Based on 52 Users
TLDR: loved the class, would take it again, and it is WAY easier than any other chemistry class BUT the tests are unfair and there's no way to study for them since it's mostly on random stuff he mentions once (but its almost impossible to get anything below an A- so TAKE THIS CLASS!!!)
okay so here's the breakdown
Lab Projects: 20%
Independent Project: 10%
Class is curved so an A- is an 88%, B- is 75% etc.
One textbook called Stuff Matters, pretty easy to read midterm and final will have one or two random questions about the book
The lab projects are done in lab groups of 2 or 3 people and are basically just tik toks about what y'all did in lab that week then the independent project is the same thing but you pick the experiment you want to do. They're super fun and easy to bs.
Attendance is MANDATORY!! You have to attend 90% of lectures so basically you can miss 2, there is a sign in sheet that goes around the class but tbh there were a few times that I signed in then left and I was fine. I'm not gonna lie the lectures feel like they drag on and weren't always the most interesting but you learn about things that you encounter in day to day life so that was cool. Plus they were bruincasted but only audio! My favorite topics were nuclear weapons, drugs, and radiation!
THE TESTS: you're allowed to have a cheat sheet of a regular sized piece of paper, one side is for the midterm then the backside is for the final. The issue is that most of the questions on the reviews and practice tests (which are what I would put on my cheat sheet) were rarely questions on the actual test. I studied like crazy for the final and still got a D on it. BUT its so easy to get 100% in every other part of the class and the class is curved so even if you fail the tests you will still most likely get an A!!!
Alex is a great professor. His lectures are extremely interesting and lets you appreciate the application of chemistry in the real world on a qualitative scale. I truly believe that his class helped me understand the impacts of science in policy making and the most pressing environmental problems. The labs were pretty decent too, led fully by the TA you get to perform light experiments on the topic discussed in class and instead of doing a lab write up you make a TikTok documenting your work. Homework was extremely manageable: some mildly interesting reading and debunking fake science on TikTok. I will say that the tests were rather detailed so make sure to take accurate notes (he allows you to use a cheat sheet so those notes better be good). Overall Alex is very generous with his grading and is much more focused on you learning the material than making sure a certain grade distribution is followed. Would recommend anyone wanting to take a lab GE.
This class isn't easy. You definitely need to study a lot since the tests are based on things he says during lectures. There are some topics on the exam that were on the slides, but they did not frequently show up on exams. The midterm was pretty straightforward since he gave us some pretty helpful resources (review sheet and past midterm), but the final was much harder. I was lucky to get an A even after doing poorly on the final. Some of the questions seemed like they were rarely discussed during the lecture or not even discussed at all. That being said, I'm so relieved that the lectures were recorded. Without the lecture recordings, I would've suffered hard. However, I think that Alex does a good job of balancing everything in terms of grading and difficulty. For example, an A- is 88% in this class which is typically a B+ in other classes.
In terms of the content, this class was SUPER interesting. There's no math--you just learn about the material world and its significance in world issues. This isn't JUST a chemistry class. It talks about how the material world intersects with psychology, economics, history, etc. Alex also made lectures engaging and interactive by doing some cool experiments and making jokes along the way. He seems like a cool guy with interesting thoughts about the material world--he even gave us donuts and coffee during our final!
For lab, we did some pretty cool experiments and the lab reports weren't written reports. They were tik-toks we had to upload every week instead! My TA Zaira was super helpful during lab when we needed help or clarification. It was her first year as a TA, and she did very well.
Also, there was one book we had to read for this class called Stuff Matters. I found it to be an overall interesting book. As a psych major, I can say I learned something useful in this class. I would definitely recommend it to other psych majors looking to fulfill their physical science GE and pre-major requirement over Chem 17 (more difficult I heard and only fulfills your pre-major requirement) and Physics 10. If you're a psych major, ask your counselor about this class!
Never Never take his class. He is the worst professor that I ever met at UCLA.
He didn't teach any useful knowledge relating to inorganic chemistry. On his test, he asked question like "What is the biggest company that manufacture Al?" Why should we know the answer to this kinds of non-sense questions.
He taught based on his own interest. All the lectures relating to main-group elements were historical-based. And for his tests you need to memorize all the historical facts... He always claims that he want us to be successful in his class, but base on his test and the way he assigned grades, his claims were not true.
If you took his Chem 171, you will definitely have a hard time in Chem 172 since he basically prepares you for nothing.
I highly recommend this professor. There's one midterm, final, and wiki article project. The textbook is not necessary but MAKE SURE you study his PowerPoint slides. No homework. For the wiki project it's actually quite fun; just make sure you pick a topic you like. There's also plenty of extra credit points if you mess up. Spokoyny is also a very good lecturer, very clear, relates concepts to current topics. Overall fun class and awesome professor.
Alex is a fantastic professor who teaches a great class that is an broad overview of inorganic chemistry as applied to biology and bionanoscience. Very relevant topics. Assignment is a presentation on a researcher and an NIH style research proposal. Great class for anyone planning on continuing in science or medicine.
Alex is one of the most engaging professors I've ever met. He really wants you to understand the implications of inorganic chemistry as well as the research that has been done to further advance the field today. It will be relevant for those who wish to pursue a career in research. Even if you aren't, it was a really fun class where you'll get to meet other people and bond together! He also gets you pizza <3 Would take again.
I really appreciate how Alex designed this class to better prepare us for the real world. Each of us was assigned one researcher to present on. I know that I can get nervous when talking about formal things in front of crowds, but by giving us opportunities like these, we become a little more confident in our words. No matter where you go after UCLA, this skill is important. Also, he asks you some questions on the spot about your presentation and the researcher's work that you have to think about, which some are difficult but he doesn't drill you. The point is to get you thinking. The presentation and also the proposal assignment really make you have to learn how to read journal articles. I really liked the proposal because you have the freedom to propose a research project that hasn't been done before. Getting started is really hard though, but go to his office hours and he'll help guide you. In addition, besides the proposal's final deadline, there was only one deadline which was for your specific aims (3rd week) to get you thinking and working on it. However, between that time and when it was due (like 9th week?), pretty much no one really worked on it. Yeah, that's pretty much on the students themselves and to not procrastinate real world stuff, but I don't think we would've peer-reviewed lots of seemingly incomplete proposals if we had more deadlines. There's no midterm and no textbook. All of his lectures were on PowerPoint and he lectures for the first hour; the second hour is two student presentations. He really encourages questions during his or student presentations, also this counts towards your participation points. But besides that, I encourage you ask questions too because all the topics are really cool. We were only allowed to collaborate among ourselves for the take-home final. The final required reading papers and this is where how you interpret his lectures come in. Overall, Alex is a great and engaging lecturer who really cares about his students. He's funny and understanding and really wants us to learn and appreciate the many interesting aspects of research in inorganic chemistry. You gain valuable life experience in presenting, and also being able to extract the important things in really long and loaded papers.