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Professor Ghaforyfard's lectures are quite underwhelming. In addition to the dry nature of the CS 33 material, the professor is not very enthusiastic at explaining concepts, making the lectures more boring. The labs were fun and engaging, but the exams were long and difficult. Also, the professor did not give a clear breakdown of the grading cutoffs and did not seem to have curved the class. Overall, I would not take this class again.
Professor Ghaforyfard's lectures were extremely dry/boring. The labs were doable (and actually pretty interesting), but she gave very little guidance, resulting in most of us resorting to doing extra research by ourselves and asking the TAs. The only savior of this class were the TAs – they gave us starting guidelines for each lab and actually hosted really interesting sections.
The midterm was fine, but she directly copied questions from a former CS 33 exam (that the TAs sent us beforehand as practice?? ) and ended up removing those points from the midterm, lowering all of our grades because instead of like 100 points, it was out of 55 points. At one point, I think she considered adding a second part on top of an already 3 hour timed final to test the topics from the questions she removed from the midterm. This didn't end up happening, literally because there are UCLA guidelines for ensuring finals are within 3 hours and that students should not be punished for the miscommunication (and should not be punished for the professor not writing original exam questions). The final ended up being pretty hard, but she offered extra credit, so that was nice.
I did well in the class, but I would not recommend taking this with Professor Ghaforyfard, as it pretty much tanked my interest in this subject. I was pretty disappointed with the quality of this class and the kinda unreasonable decisions of the professor (mentioned above), and I would recommend taking it with any other professor.
Overall, I didn't really like this class much and the material wasn't very interesting. As for the professor, she cares about giving lectures and means well, but that doesn't change the fact that her lectures are pretty lackluster and not really engaging at all. Pace was too slow, and we didn't cover nearly as much as a typical CS 33 class would during the regular school year.
The labs and homework assignments are well designed, but the tests kill. They're online using CCLE, so grading is often inflexible, and it's very easy to make mistakes. Midterm was kinda tough, but final was absolutely terrible. I bombed it after having gotten full credit on nearly everything else in the class and ended up with a B. I need to emphasize this, but she did NOT curve at all for this class, contrary to what the case with the previous summer's review said. Pretty disappointing, but don't count on anything. All in all, I'd highly recommend you take Nowatski or Reinman during the school year over this class.
Also, the textbook readings are helpful for this class as well.
Overall this class just felt like an afterthought. Often times the professor wasn't prepared for her lectures, forgetting to include slides into the powerpoints. She would lecture and assume that we already had a grasp on the NEW concept that she was teaching us, often just reading off the slides and not really explaining any of the content. During the lecture, she would often say "you know..." and would never explain the topics even though we are just learning them.
The textbook and TA's were ESSENTIAL. The TA's in less than half the time would easily explain the concepts better than the professor, give us guidance on the project, and answer questions that went unanswered in class while the textbook actually gave useful examples and visuals that were lacking in lectures.
The midterm and finals were also kinda BS and lazy; she copied almost half the midterm from the first quarter and was about to add additional questions to our final to cover up her mistake. Additionally, we were told the final was to include questions from the whole curriculum of the quarter, but almost every question was literally from the last 2 weeks. Additionally, the test was SUPPOSED to be EASILY taken in under 3 hours, and from a majority of the people I talked to, including me, this was nowhere near the case.
Avoid this class if you can, I don't know the circumstances of the professor but it is obviously a detriment to the learning of her students.
Lecture: Lectures were often hard to follow. Explanations of topics were not always clear, and I found myself watching certain lectures over and over to understand the material. For some topics she jumps into them quite quickly, making it hard to pick up.
Projects: The projects themselves were reasonable once you understand how to do them, but it was hard to get to that point of understanding through the lectures. There are online resources that help with the material needed for the projects.
Exams: I found the exams to be exceptionally difficult. The time restraint of three hours was not enough, and the exam material was consistently hard. Some problems were worth large chunks of the test and focused on a specific topic, so if you did not understand that topic, your grade was sure to be low.
Tips: Her CS33 curriculum follows CMU's 15-213 curriculum, so if you find her lectures difficult to follow you can watch CMU's public lectures for their respective class. For the exams make sure to fully understand each project.
This has got to be the worst experience I've had in a class ever. I took this course online due to COVID-19 and the professor did not adapt well to the online format at all. There were constant logistical issues with the lectures-even like 7 weeks into the class. She would keep pointing to things with her mouse but nobody could see her mouse. She once set a meeting password without telling anyone what it was, and when the TA's finally gave it to us and we showed up 9 minutes in, she said she was just going to continue lecturing. The lectures are incredibly boring and hard to follow (It's hard to even stay awake while watching them). Her explanations were terrible. That's not all her fault, the material is pretty boring too, but she made it so much more complicated than it had to be. The labs were pretty okay to do as long as you read the textbook well and go to discussion. The midterms and final were pretty hard to even complete. Oh and we had a 3 hour midterm. For context, I did pretty well in and enjoyed CS 32, but this class was not it. It legit made me cry through every one of the 9 weeks. Avoid taking it with her at all costs if possible. If not, make sure you read the textbook really well, attend discussion with a good TA, and try to get near perfect scores on the labs because the exams are TOUGH.
Professor Ghaforyfard is extremely patient and helpful both in lecture and office hour. She cares about the student and always keep the class active. I am so glad that I took the summer course with her.
Her lecture style:
Unlike other professors who only explained the concept of the topic, Professor Ghaforyfard explained the concept and linked it with several extremely helpful examples (problems) to make the students understand deeper about the topic. She also taught us about how to approach the problems and several shortcuts for solving the problem, and it makes life a lot easier.
4 LABs- DATA Lab (easy)
Bomb Lab (Medium and interesting)
Attack Lab ( Not So hard)
Malloc Lab ( SUPER HARD, Un-doable (for me) )
HW are from the textbook.
Attendance: Do not skip lectures! She sometimes makes students sign in.
Grading: Project 45% , HW 5%, MT 20%, Final 30%
Overall, Highly recommended definitely would take it again,
During all the lectures in the class, she did okay in explaining most of the concepts. However, there were times when she expected us to know stuff from other languages when most of the class had only taken cs31 and 32. There were also long pauses in some of the lectures and I don't really think she knew what she was saying half the time
Ghaforyfard was not a very helpful professor, but the good thing with how the class is structured, is that all the assignments are pre-written and pretty interesting (bomb lab for example). I stopped going to lecture pretty early as they were very dry and not very helpful, and just using the book and online resources was enough to do well on the assignments. Her tests on the other hand were pretty difficult, and you really need to study and do practice problems (this really helps) to do well on them. Hope this helps!
Took this class in the Summer of 2020, thinking since it was offered online I could take advantage of my Summer. Big mistake. Professor Ghaforyfard assigns weekly readings of the extremely dense textbook, which most people would think to just be supplemental, but no: if you don't do the readings, you will be instantly lost in what is going on. Also, due to her Electrical Engineering background, she will go on extremely long tangents about things that don't help at all, and if anything just further confuse you. Classes were very boring. As far as the labs go, the bomb lab is the most time-consuming but atleast you may actually learn how to do that one from class. The attack and malloc labs, on the other hand, were near impossible with the lackluster lectures (especially the malloc lab). Oh and the tests are anything but easy. Seriously just take this class with another professor.