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I know the previous review makes it seem like Professor Gao was terrible, but honestly I enjoyed his class a lot and found it super relevant to what we're experiencing today. His lectures were made in line with current events such as ChatGPT and other things like Deep Fakes and he kept up with applying the concepts to current events that were going on during the quarter. He does have an accent that I get could be hard to understand at times, but if you pay attention and are engaged it's not too bad and I got used to it.
I thought his lectures were pretty organized, he uses slides but if you were to skip class it would be hard for you to catch up since he doesn't record, but as long as your present and make sure to take notes on the points he brings up rather than just looking at the slides you'll do fine. His midterm and final were exactly like what he lectured on, so going back to that point I just made, as long as you take notes on the examples he gives and can reference back to that on the tests you'll do great.
His class is super manageable—he only gave us 6 assignments to do which were basically just free points (a bunch of them asked you to utilize ChatGPT and figure out ways to use the program/jailbreak it which was cool). Though his tests were short answers, as long as you're concise with your answers and write the main topics asked, you'll get full points. Just make sure to keep up with the readings since there can be a couple questions on that! Overall I would take him again, I never had to stress about the hw assignments so that gave me more time to study!
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.