Material World

Alexander Spokoyny

Material World

Chemistry and Biochemistry department

Alexander Spokoyny

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from 6 users


Overall 5.0
Easiness of class 3.8
Workload 3.8
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.8
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 5.0


  • Uses Slides
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Often Funny
  • Participation Matters
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Would Take Again
  • Has Group Projects
  • Tolerates Tardiness


Fall 2018

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Jan. 8, 2020 Grade Received: A

Probably one of the most unique classes I took at UCLA as an Econ major. I loved Prof. Alex's teaching style - he's a super chill guy, very funny, made use of cool demonstrations and media to supplement the material, and the book for the class was an interesting read. His slides don't have that much writing on them, but as long as you attend class you should be fine, the exams are easy and he clearly emphasizes what to focus on for the exams, as well as reviewing the previous lecture's main points at the start of the next class. He also brought in a guest lecturer who was an expert in his field (Explosives) for a very engaging lecture.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Jan. 6, 2020 Grade Received: A

I really enjoyed taking this course with Alex! Alex is an engaging lecturer and the course is super relatable to our everyday life! Also, the cheatsheet makes exams easy - memorization is not required.

Strongly recommend!!!

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Dec. 21, 2019 Grade Received: A

Since enrolling in this course as a freshman in Fall Quarter, it's still one of my favorite classes I've taken to date.

In terms of workload, there is not much required work outside of class -- we had one midterm, one final, a Wikipedia project, and an outside reading (not a textbook, though it was said the final would test some knowledge from the book). I found the book, Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik, to be very interesting and digestible for people of all majors; I've even recommended it to a couple of friends. The Wikipedia project was a group assignment, where you researched a prominent scientist who didn't have a Wikipedia page yet and wrote/designed one for them. For instance, our assigned scientist, Tehshik Yoon, is still active in his research and has a life story and accomplishments that would only be found on UW-Madison and publication websites without Wikipedia.

Professor Spokoyny (prefers to be called Alex) allowed us full-page cheat sheets for both the midterm and the final. Thus, even though the class covers a wide variety of topics and examples that may be hard to recall in full, the cheat sheets can be used as a reference to jog one's memory. The material itself (pun unintended) is very understandable, and Alex presents it in an engaging way when he lectures (full disclosure: I am a STEM major, though I hadn't taken any classes at UCLA yet). He uses a lot of real-world examples, often delving into historical events and analyzing society as a whole in order to convey a concept. We also had some cool demos in class every week that we could play around with. I remember his tests being very doable if one pays attention in lecture (attendance counts, by the way) and the averages being quite high. He's more invested in making sure you understand the course material than in making the tests difficult.

Lastly, Alex and his TA were very open to helping the students and spending extra time with us to make sure we understood the material and were on track with our assignment. The office hours setting was very casual, and you could ask about anything you wanted to, really. This class is smaller than many GE's; when I took it there were around 30 students. It made it much easier to interact with the professor and TA, to ask questions, and to be engaged during lecture.

Overall, I think this is a great class to consider if you have extra units to fulfill or need a physical science GE. It's very laid-back, but you do need to pay attention in lectures and do some practice problems to exceed on the tests. The material is delivered so that it's understandable for students of all majors, and the professor is very open to helping you through it. I'd say the topics were pretty engaging, ranging from empty space to food storage methods to colors. If you get the chance to, I'd say take it!

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Dec. 18, 2019 Grade Received: A

This was one of my favorite classes at UCLA. Professor Spokoyny (Prefers to be called Alex) was super nice and extremely knowledgeable. The class material itself was very interesting and very important to know. There was one midterm, one final, and a twitter assignment. Class is fairly easy if you pay attention. He even prints out the slides for you! Attendance is also taken so make sure to go to class. I would highly recommend this class!

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Dec. 13, 2019 Grade Received: B+

I really enjoyed this class. I’m a Spanish Major and just took this class because I needed extra units. The class consists of a midterm, a final, and a Wikipedia project. It’s not an extremely difficult course but you need to pay attention in class because there is no text book or extra materials, so the exams are based off of what he says in lecture. He provides a print-out of the PowerPoint so you can take notes. He also replaces the midterm with the final if you did not do too well, which is nice. He’s really passionate about his work and he makes classes interactive. He also requires you to attend office hours to elaborate on the Wikipedia project, which was helpful. I learned a lot of interesting facts throughout the course. He mostly cares that his students learn. He doesn’t make his exams hard, he just wants to make sure that you are learning the concepts of the course. I think this is probably one of my favorite class I’ve taken at UCLA, coming from a north campus major.

1 of 1


  • Uses Slides
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Often Funny
  • Participation Matters
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Would Take Again
  • Has Group Projects
  • Tolerates Tardiness

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