All Ratings and Reviews for Richard S Elman
One of the best teachers in the department. And I'm judging that relative to a department with some of the best teaching at UCLA, in my opinion (in upper-division, that is). Kind and friendly, and cares a lot about students, with great personal interaction in office hours. Cares a lot about the class material as well. Again, he's one of the best.
His upper division honors courses, let me just say, are not for casuals. A LOT is covered, and it goes by extremely fast. If you take the time to digest it as you go, you won't even be able to copy down all the notes, and if you copy down all the notes as you go, you won't even be able to digest it. You have to consistently put in the time at home to review and wrestle with the material. I said consistently. Consistently. Not cramming. Put in the effort, and you'll learn so much, it'll change the way you think, and you won't regret it one bit. Remember, there's a huge difference between good and easy; only one of them is what you should optimize for. Bottom line: if you care at all about, you know, learning math, take his class.
One would think that with so many positive reviews on bruinwalk, Elman would actually be a good professor. Well, said person would be absolutely right! Elman is far and away the best professor I've had at ucla. He is approachable, easy to talk to, quite kind, and his passion for mathematics is palpable. Taking his class will really inspire you to learn, and not just memorize definitions for the sake of getting through a class. It is true that he covers an ungodly amount of material in each quarter, but that's part of the fun. His class will be a grind at times (end of winter quarter specifically), but ultimately it will help you grow as a person and a mathematician. Suffice to say, if you have the opportunity to take Elman, do it!
I have had Professor Elman for a few different classes now, and he is by far the best math professor I have ever had. The material is engaging and Professor Elman clearly cares deeply about it and wants his students to share his passion. He even holds a bonus lecture every week which takes the material covered in class and extends it to more advanced/interesting applications (generally these bonus lectures are not covered on the tests). This class in particular deals with Ring Theory and Module Theory. If you haven’t taken 110AH this class will be very difficult as a solid understanding of group theory is essential for understanding rings and modules. If you are deciding whether to take this class, here are some details about the class that may help you decide. First, Professor Elman generally does an in class midterm and a second, take-home midterm (broken into two parts for this class). The grading scheme he uses depends on your midterm scores but provided you do well on one of them, you will he set up for success in the class. Second, the tests for this class are longer than the class period. The professor gives extra time because he doesn’t want time pressure to be an issue, but this usually means the questions on your in class tests will be more difficult. Third, work on the take-home test as soon as you get it. I have made the mistake of leaving the test to the last minute and even though it is only 10 problems, it will take 10-20 hours to complete. Fourth, the pace of this class is intense. If you zone out for more than a few seconds in lecture, you will struggle to catch up to what the professor is writing, and a huge amount of material is covered over the span of a quarter. I personally filled up around two pages front and back per lecture. Fifth, the final for this class is seven hours. Sixth, the module theory section of this class is significantly harder than the ring theory section. Ultimately, this class is really hard, but a rewarding experience. If you enjoy algebra you should take a class with Professor Elman and if you liked your past group theory class I highly recommend this class.
Absolutely wonderful professor. Very clear lectures, his lecture notes are freely available (it's pretty much a textbook). Extremely generous curve, messed up a bit on the final so ended up with an A-. You have to work consistently every week to stay on track. I constantly found myself a little behind, but doing the homework (including all the optional problems) really helps.
Homework: Does take time every week, but you can resubmit homework the next week for full credit. Extremely helpful to complete all the homework.
Midterm/Final: Learn all the proofs done in class and make sure you understand everything properly.
Take Home Midterm: Pretty hard, takes a lot of time. Make sure you start it early.
Professor Elman is definitely an amazing professor. His lectures are fast paced and it was hard to follow everything during class, but if you take down everything he writes and go through it before you do the homework, you should be fine.
He is helpful during office hours, has very flexible grading policies and is quite friendly. He definitely teaches math the way it is meant to be taught, with rigorous proofs, applications, motivations and a heavy emphasis on abstraction. Midterms and finals are highly dependent on his lectures, so I would recommend taking down everything he says right from Week 1. If you do this, the tests should not be too difficult. Discussion sections were extremely helpful. I really liked my TA (Yudong Qiu).
It is definitely not an easy class. If you do not understand the material, the homework is quite challenging. However, once you study the material, it is quite doable. I actually liked this system, because it ensured you were caught up with the material every week. While the workload is high, his curve is quite generous as well.
Highly recommend this class.
He is an amazing professor! He gives extra time on tests and is very passionate about the subject and a great explainer.
Professor Elman is the best math professor I have had here at UCLA. For the honors 115AH class, he explains the techniques of proofs and repeatedly reiterate key points in proofs. The homework assignments are also very doable. The take home midterm was challenging but not impossible especially with the amount of time that was given. He also gives extra hours for the midterms and finals. This is definitely the honors math upper div to take.
If I could choose professors in academia to duplicate, Professor Elman would be one of them. What might seem to be foreign and non-intuitive concepts are made very clear in his lectures. His lectures are also _amazing_ in the sense he really gives you a sense of comfort with the material that you might otherwise never feel in a difficult subject.
i think the vote is unanimous that prof elman is a awesome professor...his grading makes learning less like a task. he knows that students can have a bad test day and lets us chooose how we should be graded.
Now that I'm done with finals, I have time to say the following:
Professor Elman is the greatest.
There should be a N/A thing on the ratings grid, because I didn't even think about whether or not the class was difficult. It was a lot of work, sure, but it was interesting and addicting.
If at all possible, take a class from Professor Elman. He is why college can be worth the money!
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