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Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
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PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. Justin Lancaster is an utterly incompetent professor. I was forced to take Lancaster for Physics 5A and Physics 5B because the other professors’ classes had filled, and I can say without a doubt that Lancaster is the worst professor I’ve ever had or will ever have at UCLA.
First, Lancaster chose to use pre-recorded lectures from Spring 2020 as our lectures for the Winter 2021 quarter. If you want to spend thousands of dollars of tuition on year-old lecture videos and have a professor give zero effort in return for all the work you put into a class, then Lancaster is your guy! In these pre-recorded lectures, Lancaster spends an hour reading word-for-word off the textbook company’s pre-prepared slides and rattling off equations and concepts without providing any explanation for where they came from. This made it very difficult to understand how to apply those concepts and equations, and it again demonstrates how Lancaster could not even put in the effort to make his own slides or prepare his own explanations.
Second, Lancaster made it very difficult to have a live interaction with him or get our questions answered during office hours. The quarter began with professor Lancaster’s office hours being held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 PM as stated in the syllabus, but they were suddenly changed in the middle of the quarter with no reason given to us to Tuesdays at 10 AM and Thursdays at 11 AM. Many students reached out to professor Lancaster to tell him that those new times conflicted with our other classes, but he decided to keep the new times because they worked better for him even though far fewer people were able to come to office hours after that. If you are fortunate enough to be able to attend office hours, Lancaster frequently makes mistakes when solving problems and has to be corrected by students.
Finally, the exams are extremely stressful and unpredictable. Lancaster decided that giving less time for exams would be best for remote learning, so he subjected us to 35 minute midterms and a 2 hour final. Lancaster made no accommodations for students who have Internet issues, do not have a quiet home environment, or are international students in a different time zone. In fact, in one of his last office hours sessions, he said that he would be deliberately giving international students a more difficult final exam. On top of that, Lancaster provides hardly any study material that is representative of what exams are like. The old tests and discussion worksheets are nowhere near the difficulty of his current exams and they sometimes do not even have the same topics as his current exams. On our second midterm and final for 5B, he tested us on topics such as tension, static equilibrium, and projectile motion that are literally 5A material! It is also impossible to earn 100% in the homework category to cushion your grade, because Professor Lancaster set up Mastering Physics so that you lose points if you don’t get the answer correct on your first try.
In conclusion, even if Lancaster improves when we return to in-person learning, his complete lack of effort or concern for students during a global pandemic speaks volumes about his true character as a person and his inadequacy as a professor.
Not sure what changed, but this professor is actually one of the worst I've ever had at UCLA. From the previous reviews, I was expecting an easy, educational quarter in physics 5B and was even pretty excited for the material. However, this quarter the professor must have changed his way of teaching, and not in a good way. The class is asynchronous, but his lecture videos are basically just reading off the textbook and the concepts are not explained well. Each week, I had to go to office hours to re-learn the material because it was so poorly explained in the videos. He is also not active on Campuswire, and he changed his time for office hours midway through the quarter to a time that many students couldn't attend due to time conflicts. Oh, and his exams are only 35 minutes. So yea, if you are not comfortable learning physics completely on your own with minimal help, don't take this professor for 5B.
Please do not take this class. The numbers for Spring 2020 DO NOT correlate to the reality of this course. As someone who has consistently done well in other classes of the same caliber, I am telling you to skip this professor and take any one else.
Even if you get 100% on HW, Discussion and Lab sections, you will be left in the dust. The tests are ridiculous as they are only 35 mins with a number of questions with sections a,b,c,d. Midterm 2 was absolutely out of the ballpark with little to no material that actually covered 5B. The rubrics for grading take off 10 points on each question if you make a single error.
Getting one question wrong on any test will decrease your overall grade by PERCENTAGE points.
Please take it with another professor or put it off a quarter in order to save your GPA.
This teacher is the worst professor I have ever had at UCLA. At first, the first midterm was alright because his practice tests were pretty much exactly like the midterm and he held office hours. The second midterm was a complete and utterly unfair action done by him. He changes his office hours last minute (from 4PM (which isn’t even our lecture time, which I think is really dumb because our lectures are asynchronous, so you would expect him to hold office hours at the lectures time?), to 11AM, to 10AM). He tries to avoid interactions with students and uses pre recorded lectures from last year to “teach” us (basically reading off slides). His practice tests were no where near similar to the midterm and everyone completely bombed it and he proceeded to email us saying “I expect a lot of As and Bs”. We voiced our concerns such as having so little time for the tests (35 minutes) and about the second midterm being unfair, but this teacher ignores all of our requests. He is a terrible teacher. I beg you, do not take this class with this professor if you are expecting a good grade. This class should not be hard, but his ways of teaching make it the most unfair class ever. Just don’t take his class.
Don't pay attention to the grade distribution or good reviews for Spring 2020. This professor does the absolute minimum to interact with his students. He posts prerecorded lecture videos from last spring that simply reads off the slides in the most dull manner. His office hours had to change in the middle of the quarter, so if you had shifted your schedule around his initial office hours then too bad if they conflict now. He would constantly make mistakes during his office hours. You only get 35 minutes plus 15 minutes submission time to take a midterm. And rather than getting the full three hours for a final, he only gave us 2 hours.
Midterm 1 - 25%
Midterm 2 - 25%
Final Exam - 25%
Discussion - 5%
Homework - 5%
Lab - 15%
So 75% of your grade is decided by a little over 3 hours of test time. If you make a simple mistake due to lack of time, you're going to drop a whole letter grade even though he makes many mistakes during office hours. Last quarter for 5A, he used to go over practice tests that were similar to midterms. THAT WAS THE ONLY POSITIVE OF THE CLASS. He said he would keep the same format for this quarter and LIED because he did not go over practice tests. Even worse, he told us to study irrelevant material for midterm 2. 5A concepts and other things we weren't told to study showed up on the test. The only reason people got a decent score for Midterm 2 was because the TAs were very lenient and generous with the grading and gave a lot of partial credit. If you didn't BS some answers on it, you were out of luck. For the final, he gave us the helpful advice of study everything. He did not listen student concerns and was very dismissive of them. He did not curve for our class. But don't worry, he gave us a measly .3 % extra credit that won't do much. Save yourself the headache, you will receive neither engaging lectures nor an easy A with Lancaster.
Ok DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!!! there were concepts from 5a without telling us. Midterm 2 was actually hell. If i didn't study I would have done better on the midterm. Had to take pass no pass just to save my GPA. Love that. When asked how to study for the final the professor just said "study everything :)". The only review given to us was him doing a practice final..... which he already did so literally not helpful. DO NOT TAKE FOR YOUR OWN SANITY
DISCLAIMER: Took this class Spring 2020 during the COVID Quarter
This was probably the easiest class I've taken at UCLA and Prof Lancaster cares a lot about the well being of his students. The midterms were both 24 hrs and only 3 questions long. The average on both was ~97%. The final was only 2 hrs long but not many people took it because the final became optional due to the social unrest in the country at the time.
Lectures were all prerecorded and Prof Lancaster used slides from the Pearson website. You might need to skip some parts though as he is always defining the same variables over and over again. But he is just trying to make sure we understand it after all. The concepts itself weren't too difficult to grasp.
The homework, on the other hand, was ridiculously hard and sometimes did not reflect what was learned in lecture. I had to look up a lot of stuff online to be able to do the homework.
Labs were much easier this quarter with online classes. The pre-labs consisted of us just sending a picture in of the household materials required for the lab and post-labs were just 8 different questions. Labs are due two days after your lab section ends, but I used to finish it about 1-2 hours after lab ended because it was just much easier than in-person labs.
Either way I highly recommend this class with Professor Lancaster and go to his office hours!
You can tell professor Lancaster is very interested in helping students. He is very helpful in office hours and emails. I found his lectures to be quite repetitive after a certain point. Even at 2x speed, I would skip parts of his explanations because it would just be him reading a bulletpoint or explaining all the variables in an equation. Thankfully, lectures were posted online early.
Homework was a bit difficult to do. Although there is a week to solve it, I remember having to watch all the lectures for the specific week until I got to a problem I was stuck on. The flexibility of the homework makes it so that it often didn't reflect the lecture material. But honestly none of it matters because homework was such as small percentage of the grade and his tests were very reasonable. Both the material and the time limit were very fair (although the final was cut short because of the physics department)
I was forced to take this class to declare my major. Almost all the reviews I read for Lancaster were negative and they were right. This class was pretty difficult in terms of the tests Lancaster gave us. The first midterm was fair and tested material that he went over in class. The average was a 91% which is the highest average I've ever seen for a midterm. However, the second midterm was insane. Virtually nothing that he taught was on the test. He included difficult concepts from 5A that he didn't even go over in class. The average was so bad that he allowed us to make test corrections that would bump up our test score by 12 points. The average with the test corrections was an 81%. The Final was extremely fair. My TA basically went over all the topics that would be on the test. I studied these topics and got a 91%. The average for the final was 82.45%. For the final there was an essay question, but it was straightforward. You had to explain a concept and draw a diagram. One piece of advice for this class is to really go over and check how the TAs graded your test. In both midterms my TA took off points when I got the answer correct. In the case of the first midterm he took of 10 points even when I got the question correct. I submitted a regrade request and he gave me back the point. So just be sure to check your test to see if they made any grading mistakes! Overall this class was challenging. The workload wasn't too bad since we only had about 20 questions due each week along with a discussion question. However, the test were graded harshly and the content of the tests were unpredictable.
People are mean. Be was honestly a very nice guy and his lectures just went over his powerpoint slides which were easy to follow. His exams were fair if not a bit hard, but when he saw that the second midterm did not have much success, he offered EVERY STUDENT 12 POINTS BACK IN TEST CORRECTIONS. He was genuinely very nice and even gave in to letting us have equation cheat cards for the exams after he initially said he would not. I believe that the people who gave him bad reviews are the ones who did not get the grade that they wanted and do not want to own up to it. Homework was tedious at times but overall it was not a bad class.