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(Updated in December) Note: this is a COVID-19 review. Grading: Homework 20%, 2 Midterms 25% each, Final 30%.
I think the fact that the other reviews are pretty mixed is indicative of how I felt about the class; I felt there was a mix of negative and positive aspects. Koffi Enakoutsa is absolutely a kind person, but it was his first quarter here at UCLA after having been at a few CSUs before, so I think he took some time adjusting to the school and the pace of the quarter system. Lectures were ok, not the best nor the worst, and he has a slight accent so it's sometimes difficult to understand him, but not impossible. For the most part, they followed the textbook, though he sometimes posted supplemental videos that built onto the lesson a bit more. He definitely tried his best to be accommodating of online learning. He extended our last few homework deadlines and was tolerant of late work. Lectures were recorded and he didn't require attendance, though he did give us a big scare about potential "live quizzes" to try to boost attendance mid-quarter due to declining numbers (which was a ruse, there didn't end up being any live quizzes). Homework was rather difficult, however. Towards the beginning of the quarter, we only seemed to get about 15 problems per lesson but it slowly ramped up as time went on, and many of the questions were from the "further insight" portion of the textbook's problem pool making them more theoretical, abstract and, in my opinion, difficult.
He later added on multiple choice quizzes which weren’t originally listed in the syllabus. These quizzes ended up accounting for 10% of our exam grades, so in a way they weren’t super high stakes (if you got a 0 then you’d still be able to get up to 90% on exams, and with random guessing you’d probably get greater than a 0). It’s just that some of us were just taken aback by the sudden addition of the quizzes. As stated the quizzes were all multiple choice, but were timed and tended to be very conceptual and abstract, much like the homework questions from the ends of the chapters. Your performance on them really depended on your conceptual understanding of the material. Of course, they were also open book much like everything else in the math department during Covid.
Exams were also tricky. Due to covid, we were given exams with 24-hour completion windows, but it was stated that the exams should've been possible to complete in the typical time frame that we'd usually have without covid. This did not feel entirely true for me personally, as some of the questions felt a bit too conceptual, similar to the homework. The more computational questions ended up being rather long and complex, and I used up quite a lot of space just showing work for them. That said I did ultimately end up getting an A on most of the exams, so I can't say they absolutely horrible. This may have been down to the extra time I had from the 24 hour policy, seeing as I used it to think more about the problem and construct a much more thorough answer than if I were working on the typical time limit. Koffi provides review sessions before several of his exams which are helpful since several of his examples reflect exam questions, so be sure to attend them whenever you can.
I think one reason people might experience varying degrees of difficulty is definitely due to experience with the material. Some people are coming in already knowing most if not all the material because they took AP Calculus BC and are only taking the class due to getting a 3 or 4 on the exam rather than a 5. People who did not take Calc BC but have something of a natural aptitude for math may also find this course not to be too challenging. People who are less of the mathematically thinking type or who only took AP Calculus AB (I fall into the Calc AB category) will be more likely to struggle due to lesser exposure to the more complex aspects of the class such as series. This brings me to another point that relates to my mixed feelings about this class: pacing felt very off - lessons on series were only covered the last 1-2 weeks of class. Personally, I found series to be the hardest topic in calculus, so the fact that we spent so much time on log and trig integration and so little time on series was what made me struggle the most on the final (there were numerous problems on series).
Personally, it's hard for me to say if I'd take math with Koffi Enakoutsa again. He really did try his best to accommodate us and he seems like a genuinely nice person. However, a lot of the assignments felt rather unnecessarily difficult and long. That said, some of that could be chalked up to the subject itself being hard to understand; the professor can't really take all the blame for the difficulty of the work. I do think a few of the homework problems and exam problems could've and possibly should've been changed to be more reflective of what we learned in lectures, but at the same time, I can't say they were impossible seeing as I ultimately figured things out and ended up with an A. I guess my recommendation would be that if you're good at math or are familiar with the material already, feel free to go for his class. If you aren't and there's a more highly rated professor teaching that same quarter, try to go for the other person. If the alternatives all seem to have worse reviews, or if there's a time conflict with the other sections of this class, or whatever situation makes it hard for you to choose another professor, go ahead and take this class and try not to feel too scared or worried. Go to office hours and ask your TA for help and put some time into studying for this class. You may struggle a bit, but I believe you'll be able to grind it out and make it through with enough effort.
Overall, this was a very tough class. First, the homework is very, very long. It would take anywhere from 7-15 hours per week. It is comprised mostly of "extension" questions which don't really show up on tests, but make the homework really time consuming and difficult. The tests were 24 hours due to covid, take a very long time, and are quite difficult. In regards to the professor, I didn't really find the lectures engaging or helpful and learnt most of it through the textbook (he follows the textbook closely) and from the TAs. He does review sessions which were nice. Don't take this class with this professor unless you have no other choice. You'll probably grind it out and be okay, but it will be a quarter of a lot of stress.
I have mixed feelings about this class. On one hand, I do feel like I learned a lot of the material, and that the class could've been worse than it was. Koffi is the type of professor who genuinely wants to help is students and cares about teaching, which was encouraging. However, I felt that as a whole, this class was more difficult than it needed to be. The homework assignments at times were very long (I think the longest assignment was a little over 30 questions), which takes a long time, considering that most of the problems are theoretical, further insight questions from the textbook. He also threw in a couple of quizzes that contributed to 10% of the midterm grade, which I think were designed to help us, but ultimately ended up lowering both of my midterm scores by a couple percent. The first midterm was not too difficult at all, the second one was a bit harder, and the final I felt was way harder than it needed to be. The tests were mainly comprised of advanced, theoretical questions, which I felt were a bit unnecessary in testing what we knew, additionally he did not curve any of the tests and was very unreceptive to the idea of altering some of the questions to make them less difficult. I would probably recommend him for a more introductory, computational based class, but for 31B, I felt he made the content way more tricky than it needed to be. Additionally, the pacing of the class was weird - we had a first midterm on week 4, a second one on week 9, and then crammed an entire chapter of information before the final (much of which was on the final exam).
****Keep in mind this review is for this class virtually****
Koffi isn't the best professor to ever exist. But if you're taking this class online, you'll literally be fine.
If the homework is scaring you, realize that no matter the teacher, you have to study one way or another. If you do the homework properly and ask questions when you're confused on it you won't need to study for the class. This is around 5-7 hours a week.
This quarter, we had weekly homeworks (20% of grade) two tests (each 25%) and one final (30%). He did something that wasn't on the syllabus this quarter and gave us quizzes that were each 10% of the two test scores. They were meant to boost your grade but they were 30 minute timed, so they hurt my grade. Test questions can be fairly difficult. But all tests are open note and you have the FULL 24-hours. So if you know what to look for, the tests can tedious but easy to score well on.
The textbook is your bestfriend. His lectures are just the textbook but *DO* attend lectures and review sessions; 3 questions from his review sessions ended up being on the final.
As many people said Koffi can be hard to understand in both his handwriting and accent but there's only so much he can do. Tbh, I don't think the prof matters hugely for Math 31B just because they are under rules set by the Math Dept, like being ordered to follow the book and make all tests 24-hours.
Koffi is a really nice guy and is super tolerant of late homework. He's an extremely approachable and helpful professor overall. I'd say the workload for this class was extremely manageable, as he usually only gave one assignment each week, which could be completed in a couple of hours. I will say that in lecture he is sometimes unclear and makes small mistakes in his work. His tests were pretty long and difficult, but I think that was the case for all math classes this year due to the new 24-hour exam policy. This was a pretty easy class overall.
Koffi is a really great guy and a really nice professor overall! He is very accommodating and tolerant of late work, homework questions, or just general confusion about the material. People mentioned that he has an accent, but I personally didn't think it was a learning impediment in any way. The tests that he writes are fairly straightforward and easy so you don't need to worry too much about them, especially with 24 hour test policy that the math department has for COVID. He does his best to ensure that the class that he teaches isn't a horrible experience for us, and he puts in a lot of his own personal time (3 office hours, being available all day on zoom for test days, review sessions outside of class led by him) to ensure that there are recourses. If you have the option, I would say take him!
For background I took Calc AB in high school and struggled with it, but got a 5 on the (covid-altered) AP test. On the positive side of this course, Koffi does tend to email back quickly, a TA was always responsive on campuswire for questions, and he is overall a very reasonable guy. He will not screw you over just to screw you over, but his perception of your effort is really important. He will be pissed if a lot of people aren't showing up to lecture and if you email him questions he may cross check your email on the list of zoom attendants to see if you go to class. I don't care if people don't find the lectures helpful, at least get your classmates to log on and pretend they're paying attention because you will all have a better time. Like other people mentioned, the homework sets take a long time and some of the problems are graded for accuracy with the rest graded on completion. The first midterm around Week 4 wasn't too bad, the second one on the Friday of Week 9 was a good bit harder for me, and I spent 8 hours on the 24 hour final. The 30 min timed quizzes varied in difficulty but were on the easier side. We pretty much stuffed Taylor/Maclaurin series all into Week 10 (a lot of the material that we learned at the end was on the final) and we had never been tested on it prior. From what I can guess, the type of questions normally asked in-person on tests for a class like this would be easy to look up in all sorts of calculators that exist online, so they had to make the questions non-lookup-able. Do not go into the tests assuming you can just find the answers, you will absolutely have a dirt time. I did not attend his two review sessions but he offered them.
Class was mostly a review of Calc BC and I was beyond thankful I took it because everything taught in this class was so confusing in comparison. The only reason why I did well was because I already knew all of the material. The year started off very well, Koffi was very positive and helpful but this nice demeanor changed as the quarter went on. Towards the end he got very upset that people were not attending lectures despite the class being recorded and attendance not mandatory. Tests did not reflect the homework or questions went over during lecture. I easily spent at least six hours on every test so I was glad the math department made it mandatory that all exams were 24 hours. All I can say is that I’m glad this is the last math class I need to take.
I don't really agree with a lot of the ratings here. Koffi is a better professor than what these reviews might show you. Though he might not have been the most coherent sometimes, he was incredibly helpful, provided a lot of other learning resources, and gave fair tests. He was really accommodating of the online learning aspect and made all tests 24 hours. While his tests were pretty long and annoying, I felt that relative to a lot of 31B tests I've seen, the questions were slightly more straightforward. Seeing previous professors' questions, I would rather have taken Koffi's longer, easier questions over their hard ones. He might have purposely made these tests long because it was 24 hours, so I don't know how it will play out in a covid-free time.
He did give a LOT of homework and that was really annoying(Maybe 7 hours on a good week). The homework Psets were good practice since some questions were harder than the material on the tests, but it can get annoying when you're studying for other classes and you have to submit like 40 sums in 4 days. He tolerated tardiness and allowed late submissions though, so kudos to him there. Also, he just generally loves fostering learning and cares about feedback. He opened a discussion forum for all of us to ask doubts/discuss math and he was really open to listening to suggestions for improvement.
I think how he paced this class was a little weird because he spent a little more time on the introductory content and then kinda rushed through the final week, but this was also his first quarter too and I'm sure in the future he will get well adjusted to the pace of the system.
Overall, I think if you have a strong math background, you will breeze past this class regardless of your professor. This was the easiest class for me this quarter because I did a lot of this stuff in High school/over the summer, so I didn't sweat a lot for this class. However, if you do get the opportunity to take Koffi, do go ahead. He's incredibly resourceful and just generally a nice guy. Would take again
Koffi is very clever and his lectures reflect it. He profoundly care about his students success. You can tell from several review sessions he organized at the end of the quarter. He has an accent, but his lecture are very well organized. He used for most of the time examples problems from the textbook. He assigned a lot of homework which can be annoying, but at the end I survived them by changing my time management. He is new to UCLA and have a lot of room to grow as strong instructor at UCLA. He is solid choice for calculus.