Winter 2020 - This class itself was alright. Gober tries his best to be funny during lectures and comes across as corny, but he really is a warm guy and cares about his students. He was featured in NELK's vaping prank video but handled the situation well. His midterms can have some pretty ridiculous questions (with equally ridiculous answers), but he does grade on a lenient curve. He also usually tells you what to study ahead of time for the two midterms and finals as well. This quarter, due to coronavirus, Gober does have to administer the test online. His lectures are mainly based on slides he posts ahead of time online, and you're not any worse off just going off the slides and textbook alone to study. (Textbook can be found for free online at Z-Lib). Discussion is basically an hour long block of TAs explaining homework answers (you have 7 assignments out of the textbook). I personally found my TA hard to understand and he often went off-track a lot, and the whole discussion period was more or less a waste of time for students who know how to do the problems and just need to turn in their homework.
Winter 2021 - Honestly, this class was pretty hard. I really did not like the format of the exam where if you did not have a specific keyword, you would get marked off. Like why even have a free response exam. After the first exam, I did not attend a single live lecture since it was all about keywords. I would spend on average 2-3 hours watching lecture recordings and writing down word-for-word the things Gober said. Tbh, this is just not the right way a class should be conducted. The only thing I liked about this class were Gober's jokes and accidental swearing during lecture. However, Gober is currently taking a sabbatical so the next time he teaches this class it will most likely be in-person. Hopefully it will be a better experience in-person.
Winter 2020 - He is nice and funny. However, I felt like he didn’t care much about students like Koehler did. He often canceled his office hours, and did not hold any review sessions before the exams. He also didn’t bruincast his lecture so be aware of this. His lectures were engaging, but it was sometimes hard to hear since he kind of rambles when he talks. His lecture doesn’t really match with what is covered in the textbook. He goes more in depth, but his exam questions are pretty straightforward(easier than Koehler’s questions). Just study what he says and you’ll get all his questions right. No need to use textbooks or Youtube lectures, those won’t really help for Gober’s part. His exam questions were either 1) regurgitating pathways or 2) things he covered on his lecture. Koehler gave us 1hr 20minutes for the midterm but Gober only gave us 50 minutes.
Prof. Gober is an awesome professor. Even though there is a lot to memorize in 153C, he breaks down the material into concepts that tie together everything, so it's not just memorizing how to get from substrate A to product Z. Also, he's really funny and an extremely clear lecturer. Definitely take 153C with him if you get the chance!
Summer 2019 - Phenomenal guy. I absolutely adore Professor Gober with every fiber of my being and he is hands down among my favorite professors at UCLA. I came into this class burnt out from spring quarter and hoping that Gober would lift me up since I had him for Chem 153C and I knew that he would be very fair and helpful, but truly, Chem 153L is genuinely a useful class REGARDLESS of who you take it with. With that said, Professor Gober is the one who has put in the legwork for designing this class from scratch however many years ago it has been now and wrote the lab manual which you can get for $9 at Ackerman. Essentially, Chem 153L is everything LS 23L should have been but FAR better - although I admit I say this coming from the perspective of someone who had more trouble wrapping my head around biology and appreciate the greater detail and consideration taken to explain lab techniques in Chem 153L. Nevertheless, Chem 153L actually forces you and teaches you how to write lab reports and process data in a way that isn't complete BS (like CPR for LS 23L). And unlike LS23L, Chem 153L is far more focused. It's centered around one topic and project: biofuels production. Over a series of labs, you are asked to systematically purify and characterize YqhD, an alcohol dehydrogenase - the practical purpose of this being that it produces a higher order alcohol (isobutanol) that could be a preferable replacement to ethanol, which we put in our gasoline. But ethanol is more hygroscopic, thus absorbing more water, so the amount of ethanol we can put in our gas is limited since water is horrible for combustion and would be bad for our cars. So the set-up is doing protein over-expression using a plasmid, determining optimal time for expression, normalizing before running SDS-PAGE and Western Blot, doing affinity chromatography to purify, and running enzyme assays to measure the kinetics and comparing to the literature. That's like the bulk of this course. Like yes I'm clearly a huge nerd from this review but it's fascinating how it comes together and makes sense. If lab classes never fully made sense to you and you're considering CHEM 153L for med school or as an upper div elective and you're already in a lab and want a more guided experience in understanding the flow of lab (both the practical aspect and writing a professional lab report) then take this class either with Gober or Hong, so long as you're willing to take the time to learn and if you don't absolutely hate chem of course! Would not recommend taking another heavy STEM course though since the lab reports are time-consuming and require going to office hours for clarification (at least for most people unless you're just naturally great at these things). ANYWAY, on to Gober. HILARIOUS guy. Going to class was never a chore. He's extremely interactive and loves telling stories and making jokes. He doesn't play either with midterms and finals and will give you a general guide for what's on the midterm and tell you more explicitly what's on the final, question by question. However, never assume you know what the questions are after they're given you except for the ones where he literally spells out to you what the question is, as he enjoys throwing curveballs to see that you truly are thinking and processing the material. And if he ever randomly throws out an experimental technique a couple times, even if it seems bizarre and you only went over it very briefly, don't brush it off for the final. He's giving you hints. For us, it was "2D gels," which was hard for me to pay attention to during lecture since we didn't do this in the practical part of lab. I didn't study it because given the layout of how he explained one of the questions, I assumed it would be more open-ended and I would be able to describe an experimental set-up without using this technique but I was wrong and I had to miraculously pull it out of the back of my mind during the final. But yeah, my advice is to always put in your due time during lectures as he throws hints left and right for the exams and tries to pass them off as jokes. A lot of people hate recording and reviewing lectures later, but for Gober it is worth it, especially as he can stutter through his words. But don't be afraid to clarify then, if so. The one cautionary piece of advice I would say with Gober is that his class is heavily weighted on exams, whereas Hong's class is extremely structured (thus more work but thus more buffer points). The breakdown is: 100 point midterm 200 point final 2 x 40 = 80 points lab reports 4 x 20 = 80 points lab worksheets 460 points total He makes the average something like a B and he will almost never really fail people I think since he's a good guy (which I believe is consistent with his Bruinwalk grades previously). He normalizes the grades between sections as he understands TAs grade differently. And he has said multiple times that he believes there's nothing wrong with giving out 50-60% A's and A-'s. But yeah, this class was a blast and I frequently refer back to the notes I took in this class in my current lab. I love this guy and would have taken a worse grade for him TBH.