Based on 12 Users
If you want to get a good grade in linear algebra take this class with Nina. The homeworks are all extremely light and the exams test only a surface level understanding. If you want to learn linear algebra do not take this class. It does not prepare you for 115A.
Really not the hardest class in the world. It wasn't curved, but based on the grade distributions for the exams I'd say ~75% of students got an A or a B. Exams themselves were computation heavy with the occasional conceptual question. If you're able to do the homework problems then you should be in a decent position to get at least a B-. This was her first time teaching a lower division class here, though, so some of this may be subject to change.
This class was fairly easy but I don't think I learned much. Dr. Otter lectured straight from the textbook, so attending lecture wasn't necessary. Neither she nor the textbook gave many examples, so you had to go to TA discussions and office hours to actually learn how to solve problems. Homework was easy and worth 20% of your grade. Tests were computation-heavy with a few conceptual questions. The main problem in this class was pacing: we were quite behind the other 33A sections, and she ended up rushing through some of the more difficult topics and not covering some topics at all. However, she did improve as the quarter went on, so if she teaches this class again it might be better.
Tl;dr: take this class if you want a good grade and don't mind not learning the material. If your major requires a strong foundation in linear algebra, take someone else.
The class was very easy in terms of homework and testing, so if you're looking to get a good grade, definitely take it with her. However, she did fall behind other professors and I'm not sure how well I actually learned the material. She did get better as the quarter went on though, so she may improve on some of this in the future.
Otter was super accommodating and receptive to student input, and her lecture style seemed effective. She recorded lectures before each online class, and the online class was spent on clarification and breakout room problems. I felt she made the exams pretty fair. Overall this class was interesting and Otter did a really good job.
I really appreciated how she became more and more accommodating to people's circumstances and learning pace as the quarter progressed. She turned the weekly quizzes into SYOP where you present your own problem and solve it yourself, and is 0% or 100% only based on effort you put. You can just grab a question from the textbook (that isn't answered in the textbook) and solve it yourself, or talk about any new concept you learned or had difficulty grasping in the class. After the first midterm, she also gave extra 0.5% credit for each Zoom lecture you attend for a total addition of 5% extra credit. She really tried her best to explain the lectures clearly and you could really tell, but sometimes things can get really hard to understand especially when there is so much content to cover in 10 weeks. Sometimes, homework or test questions wouldn't even be like what was explained in class, and would have you take the extra mile to understand the lesson which I thought at first was unfair, but I guess it was cushioned by all the opportunities for leniency in other places. Overall, I enjoyed my quarter with Nina, and she is extremely friendly in Office Hours too!
In the first few lectures she seemed constantly frazzled, but overall she tried her best to genuinely listen to students' inputs and answer questions during lectures. Sometimes the notes she gave were not entirely clear and left many people more confused, so some self pre-review before lectures to become familiar with the concepts would help a lot.
I feel like I learned a lot in this class. In this class 50% of the grade was a group project (which included a 30 minute presentation and a PNAS style 6 page paper). Dr. Otter was a really good lecturer, and she was really willing to meet with us and help us with ideas for the project, and even look at drafts for the final paper. She genuinely cared a lot about student learning. The material taught in class was not too difficult, and the project was a lot of work - but it was totally worth it, and was a great learning opportunity. Also, the only listed prereq is Math 115A, but I would highly recommend a probability class like 170A/E and a class in differential equations like 33B or 134.