Nature of Universe
Winter 2019 - Overall I would say that this class was an easy GE. The material is super engaging - it covers the mind-boggling distances and masses, such as the distance from our galaxy to the nearest galaxy being some millions of light years and the mass of our sun being compressed into areas the size of LA etc. Prof. Consiglio was also very enthusiastic about the lecture material and made a good effort to convey her love of astronomy to the class, as her slides were interesting. Also, the homework was all online on Kudu - an online textbook/quiz site for $50. The homework was mainly based on the videos included on the website, from Crash Course Astronomy - these videos were very interesting and watching them didn't feel like studying. The labs were very easy and I usually finished a good time before they ended. The exams were also pretty easy - all multiple choice, based mainly on homework stuff along with a bit of lecture material. Practice exams were extremely useful as some questions were even re-used on the actual exams. Also, 3% extra credit was possible - 2% for going to Griffith observatory and 1% for something else, however I didn't avail this. Now for the donwsides - it is not very easy to take notes in the class as Prof. Consiglio moves along pretty quick and sometimes she skips slides altogether. Unless you have a laptop and can type reasonably fast (~50 wpm), note taking won't be worth it. All the lectures were available on CCLE afterwards anyway however they're usually about. 60% fluff 40% material. Also, the online textbook Kudu was a bit irritating as I don't usually like to watch videos and I found it very difficult to answer the homework questions with just the text as the questions usually asked for very specific facts only mentioned in the video. The exams were easy however sometimes they would ask very specific facts (such as the orbital period of the moon) which was annoying - for the first midterm we were told that it would focus more on concepts than facts but this was not the case. Overall I would recommend this class if you want an easy GE (especially if its P/NP like me). It can be a bit hard to study for the class but it's so easy that it doesn't matter anyway. As long as you have a decent memory for random things like the rough temperature of the surface of the sun, you should have no problem getting an A.
He was great for Astro 3. Very excited and interesting in lecture. I never fell asleep. He uses lots of slides to keep the class interesting and teaches the class very straightforwardly. You can tell he really cares about the subject matter and his students. I really enjoyed Astro 3 because of him.
Furlanetto is the type of professor that give privileges to some students according to ethnicity or race. If you are white you don't to do that much to get A, if you are Hispanic or Latino you have to more than whites to get a B+. I do not recommend Hispanics to take a class with furlanetto if it is not required.
Okay, Prof. Ghez has got some good and bad points, but it's up to you decide which outweighs the other. For one, she's really passionate and you can tell from the very first lecture that she really loves what she does. She's pretty good at explaining the harder concepts in astronomy and she's concerned about student learning, since she'll try to clarify any confusion. However, she is NOT an easy instructor! For an intro to astronomy course, this class was way too difficult and had too much work (labs, weekly homeworks, 2 midterms, a cumulative final). In addition, the tests are hard since they involve mastery of the concepts as well as specific-detailed questions. On top of that, there is a lot of material to cover for one quarter, so one might feel really overwhelmed especially when finals come around. I think if she could just slow the workload, everything would be all cool. You learn a lot, but she's definitely gonna work ya!