Fall 2018 - The class is basically a free A that as a ChemE, you just get done and over with your fall quarter. Basically, you do a weekly writing prompt, that will be in-class in the beginning of the lecture, that you get 10 minutes to do. You simply do outside research to answer prompts that are all on the syllabus. Just do research to back your stuff up with statistics and numbers, that aren't made up. The end of the quarter test is rather tricky and oddly specific, but worth relatively little, so you can bomb it and still get a good grade. To be honest, the professor only lectured something like 3-4 ish times, with nothing but lectures from other professors, which were extremely hit and miss. Some were basic and really didn't teach us much, others went right over the heads of everyone. A few were really good, a few were mind-numbingly boring, while others were mediocre. This is a class that helps out your GPA, but really is something to just get done and over with.
Winter 2020 - Dr. Tang is definitely trying his best to teach us biology, and he definitely cares about the subject matter. While I personally enjoyed his class, and found the subject matter interesting, many, if not most of my classmates tended to dread and/or hate the class. Unless you took AP Bio, are genuinely interested in biology, and you have a VERY thorough background in molecular biology, be prepared to drink water out of a firehose. You're assigned 50-80 pages of reading per week. Much of the material in the book won't even show up on exams, but it might. While Dr. Tang doesn't require the reading, you have to read it to not be lost in lecture. Also, the lectures are 2 hours long of dense material. Again, I didn't hate them, and honestly enjoyed them, but the majority of my classmates couldn't wait for them to be over. Lectures are not mandatory, but you have to go to them to do well; otherwise, you won't know what's important in the book and what isn't. By the way, DISCUSSIONS ARE MANDATORY, which are very hit-and-miss. The exams were difficult. There's too much stuff to memorize; the exams had many oddly specific questions. Even if you memorized the slides, some questions will be hard. Even worse, you're dead in the water for the math-based questions. Dr. Tang gave us absolutely no practice for the math-based questions. You simply have to hope that the TAs covered the mathematical questions well enough during review sessions. The projects were busy work at the best. They were mindlessly following instructions on a worksheet with 3 friends. Even if you divided the work, the 3 projects took hours to complete. I actually enjoyed the subject material and the lectures, although I am in the minority. That said, I'm glad that this class is done and over. It felt like drinking out of a firehose. Not just that, but the exams had questions that a student couldn't be expected to answer, even if he/she had notes and the internet. By the way, the class is definitely curved, but in your favor. I got an average of 85% on the exams and 95% on the projects and still received an A. There's no avoiding Tang, so just take the class whenever you can/feel like it.
Professor Tang is pretty awesome and his TAs (Wei and Yanran) are also top notch. Fall 2011 was his first time teaching Chem Eng 100 and I think so far (finals next week) he has done an great job. Lectures: Definitely go to these. While 90% of the time he just goes through examples and problems from the book, sometimes he does examples that aren't from the book (like old exam questions etc) or he'll say things like "I really like this problem" which is a big hint that he'll put some form of the example in a midterm question. I would also suggest reading the material before class as some of the later chapters (4, 6, and 9) get confusing, and then ask questions in class (don't be afraid to speak up!). TA Discussions: They usually just ask if anyone has any questions on the homework and then set up the problem for you if anyone asks for a specific problem to be done. While some people try to get free answers out of the TAs to homework problems they haven't done yet, the better approach is to attempt the homework before discussion and then ask the questions you are unsure about (set up or how to even start). Also, the TAs are pretty hot, so they're easy to pay attention to and worth waking up on Friday morning to go see. Professor and TA Office Hours: Definitely go to these when you're confused or have questions about lecture material or the homework, everyone is very nice in OH and it is to your benefit that Professor Tang and the TAs know you by name and face. Alternatively, they have this e-mail address set up for the class that you can mail questions to and get replies pretty quickly. This is a very nice perk that I haven't seen in any other class and would suggest you use it whenever you're between their office hours or the weekend. Homework: Very fair problems, rarely do you see a problem that you're like "... wtf?" on. Also, the homework policy is that you can work in groups of 4 and turn in 1 set of homework between the 4 of you, which is an excellent policy because then all of the slackers and dgaf-ers leech on to their friends' homework and never do the problems by themselves and then get fubar'd on the exams and lower the curve for you! It seems like everyone and their mothers has the solution manual to the textbook, so as someone who doesn't have the solution manual (and does the homework), this works out tremendously in your favor as people just copy the solution manual and proceed to get fubar'd by the exams. Midterms: These are very fair and partial credit grading on them is very generous. If you have truthfully done the homework and understand it, you should at the very least be able to get the average as the majority of the exam questions are similar to homework problems (although they might not look like it initially). I can't say anything about the Final since it's next week, but hopefully it'll be just as reasonable as the Midterms were. Grading: I believe getting average in the class gets you in the B/B- range, so it is definitely possible to walk away with an A in the class if you study hard. In the end, I recommend you take Professor Tang's class over anyone else who might teach it in the future. If you put in the work it'll give you (or so I believe) a great foundation for future classes.