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TLDR: Easy busywork but depends on your group, TA, and helps if you have taken 4AL
This class is entirely dependent on your TA and your group. You are placed in a group at the beginning of the year and you stay in it for the whole quarter and are supposed to do all the work together (you pretty much do everything on your own and come together for the unit report and the final project at the end of the quarter). It helps a lot if you have already taken 4AL but I know 2 people in my group hadn't before and only struggled a little bit. There are 4 units, Training (reaction time), sound, circuits, and the final project. the first unit and the beginning of the second unit were copy-paste of the first and second unit of 4AL so it's easy to reuse work and data. The rest of the units are just a lot of busywork up until the final project which can be as fun as you make it (you choose to build something out of the UNO kit). My TA was horrible and my group was smaller than all the others but the work itself isn't very hard. If you need help you can ask your groupmates or go to the TAs office hours (I went once and I was the only person all quarter so if you want help but dont want to hurt your ego it's easy to ask questions alone). If you have problems with your group or TA make sure to change it defore the drop deadline because after almost nothing will change!
This course was a 100% meh course. It wasn't a horrible experience, but this class was definitely one to just get done and over with. I'm not sure if this was due to the class being 100% online due to COVID, the fact that this was summer with a 10 week course crammed into 6, or if this is how the course is normally, but this course felt very rushed and not very useful.
I technically took the course under Ni Ni, but I believe that both Ni and Arisaka design this course. Never saw or heard from either of the two, except through emails and possibly one video that Ni might have made of herself. In other words, your experience will be based on your TA and your groupmates, which depending on your TA, you might or might not be able to choose.
Since this was summer, the TA didn't really care about this class (I don't blame him, it would suck to teach this class during the summer). That meant we were given plenty of wiggle room when we did stuff wrong in lab, and that he graded leniently, but that also meant that he wasn't very helpful.
The grade was calculated as follows:
25% for assignments: 10% (pre-lab) + 15% (post-lab). Basically free points
10% attendance (-2% for first absence and -4% for the next 2). Also free points
5% survey: 2.5% each for pre-class and post-class. More free points
30% Unit reports (10% for each report). Somewhat difficult and VERY TIME CONSUMING
30% project (split as 15% presentation and 15% report). Somewhat difficult and VERY time consuming
The grade ranges are:
A+ 95-100.0% A 90-94.99% A- 85-89.99%
B+ 80-84.99% B 75-79.99% B- 70-74.99%
C+ 65-69.99% C 60-64.99% C- 55-59.99%
D+ 50-54.99% D 45-49.99% F 0-44.99%
The labs themselves weren't very good, since they were ONLINE. The TA couldn't help us very much in the experimental setups, and it was hard to collect data since there were no labmates to help you set stuff up. The data analysis was through Python. I had no clue how the data analysis worked; the first three weeks were literally just copy and paste the code the instructors wrote for you, while the last three weeks were more or less copy and paste the code from the first three weeks, but tweak the code slightly. No previous knowledge of physics was really needed until the last project, since they told you what to do, down to the actual code.
Lab reports took a while to write, despite the fact I had 3 really good groupmates. They also came one after the other; I was constantly writing. It appears that the 4AL/4BL series was designed for the semester system. In other words, these people took a 16 week course, squashed it to 10 weeks for the quarter system, and further squashed it into a 6 week course for summer session. Also, instructions were super unclear for the lab reports. I had no clue how we were supposed to format, and in some cases, I HAD NO IDEA WHICH EXPERIMENTS I WAS SUPPOSED TO ANALYZE FOR THE REPORTS!!! Grading also felt arbitrary at times for the lab, despite the use of Gradescope.
The project was time consuming. Basically only one person was able to do the experiment, and we had to cross our fingers that the person did the experiment correctly. It came with a report and a presentation, and we had to video ourselves presenting the slides.
Tl;dr: This class should be an easy A, but you'll still have to work for it. There are lots of free points, but these points take time to obtain. You'll sort-of learn Python and learn how to use this software called Tracker, but that's really it.
The class ended up not being too tough, but it did feel like a lot of work for not too impressive of a result. The pre-labs and post-lab analysis are mostly just about following directions, you barely even need to know any of the physics that are being discussed since they basically hold your hand through everything, including giving you all the Arduino code that you need to work with.
The lab reports are, as advertised, a pain in the butt. They take a good amount of time if you want a good grade, and everything feels really vague in terms of requirements, since there's no clear rubric – you're kind of stuck guessing in the dark for what kind of analysis they want you to make. They do make up a substantial portion of your grade, so make sure that you get a good group, since those reports are enough of a pain with a group working on it, let alone doing it on your own.
Not a big fan of the class, but it's also not exactly Professor Arisaka's fault. It's a good introduction to how to write lab reports, but unfortunately, that's all I really got out of it.
This is a review for Physics 5C which is the the successor of 6B. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS WITH ARISAKA!!!!
1. His accent is hard to understand
2. His lectures are pointless. He spends the entire time either deriving all these random equations using other random equations. P.s. He's in love with Gauss' Law, which he doesn't adequately explain
3. All his lecture slides reuse the same exact information almost every single week. He rushes through everything not explaining conceptually.
4. His exams are a direct copy of his discussion sheets with an extra "hard" problem.
5. He does not let you use a calculator, or cheat sheet with the equations.
6. His lectures do not help. His mastering physics homework does not help. In all honesty, the best thing to do is to get help from the TAs and memorize the discussion sheets.
7. On the plus side, the class was not that bad. But I had a background in physics (IBHL Physics) which kinda helped. But, if you've never taken IBHL, AP Physics B/C, good luck.
Oh, and try asking him questions. He'll go off topic and shrug it off.
While physics lab is apparently better than it was before, it was still a very frustrating class.
A lot of it is just coding and Arduino stuff which is pretty easy, but if you have no experience they try to group you with people that do. This can lead to one person being relied on to do a lot of the coding. I recommend you pretend not to have extensive experience when filling out the pre-class survey.
The class is mostly just check-offs and reports. Reports can be frustrating because it was obvious TAs were selectively taking off points to maintain a grade level of around high 80s to low 90s. The weirdest things would end up with points taken off, even if the exact same thing was done in previous reports. It was difficult to communicate through remote learning which made it very frustrating as well. Instructions were often unclear.
This class sucks so bad and depends on your TA literally just switch TAs if you hate them it'll make your quarter miserable especially if you're not a physics major
This course was so free, but your experience in this class is entirely dependent on how strict your TA's grading is and how much your lab mates are willing to do work. You don't interact with the professor at all and the lab content is entirely laid out on these 10+ year old slides. Workload-wise, I spent at most an hour every week working on pre-lab/lab reports outside of labs. Also, your group only needs 2 Arduino's (in fact a majority of the labs only required one Arduino). So if your lab group already has two save your money!
Professor Arisaka is a genius. The man is seriously smart and this class is essentially him lecturing about his brand new theory that consolidates his inquiries into neuroscience with his background in particle physics. The class is way less philosophical than what the course title lets on, but it's still every bit as interesting. It is super technical and you will learn a lot of terminology relating to the brain. The only issue is that the material is really confusing and convoluted. "I’ve given up hope of understanding any of this," was something I heard from fellow classmates more than once. Arisaka sometimes falters when students ask him questions and he expresses his own confusions of translating his Japanese thoughts into English. However, he will always try his best to further elaborate and explain material if you ask him, and he's super nice about it. He has a couple of books you have to read, one is easy, the other is extremely difficult. He lets you borrow his copies if you are unable to pay for them. The workload is kind of heavy for a Fiat Lux, two chapters of reading a week, a chapter summary, and you must ask him 3 questions on a google doc pertaining to the course. As long as you show up and do the work, you'll pass. I dropped the course Week 6 because it was my second Fiat Lux and I was starting to fall behind.
TL;DR: Overall, this is a good time. Arisaka is a passionate lecturer. I would probably wait until he's published a paper on the subject (hopefully Spring 2021) to take this class. But no matter what, the material here is fascinating and you will learn something you didn't know.
Arisaka is VERY knowledgeable and has a true love for astronomy that carries over into the classroo. His midterms and finals are easy as long as you know the homework. TAKE HIM IF YOU WANT TO LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT ASTRO AND GET AN EASY "A"