Based on 62 Users
Okay, listen up: I don't usually write reviews for anyone, but THIS GUY made me question my entire existence and any future in STEM. I love discrete math and the material is actually very interesting, but this guy literally ruins it all. Things covered in class =/= what is on exams. I believe the average fluctuated at like around 45%, if not less. His tests are ridiculously hard, lectures are unclear and not very engaging, although it is visible that he is really trying his best. James Cameron, I love you and your cat, but your exams are SO UNFAIR and made me and very smart kids in the class feeling like complete retards.
I don't understand the low ratings. Cameron isn't a bad professor. His lectures were pretty clear and understandable. However, I felt like that the pacing of material was pretty slow actually (he focused a lot of proofs). But if you have a question, Dr. Cameron can answer it in an articulate manner.
The part I have complaint about is his exams, not his skills as his lecturer.
Yeah, I agree that Dr. Cameron regurgitates a lot of things from the textbook, but that's the case with a lot of professors. (and... at least he didn't make it harder to understand than the textbook). I didn't see much need to read the textbook for the material (unless I wanted to learn more details about a topic)
There's very little homework (4-5 problems per week) and I always ended up doing them they day before it was due. Cameron's Math 61 was actually the class I spent the least amount of time this year. I probably could have stacked another class on the top if I knew. Unlike CS 180 problems, they are more straightforward.
For exams, it was a little different. His exams were definitely harder than other Math 61 exams. I could definitely tell that it was designed to weed people out and make a bell curve. I honestly thought I was going to get a B+ the entire quarter, and found out that I got an A because the average turned out to be pretty low (Dr. Cameron made some mistakes on 2nd midterm and added a final policy of 90% final and 10% homework as well, but the final average was too low to help many people out).
However, I partly put some blame on his harsh exams to the math department for trying to make a curve. (Also heard my TA confirming this in my discussion)
I'd say that Cameron's tests really does the job... Of making a bell by giving you pretty little time. But honestly, it's better than getting downcurved IMO.
His exam kinda... sucks. If you don't see a counter example pretty quick, you are probably going to get the question wrong. A reminder that the midterms only have 50 minutes... and there are 2-3 proof based questions, and 10 multiple choice. I wouldn't have had a complaint if the exam gave us around 20 more minutes. It tests you more on test taking skills than your knowledge after a certain point.
If you want a high probability of getting an A, just drop the class until you get a near perfect score on the first midterm. Otherwise, leave this class up to your test taking skills.
TL DR; Light course workload compared to other classes (if you can follow the material). Clear lectures that isn't too different from textbook, but expect exam questions designed to make a curve.
I thought the class was pretty chill and actually easier than 32A, probably contrary to a lot of people. While the professor's handwriting was a little hard to read sometimes, I thought he was a solid lecturer, but I devoted 99% of my study time to doing the practice problems he sent out every week, which really helped to nail the material. While the lectures were a good supplement, I barely reviewed the lecture notes, so I think the best advice (for 32B w/ any professor) is to commit to doing as many problems as you can and don't rely on the lectures too much. Overall, I thought the content was super interesting and enjoyed visualizing 3D shapes/surfaces and all that stuff.
James was very understanding of the unique circumstances that we were going through in this quarter with the pandemic and the protests. He dropped 3 of our 7 quizzes, 1 of our participation grades, and he gave us 72 hours for the final. He also offered 12 extra credit points on the final out of a 50 point final. While this might be different during in person classes, James was a decent lecturer (not the best but not horrible) and his office hours were incredibly helpful. He is a nice person who truly tries his best. Would take a class with him again
I took this class with Cameron in Winter 2020. I was scared given the reviews, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I found it helpful to sit in the front because he can go kind of fast and his handwriting wasn't the most clear. He held 2 hours of office hours a week, and they were often really helpful. There is only a couple of homework problems actually due at the end of the week (around 5 - 6), but he expects you to be comfortable with the 30 others he assigns per chapter. I don't think most people did them.
There are also weekly multiple choice quizzes on CCLE, but the kicker are the exams. The average for midterm 1 was somewhere in the 50's, and for midterm 2 in the 60's. The final for the average was in the 70's (although it was held online, 24 hrs, and was very difficult). His tests require you to be really comfortable with the material, especially proofs and partitions. I found this class hard given I had no proof background and Math 61, and he didn't really teach any proof methods. Basically this class was pretty easy if you've already seen a lot of this stuff before, but for CS majors who haven't, Cameron's class is tough.
So ngl, I didn't go to lecture because I went to the other prof that didn't conflict with my schedule, but sometimes when I did watch the recorded lectures over, he definitely improved over the quarter. I liked that he definitely changed his class to account for these unprecedented times and changed the grading of his class and how the midterms and finals were administered. He was a very nice guy also and was super nice about extending due dates of the homework. Also the homework was hard, but ask the TA's and go to the prof's office hours because they really help and will do a lot of the work for you. The midterms were very fair, first one being a lot easier than the second, but that was expected because you learn harder stuff as the quarter goes on. We had a 72 hour final lol so that was really nice and it was written as a 2 hour final. You have to put in work for the homework and outside of class sometimes to understand the content by doing practice problems, otherwise I really liked him for 32B. 32B can be challenging at times but I actually thought it wasn't that bad and I'm an engineering major, definitely not the best at math at all, but this class was very manageable and would recommend taking it with him. He also had a thing called Piazza where you could ask him questions which I found helpful as well. We also had discussion points, super easy with my TA, you just had to show up basically lol, but the LA's were actually helpful. I also really liked my TA, he made memes for us too about what we were learning, so wholesome and it always made my day. Also, he used some of the problems from the discussion worksheet on tests so those were helpful to do.
This was the hardest class I've taken at UCLA and having cameron as a professor did not help. He's nice but not a good teacher at all and was not helpful in office hours. He's one of those professors who knows the material too well and can't explain it to those who are confused. Save yourself a lot of stress and take this class with a different professor
Holy cow I hated this guy so much. He made the class 10x more stressful than it needed to be. The online quizzes were death traps, you're never given enough time and the questions are extremely difficult, completely unrelated to anything you see in class or in the textbook. They're impossible to study for. The exams were fairer, but they were also 24 hours so time wasn't really an issue. Overall I would avoid him if at all possible. I felt that he made the online class experience even worse than it already was. Way too stressful and to be clear, not a good enough teacher to justify that.
I really liked the class and I found Professor Cameron to be very nice and the lectures were actually pretty interesting. However, I took this class during remote learning so midterms and finals were 24 hours long, so that's probably why I don't hate this class. For reference, going at a relaxed pace would probably require 10 hours for completing the midterm, but when everything is in person, you only get like the class period or something. I probably spent at least 12 hours on the final, but in person, you only get 3. So basically, the exams are tough and comprise most of your grade.
P.S. If you want to practice for the exams, the discussion worksheets and previous tests that he releases really help. It's not really like the homework questions.