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Tests- 30% (3 tests each worth 10%)
Problem Sets - 15% (weekly)
Quizzes - 15% (weekly except during exam weeks)
Homework -10% (weekly)
Discussion - 15% (weekly and based on completion)
Basically if you want an easy A and can deal with her being disorganized, then take her class. The main complaint almost everybody has is that she's disorganized. She grades things every late and she's a little all over the place like during lecture, how she set the class and when she opened gradescope submissions. Although, she does not seem as disorganized as previous quarters. She's every accommodating. She gives around 30 hours for each test. She drops 2 of your lowest scores for homework, problem sets, quizzes, and discussion. She also made your lowest test worth 5% and your higher two worth 12.5%. Due to her disorganization, she ended up dropping a lot more quizzes, an additional homework and problem set. The problem sets are graded mostly based on completion with one question being based on credit. Her tests are based on more conceptual physics compared to the other professors I have taken. In my opinion, her lectures were pretty good for the most part. I had to reference the textbook here and there but never felt like I needed to read each chapter of the textbook to do well on her tests. She listens to feedback. For example in discussion, she changed the layout to where the discussion problems were based on the problem sets, which I found to be very helpful. She also gives a lot of extra credit. So her grading scheme and accommodation, makes it fairly easy to get an A if you can deal with her being disorganized. I don't know how she'll be post-Covid but I imagine she'll still be disorganized but very nice and accommodating.
Class Structure was very VERY kind:
- 40% problem sets (no Mastering Physics)
- 15% lab
- 10% discussion participation
- 10% midterm 1
- 10% midterm 2
- 15% final
I liked this class. Professor Mills was extremely accommodating and poured so many hours into this class: 2 hours of office hours 2-3 times a week, attending every discussion, staying after class to answer questions. There was always support offered and available to students, and Professor Mills was very receptive to feedback.
She offered us revisions after every major exam (final included), and had a huge emphasis on the teaching/learning aspect of the course: in her eyes, as long as the resources and opportunities she offered were contributing to our improved physics understanding, she would continue to make them available to us.
There were some organizational issues with the class, but that can be attributed to the fact that this was Professor Mills' first time teaching Physics 5C. With that came the responsibility of creating completely new course materials (problem sets and exams) as we went along in the quarter, and in my opinion, she executed fairly well and always ensured the situation was fair to students. Now that these materials have been created, I imagine that future iterations of the course will be even more successful.
I do recommend Professor Mills for Physics 5C!
Tests in this class were very ambiguous and tested us on complicated conceptual material that there was no way we could learn without knowledge this outside of class, and were very lengthy and cumbersome and didn't reflect the difficulty of homework problems that were given. Speaking of homework, there was also a lot of work that was very repetitive; we had Mastering Physics, Problem Sets, AND weekly quizzes. Professor was very disorganized and didn't really adjust well to the students' feedback. The campuswire forum would always be full of student concerns that wouldnt be addressed until a couple days later, and she only addressed this by dropping several homework assignments which doesn't make any sense because we had done all the work for them, and there would be no need to do this if she had just graded everything on time. By week 10 only the first 3 weeks of assignments were graded and no one knew what their grade in the class was. Her lectures were also VERY slow and sometimes did do a good job of explaining concepts but glossed over/didn't even talk about a LOT of important material which I had to go learn on my own in the textbook. Overall a very disorganized and frustrating class which I had to do a lot of work for but it didn't matter because she dropped half the assignments at the end of the quarter because she wasn't up to date with her grading.
Keep in mind that Professor Mills is a new lecturer during a difficult time, so please be patient with her. While she posted answer keys and problem sets very late, I think it will be better for following quarters now that she does have keys (provided that she doesn't change the problem sets). She is aware that her organization needs work, and judging by how her lectures improved dramatically throughout the quarter, I have high hopes as she gains more experience.
Ignoring how stressful the first few weeks were, the rest of this class wasn't bad. Her grading scheme is very lenient, and she gave a bunch of extra credit throughout the quarter. I also think she had office hours every day, and she recorded each of them.
Prof. Mills has amazing enunciation, but that's really all I can say for positive feedback. She screen recorded her iPad for lectures, but I felt that the lectures were hard to follow. The way she presented new info and topics felt random and jumpy. I wish she had powerpoint slides that had some sort of structure. She usually went overtime for lecture as well.
As for homework, she posts PSETs instead of using MasteringPhysics. It felt like her lectures didn't prepare us at all for solving the types of problems she gave us, and we're basically thrown into the deep end without knowing how to swim. She encouraged us to use our textbook resources and use campuswire as a supplement, but I feel like we're relying on external resources more than we should have to. Most importantly, the lack of clarity and transparency was extremely frustrating. There was never any consistency for when she posted PSETs (aka she was always late posting them). Even though the PSETs were graded all for completion except for one random accuracy-based question, the grades for our PSETs before midterm 1 were posted the day before the midterm and no midterm2-relevant PSET grades were posted by midterm 2. Even by the time the final rolled around, nothing new had been graded except one PSET maybe a day or so before. Prof. Mills often said "I apologize for the delay, thank you for your patience, I appreciate your feedback," but nothing changed.
Midterm 1 was ok, it felt similar to the PSETs. Midterm 2 was very unexpected; it was much more conceptual than mathematical problems per-say. The final was a mix. Mills offered test corrections though!
Ultimately, this class was a very stressful and unpleasant experience due to the lack of support. Yes, I did well, but the experience was not something I want to go through again.
BUT I wanna give a shoutout to my TA Dima, an absolute king. He was incredibly supportive, understanding, and sweet. After seeing the results from midterm 1, he provided an equation sheet for midterm 2 and the final, which was amazing of him.
if i could summarize this class i would say that liz is incredibly accommodating when fixing issues that came up because of her own disorganization, some of which is inexcusable. the revisions on the exams, additional extra credit, and additional time on the exams were all introduced as consolation for her mistakes. for example, we were told we would have access to our homework grades/keys before the first midterm, and they weren’t even posted by the final exam. the exams were not worth a lot of the final grade based on her grading system, which was nice, but it still added stress when studying to feel like we were waiting for resources we were never gonna get. she would apologize for not having things up or for a lapse in communication, but then nothing would change and the same things would happen again. as mentioned her grading scheme is really forgiving though, which is the saving grace of this class. i think if liz were teaching this with a scale closer to other physics professors, there would be a lot of people struggling. however, we did not receive our final grades until almost 2 weeks after the deadline. it held a lot of people back academically and we never got any form of explanation for what was up (even after contacting both her and the department multiple times), and that just isn’t acceptable for me. i almost got dropped from one of my major classes, and i know others had issues with submitting graduate applications because of it. even if your only goal is to get a good grade, you won’t receive that grade for weeks after you’re supposed to…with absolutely no communication as to why. i don’t understand why she thought any of what she was doing this session without any reasoning behind it was acceptable as a professional.
- 40% of your grade is twice a week problem sets. Only one problem on each set is graded for accuracy and the rest are graded for completion. No mastering physics.
- Professor holds a lot of office hours in which she will sometimes give the answers to some of the homework problems.
- midterms are only 10% of your grade and the final is 15%.
- we were given 24 hr for each midterm and ended up getting 48 hours on the final due to her own technical difficulties, so she is very accommodating when it comes to her own mistakes.
- we were able to do revisions on each midterm and final in order to receive up to half of our missed points back.
- labs are easy and you are provided with simulations so you don't have to buy a snap circuit. You also have 48 hours to do each lab.
- Lots of extra credit opportunities in the form of campuswire participation and surveys.
- She is VERY unorganized. She often made very many typos on exam problems which made some things very confusing.
- Her exam questions can be very vague sometimes and confusing on what exactly she wants from you. She did address that she is a new professor and still learning how to properly ask questions. (I believe this is why she allowed revisions on exams in order to make up for her mistakes).
- She has poor communication and posts everything late. Gradescope submissions would always be posted late and we were never entirely sure when stuff was due since she would always change things around. She often posted problem sets and exams late as well.
- Said she accidentally taught us more than we were supposed to learn??
Overall, this class was very frustrating at times with how unorganized the class was and due to the lack of communication; however, I am very glad I took the class with this professor. She was very accommodating to her own mistakes. Some mistakes were just inexcusable even though she was a new professor, but in the end, the class was very easy to get a good grade in, which can be pretty rare for a physics class.
I don't think I have ever had such a horrible professor and I highly recommend not taking her even if she was the last professor on this planet. I was really excited to take a physics class taught by a younger female professor and was hoping she would be really engaging, nice, and understanding. Not only was she completely disorganized but despite her back and forth with deadlines, she did not leave much room for her students. My biggest issue was the fact that she never gave us the name of the physics book she was using which made following the class extremely hard, instead she uploaded some blurry photos and call it a day. Her lectures consisted of her either reading directly from the textbook, the same textbook we had no access to, or repeating the same physics concept for the full 2 hour lecture time. She hardly ever went over homework examples, practice questions or anything remotely helpful. The labs of course were useless but this is not new to UCLA physics 5 series. But if you take this class prepared for the HUGE workload. Not only did we have to attend physics discussions twice a week AND submit our physics worksheets by the end of the day on top of labs twice a week. We also had these huge homework packets due twice a week (im assuming only once a week for 10 week sessions). it was just so much unnecessary work for such a little payoff. She is in love with campuswide and would repeatedly be active on campuswide while leaving us hanging; not uploading midterms at the scheduled time, not responding to emails, missing lectures or OH. There is so much more I could rant about when it comes to this class but bottom line do not take her, just dont.
I would avoid this class. It was pretty easy and she was very understanding but she is the most disorganized prof I have ever had at UCLA.
Though the argument can be made that Prof Mills was very kind and accommodating to her students, I honestly believe that this was an attempt to make up for her constant mistakes and lack of communication. If you are someone that likes organization, clear deadlines, and a prof that uses slides, don't take a class with Mills. She allowed test corrections to get points back, but that was because every test had typos that sometimes changed the meaning of the questions, leading us to give incorrect answers. We also still don't have our post-test correction grades from midterm #1 that we took over a month ago, if that tells you anything about her organization. When the whole class was asking for practice problems for an upcoming exam a week before the test, she gave us practice problems at 10pm the night before the test. I could go on... there were so many unacceptable mistakes that even a professor with very little experience could avoid (like typos on EVERYTHING). As a student that expects a high level of professionalism, organization, and education from my UCLA professors, I don't recommend prof Mills.