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Professor Felker is the epitome of the stereotypical "college professor" that does not care about his students. Not only was the class extremely difficult because of remote learning, but he cared very little about staying in touch with his students and being involved with our learning experience. His lectures put students to sleep and his exams are brutal. Even though his reviews on Bruinwalk are terrible, he was even worse than I was expecting. I hope he is not reflective of all of the professors at UCLA.
DO NOT choose Felker if you have the option to. I only had to because he was the only option this quarter. Now I'm not sure how his class is remotely but based on the reviews it was probably awful as well. I took this class as a freshman remotely because of covid and I really regret my decision. Here's just a list of reasons not to take his class (remotely at least)
1. His lecture slides are ATROCIOUS. They started off not too terrible but still not very good as they were typed in the forms of very long paragraphs on each slide and was hard take notes on. But oh man did I take those for granted because eventually he got lazy and started handwriting his lectures with completely illegible cursive writing in essay form and he simply just read off of those. (I'm pretty sure a few students complained but he didn't care)
2. In addition to the lecture slides themselves he also is not a very obviously not a techy guy because too many times he would be sharing the wrong screen and goes on to explain something that not even shown, and eventually when he finds out he's not sharing, he either just doesn't re-explain or briefly does and you have no idea whats going on.
3. The thing that really frustrated me was how LONG the lectures were and how often he went over time. The lectures are supposed to be 50 min each and it takes a long time to take notes on them first of all. But the amount of times he went at least 15 and sometimes even 25-30 min over lecture time was wayyy to many, almost every lecture by the end, and we were still behind by the end of the quarter. Honestly, just stick to the textbook.
4. These lectures are also pre-recorded, theres no live sessions so the only way to ask him questions is through office hours or email. His emails don't really help at all, sometimes they're literally just "yes" or "no" and I never went to office hours but I heard he's also unhelpful there.
5. Now for tests, as other previously have mentioned, his midterms are basically all math based. He doesn't go over the math like at all in lecture so OWL is your best friend. (also organic chemistry tutor saved my life.) The difference for this quarter however is I'm pretty sure we got almost half the time that students usually get for these midterms which made these someone straightforward midterms EXTREMELY difficult. We barely had enough time to finish let alone comprehend the questions.
6. The final is a whole different level of brutal, the time constraint again was the most difficult (i think he did this to prevent cheating but sir we can't even finish the test let alone cheat) Also some of the content on the exam (that were worth a lot of points) he didn't even go over in lecture at all so that was not fun.
7. Remote discussion sections were also not helpful. All we did each section was try and complete a worksheet of problems from the relevant chapter with our other classmates in breakout rooms but most people don't say anything, turn off their cameras or just don't understand the questions and we don't get anywhere. Eventually I just stopped going. The answer keys put out by the TA's for these worksheets were also often wrong.
Hopefully this helped. If that wasn't enough to convince you not to take his class remotely than idk what will. But if you have to then I'm giving you all my luck and wish you the best. Join a group me if there is one, students there were really helpful and its good to know that others are suffering with you. If you are a chem and physics god it might not be too terrible but if not...good luck.
TRY NOT TO TAKE FELKER'S 20A IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER OPTION
This class is my first chem class for my first quarter at UCLA. Even though its prequisite is MATH31A as shown, in fact it requires your knowledge of intergral, partial derivatives as well as triple intergrals (MATH32B). If your math is not so good, I would strongly recommend you avoid this class because the exam sometimes include the integration and solving the Schrodinger Equation using the knowledge of multivariable calculus. Besides, if you have no basic knowledge about general physics, quantum physics and high school chemistry (AP/IB), dont take this class otherwise you will be screwed. Felker just assume you know everything about high school chem and physics and put every related equations into the appendix. If you did pretty well in high school physics and chem, this class should be okay with you.
Grading is weird, professor will set average as B. I got in total 96/100 but I got an A instead of an A+.
8 assignments require to spend 1-1.5 hours per assignment to finish. For lecture part, the lecture Felker given is COMPLETELY USELESS. He was just reading the textbook copy pasted on his slides and his handwriting is not that easy to read. There's no lecture attendence credit, so it's not that necessary to go to the lecture. However, make sure you do finish the discussion assignments because they are designed by TAs and the questions are almost the same format as the exam (exam is a little bit harder).
1. If you are not good at physics, chem, or you dont have any basic knowledge about high school chem, high school physics or quantum physics, STAY AWAY from this class! (unless you dont want to get A)
2. If you want to get an A, make sure you understand EVERY SINGLE QUESTION in the homework assignments Felker assigned and EVERY SINGLE QUESTION in the discussion worksheets. To be honest, you dont have to understand every concepts or equations in the textbook, but you do have to understand every exam-style questions (in HW and worksheets) to get a good grade.
3. Reading the textbook & Listening Felker's lecture, doing just one is fine because Felker is reading the textbook lol. For me, I attended the first couple of lectures and then I gave up. I started to read the textbook comprehensively and everything you need to know is on it and it is far clearer than Felker's lecture. I didn't listen to the lecture for more than half of the quarter and I still got A lol. Textbook is far better than the lecture.
4.***The most important, almost every question in the exam is math based, including integration, etc. If you haven't taken MATH31B or you are not that good at mathematics, DO NOT take this class.
First of all, if anyone else is open, even if they're a completely new teacher and no info on them's on bruinwalk, TAKE THEM INSTEAD OF FELKER IF YOU CAN.
Alright if you're still with me, that means you're stuck with him :( It's ok though, an A is possible in his class, but only if you work for it (and possibly have a good background in chemistry, as in if you did well in AP Chemistry, you'll do way better than people who haven't taken it).
To start of, the ebook and OWL access of the Oxtoby textbook is required (rip all our wallets), and honestly this will be your bible for the class. Felker expects people to come to his lectures having already read the textbook, so that his lectures act as a "supplement" *eye rolls* That also means he doesn't explain any of the homework. Homework will be on OWL, and a lot of it is very math based, so practice it a lot. He straightforward says exams will cover the OWL, so know those problems really really REALLY well (as in some of them will be word for word). OWL can be tedious and fuck chemdoodle, but the first two midterms will have OWL problems I guarantee you. Look at old tests, because most problems don't change year after year (supplement with OWL, because the stuff you haven't seen and have barely touched on in class will be in these old tests)
I've only gone to office hours once, before the final, and the reviews below me were kind of accurate. In class Felker seems really distant, stand offish, and acts like he doesn't really want to be there, but I wouldn't have called him an asshole until I went to those office hours. He acts like if you don't know something, it's because you either didn't go to lecture or is too stupid to understand lecture. Idk not really helpful and I felt it was a waste of time going to that one.
The two midterms will be manageable as long as you practice OWL and have copies of old tests. The final is brutal, and if you do have access to an old final STUDY THAT SHIT. I didn't and a lot of it kicked my ass but I bsed my way to an A-. All in all, you have to dedicate a lot of time to this class.
Felker is tough, but you should be able to pass his class, it's just not a comfy first college class to take. My final words of advice is to form a study group and cry together. Good luck!
The week before finals I thought this would be my easy A, as I had gotten perfect scores on both midterms. However, the final was murder and I somehow ended up with a B+. I was fooled by his easy midterms and signed up for him again next quarter. DONT DO IT.
Take this class with Felker if you must, but be prepared to teach yourself everything. Felker is smart but his lectures are slow and very conceptual. He will not teach you how to apply those concepts to solve homework problems, which are important because both midterms have problems that are similar to the homework problems in OWL.
The midterms are manageable if you understand the homework. The final, however, is brutal and covered some topics that Felker didn't even mention in lecture. The best way to prepare is to find old exams and make sure you understand all those problems.
It's not the end of the world if you get this class; however, you must be ready to put extra work into this class because Felker is not the best lecturer, and his tests are hard.
Just avoid Felker. Sad to say it, but it's true. He expects you to know everything before he even covers it in his lectures. His lectures are not engaging at all and for some reason I walked out more confused than when I went in. If you have no AP Chemistry background you will struggle in his class. His exams are really tough and he shows no intention to help his students get a good grade in the class. He is very intimidating in his office hours as if every time you ask a question he thinks to himself that you're dumb. My recommendation would be just take someone else, unless you already know your stuff and this class will be really easy for you.
I took this class thinking that it would be a run-of-the-mill general chemistry class. I was proven wrong, to say the very least. I had a solid foundation of chemistry and mathematics knowledge from high school (IB) and thought that this would carry me. Once again I was wrong.
Although I did well in the class (contacted the professor to see what my letter grade was, as I had opted to take the class P/NP), it was a genuinely demotivating experience. From the first week, I realized that the lectures were not helpful and, frankly, left me more confused for two reasons: 1) Towards the end of the course, most of the lecture notes were handwritten and — no exaggeration — illegible. 2) The lectures lacked any form of passion or enthusiasm, which made material (that I personally found genuinely interesting) incredibly dull. Thus, I basically began reading the textbook (which was decent for most parts, but often unnecessarily overcomplicated things for a reason unbeknownst to me) and using online resources e.g. The Organic Chemistry Tutor (highly recommend).
If you do end up taking this class with Prof. Felker, be prepared to FULLY self study, as the lectures only give you a conceptual understanding of the material. Of course, it's great to have a good conceptual understanding and I think that Felker does a decent job in this regard; however, his exams are PURELY mathematical and he doesn't go through any problem solving techniques (and the actual math) in his lectures.
The online problem sets and textbook problems are loosely related to what you can expect in the exams. If you know how to do each and every homework and discussion question, you should be prepared.
Finally, instead of complaining about this class, I'd like to leave you with some CONCRETE advice that will, hopefully, help you out. 1) 'Quantum mechanics' seems a lot scarier than it actually is (or at least for this course). Besides the Schrödinger equation stuff covered at the end of Ch. 4 and partially at the beginning of Ch. 5, having an extensive equation sheet with all of the formulas listed in the textbook for Ch. 4+5 is all you need to have. 2) Make sure that you genuinely understand even the most difficult homework/textbook questions before each exam. I made the mistake of thinking 'oh, I know this' before the first midterm and ended up missing a question worth 25% of the midterm. I would've gotten an A in the class had it not been for this mindset, as the second midterm and the final were manageable for my section. 3) Felker gives lots of partial credit, which is important to know, as just writing SOMETHING when you don't know what to do will help substantially. This is what I didn't know coming into the first midterm — and this would've helped me get an A in the class. Why is this important? Because even if you don't know how to do a problem, you can just write a couple of bullet points describing what you would do, what equations you would use, etc. and pick up free marks. I did this for my second midterm and ended up getting ~10 marks that I would not have gotten otherwise.
If you are a biochem major like me, I would recommend choosing the 14 series over the 20 series (switched to 14b and ... wow, the relief). However, if you have already committed to the class and cannot take another chem class, remember that there are lots of online resources available that will help you succeed in the class. Best of luck <3
One of the biggest problems I had with this class was the communication between the professor/TAs and students, and the grading on tests. My discussion section was helpful in the sense that it was the only opportunity where we could actually have practice problems related to the test, but the answer keys were sometimes wrong and my TA was not the most helpful. Felker's tests were not too difficult, but I found that the graders often give much less partial credit than is deserved. In addition, answer keys to the tests are not posted, and I had a lot of difficulty in trying to figure out why I lost 10 points on a question, only to find that my answer was mostly correct, yet no credit was ultimately returned. Due to this, my experience with the class was mostly negative.
When people mention college weeder classes in the first year, this is basically the kind of class that they are talking about. The class is pretty tough, throwing you into quantum mechanics quite quickly, but it isn't as impossible as it may seem from other reviews on here.
As for Felker, by week 4, I had completely given up on his lectures and didn't see him for the rest of the quarter. He made no attempt to care about our learning and simply recorded videos that were about as useful as an inflatable dartboard. His lectures were long, highly theoretical, illegible (cursive handwritten notes), and completely disconnected from what ended up being tested on midterms and the final. The only way I was able to succeed in the class was by teaching myself the material via the textbook and knowing the OWL hw problems fairly well (chemdoodle belongs in hell).
The midterms themselves aren't ridiculously hard, and are manageable with enough studying and practice problems via the textbook and OWL. The final however, was a whole different beast, covering topics that had barely been touched upon in the book/lecture, and that had never been mentioned at all in discussion (which was average at best).
Overall, this class was pretty horrendous as a first quarter welcome to UCLA, but it is doable to get through with a decent amount of self-motivation. One positive is that the OWL homework isn't overly time consuming and is very helpful for the midterms and final, but then again you have to pay around $60 to get it. Perhaps the experience this quarter was worsened by having the class online, but either way the class is not ideal and I would highly recommend going for a different professor if possible.