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Fun class, professor is very knowledgeable in the course material and happy to answer any questions during lecture. Our first midterm was Week 3 so you definitely have to be on top the weekly reading material and class content. Overall recommend!
I was scared of this class at first but I actually ended up really enjoying it. Prof Fitzgerald definitely knows what he's talking about and I thought that all the lectures were well thought out and helpful. You do have to buy Mastering Astronomy (I think it was like $80 for inclusive access) but I thought it was really helpful for the midterm and final. There's weekly assignments and sometimes they took a while (I also read each chapter before lecture) but it helps you get extra credit. Labs were fine; they're run by the TAs and I thought mine was helpful. I didn't think any of the assessments were that hard and at the end, all the grades were curved and mine went up 1/3 letter grade. Overall, it's a solid lab science GE and I highly recommend!
Overall, I felt like Prof Fitzgerald was pretty good and, as someone who is not as strong in science, I really enjoyed Astro 3 and felt like it was a very doable GE. It definitely is a lot of reading each week and the lectures, especially towards the end, were packed full of information, so the ability to memorize a lot of information and have a consistent study schedule was key. Prof Fitzgerald was extremely nice and helpful in his office hours and the actual information itself was pretty easy to understand, just a little dense at times in the textbook. Fitzgerald opens up all of the online questions you could possibly need in order to study alongside more conceptual short answer questions, so if those are done and studied effectively, you pretty much have all of the information you need for the exams. In addition, some questions show up on the exams more than once, so going to Fitzgerald's office hours and looking over what you got wrong is also pretty key so you don't get those questions wrong again. All in all, I really enjoyed the class and found the information interesting, even if the workload was a little bit more. The labs were very doable and could be finished early depending on the day.
I really liked this class overall. I liked learning about the material, the professor was kind and helpful with answering questions, and the tests weren't too hard. However, if you want to do well in this class you have to put in the work. I outlined each chapter before going to the lecture, which was time consuming but it helped me understand and remember the information. If you don't outline beforehand, I believe it would be difficult to keep up with the lecture. Also, he assigns homework for each chapter (there are a total of 19 chapters) which does get annoying, but each assignment is easy and usually has extra credit and you can just go to the book to get the answers. You do need to buy the text book.
this class had interesting content, but the lectures were very fast paced and information packed. the slides were posted online, so I often had to spend another hour or so outside of lectures going back and taking notes on everything I missed in class. attendance wasn't mandatory for lectures, but it was for the labs. the labs weren't too difficult, and you could leave class early if you finished before two hours, which is pretty easy to do. the course gets harder as the quarter progresses; I did very well on the first midterm (there are 2) and did much worse on the final. I had to buy the textbook and access to online materials.
I took Physics6A with Fitzgerald. He is a good lecturer I admit. But his exams are extremely hard. And they are not at all predictable. Some times you see like one question in the exam that's the same or similar as his sample exams. But his exams are soooooo challenging. And his homework and sample exams don't prepare you well for them. The average for the final exam was like 56%. And his curves don't do you any favor either. Apparently he inflated the curve for people who got below a C- after he realized he failed too many people probably. But this is a very difficult professor. Don't take him if you don't want to have a hard time and a poor grade, unless of course you are a natural in physics.
I took Astronomy 3 with Professor Fitzgerald during Winter 2015. It was my favorite class of the entire quarter. The class itself was not too difficult. During lecture, Professor Fitzgerald goes over the material from the book. He follows it really closely, so it's not necessary to attend lecture; Though, you should attend because you paid for this class! I believe he should expand a little further on the material rather than going over everything from the book, but you only have ten weeks, and you're trying to get the big idea. As a professor, he is very approachable and very helpful! He took time to make office hours, since I could not really attend his usual ones. The grading of class is rather generous, to be honest. We had two midterms. The first average was 83% and the second was 70%. I feel like he deliberately made the first exam easy, and trolled us with a harder second exam. The final, being cumulative, was fair. It was an amalgamation of simple to difficult questions, depending on whether you did the reading or studied. The average for the exam was 71%. What really screwed me over were the online quizzes. These questions can be anything from simple to really specific. Make sure to read before you attempt it. You are limited on time with these quizzes. The other grading portion was the lab portion of the class. This was the area with my lowest scores. This, however, depends on your TA. I had friends who would always score perfect, and their TA was helpful and friendly. My TA was pretty monotone and gave brief instructions before commencing the labs. The overall grade is weighed as followed: Midterm 1 &2 20%, Final 30%, Labs 20%, Quizzes 10%. The class is curved, by the way. As a double major of both North and South campus, I enjoyed the class. This class, overall, was not an easy A, though. If you're a lazy student that doesn't want to read or study, I suggest you look into something else. If you have some interest in learning about the cosmos, take this class! You will love it, and the professor! Best of luck!
Astronomy 3 with Fitzgerald was by far the easiest class I've taken at UCLA. If you're looking for an easy A and an extremely interesting GE, this course fits the bill in every way. Everything from the local bodies in our solar system to the history of the universe and relativity was covered, and for the average lay person (like me), the material could be quite mind-blowing at times. Your grade is based off of two midterms and a final, filled with questions ranging from easy to insultingly-easy, and off of labs, which are also very rudimentary. That being said, everything is extremely interesting, so you never feel like you're being talked-down to or that you're wasting your time in lecture. I would recommend anyone with a physical science GE requirement take this course; just sit back, relax, and enjoy Fitzgerald's tour through the universe.
This was my first time taking Physics ever in my life, and I found it to be extremely interesting, but challenging. Professor Fitzgerald is a decent lecturer, but he literally used all of Professor Shaked's materials. I think that it may have been his first quarter teaching Physics, because almost none of his materail/powerpoints/practice exams were his creation. He even used the EXACT same midterms that Shaked uses, and there was a huge controversy in class because some students had already seen the midterm from previous quarters and were therefore prepared for what was on the exam. To fix this, Professor Fitzgerald threw out the group portion of the second midterm so that it somehow scaled everyone's grades so that some people didn't have the advantage.
There really isn't a curve in this class. He offers extra credit opportunity, but it ONLY affects the participation portion of the class, which is a very small percentage. Also, you can't get higher than 100% for participation, so there comes a point where you can't earn any more extra credit even if you keep doing all the extra assignments he gives out, which SUCKS for those that are trying to boost their grade any way possible.
Go to office hours. It really does help. I went to as many OH of my TA's as I could (I had Chris Schnaible btw, he was a good TA!) and I also went to Fitzgerald's OH. He has people sign in so he can keep a record of who actually comes, and he does do a really good job of remembering people's names. He knew me by name which really helped at the end of the quarter when I was teetering on the edge of a C+/B-. So he is a good teacher to go to if you want to make an impression and actually be remembered.
There seemed to be a larger than average portion of students who downright failed this class. Many ended up with a D+ because they thought that there would be some type of curve at the very end of the quarter, but it never came. There were quite a few angry students who had to retake 6A this summer because Fitzgerald didn't pass them. So be prepared to work hard and put in the extra time that's needed, especially if you've never taken Physics before. It's definitely true that Physics at UCLA is much more difficult than the abroad programs, because there is so much to learn in such a short amount of time, and the professors really expect the students to understand the processes taking place. Physics requires time and exposure, so PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. I even hired a private tutor to help me a couple of weeks before the final exam.
If Fitzgerald continues to teach this course, I really hope that he starts to create more of his own materials and incorporates more of a curve into this class! Otherwise it will continue to be very challenging.