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I am the same person who wrote the August 2015 review. My condolences go to the family of Dr. Klug. I just feel so bad now, especially after my negative review almost a year ago.
Dr. Klug was a good man and a nice guy. I am shocked over what happened, and may God guide his family through this difficult time.
Professor Klug assigns some of the most pointless homeworks and gives some of the most boring lectures possible. It is almost impossible to stay awake in his class. He is also too slow in class and assigns too much work. Avoid him. There are better professors for this course. Wait for them if you can.
I took the online version of the MAE M20 course over Summer Session A. As an online student, you watch the podcasted lectures (there are three each week, and they are 1.5-2 hours long, so be ready for that), and the discussion was actually an office hour with the TA. Now, here is my advice, and I strongly recommend you take it: if you are a beginner to programming, go to your TA's office hours! Go to the professor's office hours! I was not able to do the latter because I was not on campus. Also, if you are stuck and do not know anyone in class (likely if you are an online student), go to Chegg tutoring or seek another MATLAB tutor because it is really difficult and actually almost impossible to just solve everything on your own. This is a class where help from your peers, the TA, the professor, and tutors are going to help your get the grade you deserve. However, don't copy other people's codes. There is a sophisticated program that catches this, which is what we were told on Day 1. Also, the actual code only counts for 50% of a homework assignment. A written report counts as the other 50%, and they were loooooooooong. I literally spent hours and hours on the coding and reports, so I would definitely not have been able to get an A (or even pass) had it not been for the help of my TA, Reza Ghotbi. However, if you are taking the class and you have a TA who just doesn't care, then tough luck. Switch sections or go to another TA for help.
Professor Taciroglu (or Dr. ET like he wants to be called) taught the first three weeks of the course. For the most part, the homework assignments were relatively manageable, especially due to the help I received from my TA. However, there were times at which I just could not fix my bugs and the TA was my lifesaver. The last homework Dr. ET assigned, which was on numerical interpolation, was the worst though, but I managed to do well in the end. I really enjoyed Professor ET's presentations because he was a good speaker and did not bore me as I was watching and listening to the podcast. In the end, I definitely learned a lot from his lectures. If he is the only guy teaching the class during some quarter, take him! His assignments are not a breeze and debugging will take a very long time, but again, if you have a really helpful TA, then you are set. I never e-mailed Dr. ET for help and did not have to get an additional tutor besides my TA to solve the homework assignments.
Then came Dr. Klug. At first, he seems like a nice guy, which I truly believe he is. He wants his students to succeed and to master MATLAB. However, his catharsis is that he expects way,way,WAY too much of his students. His homework assignments were definitely longer and more time-consuming than Dr. ET's. I had to suspend the research I was doing over the summer since I had to spend the whole day coding and writing the reports! At this point, the assignments also contained trickier and less straightforward problems, and since the TA is not an omnipotent being (but did try to help us), I had to resort to Chegg tutors. Now, for Chegg, I was able to find several tutors who were lifesavers in the MATLAB problems, but in many cases, it just takes a long time to find them. If you don't have money to spend though, then get TBP tutoring, ask friends for help, or take the intro to matlab seminar that some engineering grad students do every September(I wish I would have done that).
Besides the fact that his assignments were unreasonable in length, Dr. Klug's final project was just ridiculous. All of the hw assignments (both those from Dr. ET and Klug) were 75% of our final grade and the final project was the remaining 25%. So, you might ask, "What was the final project on? Did it tie up all of the concepts you learned in a way that is very applicable to engineers? It must have, right?"
The final project (and three of Klug's lectures) was on collision detection. Collision detection, for crying out loud! Other professors focus on more applicable areas of engineering, such as linear algebra calculations, frequency, impedance, etc, but no! Klug wanted to make the final project "fun" by giving us a project that confounded beginners to matlab like me from the start. However, he and his TA (different from the TA from my section) tried to appease this (seriously, we had to do this in 1 week, and people who did it in Fall 2014 had 2 weeks) by giving us some source code and hints on how to solve the final project. However, this wasn't enough! With help from Chegg tutors and by pestering my TA and by re-watching and re-watching Klug's lectures, I was able to solve the first part. However, the rest of the code had bugs and I was not able to generate the movies that were needed to successfully complete the project. That being said, a lot of other students were in the same boat as me.
Heck, some were even more confused than me!
Seriously Dr. Klug, you do seem like a nice guy, but why must you expect engineers to code all day and give us a final project that was not straightforward. To top it off, I don't think Dr. Klug gave his Fall 2014 the hints we got on the final project, so I feel really bad for them. A lot of the source code contained commands that we never learned in this course, so just coming up with that on the fly has got to be impossible for a beginner to MATLAB.
I got an A, but when this appeared on MyUCLA, the grade for the final project was still not in. When that grade finally showed up, I calculated with the 75%-25% grading scale, and I got a straight scale A- grade, so either there must have been a curve or Dr. Klug did not give +/- grades.
To summarize, if:
1) You have never used MATLAB or have only had a short 1-day class on it (this experience is almost null)
2) Are taking or will be taking Klug for MAE M20.
You have been warned! He may seem nice, but his lectures are more boring and harder to get through (especially when compared to Dr. ET's lectures, which were definitely more fluid and interesting), and his decision to focus on collision detection is more soul-crushing than it is fun. He needs to change his final project, or even better, just not give one at all because his homework assignments will make you lose sleep and detract time from your other classes/activities.
As a bioengineer, I do not think that I will never have to use collision detection, and I believe students in other engineering areas can say the same. Try your best to take another professor, but if you can't, then take advantage of office hours, discussion, and paid tutors (or free ones, if you're lucky)!
Finally, if you are taking this class during the normal school year with other courses, even though MAEM20 with Klug technically does not have a "final exam" (you have the gut-wrenching sadistic final project instead), do NOT take this class with three other math/science courses. Either take three classes total if you have Klug or take four classes with one being a GE. If you are taking this class as an online student (either online or on-campus) make sure that this is the ONLY class you are taking during that particular summer session. Take MAE M20 for Session A and ONLY this class for Session A and then take any other class you wish for Session C. Good luck-you're going to need it!
Cares about students and engages students in class.
Applies coding to real-life engineering. Lectures are posted online.
Homework load is INSANE!
Lectures are boring.
Pros: Very interesting and practical to engineers. I can see how this skillset applies to almost any engineering practice. Great subject matter; thought provoking problems; fantastic approach to learning. Professor Klug is very nice, clear, and thorough. My TA was very accessible by email, so I could always ask him for help as problems occurred.
Cons: This class is all homework, which at first sounds like a good thing. However, here are a few words to describe the weekly work load for this class after about week 3: Horrific. Catastrophic. Soul-crushing. Abysmal. Life ruining. I spent about 20-40 hours a week working on the problems, and I've had extensive experience in math and logic and have taken a few programming classes before. If you do not love programming and love logic/math, you will hate this class. The reading is mostly skippable, but the majority of your time will be spent debugging and watching your social life die.
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