Based on 11 Users
Overall, really cool subject and a good professor! I feel that I learned a ton of practical information about climate and the physical world. We talked about El Nino as it was happening and the Santa Monica Bay was used a lot as an example. I personally love learning about the earth and hope to take more of these kinds of classes.
One qualm I had was the clicker quizzes at the beginning of class. They often felt a little slow and since we often didn't finish all the slides that were posted on CCLE, I wished we could have used the time more efficiently. Otherwise, the use of the clicker was actually really helpful in the long run.
We covered a lot of topics that were a little more technical, but these were balanced with more qualitative information, looking at cases in different parts of the world. I would have liked to see a more quantitative analysis of these areas, but I think much of the class enjoyed these sections.
As an engineering major, I found the math in this class to be extremely manageable, although I noticed that much of the class had trouble with the calculus (derivatives) and physics (forces, waves, and super-simplified fluid mechanics ideas) used. I think the professor should have either altered the class the class to be more accommodating of that relatively large group--in which case I likely would have wanted a more technical class--or perhaps just described the course differently. I found myself wishing it was more technical and there was more math, but maybe that's a different class. However, there were a few parts that were explained in a slightly confusing way, which was probably not helpful. Potential vorticity stumped a lot of people. My TA, Daniel, was great at explaining these sections.
Overall, I like Professor Stewart and would like to take his other class if possible.
The class is composed by clicker quiz before class, clicker question during class, 5 homework, 1 midterm, and 1 final.
Clicker quiz: We were quizzed every class based on material covered in the last class. Those quizzes led to painful experience while preparing and reviewing, but they really forced us to study and keep up with the class. Since A LOT OF stuff were covered during the entire quarter, it would be very easy to fall behind if there were no such quizzes to help us study. Two lowest scores were dropped.
Clicker question: We get points for participation instead of correctness. These questions popped up during the lecture to help us understand the concepts. I found them overall decent and helpful.
Homework: Some questions were very confusing when first reading them. I found them hard. Spending at least 5 hours on each homework is expected for this class. Homework 3 especially, since it used matlab, we had to start very early and it took times. The TAs were willing to help with the homework questions and piazza is used for any questions, the homework were very doable.
Exams: The short essays and calculations are decent if you study for the concepts, but the sketching questions are very tricky and detailed. Overall, the whole exams are fair in terms of difficulty, but there are just tons of stuff to go over.
Lectures: Professor Stewart is a knowledgeable and patient lecturer, and he is sometimes funny. The materials are really dry sometimes, and I could see he was doing his best to make them more enjoyable. I dozed off sometimes, but I like most of his lectures. He sometimes went through his slides very fast, but fortunately the lecture was podcasted.
Discussion: Group activities were held in the discussion, but I found them less efficient than if TA would just review the materials by themselves.
Overall, this class is very rewarding and I learned a lot. The material is hard, but it is something that as long as you put in effort, you can get an A.
If you want to learn, then do not take this class. The professor never explains anything well. You are assigned to code things you don't understand. He should really focus more on how to work and analyze models on Matlab versus having other people (guest lecturers teach his class). The class could be really cool and fun if you were taught what you analyzing in Matlab.
I loved this class! Professor Andrew is really great at lecturing and is super engaging. The content of the course is often difficult, but the tests are very fair and are honestly easier than some of the homework assignments. If you are interested in oceanography, or need to take an AOS class, I would highly recommend this one.
Do not take this class if you want an easy grade! The class is very difficult and the instructor barely goes over the material on the homework and tests. You will be able to do well on the quizzes based on the lecture, but not the homework or exams. I was wondering how other students were doing so well on their homeworks. It turns out that they went to the TA office hours and the TAs gave them the answer. The instructor will deny that this happens but it does. If you can find a friend who has already taken this class, ask that friend for the quiz answers as the instructor uses the same quiz questions each year. The homeworks are dumb and frustrating. You will learn basic calculations in class such as 100 megawatts + 200 megawatts=300 megawatts. Then you will get a verbose homework problem where you need to combine three different equations on the lecture slides and manage to get an answer. The instructor has a way of making his tests and homework hard! In the first year he taught this class, the midterm scores were so horrible that according to the TA, almost everyone failed. In the second year, there was a really difficult homework question that students struggled on for hours so that question was removed in the third year this instructor taught the class. You will be competing against other AOS majors who have taken other AOS classes before, so they have a large advantage over you. The instructor is young and he appears to be friendly. However, he does not know how to instruct a class or come up with fair homework problems and exams. Another problematic homework problem you will have is the dreaded Matlab assignment where you will have to learn to code with Matlab to finish the assignment. You will get the codes in discussion section, but they will be missing information that you have to fill in. If you don't have experience coding Matlab, then this class is not for you.
Professor Stewart is so great! I don't know why he has bad reviews. I've taken two classes with him, AOS 103 and 130 and both were great. I learned a ton about oceanography and he's super funny, he has a Scottish accent too, what's not to love?