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I just want to start off by saying I absolutely love this class with Professor Frane. Grades are not posted yet, but I am very confident in my ability to get an A. If you did well in your first intro to programming class in C++, which is a prerequisite, you will do well in this class. That does not mean go back and study C++. I am trying to say that if you have a good foundation, MATLAB should seem like a blessing. It is very easy to use and understand for beginners. Professor Frane's workload is very minimal, in fact I wished at times that there were more practice problems for us to hone our skills; however, with all of the resources and the help from the instructor and assistants it was not hard to get an A on each assignment so far. My best advice would be to attend the labs ready to talk about the material. That means you MUST watch the lecture videos before coming to lab (even if your lecture is only a few hours before lab like mine is)! This is important because if not then you are confused when the TA asks to help solve the challenge problem. If you watch all of the lecture videos before the lab, participate as much as possible in lab, and take your time on the homework to make it clear and document properly you will do well in this class. Follow all of Professor Frane's tips to ensure your code is clear, concise, and as efficient as possible because this is key. Regardless of whether we were online I believe the class will operate similar. Grading is very fair, I made a few mistakes such as not putting my name in the file name and did not get marked down - even though I clearly did not follow the simplest instructions. You will however get marked down for not getting the correct answer (obviously). You may get a comment regarding how to make something more efficient, but because there are many ways to go about a problem you do not get marked down unless it is wildly inefficient or poor practice (such as hard-coding things or not using a loop when you clearly should have). I came up with some pretty creative solutions that were nothing alike the TAs or Professor Frane's solutions, so don't feel scared to jump in there and try something (you may even come up with a more creative/efficient solution). Another tip I feel is important is to really give yourself a chance to attempt the problem before running to external sources for answers. This will help build that logical foundation that is important for programming. Attendance was only mandatory for labs and we only need to attend 5 of them in total. There were no exams or finals, but 10 homework assignments due every week. These homework assignments act sort of like projects, so it is important to do well on ALL of them. Grading is as follows (right from the syllabus):
93–100%=A ; 90–92%=A– ; 87–89%=B+ ; 83–86%=B ; 80–82%=B– ;
77–79%=C+ ; 73–76%=C ; 70–72%=C– ; 67–69%=D+ ; 63–66=D ; 60–62%=D– ; 0–59%=F
"Grades of A+ are given only in the most extraordinary cases. Your percentage will be rounded down or
up to a whole percentage (e.g., 89.4% is a B+, and 89.5% is an A–). "
Frane is a great professor to take 20A with. There are only homework assignments, no midterm or final. Also, you only have to attend half of the discussion sections to get participation credit. This is an intro to MATLAB class so it's pretty simple stuff. The homeworks are very doable and not too difficult. I highly recommend taking this class, both for the programming major requirements and for getting a handle on the basics of MATLAB.
This class was the most helpful coding class I've ever taken. Professor Frane is very easy going and explains concepts well. The class is a comfortable environment to ask questions in. There are no exams, just a weekly coding assignment due that you have a few days to do. He has videos explaining concepts in case you miss lecture. Attendance isn't mandatory either. Highly recommend this class.
Psych 20A with Frane was a great experience. Class consisted of about 15 hws, usually 2 every week. I will say that this was quite a workload, especially if this is your first time coding. HW can take a while to start as soon as possible and pay attention to the demos he does in class! If you have questions, email him asap! He responds quickly and is usually helpful. He also posts his lecture handouts before lecture and will update them asap if mistakes were made.
He also gave one quiz during week 3, just to make sure that we knew the basics of matlab.
No midterm. No final. Study and talk to peers!