Based on 5 Users
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Since this class is about practical computing, you'll need to have a laptop that you can bring to class every lecture. Laptops will not be provided for you, so don't take this class if you don't have one. Professor Alfaro uses a Macbook Pro, so if you're using a Windows laptop, you'll have a bit more trouble trying to follow what he's teaching. You'll also have to figure out the equivalent programs to the ones he uses on your own sometimes.
I'm technologically illiterate, so I did not have a fun time with this class, but some people in my class were like that too, so I didn't feel too left out. The class met twice a week with no discussion, so it wasn't too time intensive with regards to class length. The professor went over the material in lecture very, very quickly, and I ended up getting lost so many times. He would often type out a command, and as I tried to copy down what he had just typed, he pressed enter, the output would push the command up, beyond view, and he wouldn't scroll back up. Because of this, I had a lot of difficulty trying to take good notes during class.
He would provide the lecture slides on the class website, which didn't include everything he went over in lecture. Unfortunately, they were very elementary and often did not include some commands vital for the homework. A lot of the time, I'd end up getting stuck trying to carry out a command because I never would have gathered from the lecture slides that the problem with the command I was using was the lack of a \ or a ~.
If you're an undergraduate taking this class, the best thing for you to do is make some friends that can discuss the homework with you (though some may be equally clueless), especially with the graduate students, many of whom already have some background in computing and are required to submit a more detailed final project than the ones the undergraduates submit. As a pointer, Daniweb and the Python SubReddit (reddit.com/r/Python) were really helpful to me for some homework and the final project, since I still didn't know how to use many functions. These sites are good resources if you're stuck on the homework.
I ended up with an A for the class, but I have absolutely no idea how I got it. Perhaps that was because I turned in all the assignments on time and followed the instructions he gave and because I was able to submit a passable final project. Whether my conjecture is true or not, I don't know, because he only graded 2 assignments out of the many we had and seemingly arbitrarily gave us a final grade at the end of the quarter.
I wouldn't say I had a great experience with this class, because I spent most of the quarter stressing about the uncertainty of what my grade was and my lack of knowledge of the subject. However, I know more about basic Python than I did when I came into that class, so if you're looking for a 4 credit EEB class that can fit your schedule in which you're trying to learn some very basic computing, this is it.