Based on 65 User s
Just another rave review here. Professor Kaner is awesome. He communicates the material very well, does demonstrations, takes all questions during lecture, and hosts multiple office hours. The class is out of 330 points with the following contributions:
HW 30 points
Midterm 100 points
Final 200 points
The midterm was straight forward but time is a major issue, the average in my class was 65. The final is substantially harder and was harder than the practice final, which surprised me. I assume a B in the class is around a 60 or 65.
Last note: take his CHEM189 seminar, it's interesting and easy. He just talks about different materials for an hour a week. No homework, nobody even takes notes, you just listen. Easy 5 page paper due at the end of the quarter, but he lets you turn it in after finals so that it doesn't get in the way of studying.
DO NOT TAKE A CLASS DIRECTLY AFTER HIS! He usually has office hours right after class and these were extremely useful and essential to doing well in the class. This was by far one of the hardest classes I took at UCLA, but Professor Kaner is extremely helpful and approachable. If you want to succeed in this class, stay after class and listen to his office hours, make sure you understand the most difficult problems on the homework, because half of the exam will be application of these concepts in a way you haven't seen before, but don't let that scare you, most the class will struggle with these questions as well.
Kaner is a great professor to take 171 with. I learnt a lot about inorganic chemistry and the class was always engaging. He brought a lot of models and performed a lot of in lecture demonstrations that made concepts easier to visualize. If you have a chance to take the 189 lecture that is run concurrently with this class, I highly recommend it. Kaner brings in a lot of cool materials to come play around with and the class is very engaging.
Very cute and essential class to take with 171! It really builds on concepts that you learn and doesn't take too much time and is honestly super interesting to anyone even without a super deep chemistry background. You learn about a lot of materials like plastic, glass, gemstones and the like and it's very casual. For the last lecture we just talked about random things and he showed off his cat and talked about research and stuff and it was overall just good times and good vibes.
During covid, I didn't attend a single class live (he recorded them and I watched all of them at some other time, although I usually think he requires attendance) and just did the final paper (the only assignment) in about a day and got an A (which he says basically everyone gets.) Overall, highly recommend!
Kaner is just as, if not more, AMAZING than the reviews as a professor! He is so engaging and passionate about the material and he is open to discussion and questions with so much enthusiasm and care for each one. He has very visual slides, physical models, and interactive material. The subject in general isn't too complex to understand but it can take some time to process it (esp. point groups) and know what you're doing. HW is your biggest practice and Kaner is always willing to re-explain anything his office hours. (Go to his office hours in his ACTUAL office; the ones held right after class is too crowded so it's hard to get your questions in)
As for the class structure, there's 8 HW assignments (24 pts) w/ <20 questions, 1 midterm (100 pts) and final (200 pts). Like said before, the midterm is only 50 minutes and kinda long so I suggest you just keep going if you're stuck; a 60s average is expected anyway + the final replaces your midterm grade if you do better. The final is more manageable given the time but also long and slightly more conceptual. I suggest you study the practice exams he gives and make a study guide from the very beginning of every topic he goes over. (i'm serious, even stuff he briefly goes over so rewatch some lectures) There is some unspoken curve (he never brought it up) cuz I managed to do much better on my final (the average was in the 60s), but would've only gotten a C in the class; I still got an A! I believe if he sees a big improvement, he will give you a good grade.
Lastly, take his CHEM 189 class; it's only an hour and I only attended a few times. You just learn about how inorganic chemistry is used in everyday things like glass or plastic (no need for notes or deep understanding); no tests just a 5 pg paper about anything inorganic due AFTER finals. It's just a fun class!
Professor Kaner is the best! I am not really into inorganic chemistry, however, I loved his class and his teaching style. He uses a lot of models and he does cool demos in class so make sure to attend lectures (no bruincast for his class, just audio). The class is not easy, however, getting an A is doable. Go to lectures, rewrite notes and don't fall behind, go to discussions as TAs write the exams and might give hints about what you need to know, office hours are extremely helpful, do the problem sets and practice exams. Actual exams are a little harder but similar in style to the practice one. On the midterm, make sure to be fast as you only have 50 minutes and it is a pretty long exam. For the final, you have plenty of time but make sure to understand all the material as the final is more conceptual and tricky. One more thing, take his honor seminar if you can, one hour a week, no tests, and just a 5-page paper that is due after finals' week.
Professor Kaner is a legend. He is such a talented professor and really enjoys teaching, which makes his class so much more enjoyable. Chem 171 involves a lot of conceptual topics, so if you like the visual aspect of chemistry, this class is great. Also, getting an A in this class is very doable. Simply keep up with the weekly homework sets (don't fall behind in this class) and go to TA office hours as much as possible just to discuss the material- it makes all the difference. Lastly, be sure to go to every lecture because Kaner is a very well-known scientist and does a great job at articulating the class material.
I had this class recommended to me by friends who took it last year, given that Prof. Kaner is a phenomenal teacher. He is very encouraging and receptive to questions during class and his lectures are truly engaging. Every step of the way, he was able to relate inorganic chemistry to its useful, practical applications and interesting stories.
With that said, he does not use PowerPoints, but instead refers to lecture notes that are likely a couple decades old. He does post these online beforehand. If you don't glance at them before class or have it open while you're listening, it can become a little confusing as to what is really important given that his lecture can otherwise come off as more conversational at times. But otherwise, you'll see that he actually is following some sort of structure.
I would have liked to go to more office hours but his tended to be very crowded which was a bit of a turn-off, but the TAs are phenomenal. To reinforce my learning without forcing myself to go above and beyond constantly outside class, I went to two different discussions (Lisa's and Mit's) per week as each has a different style and go at different paces. In other words, it usually did not feel repetitive and assisted greatly in organizing the material.
Exams are more difficult, particularly the midterm in terms of timing/pacing. You will truly have to be watchful of time and force yourself to move on and familiarize yourself with the problems to be able to succeed on the exams. Our exam average was 65, and I think the distribution may have been bimodal. Prof. Kaner is generous in that he recognizes his exams are long and has his policy of replacing this grade with your final exam score if you improve. Note that his exams are incredibly formulaic so even if it feels a little difficult at times, it's entirely possible to get the material down even in a short amount of time. Although he probably wouldn't approve, honestly, for the final, learning to memorize some of the information to increase speed may help even if you can draw it all out (ex: Jahn-Teller distortions and whether they're z-in or z-out).
Anyway, I definitely liked this class and Prof. Kaner is a great guy, but do note that this class is probably medium-ish in difficulty (although no one concept is super difficult if you know how to ask for help).
Take this class!!! As a biochem major, this was an easy way to satisfy upper div chem requirement to graduate. The concepts are really confusing at first, but just put in the time and you will do fine in the class. Kaner is also a really great professor. He’s really rich and is tenured, yet really cares about student learning. He never made me feel stupid for asking stupid questions. The weekly homework was kind of annoying and stressful but the TAs will give you answers if you go to discussion.
Also take the honors seminar! You don’t have to attend every week (there’s no sign in sheet or anything) but you should because it’s interesting. At the end of the quarter you just have to write a paper about something you like that is related to inorganic chemistry. This is an easy upper div 1 unit A that could help your GPA a little bit. (every bit counts!)