Winter 2020 - This class was a ride and a requirement for my major. I would not recommend it to someone who just needs a GE because this is an intensive course. If you are interested in making maps and GIS, this is a great class to start with to tests all of the basis GIS waters there are. This was my first onlinen course, but I chose to do an in-person lab and it made the class more tolerable and manageable. It is not too difficult to get an B+ or A-, but if you do everything correctly and take the time to do a few more extra things, you can receive an A/A+. The WEEKLY FORUM posts are generally written responses with the occasional photo attachment to a prompt. Many times we had to read up on a subject and write about our thoughts and respond to fellow classmates. Easy and practically guaranteed 10% of your grade if you do all of them on time. The WEEKLY QUIZZES would ask questions from the informational videos the professor posts and also information from the textbook. You do not need to buy the textbook because it can be found online and at the library. They would open on Monday and be due Sunday night with UNLIMITED ATTEMPTS between that time period, BUT there is a 90 MINUTE WAIT TIME IN BETWEEN ATTEMPTS, so if you are doing them at the last minute and you didn't get a score you wanted, you are out of luck. Also, after each attempt, you only get the score and NOT which questions you missed. So these quizzes do take a good chunk of time to complete. My regret is not getting a 100 on each one because they are easier points than the weekly assignments. WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS- Weekly assignments are TIME CONSUMING. No surprise there. I am bad with technology, but the tutorials posted on CCLE give you step by step instructions on how to complete your project in order to get a standard outcome. There are not too difficult to follow, but it is best to work on two monitors or a split screen in order to play the CCLE video alongside the QGIS software. WHAT SUCKS- Even if you do the entire assignment completely correct, you will only receive 80% of the points. I missed out on points to get a 100 on each assignment because I could have made the assignments more aesthetically appealing, or add more extra data. I understand that this is a part of what it takes to get a 100, but I didn't know how to do the things the other students were doing to their maps in order to receive that 100. ALSO, the professor almost never responds to your emails. Your only source of help is mainly your TAs on the weekdays. There is also a Piazza forum for students, but mainly everyone is unresponsive to everyone else's issues or they are just as confused. FINAL PROJECT- I spent countless hours, leading to days, on my final project. It had become optional in light of the situation, but I wanted the chance to boost my grade to an A. As long as you do everything you can for this project and truly do your research and make more aesthetically appealing visuals of your maps and data, I believe you will be fine. I learned how important map-making is in our world. Now that I am reflecting on the content of this course and all of the skills that I learned, it makes the class seem worthwhile. Now every time I see a map online, I get an idea of how that map was made and how map makers still have an important job in today's society. Also, all of the assignments we did in this course can be put into a personal professional portfolio. Grade breakdown: 5%- Syllabus Quiz 10%- Weekly Forum Posts 50%- Weekly Assignments 20%- Final Project 15%- Weekly Quizzes
Prof Shin is always around in his office. Talk to him if you have any problems with your reading/notes. He doesn't tell you all the answers but he is willing to spend time to guide you to the right direction. His reading is really thin compared to other classes but make sure you know everything because his exams can be difficult in a sense that he's looking for specific details. Try to give examples to any points you make in the exams. I agree to the previous posting that you need to do alot of work, but it's manageable and fun!
Winter 2023 - This is the class that requires you a lot of time and mental energy spending to craft your maps. Like other gis classes, this class made me feel so exhausted yet satisfied at the same time. All the structure is the same as other online gis classes: recorded lectures and discussion posts. The only differences are that the quizzes and projects are due bi-weekly (every other week). Even though you had extra time to do the project, the workload was no better—it required A LOT of time, so starting early is a great plan. To give you a rough idea, I spent at least 7-10 hours on each project, not including the videos and other things yet. I spent almost 40 hours in total for my final project (4-week project/ 2 unit time). The workload was a lot, but the final result was rewarding. The key to success for the project is to drop in office hours with at least halfway done or almost finished ones, then ask for the TA's opinions or suggestions. The only concern in this class was the harsh grading schemes. The TA and the prof were stringent in their grading. I went to office hours and discovered that my map selection needed to be changed, even though they did not explicitly specify in the instruction to me not to do so. The TA was not very helpful with clarifying how long it takes to hear the answer back from the professor, and the assignment needed to be submitted in a few days. I ended up redoing everything for my map, spending the whole next day redoing the new base map, but then I did not use it at the end. The taste for the map design is, of course, subjective, so I don't think the class has been a fair game since the beginning. So if you can do nothing, you need to get ahead and win this game. If you plan to take this class because of your gis minor, please be physically and mentally prepared for the workload. And hope that they will not grade as harshly as they did during my quarter. (I have heard almost everyone I know who was taking the class complain at least once about this class during my quarter, so I think almost everyone felt the same about the grading and the workload).
I actually took the newly created Geography 7 (formerly 168) with Professor Shin. Prof. Shin is probably the coolest, most entertaining professor I've had at UCLA. He's extremely nice, down-to-earth, chill, and funny. He is a very good lecturer who uses PowerPoints and is easy to follow. I like him a lot as a person. However, this class was a disaster for me. I'd been considering GIS as a career option, so I thought it would interest me but the material he covered in lectures was very dry, technical, specific, and BORING. I got the impression that everyone else in the class was a "computer nerd," technology expert kind of person. Since that's not me, I simply could not learn this material. I got a D on the midterm so I changed to Pass/No Pass and tried to study harder but I ended up getting a D on the Final & barely passing the class. The only part of the class that was worthwhile was the labs, which did teach me a lot about GIS and were pretty interesting to complete. I wish this class had only been a lab, because I think I could've done well. LOVE Shin, but Geog 7 was HARD.
Fall 2019 - If you have a pretty good foundation of statistics and can understand concepts, then this is the class for you. There are 10 assignments, one for each week, and no final project. Although I did learn new concepts, I feel like this class was too easy based on UCLA's reputation and rigidity, but I do not really regret taking it. A note to the professors: I suggest either focus on statistical concepts or coding. Do not aim for both because it becomes very messy. Despite the critisim, as a junior, I am still excited to take other GIS electives. Guys, trust me, the GIS industry is booming and UCLA has one of the best departments in the nation right now. So proud of the Geo Department.