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Professor Oleg was quite honestly one of the worst professors I've had the displeasure of having out of the 4 quarters that I've been at UCLA. Though he is enthusiastic enough about the subject matter and may genuinely want to help his students learn, he simply lacks the capabilities to be a good teacher. He fails to explain concepts properly, rushes through proofs, and stumbles over his thoughts and contradicts himself quite frequently, which only harms my ability to learn as I get confused as to what's right and wrong. Furthermore, he does not use the textbook at ALL, and creates his own practice problems for which he provides NO answers. This feels like such ludicrous behavior! Because the least the professor could do is release answers to the homework assignments after their due dates so students can check their understanding and see whether they got the answers correct or not. However, because he refused to publish answers to the assignments, my peers and I found it very difficult to study for the exams, which were whole other frustrating matters themselves.
What disappointed me the most was that this is a class that is important and relevant to my major and career path, but because I had him as a professor, I did not learn as much as I could have and I found myself struggling to grasp the contents. Initially I thought I was alone in this matter, but after attending discussion I soon realized my peers and I were in the same boat. The TA, Thomas Martinez, acted more like our professor than our actual professor because my TA would do a much better job in explaining the concepts. There were countless instances where my peers and I stated "Woah, he did not go over that in lecture at all," or "now it makes sense! He didn't teach us this at all." Martinez concurred with our comments on the professor's painfully obvious ineptness when it came to teaching after he saw how clueless the students were on most days after lecture.
This class was not easy. The workload was not that manageable (bc he would assign 20+ problems per week and NEVER give us answers to them). He was never clear (I had to YouTube most stuff or rely on my TA). And lastly, he was not helpful. Avoid him if you can, anyone is better than him. But if you have no other choice, good luck.
It's sad because he is a good person, but I do not believe that he is a good professor.
Worst professor I ever had. He understands concepts but doesn't explain them well is is generally all over the place in lectures. Not very understanding of the fact that the concepts discussed in this class are difficult to grasp the first time around yet adamantly refused to record lectures.
im going to be honest, a lot of people make him seem worse than he is. i will admit he does go a little too fast in lecture sometimes and he doesn't like to record lectures, but if you can do the homework pretty well, the tests should be okay. his practice midterms are a lot harder than the actual midterms. that being said, i didnt do too well on the midterms (mt1 i got an 88% and mt2 i got a 70%) but i still scored slightly above avg for both exams. hes a good guy with good intent and i do think both his and the TAs' office hours do help with this class a lot. the one gripe i have about this class is the fact that his homework system is based on any problems on his lecture notes that he doesn't get to in class, and 90% of the time when he asks the class if he should skip a problem in lecture and assign it to hw, the class begs him to skip it (idk why they do, maybe they think theyll somehow know how to do it for hw w/o any practice in lecture). overall, for discrete, hes an average prof. if his exams were horrible, unbearable, etc. then i wouldnt take discrete w him again. would i still take discrete w him again? perhaps, im not sure because i havent taken the final yet. hes a really nice guy and, like i mentioned earlier, his office hours are rly helpful. he just kind of brushes thru a lot of things in lecture rly fast which can be kind of annoying.
tl;dr: im pretty meh about him and the only reason i dont completely hate it is bc his tests arent too difficult (although i def couldve scored better)
I thought that the class was alright, but I really didn't like the way things were graded (I ended up barely passing). I guess I'm just used to math classes which have a right or wrong answer, instead of being based on proofs and qualitative answers like this one. I did okay on the midterms (I was able to explain my work to the TAs and get some points back) but did awful on the final when I feel like I should have gotten many more points than I did. Also, only four homework problems on each assignment are graded, so I didn't get feedback on my work through that. Lectures are not recorded.
Oleg's material is structured much differently than conventional Discrete Math classes. He does not follow any textbook, and instead has his own set of notes, a combination of typed and handwritten. He assigns homework problems from these notes, and they are often a decent amount with no solutions provided even after the due date. He went on to cover platonic solids and stereographical projections as a part of "graph theory" even though no other discrete class will cover higher-dimensional topology.
Topics such as Cantor's diagonalization argument are covered in class, and was also tested on, which I believe is material from 131A. The TA, Thomas, was an absolute legend and helped the class with understanding confusing concepts during lecture and hosted helpful review sessions.
Positive notes - Oleg will stop to answer any questions and is very helpful during office hours. He is a great person with good intentions, but fails to recognize his audience. The exams were fair and Oleg posts sample exams to help students prepare.
Oleg is definitely not as bad as some of the reviews claim. While he may be slightly confusing during lectures at times, he is most often times clear in his explanations, and really helpful after class. However, to succeed in this class, I believe that there are several key factors:
1. A relatively strong Math background, especially in Linear Algebra (which he assumes that you are familiar with when teaching graph isomorphisms)
2. Willing to put in effort. Homework assignments are long, usually 15-20 questions that take about 4-6 hours to complete, but they are really fun to solve.
3. Passionate about Math. Oleg is extremely passionate about the subject, and he loves sharing with us the applications of what we are learning, which I really appreciate.
While the homework assignments are time-consuming and rather challenging, the problems are well-crafted and really fun to work on, especially if you enjoy solving Math puzzles. Exams are fair too, as they are mostly similar to the sample exams and homework problems. Apart from the typical Math 61 syllabus, Oleg also included additional topics such as countability of sets, stereographic projections and Platonic solids which I enjoyed learning as well. Unfortunately, he did not spend as much time on trees, which was quite a pity.
Therefore, if you are passionate about Math and willing to spend time on this class, Oleg is a great professor. However, if you just want to breeze through this class and get an A, then avoid him.
This class is very different from the more "traditional" math classes at UCLA. For most students (including me) this is the first time you are introduced to proofs and non-computation based problems. The topics in class are fairly interesting but involve a good deal of brainpower to grasp. Oleg is a nice guy who does care about his students, though I will say his lectures are not the most clear. Homework is rough, the problem sets are usually pretty large and the difficulty of some of the problems is pretty absurd. The TA's were super helpful for this class and I would highly advise taking advantage of their expertise. Tests are doable if you are familiar with all the different types of problems that were in the notes and the homeworks since a lot of the questions are slight variations of those. The final was pretty chill, similar to the practice final he gave and the homework assignments. Lectures are not recorded.
So many people hate on him, but to be honest, Math 61 isn't the easiest class. Many people will struggle on this class regardless of if he was the professor or not, and I really enjoyed his exams. While his homework problems were by no means easy, it was simple enough to research and have TAs help you with them (granted, you put the effort into them). Keep in mind, I barely ever got 100% on my homework and consistently scored ~100% on my MT1, MT2, and Final. To be honest, his tests are extremely easy compared to the homework. Even on the first midterm, one of the easy homework problems even showed up as a exam problem, and as a result, I easily knew how to solve that one (this occurrence happened on all my tests, even the final). During the lecture, I will admit I understand how his class can be hard to understand. As a dedicated lecturer, he assumes you already know all of the preliminary knowledge (which is near impossible), making his classes harder to understand. What this means is that you need to do your own self study (crazy, right?). At some point, I stopped attending his lectures and chose to just watch Trev Tutor on youtube. He helped out so much and I learned a lot from his youtube videos. Oleg is one of those professors that you absolutely want to take if you have a big passion for math: He is extremely passionate and will share the same ideology with you. If you just want to have a class to pass: I would say, consider your skills in math. The homework will be tough, but the tests will be easy. This doesn't mean you can pass without studying. You still have to study consistently (just like any other class). Then, the class becomes trivial. Have fun with math 61 though. It introduces new concepts that will make many students struggle (a little like how Math 33A introduces new concepts in matrices: not necessarily harder, just different).
Besides the fact that he thinks everything is straightforward and fundamental, he is a good professor. His lectures are sometimes quite hard to follow but you can see that he actually care about whether or not you learn the material. Go to his office hour. He is SUPER PATIENT and will literally teach you until you understand the topic that you were confused about during his class. He is absolute nice person but not necessary a good lecturer...