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I don't know why some of the ratings for this class are bad, Cladek is a great teacher!! People were saying she teaches out of the book, I think that is just because the material for this class was pretty easy- so there was not much more she needed to add. Any important topic was explained really well, and tests were very fair in my opinion. She was really nice & accommodating due to covid-19. She released practice tests that were super similar to the actual midterms, and gave us a 3 hr midterm and 48 hr final! The average for the second midterm was an A and she even curved up at the end of the quarter. There were quizzes every week that were sometimes hard, but they were multiple choice & she still curved them. I learned so much during this class, and really was one of my favorites math classes I have taken. I highly recommend this class and Professor Cladek!!
For this class, the workload is relatively light (homework with answers you can find online), while the test includes great proportion of proof. To get through with the exam, the previous quarter midterms and answer keys posted by professor Cladek are VERY VERY HELPFUL. Questions on practice/previous exams are very similar to the actual ones, so make sure you go over those in advance. The best part is the notes. Professor will post notes of hers on CCLE so you dont even need to go to the lecture, just like me. I didn't go to the lecture even once this quarter. Grading break downs:Homework (30%), Quizzes (10%), Midterm 1 (15%), Midterm 2 (15%), Final (30%). The quiz is graded based on completion, but will contribute to extra credit as well, first attempt score>80 is a 1% bonus of final grade, and >90 is a 2% bonus, which maximumly can raise your grade by 3% overall. Generally speaking, this class for me is not that tough but not that easy because exams include lots of proof questions, but professor's materials can somehow help you get through her class, so that should be fine, relatively an easy A course.
tbh stopped going or watching lectures after a couple weeks. Proofs are kinda important and I learned everything with outside resources. Her lectures are extremely hard to follow and I don't feel like they taught me anything.
DISCLAIMER: I took this class Winter quarter 2020 so it was completely online due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
TBHHHHH Cladek just isn't a very good lecturer. She confuses herself while she's talking and ends up saying things that aren't actually correct. Alot of the lecture she spends doing proofs that don't really matter and then she just barely has time to go over/explain very important concepts and terms, and she also doesn't give very many example problems in class. Her lecture notes are pretty good (although idk if they were just provided this quarter because it's online), so I recommend trying to learn mostly through the lecture notes/textbook. The exams and homework weren't very hard, so it's not too difficult to get a good grade, but I'd recommend taking 33A with a different teacher to get a better understanding of the material, especially since alot of the concepts taught in this class are extremely important in later math classes.
The grading scheme for this class is: Homework (30%), Quizzes (10%), Midterm 1 (15%), Midterm 2 (15%), Final (30%). The quizzes are just completion based and there's opportunity for up to 3 percentage points of EC. So it's fairly generous in that regard.
The tests are fairly easy - and this is coming from a non-math major who really hates math here at UCLA. The midterms were about 75% computation based and 25% conceptual, which made them pretty easy even if you didn't understand much in class. The final, on the other hand, was heavily conceptual/definitional based but Cladek's notes/lectures do tell you everything you need to succeed in this class.
Cladek herself isn't the greatest professor, so if you truly want to grasp the beauty of Linear Algebra probably look elsewhere, but if you're going for the grade, then the tests are definitely a pro of this class (at least in remote learning.)
I would only take Laura's 33A class if there was no better option available for the quarter. She tends to teach straight out of the textbook (I've noticed the examples she does during lectures are identical to the ones in the textbook). Her lectures are okay, although her teaching varied greatly in quality. Sometimes she would be okay in explaining concepts, and other times I'd have absolutely no idea what was going on and I would finish watching the lecture confused. I ended up attending discussions with a TA from a different professor's class to try understand the content. She's also not that great at answering questions or clarifying concepts, and just repeats what she said earlier. She also focuses wayyy too much on proofs rather than the actual concepts. This led to me having a very patchy understanding of linear algebra and it was hard to see the significance of each concept that was taught.
She had weekly quizzes as well which also varied in difficulty from relatively easy to very very hard. They focused solely on conceptual understanding so I'd recommend doing the week's homework before the quiz.
The homework was straight out of the textbook and half of it tended to be easy computational questions. However, the last few questions she chose were usually quite tedious and proof-based (some of which was never covered in class). The midterms were okay, but in true Cladek-style, they had proof questions too which weren't fun at all. The final was the worst, however. We were given 48 hours for it and a lot of the questions were very time-consuming and there were several proof questions too. I could not have done it in a normal 3 hour exam.
However, she did have a very generous curve for the quarter (40% A's) although this was probably due to the fact we were all taking the class online during a pandemic. She does also curve up things like quizzes a lot (i.e. scales up an 80% in a quiz to a 90%) and homework is generally free marks, although the graders can be pretty nitpicky (they are also nitpicky in exams).
Take Cladek's 33A if you want a relatively easy A with a generous curve. But if you want a solid understanding of linear algebra and don't want to be stuck doing random and useless proofs, take another professor if a better option is available.
*DISCLAIMER - I took this class while everything was online during the COVID-19 pandemic so I can't speak of what Laura would be like in a normal quarter, but I'd imagine it'd be more or less the same*
I feel like keeping this brief so (keep in mind that this was online and was her first lecture ever, I think):
- as others have said, not very clear. When you ask questions, she kind of repeats statements she's said. Linear algebra is based in a lot of definitions that build on top of each other, those of which she will define one time and expect you to know it every single time after. She seemed kind of flustered when teaching.
- I was doing pretty badly in the class by the first midterm. Then, I stopped going to lecture entirely and, based on the syllabus, read from the textbook. I started getting As on everything after that.
- The practice midterms and finals were really close to the midterms especially. the final was a bit more proof-based which I hadn't practiced and thus took a long time. Nevertheless, it was similar enough to the homework, which she says.
- Quizzes are really conceptual and kind of vague, but it has a really beneficial grading scheme (a 70% translates, on average, to 85% or up).
Not a wonderful professor, but altogether a nice person. Very willing to receive feedback, so hopefully she gets better in the future.
First and foremost, Cladek is not a very good lecturer. There were times where I wondered why I even bothered showing up to class in the first place. She would spend most of the class doing proofs and not really explaining anything beyond that. I had to go to the book after class to even try to understand what she was doing and even then it made little sense.
That being said, the grading in this class is very nice. Homework was 30%, weekly quizzes were 15%, both of the midterms were 15% each, and the final was 25%.
The homework in this class was pretty easy to get full points on but there were usually a few questions at the end of sections that would take a while to do. Lowest homework grade was dropped as well.
The midterms were both fairly straightforward and getting a good grade on them wasn't too difficult as long as you knew what you were doing.
The weekly quizzes are probably my biggest gripe with this class as I just don't like weekly quizzes in general. These were one of two things: very hard or very easy. Most were the former. However, the quizzes are curved very nicely and so you could usually end up with a good grade on them. Lowest quiz was also dropped as well.
The final wasn't too bad. It was definitely harder than the midterms and I feel that it was longer than a normal 3 hour final (simply because the questions were long, though, not because it was hard).However, we had 48 hours to do it so this wasn't a problem. And, much like the midterms, it didn't seem too difficult to get a good grade on it.
Overall, I wouldn't suggest taking Cladek unless you absolutely have to or you really want a fairly easy A. If you want to really learn the material, however, I would suggest taking the class with another professor.
Hard class but amazing lecture notes, good textbook, and good lectures. Horrid TA tho, no idea how he still works here