Linear Algebra

David Gieseker

Linear Algebra

Mathematics department

David Gieseker

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from 19 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 2.9
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 2.6
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.8
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 2.2
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.3
Helpful
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Tags

  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Needs Textbook
  • Useful Textbooks

Grades

Spring 2017
50.0%
41.7%
33.3%
25.0%
16.7%
8.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

Fall 2017
40.0%
33.3%
26.7%
20.0%
13.3%
6.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

Spring 2015
48.1%
40.1%
32.1%
24.1%
16.0%
8.0%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

Spring 2014
37.0%
30.9%
24.7%
18.5%
12.3%
6.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

Fall 2014
29.3%
24.4%
19.5%
14.6%
9.8%
4.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

Fall 2013
41.4%
34.5%
27.6%
20.7%
13.8%
6.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

Fall 2012
36.4%
30.3%
24.2%
18.2%
12.1%
6.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

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Reviews

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 23, 2020
Grade Received: A

Prof Gieseker lives up to his fame as a mathematician, but also to his fame as someone who is too smart to teach.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted June 10, 2020 Grade Received: A

Lectures aren't too captivating. He makes a few errors with notation so watch out for that. But Gieseker is a very nice guy, with an odd sense of humor. He gives sort of cryptic hints when you're confused with homework, but they're actually helpful once you decipher what he said. He has loads of practice midterms/finals, and his exams have the same exact type of problems as the practices provided. The curve is decent. I had a raw average of 85 and got an A. Lots of time has to be spent reading Hoffman and Kunze (you can find it for free on Google) to understand the lingo of the course and to do well on hw and exams. Your TA will be your best friend in this course. !!If you are ever looking for an amazing TA Bjoern Bringmann is your guy!! All in all, I'd say don't take the terrible reviews too seriously. This class was a great learning experience for me, and I really liked Gieseker. I would take his class again.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted June 3, 2020 Grade Received: B-

His lectures were very unmotivating and I stopped going after the first midterm. Your TA will often carry your through the class. I also recommend Axler's Linear Algebra Done Right to supplement. My poor grade was because of an unfortunate grading scheme change at the end of week 10. He usually offers a 10% HW 90% Final grading scheme and I had lots of personal issues I had to attend to after the first midterm and until the end of week 9 so I could not put much focus on the course and was banking on it. However, because of Covid-19, he changed the grading scheme. I cannot blame him for that but it still was unfortunate. He gives past midterms and finals and a lot of his questions are repeats or similar in style and would highly recommend studying those first. The textbook questions are definitely harder than the midterm

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Dec. 19, 2019 Grade Received: A

The textbook is Hoffman/Kunze, and I didn't like it very much. I ended up downloading a PDF of Axler and reading it instead, and I found the proofs in Axler much more clear. However, the exercises in Hoffman/Kunze are more challenging. Usually a few textbook problems would be selected as graded homework problems each week, with a bunch more optional problems that we were encouraged to do.

As for exams, I just did all (well, as much as I needed to) of the previous exams that Prof. Gieseker gave us and I was fine. He taught this course like 7 or 8 times and he gave us both midterms and the final for all of them. A lot of problems are recycled.

His teaching can be hard to follow. I don't exactly know why though.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2019 Submitted Dec. 19, 2019 Grade Received: A+

See the other review from Fall 2019 for class structure (HW, exams, grading schemes). I mostly agree with everything else. Just a few things to add...

The amount and difficulty of the homework varied from week to week. Sometimes, I'd be staying up late for hours the night before the homework was due (we turned them in every Thursday in discussion) just trying to pound out the double star problems or even start to understand what I was reading. My quarter we had a class group chat where everyone tried to help each other, which was pretty nice. And the homework grader literally only graded the "double star" problems (~2 to 4 a week), and you didn't *have* to do the extra non-double star problems if you didn't want to or didn't have time to. They were each 15 points, but the grader only gave you the full 15 if your proof was rigorous. If it wasn't, you might have gotten partial credit, but you could resubmit the same problem later in the quarter as many times as you want, only losing a point each time (I resubmitted one problem and got bumped to 14/15).

However, it's highly recommended that you actually try the proofs on the homework by yourself (before referring to Slader or a classmate), and I tend to agree; otherwise, if you don't understand what you're doing, you'll be pretty screwed come exam time.

As the other reviewer said, Gieseker was pretty unengaging during lecture, and I pretty much stopped going after the first midterm. Instead, I self-studied the assigned textbook sections for each week's homework and went to discussion, where the TA Laurent was a literal savior. From the few times I did go to lecture, it seemed that he taught from the textbook, or his own notes from the textbook, and oftentimes the class would get lost because he'd forget to say something or use something he hadn't taught yet.

For midterms and the final, he posted a link on the class website that linked to previous class websites, where you could find practice midterms and finals. Definitely practice the hell out of them before each exam, as not only do you have to have the right approach down to each type of problem, but some problems Gieseker recycled from previous exams. The midterms were both time crunches, as we only had the 50-minute lecture period to do the 5 questions (and extra credit). The final was nearly as bad, though Gieseker gave us an extra 15 minutes at the end that was really useful for me (I was stuck on Problem 12, the last one, for like half an hour before it clicked with ~10 minutes left).

I do feel like Gieseker has the best intentions, though he's not the greatest lecturer anymore (if he ever was). He's very clear in what he posts on the class website as to what will be covered on every exam. Also, one time I emailed him about a grading issue and he responded and fixed it within minutes. Finally, the curve on the class is real thicc, so don't be discouraged if you don't think you're doing too well -- as you can see, he curves the class to 50% A's!

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

Homework: weekly homework sets consist of questions from the book (some computational and some proofs) and a few ones added by Prof. Gieseker (proofs), but only the double star questions (2-3 proofs designated by him) will be graded

Exam: Midterms are 5 proofs (20 pts each) with a bonus question (10 pts. The name is misleading because it is not optional/extra credit and contributes to your total score) Final is 11 proofs and 2 bonus questions (all count to score). Prof. Gieseker gives exams from the past to practice, though I find the difficulty differs across years.

Grading scale: 10%HW+20%(MT1+MT2)+50%F or 10%HW + 90%F

Lecture/OH: Lecture is not engaging. Prof. Gieseker's voice is low and difficult to hear at times; his notes on the board are often indiscernible or have mistakes. His lectures lack clarity, since he will start writing on the board without explicitly saying what the proofs are for, eventually concluding with “so this is ….“ before moving onto the next topic immediately. There is no doubt that Prof. Gieseker is a very nice person and he is willing to stay after his designated office hour times to answer students’ question. He is friendly and approachable though sometimes he goes on tangents. While it is nice of him to ask the students what their majors are and talk about future courses that they should take, Prof. Gieseker would then go find different books or open related websites, instead of focusing on the questions that the students have.

Teaching Assistant: Laurent Vera is the best math TA I have ever seen. The man is very knowledgeable and can answer any question the students throw at him. He spent some time covering content that is not in the course but the thorough and clear explanation made them enjoyable/relatively easy to learn. Besides, I believe those content will be useful for any pure math students continuing to 115B

Personal note: It was definitely my fault that I did not study the final well enough (plus the nerve really made me forget some basic stuff I’ve seen before), which led to a dismal final performance and B for the final score. However, I did find the class quite taxing because of the professor and think I would have learned better/had more confidence if the teaching style is clearer. Professor Gieseker is knowledgeable and respected in his field but his age hinders his ability to teach well

Quarter Taken: Spring 2017 Submitted Oct. 3, 2017 Grade Received: A

His lectures doesn't help. Study by yourself. I haven't attended most of the lectures and even traveled to Hong Kong before final while still got an A.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 15, 2013 Grade Received: N/A

Personally, I feel like Prof Gieseker is a really nice teacher and genuinely cares if the students understand the course materials. During office hours, he will always ask student what their career options are and make recommendations on courses to take based on that. The downside is that sometimes we fail to get enough constructive work done during office hours. (That's why the class relied almost entirely on our TA for homework and clarification of concepts.)

I must say that Prof Gieseker is getting old and frequently make notation errors. These errors do make the class hard to follow initially, but you will get used to it in a few weeks. So I found his teaching generally acceptable. However, he's kinda slow in doing questions, or understanding questions for that matter. So if you had anything theoretical or conceptual that you wish to clarify, I would suggest looking for your TA.

Grading wise he is pretty lenient. He doesn't hesitate to give you A if he feels that you understand the course material. For midterms and final, he will provide at least 3 years worth of past midterm/final questions, and the format of most is largely the same. If you do them all you should be fine.

Conclusion:
Yes, he is a pretty decent professor. Humorous, gives decent grades, and approachable. Just get used to his teaching and be more understanding in him making mistakes, instead of fretting and complaining.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted June 7, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

he shoudl not be teaching anymore, as in he should be retiring, great guy, very nice has a slight sense of humor about math but id definetly bnot recommend him for and lower div. i took him for honors linear algebra, his lectures are very boring which makes it hard to listen to, all this aside he is an okay grader.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted April 22, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

This guy is an awesome guy, very approachable, helpful and easy to ask for help. But the fact still is that he is incredibly slow paced, to the point of irritating. As much as I love the material, I can't stand the fact that he goes so slow; I mean he covered two chapters in 4 weeks, which is a ridiculous amoeba-paced slowness that is mind numbing. Maybe it's because there's a trio of clowns in my class who constantly ask irrelevant questions and slow everything but some people do try to learn and it's frustrating. He should set a course plan and stick to it instead of wandering off and explaining other concepts, interesting as they may be; it's up to the student to investigate and learn extra material, not the professor's job to spoonfeed everything.

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Tags

  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Needs Textbook
  • Useful Textbooks
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