Most Helpful Review
I took this class during the Winter 2020 quarter, and I think it was Professor Elaasar's first time teaching a college class. That said, you wouldn't know it by taking the class.
For starters, the lecture slides are among the best and most detailed I've had in any CS course. I found it really easy to study for exams by going through the slides since they were so informative. Each new concept is followed by numerous examples, and I feel that I learned the course material very well.
The course material itself started off a bit boring (in my opinion), but got more interesting as the quarter progressed. Personally, I felt that we spent too much time covering UML (which I really didn't enjoy), but for the most part, I found the rest of the material to be interesting.
There are two homework assignments, each only worth 2% of your grade. I found them interesting and sufficiently challenging while not being too difficult.
The midterm was long and a bit difficult, but I was able to score well on it by making a very comprehensive cheat sheet. Not the easiest midterm I've taken, but I felt that it was fair, if not a bit too long for the given time.
The main focus of the course is on the group project. For the first few weeks, you spend your time writing design docs and UML diagrams, though personally I found that any designs my group made immediately went out the window when we started programming. There are several checkpoints in which you submit reports to show that your group is on-track to finish by the due date. I would've preferred spending less time planning and more time programming, but I guess the class is supposed to be a realistic software engineering experience, so it makes sense. Watching the final presentations at the end of the quarter showed that the class was able to put together some really cool ideas, and I liked seeing what my classmates thought of.
Professor Elaasar was nice enough to make the final optional given the difficult circumstances. I found it quite difficult and did not finish all the questions, but the curve was generous enough that I think most people did well.
The professor is also very approachable and helpful; he was always open to questions during and after class, and was happy to revisit earlier concepts to make them more clear. He was also the most responsive professor on Piazza I've ever seen: I don't think a single question ever went unanswered, even on the weekend. I found it very helpful to ask a question, and get a detailed response only a few hours later.
Overall, I really enjoyed this course. I learned a lot from Professor Elaasar, and I think he did a great job teaching the class. He was very responsive and taught all the material very clearly. I would definitely recommend taking this class with Professor Elaasar.