Based on 6 Users
Very considerate and accommodating instructor and great class material. Grade was determined by two exams (50%) and six homework assignments (50%). Usually homework can be completed within 20 minutes. The midterms and finals consists of a few short-answer questions. Due to the nature of course content, the midterm was harder, but both was doable. Professor Gao also gave everyone more than enough time to complete the exams. He would start the exams early if he feels people may need extra time so it is recommended that you keep your schedule open 30 minutes to 1 hour before the class. He was super considerate and did not hesitate to give everyone As as long as they deserve it. Definitely a great class. I 100% recommend taking it with Professor Gao.
He really cares about his student and grades so if you feel like you’re failing, email him and he’s gonna work with you. I didn’t do well on the midterm but I ended up with a A because changed the weight of the midterm
Gao is very hard to understand because he has a pretty thick accent. To make things more difficult he does not record his lectures and his slides have 0 info on them so they are not helpful at all. You have to go to his lectures because the tests or based on them. However, his lectures are very disorganized and his thoughts are very hard to follow and understand as he tries to correlate very random concepts and doesn't explain them fully. There is an overall problem with communication and organization in this class. You have no idea what to study going into the midterm and final. For example, he said that the final was based on lecture yet used multiple questions from a textbook chapter that were way too specific. Midterm and final are both short answers. It is very hard to know whether you are prepared for his tests because there is so much information and he does not narrow down or give any clue as to what you need to focus in on for the tests. The distribution for the midterm was bad, and then he went and made the final even harder. I do not recommend I don't think I'll get a bad grade overall, but it was not worth the stress and confusion.
-Final (33%, non-cumulative)
-8 Homework Assignments (50%)
All material for tests comes from lecture. Slides are posted but it's not recorded, so it's still important to go to lecture because the slides don't explain the material. The content is really interesting, but tests can be tricky because they're all short answer. The majority of the work in this class will go into the homework assignments, which are entry level Python coding assignments. These can be very difficult so it is 1000% necessary to go to the TA's office hours that are more like a discussion section for the class. I would take this class again just for the one-on-one coding guidance and experience that you won't get anywhere else because the class is so small.
Very interesting information, not so engaging lectures. The workload was reasonably light when I took it and there is a good balance of tests and papers. The papers saved my grade so much because the TA was quite generous. There is quite a bit of reading but not overwhelming. If you take the time to ask questions in class, this class should be an easy A. Not the most exciting lectures but I didn't mind because of the light workload.
Professor Gao is a really smart man, but he is difficult to understand at times. He talks a bit too fast and his accent sometimes makes it hard to keep up with what he is trying to say. I relied heavily on the TA and discussion time to help me understand concepts because Gao did not explain them in an easy-to-understand way. There were about five homework assignments, a midterm, and a final— the workload was pretty light. There are no required readings, so as long as you take good lecture notes and go to discussion if you do not understand things, you will be fine. Professor Gao even says that it would be difficult to fail the course. The course material itself was interesting, but deeper concepts were quite complex. There is also quite a bit of probability statistics and light math that you will be doing throughout the course. Overall I would say take the course because it is definitely on the easier side and was kind of interesting.