Fall 2017 - 110A is a sort of weird class because there is a lot of math that you learn in high school and college that keeps building on itself and this class just doesn't use any of it. Theorems in this class require no calculus, no vectors knowledge, or anything like that, and so it would really not be hard for a 7th grader to understand the theorems. That being said, the homework forces you to get really good at guessing. The theorems are easy to understand, but it takes a lot of homework problems to learn how to apply them. It is really hard to find a consistent way to learn how to tackle the problems but I think the book sets them up in a fairly good way, so regardless of what the homework problems actually assigned are, you should do the problems in the textbook in order. Roughly speaking, the class spends the first 2 weeks talking about integers, modular arithmetic, and congruence classes in Zn. This was the material covered up to the first midterm. The third and fourth weeks are spent mostly discussing rings, integral domains, fields, and their properties, such as units, zero divisors, field implies integral domain, and so on. The fifth week through seventh week or so are spent covering polynomial rings and discussing the similarities they have with the integers. About half the material from polynomials appeared on the second midterm. The eight and half of ninth week were spent on congruence classes of polynomials with material covering when such congruence classes were made modular irreducible polynomials. The rest of the time was spent covering ideals and quotient rings (though one lecture was missed due to the fire). The material on the final focused not just on the later material, but also ways in which the later material could be combined with the earlier material. For example, prove Z28 x Z5 is congruent to Z35 x Z4. The tests were fair, though like the homework, they require a spark of creativity to understand how to prove the problem. First Midterm Average: 76% Second Midterm Average: 73% Third Midterm Average: 80% Basically, don't screw up on a test because the averages are high and they don't get dropped. Also, I get the feeling he doesn't give out a lot of As. Got an 89 on the first midterm and 95s on both the second midterm and final and ended up with an A- in the class. Lectures are really clear and also he pretty much just follows the book, doing the same examples and ideas, and really only skipping one or two sections. The class did not feel rushed and yet we covered pretty much all of the course material. Overall, professor with great understanding about material, accent pretty much unnoticeable, nice course about number systems with a lot of practice and examples, just little to no idea of how to apply it outside of computer science and somewhat hard grading.
Fall 2019 - To be frank, although she's a nice person, Professor Gong was not a very good lecturer. She was super confusing and her lectures were all over the place, and with abstract algebra that was pretty much a death sentence given how difficult it is to grasp normally. She went out of her way to help as much as she could in office hours which was nice, but her lectures to the class were so hard to follow that she made a class that should have been decently easy (light workload, straightforward exams) into a class that I and a lot of my friends in the class really struggled to understand and do well in. She also went WAY too fast to follow, and we ended up finishing in like 6 weeks and spent the rest of the time going over stuff from 110B when none of us understood the stuff we were supposed to learn in the actual class we were in. I hate to give her such a bad review because she seems like she's trying really hard and I'm sure with time her lectures will be much more clear and rehearsed, but for now I would recommend choosing another professor if you have the option because unless you're a math genius you'll have a hard time self teaching enough from the book to do well in the class. Professor Gong (or anyone from the department) if you're reading this, thank you for doing your best, I appreciate your effort and help during the quarter even if it was hard for the class to follow. For the future I would recommend preparing your lectures more thoroughly and making/following lesson plans strictly- I think if you had more clarity in what you were trying to teach us and an organized, structured plan on how to do so you'd be a lot more successful getting your students to understand algebra!
Dope ass professor. He really knows his shit. He might make you feel a little dumb by the tone he answers questions in sometimes, but overall a really knowledgeable and cool cat. He keeps to himself in lecture, he won't speak before the scheduled time unless spoken to though. Don't be afraid to talk to this quiet genius! If you want to challenge yourself and REALLY learn the material, take Guerberoff's class.