Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
This course has been the most challenging and dreadful course I have ever taken in UCLA in UCLA. I had a hard time understanding the course material in general, and the workload was HEAVY. Weekly reading assignments, although you get points for simply submitting and can choose which assignment is to be graded, took so much time to understand and complete. Lectures were extremely dense. Group projects were doable, but the professor and the TA was not the most generous in grading. The final exam was extremely difficult as I struggled understanding the course material in general. Professor Blank however seemed like a very understanding and kind instructor who cared about his students' wellbeing.
One of the best professors at UCLA hands down
This class was difficult for an intro class. The bulk of the work is writing weekly papers based on long studies. Attendance is required and it's worth 12% of your grade even for online lectures. There are two group projects that are worth 24% of your grade and your partners are randomly chosen. I heard for in-person classes, they just made a poster, but for online classes, we had to make a video. This was a lot of work and if your partners are not helpful, you're basically screwed. His grading is pretty harsh too even though he doesn't give that much instruction for the assignments. Idan is a pretty nice person and is obviously passionate about the subject, but his class was hard. However, the grading scale is pretty generous. An 88 is an A and he doesn't give out -A's.
According to Professor Blank, the goal of this class was to "challenge you, but not tank your grade". Given the grade distribution of the class (63% As, according to the end of the quarter email that he sent out), I'd say that he succeeded pretty well with the second part of the goal (maybe even better than he expected). However, keep in mind that he was very lenient due to the circumstances (COVID, George Floyd, etc.). For example, he had 4 different methods of weighting the assignments for the final grade, and our assignments were weighted with the method that resulted in the highest final grade. Also, he lowered the grade cut offs (88% was the cut off for an A).
Although he was lenient with grading, I'd say that this class challenged me pretty well. I loved the material, but sometimes concepts were difficult connect. The 6 written assignments were difficult as well; for these assignments, you basically read 3 scientific papers and answer questions about them. Personally, sometimes I had to think long and hard about how the questions were even related to the papers; however, once you understand this, the questions were not too bad. It was also nice that only 2 of these written assignments were graded, and you got to choose which two.
Group projects were okay; they were actually easier than the assignments, and I felt like I spent only a bit more time on my part of the project than on an individual written assignment.
Overall, Professor Blank is super passionate and knowledgeable about the subject. You can tell he puts a lot of effort into his lectures and that he loves teaching.
Super nice and helpful professor, he just assigns a lot of dense readings. It's still manageable, just hard to understand. The lectures in class and the tests I think are both reasonable. I'd recommend this class but just know you'll be doing a lot of reading.
The content of the class was interesting - Idan used great examples and covered cool concepts relating to cognitive science. Sometimes it was a little hard to understand the "bigger picture" and abstract concepts since he usually was specific in his lectures, but never really took a step back and connected the content together, you had to do that on your own. Despite this, I really enjoyed the class. Idan is super sweet and considerate and he really tries to make the lectures interesting and engaging. You do have to answer poll questions during class, but they are for participation (not graded on right vs wrong ansewr).
There were 6 one page responses to a few scientific papers each that we had to complete, but we only had to choose two to be graded for content. The grading for that was pretty harsh imo. There were also two group projects (both with the same randomly chosen people) to make a scientific poster about whatever topic related to cognitive science your group wanted to do. Those did not take much time to complete and were graded fairly. The final exam was a take-home essay of sorts where we basically just had to find the right studies discussed in the lectures for the prompts and talk about them. Throughout the quarter, Idan encouraged collaboration for the responses and the final exam which was nice.
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