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Mike's PIC16A is a great class that anyone can take and do well in and this is coming from someone who struggled in PIC10A.
There are 3 lectures every week (flipped classroom format) and after each lecture you take a quiz. The quizzes were my least favorite part of the course as they were poorly worded and often did not test for anything significant. Lectures themselves were great!
You have to attend discussion twice a week and you work with one group (2-3 people) on worksheets which eventually leads to a group project. The assignments were easy but the group project was probably the most disappointing part of the course as instructions were not clear and working with others is always a drag. Mike had to clear up a lot of confusion through multiple emails and on campuswire which to me shows how much he did not consider when making this.
HW makes the biggest portion of your grade and it was the best part of the course. Make sure to utilize his OH if you need help because he is extremely helpful.
I also felt as if the course has too much content toward the end. A lot of it does not tie into the project and kind of feels like its just there.
The class has a lot of issues but it is still a great option and if you ever feel confused just ask Mike for help! Be prepared to work hard but you'll learn a lot.
Prof. Perlmutter is definitely one of the best professors I've had a UCLA. I had a great experience with him in PIC 10A so I was really excited to have him for PIC 16A. Though I was a little nervous since I struggled in 10A at times, 16A was a breeze in comparison and I personally thought it was more fun. I enjoyed the "applications" portion of the class the most. It was super relevant to current times (e.g. working with COVID data) and it covered many common coding interests (e.g. machine learning). All of the homework assignments and the midterm are very clearly derived from lecture, meaning that there aren't any questions that ask for a really abstract solution. If you watch the mandatory videos you should do well on the assignments. However, watching live lecture or reviewing the notes for it can help you solve some problems. Moreover, as someone mentioned, the quizzes were a bit annoying but it's definitely possible to get an overall A once you consider the generous number of quizzes that are dropped at the end. Now, on the group work: I thought I was going to dread going to discussion twice a week, but my groupmates were both very cooperative and we worked well together. The assignments we did together during discussion were really good practice for implementing the things we learned in lecture. Plus, if you don't like going to discussion, you can just finish the assignment as fast as possible and leave early since the assignments are fairly easy (and graded for completion). The group project wasn't that bad either, especially considering that most of the hard work is done in discussion where you have access to your TA and LAs for help or tips. Also, I think Prof. Perlmutter is super understanding of the various dynamics that can exist in groups and the group projects are therefore graded with this in consideration. So, I wouldn't stress too much if you don't get your dream group. Happy coding!
Professor Perlmutter is super helpful! I think he is the best coding professor! We have pre-recorded videos posted every week, and he also holds live sessions to address useful real-life cases. I would say this class is not hard at all, as long as you work hard. Weekly homework(8 in total). Weekly live discussion assignments require group work. Same group throughout the quarter, in which the groups are randomly assigned by the professor. Midterm is very easy, we have 36 hours to do it. "The exam is a "90-minute exam," in the following sense: we've written the exam with the intention that, if all students spend 90 minutes on it, then the median exam grade would be around a 90. " Final exam is a bit more complicated, but it can be done in about 2-3 hours. There's a final project about building 3 machine learning models to predict species of penguins. Professor also offers several extra credit options: an extra credit essay, 2 extra credit surveys, and some extra points in the Midterm. I think everyone can do well in this class, even for people with no prior coding experience. Strongly recommend.
Lectures were prerecorded and put on YouTube. Quizzes (low impact) were given for each lecture. Actual lectures were reserved for giving examples of content covered in lectures.
Homework was given weekly and consisted of working through a Jupyter notebook to create code for different scenarios.
Discussions were mandatory.
The midterm was essentially an easier and shorter homework.
There was a large group project based around machine learning which was a significant portion of the grade.
The group project was worth more than the final, which was multiple-choice questions.
Would recommend the class if you have a good work ethic.
Overall, I would recommend that you take PIC 16A with Professor Perlmutter! In general, the content is so much more engaging than the PIC 10 series since what you learn has tangible applications (you learn about machine learning, how to develop data visualizations, etc, instead of trying to code random functions that don't really serve a purpose, as you might in PIC 10A). I really enjoyed how PIC16A also tied into the concept of algorithmic bias, so as a Life Sciences major, it really opened my eyes to the media I consume/the algorithms I interact with on a daily basis.
This class does have a lot of components:
- Group project (you can think of this as the final)
- Informal final (to reinforce your efforts during the group project, it's very easy)
- Weekly HW assignments
- Mandatory discussions and discussion assignments with your group
- Midterm exam (open for 24 hours on Gradescope)
- Flipped classroom format: videos and readings before each lecture and corresponding quizzes (to be transparent, I didn't do the readings and I was fine)
He also offers very generous extra credit, in the form of writing an optional essay on a pertinent topic related to data science and society.
The homework assignments can be challenging, but I would highly recommend you attend his office hours as the professor is very approachable and wants to help you solve the problems; you are never made to feel dumb for asking a question.
The group project is probably the most difficult part of the course, but if you follow along with his pre-class lecture notes and the discussion worksheet, it should be very do-able.
I can confidently say I have learned a lot from this course. Although I am not planning on pursuing data science or CS in my career, I'm glad I took this and it has made me a lot more interested in the connections between data and society!
Professor Perlmutter is extremely fair, clear, helpful, and humorous. I would definitely recommend taking his PIC16A. You will get an A if you watch all the mandatory recorded lectures, take notes, and honestly try the homework.
The homework is generally easy, but I did get to make very cool data visualizations and learn Python programming.
I found some of the mandatory lectures not in-depth in terms of explaining the syntax but I guess his teaching is already enough for an intro class.
He also recorded his live lectures, which I found helpful, especially for review purposes. In the summer, these lectures were not mandatory but I would still recommend them.
I found the final project incredibly rewarding given that I spent many hours coding, thinking, and asking for help on the Campuswire forum.
After taking one of Professor Perlmutter's classes earlier in the year, I was slightly disappointed with his PIC 16A class. The class focused heavily on group work. We had to meet twice a week to work on a discussion worksheet with 2 random teammates from the class. Although these worksheets were only graded on completion, the activities required some degree of unnatural socialization with teammates that I just didn't vibe with. Although I'm sure some students had teammates they got along with, it was painfully obvious that my teammates were uninterested in the class and expected me to do most of the work for them, making discussion activities rather unproductive. Since there was such a heavy focus on group work in this class, getting bad teammates that you have to stick with for the whole quarter makes the class hard to enjoy.
Homework made the greatest contribution to our grades and was helpful. I have no complaints about this portion of the class.
Students were required to take a quiz after every lecture. This amounted to more than 20 quizzes throughout the quarter. I feel like this is the aspect of the class that students disliked the most. Questions were poorly worded and, at times, tested our understanding of unimportant nuances from lecture rather than the important general takeaways. As we transition away from online learning, however, I feel like they will phase out the quizzes.
The class regularly has a final exam, but our class did not because we had a shortened summer quarter. Instead, we had a midterm exam and mini-project. The midterm exam was extremely straightforward and easier than homework assignments. On the other hand, the mini-project was tedious and unenjoyable. We were required to work on the project with our discussion teammates, and I ended up having a really bad time working on the project because my teammates didn't care as much about the class as me and were resistant to put any effort into their work. Groups are graded as a team, so it annoyed me that my grade in the class had to be tethered to students who didn't care as much about the class or their grades as I did.