Based on 12 Users
Never submitted a Bruinwalk review before (and I am a 4th year about to graduate lol), but I felt the need to for this class.
So professor Zheng is a nice person and I can tell he really cares about the subject and our learning of it, BUT this class REALLY had some down sides.
BREAKDOWN OF COURSE:
The class consisted of three assignments...
1. response paper to a reading (15% - 4 pages- due week 8)
2. midterm short answer test (35% - due week 7)
3. final research paper (50% - 8-10 pages- due finals week).
So as you can see, nothing was really due until week 7. And he assigned A LOT of readings on the syllabus but never posted them on CCLE after like week three so it wasn't very overwhelming as far as work load. Never tested us on the readings. Just needed to include them in your answers for graded material to show a full understanding of course material, but nothing that directly tested us on the readings.
What was overwhelming and frustrating about this class was the complete lack of clarity. For every assignment he gave little to no guidance and when we asked he would say something like "don't worry, it's easy." But when we got our grades back, everyone did much worse than expected because he suddenly had all these expectations he never mentioned. At times, it really felt like we were piecing together different bits of information we all got in the group chat to figure out what the heck we were doing. Very frustrating. I've had classes before that lacked clarity, but this one was extra annoying because he graded pretty tough.
DO I RECOMMEND THIS COURSE? NO.
I think if you can avoid it, save yourself the stress. I quickly unenrolled from his class for Winter 2021 after having him Fall 2020. But if you can't avoid this class, it's doable...just very very stressful. Just visit office hours a lot to get a better idea of what he expects because talking to him one-on-one to ask questions is what got me my A-. But it still sucks because I was striving for an A or A+ and it feels like I didn't get it because of his lack of clarity. Not because I did something wrong.
First time Professor and didn't know what he was doing. He was a cool guy, but very inconsistent with the material and unclear with what he wanted for the 2 papers. Changes things very last minute.
Regardless of him being a cool person, he is not a good Professor. If you value clarity, avoid this class. His final - which was graded extremely harsh - contradicted the final instructions on the syllabus. The final paper was a 8-10 page paper which he handed out confusing instructions days before.
Lectures are confusing, dry, and not engaging.
Honestly, people graded this Professor way too harshly, and don't take the negative reviews too seriously. While I do agree that he did change instructions up at very bad times, many people did not follow instructions at all or waited until the last week to start their papers. Tons of people in the Class Groupme were complaining, but please remember that these were the same people who bragged that they were starting the 10 page final paper two days before it was due.
While his initial instructions and expectations for assignments were unclear, he is very open to questions and is willing to answer any questions. However, there is no doubt that he should have been more organized with his dates and expectations so students can plan out on DAY 1. The professor's disorganization created lots of panic and fear over the final paper which seems to have turned a lot of people off.
Overall though, the course is totally doable. If you follow instructions, at least skim through the textbook, attend lectures, and ask clarifying questions, you will be fine. While he has some organization issues, the workload isn't that bad and all of his grading was fair. When the class was vocal about their issues he was also pretty accommodating.
The only thing that a bit strange was a 94 was the grade required to get an A compared to the usual 93 or 92.
The reviews below mine are being too kind and generous with this professor.
He was a harsh grader, he was confusing, and he was not understanding at all of what students are going through.
He's a new professor at UCLA, and trust me it shows.
I'm disappointed to have taken his class, his final was graded so harshly and ruins grades.
I would highly recommend avoiding this class, as you can literally not go to a single lecture and just write the essays.
This professor is veryyyyyyy confusing. The course does not match the syllabus whatsoever and changes assignments or gives clarity at the very last minute. Finals were not graded fairly.
Very unapproachable professor. Always claims is "too busy" for being a professor. Would not recommend at all.
This prof has a bad rep on Bruinwalk, and I don't think it's reflective of the professor he is now. This professor is very chill and helpful, and his lectures are clear, organized, and engaging. His class consists of discussion posts=15%, midterm=30%, research proposal=15%, and final research paper=40%. I have him for two classes now and this seems to be his outline for the class during virtual settings. He is also very responsive to feedback. If something isn't working out for the class as a whole, he will be accommodating. He also does a great job of introducing the main theories within the specific poli sci topic that his course covers. His readings can be at times dense and theoretical, but he tends to cover the main ideas of the readings during lectures. If you pay attention to the course material, you will learn a lot. Plus the grading is fair. Meaning, if you put in some effort, you can def pass this class with an A. I recommend this class.
First time writing a review for a course, but I felt compelled to do so. This was by far one of the worst courses I have taken at UCLA . There aren't many graded materials , the grade is broken down by: forum posts (which he decided to add during Thursday of week 1), a midterm exam, final research paper proposal, and the final paper. Lectures were very dry with very little direction and it was evident by low attendance and engagement. Although there were very few assignments in the course, the professor only graded the forum posts (based on completion) and the research proposals (which were 1-2 pages). The two biggest assignments, the midterm and final paper, were instead graded by a grader, and many of my peers expressed concerns over the grader's harsh grading during the midterm, to the point where Bang had to hold extra office hours for people to discuss a potential regrade for the midterms. Now after all this, you would expect for the grader to be a little more lenient on the final paper, but as many of my peers have expressed once again, there were again many controversies with the grades. This wouldn't be an issue if there was a clear breakdown of the grades and a rubric to show where we may have lost points, but that was never given to us. For our grade feedback, we are just given a set of numbers that divides the assignments in sections which does nothing to help us improve our writing for the future. It's clear that the professor has some knowledge about political statistics, but I am not sure if he has the ability to critically break it down for students and run a class. Bang is also very unresponsive to emails and is very disorganized overall. Honestly take my review as you will, but I will certainly not be taking another course taught by Bang.
Honestly the people that graded this professor harshly were probably new to upper division and unknowing of the work it requires. Because compared to other professors, Professor Bang was patient, lenient, and very clear. I easily got an A simply following the expectations outlined in the syllabus. For those saying he was confusing, that’s why there are office hours. I frequently emailed professor and attended OH to make sure I understood the material clearly and was following the right path. I found Professor Bang’s classes so likable that I happily took two quarters in a row with him. I highly recommend this professor, he is very rational and the material of the class is super interesting. He is engaging, thought provoking, and really pushes you to deliver good work.