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WARNING: STAY AWAY FROM THIS PROFESSOR
If you have the option to not enroll in Lei He's class, you have been warned. His course was the single worst course I have ever taken at UCLA (and this is having taken and done well in courses like CS111, CS35L, etc.)
His lectures are abysmal. He takes screenshots of the textbook and haphazardly throws them together into a poor excuse for a lecture. During class, he is completely unprepared and proportionally incomprehensible. No one can understand what he is saying, and I honestly don't think he understands himself.
Worst of all, his tests are written by the TA's. The TA's are on a completely different page from the professor so they ended up asking completely irrelevant questions. In one case, there was a page of questions on a set of slides that Lei He specifically said not to study and replaced with an "alternative" set of slides. His TA belligerently told us that the concept was a "prerequisite" when we asked for further explanation. This professor blatantly lies about what's coming because of this TA-professor disconnect. He happily told us many times that the test was "just like the homework", or that his review slides would EXHAUSTIVELY cover the test and that the test would have "no more, no less". On these tests we would have many concepts that we've simply never encountered before.
Also, he was gone for the first and last weeks of class to go to China. I am not sure him being here would have made much of a difference though honestly.
PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS WITH THIS PROFESSOR IF YOU HAVE THE CHOICE.
Okay so Lei He:
Incredibly smart dude and he means well BUT communication skills are...not there. The accent combined with poor audio quality made lectures a pain but he was super lenient and even waived tests this quarter. The lecture slides were kinda awful and he moved fast assuming everyone understood the material the first time. The TA carries this course hard but Professor He can be very helpful if you ask him to actually stop and clarify stuff or go to office hours.
There are professors that will definitely teach the material much better. With that said, Lei He is not as bad as most reviews state and if you are okay with reading the book the course isn't very hard the way Professor He sets it up. His overall average rating should definitely be more like 3.5 in my opinion
Since COM SCI M51A has no tests, the class itself has no tests (no final either) and only requires you to do two projects and homework sets. Initially, we were told that there would be eight problem sets, but for some reason the professor changed that midway through to six problem sets and also made the projects required for passing (they originally were not). Miscommunication is a recurring theme in the course. A more serious issue was when the professor confirmed that the class would be curved, but not downcurved (he promised our grade would not go down from the curve), yet at the end, gave all students a significant downcurve. The difference between an A (98.4%) and a B+ (97.8%) was only 0.6% in the end and filling out an optional extra credit course evaluation (worth 1.125%) could literally mean the difference between a B+ and an A. Homework assignments were also initially due on Friday morning, then were clarified to be due Tuesday at midnight, then ended up being due Sunday at 11:59 PM for some reason.
The problem sets in the class essentially consist of challenge problems and it can take hours sometimes just to figure out how you would even approach a problem. TAs were very helpful in this regard as they would respond in minutes and they would give a lot of helpful hints during office hours There are anywhere from four to six problems in the problem sets and usually ask you to design some sort of circuit (e.g. make a full adder with logic gates, make a multiplexer with logic gates, etc.) by hand. Professor He's lectures were not helpful or very clear in this regard (they are essentially an overview of the textbook), but his slides (which were from Stanford, MIT, or even the textbook manufacturer) would help you out with solving the odd problem on the problem set. Overall, Neso Academy on YouTube was significantly more useful in getting an understanding of the material than Professor He.
The projects were relatively straightforward and the TAs did a fantastic job of leading us through it. It is self-learning for Verilog for the most part although with the TAs help it wasn't too bad. The amount of time given is (around four weeks for the first project, and three for the second) is significantly more than you need to finish them.
TL;DR - Poor communication throughout the course, Professor He's lectures were not clear/helpful, TAs were fantastic, no tests so only problem sets/projects for your grade, HEAVY downcurve, problem sets were hard
For the love of god, do not take this class with Lei. The material itself is fine but his lectures are some of the worst I have ever attended. His poorly put together slides are better read by themselves than in lecture while he attempts to teach. I didn’t use the textbook extensively, but it seemed like a pretty good resource whenever I needed to use it. In consideration of COVID, the grading scheme was seemingly easier, with 6 homework problem sets (and one dropped) and two design projects (no midterm or final). But just when you think you’re gonna end with a good grade, he downcurves the whole class to hell. If you think you’ll be fine taking this class with him, reconsider your choice and just take M51A in a different quarter.
I took this class during COVID so the lectures were online. Professor He is very knowledgeable in the subject and he was willing to stop lecturing and answer questions if questions were asked. I think that during quarantine people were generally shy on camera and not as willing to speak up as normally, which made it hard for the Professor to gauge students understanding.
I really liked the format of the class even though it can be overwhelming at times since there are so much information. The slides that he used were very detailed and explain things well.
The homework are not too hard and I felt like I can actually apply what I learnt in class directly to the homework. (I'm sure we all had experiences of having hw that has almost nothing to do with the lectures.) Personally the homework made it easier for me to focus more on my understanding than solving a particular type of questions.
Overall I think Professor He's class is rated lower than it should be since I actually benefited a lot from it being someone who was new to EE concepts.
Lei He's teaching style is not great. He struggles to communicate effectively in the lecture hall and most of the time he asked a question it was followed by silence as I don't think anyone could really hear what he was asking due to his inability to properly lecture. When there would be regrade requests he would just keep restating the need to learn and not focus so much on grades. The ta's weren't bad, just not helpful enough to make up for Lei He's ineffective teaching. Take this class with another professor if you want to avoid a confusing and frustrating class.
Lei He gets a lot of heat on here, but he honestly explains things really well most of the time. Tests are also very straightforward AND grades are super generous. He cares about his students and all of these other reviews are overblown!
This professor sucks. He promised the test would be fair and easy even blatantly he told us not to read the book, however, the test are not made by him it was made by the TA who had no any clue about what is the professor teaching in the class. Basically, the professor and the TA are in a different direction. If you take this class with this professor do not listen what he is talking about the test because he is not the one making the test rather go to discussion and ask the TA. Test are really hard because the TA got no clue about what is the professor teaching in the class. Before I take this class, I had a good enthusiasm to learn about digital logic circuits, but this class destroyed my enthusiasm. If you like to play chase, this class is opt for u, but not suppose to be like this.