Calculus of Several Variables

Tova Brown

Calculus of Several Variables

Mathematics department

Tova Brown

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Overall 3.0
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 3.7
Easy
Heavy
Workload 3.7
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 2.3
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.2
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Reviews

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Nov. 21, 2014 Grade Received: N/A

Professor Brown was a highly understanding and effective teacher. I learned a lot from her class. It is true that lectures sometimes are slow, and that you may be able to get more from the book in a shorter amount of time. It is true that she writes definitions and phrases verbatim on the board, but this ensures that you know them very well.
Finally, although she doesn't treat numerical examples often in lecture, she usually creates tests that have simple numbers in them. Overall, a very conceptual teacher and a nice breath of fresh air from the abstraction that is undergraduate math.
Finally, although I got an A in this course, I know some very smart people who did not. If you are considering taking this course because you think you will be able to skim the book and destroy the tests, you might find it harder than you bargain for due to her tests being unlike book problems (They involved a lot of sketching- just like in lecture).

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted April 1, 2014 Grade Received: N/A

Pro: Dr. Brown cares greatly about student learning. She is very approachable, maintains a casual learning environment, and is very eager to help students learn. She always tries to answer all questions thoroughly.
Her curve is very generous (insofar as I almost feel guilty getting an A). On the second midterm, she curved so that the lowest failing grade was a C-, and the median was an A-.
Her tests were very fair. They were well represented by the practice mid terms. If you know those concepts inside and out, you'll have a pretty good shot on the tests.

Cons: Her lectures were very disorganized, and she often seemed confused and disoriented. She would write every word she said -- most of which were verbose definitions. She never completed any practice problems, so the student is advised to thoroughly read the book. I stopped going to her lectures about week 6 when I realized I learned nothing from them.
She is also very visually oriented, so students approaching math from an abstract perspective will either struggle or learn a new method of approach.

Overall, I would not recommend this professor.
If you want an easy A, sign up for her, read the book thoroughly, and get a great TA like I did.
If you want a deep understanding of multivariable calculus, go elsewhere and never look back.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted April 1, 2014 Grade Received: N/A

Dr. Brown was unfortunately an ineffective professor in my opinion. Her lectures failed to truly explain all the material. Her definitions and theorems in class were often less rigorous than those in the homework, requiring students to learn much of the material on their own. Her ability to draw graphs, however, was impressive.

I cannot speak to the quality of her office hours as I did not attend them.

As far as her grading goes, it was a textbook case of grade inflation. For both midterm one and midterm two, she curved the median test score to an A-. I assume that roughly half the students in her class received at least an A-.

I suggest avoiding this Tova if you truly want to learn the material. Without my very helpful TA, I would likely have struggled in this course.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted March 28, 2014 Grade Received: N/A

Pros:
Professor's Brown's office hours were very helpful and enjoyable. In the more intimate setting, Brown was very understandable and helpful and even very funny at times. Though office hours were very full, the times I was able to go were very helpful and I gained a much better understanding of the content.

The way she asked us to understand the concepts was good. Encouraging us to think about the content very visually and conceptually helped understanding, though the ideas that she conveyed were not conveyed well.

Her pictures were always very detailed and understandable, though the use of different colored chalk would have been hepful.

Cons:
The pace of the lecture was incredibly, incredibly slow. For example, Professor Brown would say some sort of content about the course, then she would write it VERBATIM on the board, and then say it again. I would honestly be able to fall asleep in the middle of her lecture, wake up, and she would still be on the same thing. The board was literally all paragraphs of words. It would have been much better to go into tangible problems to help us understand the content instead of saying it, writing it, and saying it again.

Esoteric writing: no one understood the words on words on the board. More pictures and examples. She would talk on end about a concept but no one would understand. Better analogies and more preparedness to relate the content to something tangible would have been helpful. 

Also Brown stuttered and seemed very unorganized and flustered throughout the lectures, as if she was just going over it the first time.

She almost never did practice problems as well.

But overall the course was way to slow and inaccessible unless one went to office hours. 

Suggestions:
For lectures, unless you have background on multivariable calculus, you will likely be confused during the lectures. The way she teaches the content is only valuable to those who have a relative understanding of what the content is. Many of my friends in the class went to lecture but found it useless. I, however, found most the lectures actually very helpful when I skimmed the book 30 minutes prior. Either way you are going to have to read the book so might as well read it before the lecture so that you'll get the most marginal return for lectures. 

I again suggest you go to office hours to supplement any material you dont understand. She's pretty big on having students understand conceptually what is happening rather than just students knowing the formula.

Regarding the midterms and finals, they were almost all variations of the practice midterms and finals. So for the midterms, definitely know your content, but especially know what's on the practice midterm and related concepts to those problems. 
The final is a little bit more difficult, but still accessible. The practice exam is like a watered down version of the final exam, but the types of questions that the final exam covered were still essentially covering the same things.

Luckily the curve is REALLY REALLY GENEROUS so you'll be ok if you stay on top of your stuff.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted March 21, 2014 Grade Received: N/A

Tova was definitely one of the more colorful professors I've taken at UCLA. She immediately stood out with her dorky demeanor, making her adorable and endearing in lecture. That being said, despite the colorful personality, I felt that lectures were sometimes a bit confusing, leaving a lot of topics unclear in my head

She was definitely VERY concerned that her students were learning, constantly asking the class if we had any questions and holding MULTIPLE office hours. Having gone to some of these, I can say she was VERY helpful in office hours, clarifying much of the confusing material in the class.

Homeworks were straight from the textbook and easy, EASY points.

Tests were pretty tough, I felt, but she curved all the tests so that was nice.

I'd say take the class with her as she's caring, willing to clarify anything confusing, has a generous curve, and is a colorful professor teaching something like multivariable calculus.

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