are 2 Reading Quizzes a week that are due before each lecture. Qs are about the textbook and sometimes about news articles/podcasts. 3-4 of the quizzes are dropped from your grade.
Problem Sets usually deal with basic economics and game theory concepts, you are given a week to complete them, and there are 4 over the quarter. One Problem Set is dropped. If you know these concepts you’ll be fine, but if you don’t you’ll have to work with classmates because Roberts doesn’t teach the concepts well.

Research Exercises are a 2-3 page analysis of a news article using the concepts you learned in the textbook. There are 3 over the quarter and 1-2 are dropped from your grade. Beware that the grading rubric is vague, grading can take 3+ weeks, and grading is very inconsistent with few helpful comments.
The Final Paper is a 5-page version of one of the Research Exercises. You will expand/improve on one of the topics you chose for a previous exercise.
Out-of-Class Participation consists of posting a comment/Q in one of the two weekly discussion forums and posting a short 1:30 video on that week’s topic.
Readings: Basically, all you need to read is the IPE textbook by Oatley. Each chapter is 20 pages and you have to read two chapters each week (40pgs). You also have 4 chapters from Rodrik over the Quarter and several Economist articles and Podcasts to listen to each week. Skim the Rodrik chapters and only read/listen to everything else for the reading quizzes since you don’t need to memorize it for exams.
________________3) The Bad and Ugly____________________
Lectures: Roberts rambled during lectures and had intermittent polls and students “answering” questions. This made lectures hard to follow and unclear. When explaining economic and game theory concepts Roberts rushed through key concepts and didn't assign material to explain concepts set-by-step. If you know these basic concepts then you’ll be fine. If not, you’ll be lost.
Quizzes: Reading quizzes are tedious and unhelpful for studying for the exam. Also, Roberts often doesn’t post them on time.
Research Exercises: As I’ve said, they are vague, don’t help you study, and are graded harshly/with little feedback.
Exams: Roberts basically doesn’t give you a study guide or tell you what’s important material. Practice exams and quizzes are not similar to what you will encounter on the Exams. (**Note: know how to do the Problem Set Problems--those problems are tested on.)
Emails: Roberts doesn’t respond to emails very frequently. I would recommend going into his office hours instead.
Deadlines: Roberts can’t keep a deadline, he even forgot he had an upcoming assignment to post at one point. This will cause you a constant headache and stress about upcoming assignment deadlines for assignments that aren’t posted.
Grading: Grading is VERY slow, little feedback is given, and grading is inconsistent. You can get a 100% on one assignment, then 80% for writing the next assignment in the same way. Why? Only some mysterious grader in Europe can say...if they wanted to, which they don’t.
_______________4) The Good_________________
Roberts: Roberts is a very friendly guy who knows a ton about IPE… Of course, he often does a poor job explaining IPE concepts, but he tries. He tries.
Extensions and Grading: Roberts will extend deadlines on most assignments because he doesn’t post them on time. Roberts will also probably drop a couple more grades if you push him to and if a lot of the class is doing poorly (which they usually are).
Extra Credit: Roberts offers extra credit on almost every assignment. He basically has to since everyone dose really poorly on most of the assignments. He also offered a 1% grade bump if you did 10 hrs of out-of-class volunteer work.
Problem Sets: Problem sets actually do have problems you will see in the Exams. Know how to do those problems and you will do well on a good portion of the Exams.
Your classmates: Work with your classmates on problem sets and study guides.. It’s your only hope.
Google: Your only true friend when the panic sets in...

(Fall Quarter 2020)
African Politics: Government and Politics of Africa See Full Profile

Overall 3.5 Easiness 3.2 Workload 3.0 Clarity 3.5 Helpfulness 3.2

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Professor Roberts is a nice guy. The class is pretty easy throughout. He doesn't always seem to know what he's talking about and him and his reader have way different standards of what assignments should be like. My issue with the class is that I received 98% and above on every assignment except the midterm (which I got 93%) and the final presentation brought me down to a B+ so I was pretty disappointed in his distribution. He gives templates for how to do assignments then his reader constantly calls almost every submission "minimalist" (for everyone not just me) and gives childish comments like "sigh....this is so minimalist." Other than that, it's doable and easy.

(March 31, 2015)
African Politics: Political Economy of Africa See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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Comparative Political Analysis See Full Profile

Overall 3.7 Easiness 3.0 Workload 2.7 Clarity 3.8 Helpfulness 3.0

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Professor Roberts is by far BY FARRR the best professor I've had at UCLA. I took him for ps 30 and ps 169-authoritarian regimes. His classes do require a lot, a lottttt, of work, but they are graded very easily. He provides numerous extra credit opportunities and is a very fair teacher. To be honest, at times the amount of work did bother me, but I feel like I know as much as I do about the class without cramming because of those assignments. I would definitely take this professor if you get the chance

(Dec. 15, 2014)
Special Studies in Comparative Politics: Authoritarian Politics See Full Profile

Overall 2.5 Easiness 4.0 Workload 3.5 Clarity 2.0 Helpfulness 3.0

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I had a high level of interest about authoritarianism before this class, and while I certainly learned a lot about the topic, I felt as though the class structure inhibited my learning a bit. While the subject is a fascinating one, I felt that Professor Roberts tended to be quite disorganized and the course sometimes felt a bit chaotic at times. In a bid to address student concerns, Professor Roberts utilized two separate grading schemes: synchronous-heavy and asynchronous-heavy, each with different weights and assignments. While I certainly appreciate that Professor Roberts tried to make room for student concerns, this just ended up making the course unnecessarily convoluted. The reading load of the class is fairly moderate in comparison with other upper-div political science classes, but there are a number of research assignments, quizzes, a midterm, a final exam, a final presentation, and a final group essay which just made the course more hectic than it needed to be. These assignments were graded fairly leniently, but I felt that a lot of the minor assignments were reminiscent of busy-work.

Professor Roberts is very open to changing the format of the class/assignments, but I felt that this class just contained too many moving parts. Were the course to be simplified in favor of fewer but perhaps more substantial assignments, I feel as though the course would function a lot better. As it stands though, the disorganized nature of Professor Roberts, and the multitude of what I felt were superfluous assignments made the course a lot more tedious than it should have been.

(Winter Quarter 2021)
Special Studies in Comparative Politics See Full Profile

Overall 1.8 Easiness 2.8 Workload 1.8 Clarity 1.2 Helpfulness 1.5

Most Helpful Review

Would not recommend this class at all. Not only was it disorganized, but the material was confusing and we had to take daily quizzes online before class. The quizzes were atrocious, and were so hard and confusing with multiple answers seeming like it could be corrected. There was a lot of reading that was mandatory since the quizzes nitpicked random facts from them, and the midterm was really hard. The only reason I got an A in this class is because the final was cancelled due to COVID-19. Otherwise, I would have probably flunked it.

(Winter Quarter 2020)
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