Winter 2019 - Barreca did not seem to care about student learning. When students had brought up concerns in class, this instructor said her opinion was a minority opinion and said his vote counted for 81 voices whereas hers was just one. Although I don't think his comment were meant to offend, it was clear to me that he did not care about the student learning experience and the rest of the quarter seemed to prove this as well. Barecca on the first day of class had told us he would teach us like we had no prior experience in R, economics, or statistics which I don't think was reflected during the quarter. The only part I felt was taught well and from the basics was R, which was the responsibility of the TA anyway. Furthermore, for our final project, we were expected to know codes we had not yet learn in class. I understand Barecca had the intentions of being a great professor and was modeling the style of a certain teacher he had mentioned, however the quarter did not mirror his intentions. Therefore, I felt if multiple students had brought up concerns and feedback about his teaching styles, he should have considered them. Additionally, I understand wanting students to learn from experience, from trial and error, so I understand his emphasis on examples. However, I believe a certain amount of basic concepts must be taught in conjunction. Barecca taught primarily through examples and students were left to their own devices to figure out trends and concepts based on examples. I believe it would have been more effective if he had taught basic concepts and given us examples to apply our knowledge with. For example, in my past physics classes, professors taught us concepts in class with a few examples, and gave us many practice problems of varying difficulty to work with. I have never been in a class where I tried to learn by merely observing trends in the way the professor solved problems. I was very disappointed in this class especially since I was looking forward to it last quarter and over break. Even if Barecca wanted to teach through examples, I would have appreciated if he had assigned mandatory textbook readings or education videos to supplement the learning so we could learn about the concepts on our own time. I don't agree with Barecca's emphasis on intuition because it made many of his explanations confusing and hard to follow. In addition, when students had asked for further clarification on questions, he would attempt to explain based on intuition or phrases like "move this block of wood" which to this day is unclear and confusing to me. Most of the articles we read for homework were interesting but were but were used as applicable examples in class and again, still lacked the basic concepts we needed to understand everything. I consistently felt throughout the quarter that I had no knowledge of the basic concepts. I really do not recommend this class for anyone. I did end up getting an A- in the class, but really the students in the class had to teach each other.
Spring 2020 - I took this class during a pandemic and during the BLM protests. Instead of being difficult and self-centered, Alan made the last two projects optional and no harm. We were assigned 5 projects over the course of 10 weeks. We met once a week for 3 hrs (yes it is very long) and we had project check-ins every even week. We were assigned to groups and our class communicated through slack. From the beginning of the quarter, Alan made the final optional and no harm. He was very understanding if you didn't finish a check-in or didn't finish the project. He cared about your mental health and wanted you to understand how to code. Each project had a set of tutorials that walked through step by step of what to do and why you're coding this way. The projects usually took 3-7 hours a week and you could get most of the project tutorials done within class. He made the coding projects very straight forward (I suck at coding btw) and if you needed help, you could ask the class or your group (you could share your code with each other as well). I do not understand how Alan Barreca has a 2.0 rating on Bruinwalk, but I highly recommend his class!