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January 25, 2021, 09:10:29 am

Author Topic: UNSW Course Reviews  (Read 106641 times)  Share 

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fantasticbeasts3

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #210 on: September 11, 2020, 02:07:35 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: MDIA3000 - Discourse and Promotion

Contact Hours: 3 - 2 hour lecture, 1 hour tutorial

Assumed Knowledge:66 units of credit overall including MDIA2005 or MDIA2006 or MDIA2012

Assessment:
- 50% quizzes: 6 quizzes in weeks 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 worth 8% each + 2 assessment reflections worth 1% each
- 20% evaluation report summary
- 30% evaluation report presentation

Lecture Recordings? Yes because of online learning, although I think lectures for the course are in the same format outside of the pandemic.

Notes/Materials Available: Everything you need is on Moodle.

Textbook: N/A

Lecturer(s): Lecturer - Luk Swiatek, Tutor - Katya Quigley

Year & Trimester of completion: 2020, T2

Difficulty: 2/5

Overall Rating: 1/5

Comments:
This is going to sound like such a Karen comment, but if I could give this course a rating of 0/5, I would. The only reason it gets 1/5 is because my tutor was amazing and really tried to help us out even though we asked so many silly questions that were probably really stupid and a waste of time.

Overall, although I thought the course was awful, I have to acknowledge the care and consideration that was put into structuring the course this term. Lectures were structured into smaller topics on this Moodle function (I have no idea what it's called), so you would watch a short clip going through the lecture content, followed by real promotional examples, which was then followed by a question that somewhat emulated the quiz questions we got every week. I thought this was really well thought out because it's hard to pay attention for long periods of time and it's always good to see real-life examples of what you're learning about; however, the lectures were never uploaded on time. Tutorials were held on Mondays and Thursdays and we had quizzes after our tutorials, and the lectures were never uploaded before Monday. Quizzes were based on the content of the same week (so week 3 content = week 3 quiz) rather than the content of the previous week so it was really frustrating when you got to Wednesday night (my tutorial was on Thursday morning) and the lectures had just been uploaded. I don't even know how the Monday tutorials coped because everyone on Thursday was complaining about the delay in lectures being uploaded.

As for tutorials, they were supposed to run for 2.5 hours, but they were shortened to 50 minutes of content followed by 20 minutes for the quiz. I thought this rendered tutorials practically useless as we had to go through things so quickly and there wasn't enough time to fully explain concepts taught in lectures if we were confused. I think that if the tutorials ran for the full 2.5 hours, the learning experience would've been so much better. Not to mention there wasn't enough time to explain assessments as all tutorial time was used to prepare for the quiz.

Now for assessments. While I understand that the quizzes were worth almost 50% of our grade, there was more explanation of that which was something we did every week than the assignments. We weren't given actual examples of what an evaluation report is in PR which made things really confusing because obviously no student has written a text like that before. We were given a basic structure of how we could write the report, but there was no explanation or clarification in tutorials as to what an evaluation report is and when we asked the tutor, she seemed a bit lost. A lot of the time there was a clear lack of communication between teaching staff because a lot of the time everyone felt like they were left on their own. Assessment result turnover was also really awful as we required the results from A2 to do the final assignment and we didn't get that back until a week before the final assignment was due, and even then, feedback was not helpful whatsoever. Even though we got these a week back before the final assignment was due, this was after the final due date was pushed back a week after lobbying from students.

To cap it all off, the course content didn't feel very relevant to the PR or advertising industries, and we struggled to make it relevant to what we would want in the future. I really hope that the course convenor will take our feedback on MyExperience into account because this course was a mess.
HSC 2017: English (Standard) // Mathematics // Modern History // Legal Studies // Business Studies
2018-2022: B International Studies/B Media (PR & Advertising) @ UNSW

fantasticbeasts3

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #211 on: September 11, 2020, 05:55:51 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: MDIA3008 - Issues and Crisis Communication

Contact Hours:4 - 2 hour lecture, 2 hour tutorial

Assumed Knowledge:66 units of credit overall including MDIA2005 or MDIA2006 or MDIA2012

Assessment:
- 25% group presentation
- 25% short essay
- 50% critical analysis or crisis communications plan

Lecture Recordings? Yes because of online learning, but the convenor/lecturer did tell us that there were recordings if lectures were live.

Notes/Materials Available: Everything you need is on Moodle.

Textbook: N/A

Lecturer(s): Lecturer and tutor - Peter Roberts

Year & Trimester of completion: 2020, T2

Difficulty: 2/5

Overall Rating: 3/5

Comments:
This course transitioned really well to online learning. I didn't find it particularly enjoyable because the content was a little dry and repetitive at times, but there was clear foresight into how skills and concepts learnt in class could be applicable to a career in the communications industry.

Lectures were posted in the PPT format with voice recordings which I thought wasn't ideal, but it was definitely convenient if you wanted to go through content again or if you missed something. I didn't like this format because I couldn't speed up the lecture and conversion to an MP4 file to fast track it didn't work because audio became out of sync. As for tutorials, the majority of tutorials were taken up by the group presentations which were based on that week's content, and the presentations analysed a case study chosen by students with theory. The remainder of tutorials mostly repeated main points from the lecture which could be boring.

As for assessments, I thought they were alright, and relevant to course material and for building on skills required in the PR industry except maybe the essay, but that helps indirectly as it builds on critical thinking skills. I thought that the presentation was really good in getting people to work together, but that could probably be because I was really lucky to get a good group and we worked well together. The only concern I have with the final assessment was that we had the option to choose between a critical analysis or crisis communications plan. The critical analysis is an individual task, but it is essentially the same thing as the group presentation but more concise and can cover a larger range of topics, as you can pick from every topic in the term compared to the week you were assigned to for the presentation. The crisis communications plan was a group task (2 people) and I think that doing the plan would've been better as it actually puts concepts learnt throughout the course into practice rather than writing what was essentially a semi-structured essay.
HSC 2017: English (Standard) // Mathematics // Modern History // Legal Studies // Business Studies
2018-2022: B International Studies/B Media (PR & Advertising) @ UNSW

fantasticbeasts3

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #212 on: September 11, 2020, 06:09:33 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: ARTS1210 - Concepts of Asia

Contact Hours: 3 - 2 hour lecture, 1 hour tutorial

Assumed Knowledge: None

Assessment:
- 20%: 2x response to readings
- 40%: essay
- 20% historical site exercise
- 20%: test

Lecture Recordings? Yes, and we were told that lecture recordings are always provided for live lectures too.

Notes/Materials Available: Everything you need is on Moodle.

Textbook: N/A

Lecturer(s): Lecturer - Mina Roces, Tutor - Louise Edwards

Year & Trimester of completion: 2020, T2

Difficulty: 2/5

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Comments:
If I didn't do German, this would be the best course I have completed since commencing my studies at UNSW. It is really well structured, really interesting and you can tell that there has been so much care and consideration put into this course. As a first year and/or foundational course, Mina has structured it in a way that helps students build on their writing skills and it is essentially a course that encourages students on a path of academia. Louise is also a gem and is so incredibly helpful and I have nothing but praise for these two. The only reason I didn't give the extra 0.5 in the rating is because no course is perfect, and I'll provide some reasons as to why that's the case for Concepts.

For the lectures, the lecture recordings from last year were used. While this was disappointing because you do want new content, Mina is a really engaging lecturer so you can almost overlook this. As for the tutorials, I thought they were too short and students could definitely benefit if they were 1.5 hours, as an extra half an hour would provide so much more scope for discussion and really enrich critical thinking skills which are integral to the course.

The only complaint I have about this course is the assessments. There is one assessment every two weeks - so you'll have one in weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 - so it's somewhat stressful as you don't really have a lot of room to breathe given that most students are completing 2 other courses during the term. Other than that, I thought the assessments were great and build on academic skills, particularly writing and really set you up for research if that's something you would like to do after studying. Other than that, I highly recommend this course if you have an interest in Asia or history in general as it's taught really well and while the assessment schedule is a little packed, the content makes up for it.
HSC 2017: English (Standard) // Mathematics // Modern History // Legal Studies // Business Studies
2018-2022: B International Studies/B Media (PR & Advertising) @ UNSW

blasonduo

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #213 on: September 13, 2020, 12:05:46 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: EDST4080-Special Education: Inclusive Strategies

Contact Hours:  2hr lecture, 1hr tute (sometimes 1hr of lecture or tute was replaced by online activities/questions)

Assumed Knowledge: Must have completed EDST2002, and enrolled in an education degree.

Assessment:  Evidence-based practise guide (45%), Information booklet for High School Teachers (55%). Both assessments must be passed to pass the course.

Lecture Recordings?  A given yes due to covid.

Notes/Materials Available:  There were some additional resources we could've looked into, but not something too big

Textbook: Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement-Marvyn Hyde, Lorelai Carpenter, and Shelley Dole. Not needed.

Lecturer(s): Iva Strnadová (and guest lecturers some weeks).

Year & Trimester of completion: 2020 T2

Difficulty: 2.1/5

Overall Rating:  2.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 82 DN

Comments:
This course was pretty standard run-of-the-mill type of education course. It wasn't really lacking in anything like the majority of the first year education, but it also had nothing in it that made it shine.

As sad as it is to say this, every time we had a guest lecturer for our lectures, those were the ones that were by far the best in terms of content and how it was being presented. Like all EDST lectures, it is simply a 2 hour block of the lecturer where we listen. The content presented in these lectures though has been one of the more valuable ones so far. The content discusses a variety of disabilities that we are likely to encounter in the teaching world and the harsh realities this poses on the student and the learning environment. It gets you thinking about how your plans as a teacher might change to accommodate for these students.

The tutorials were pretty garbage though. I do mainly blame the online aspect to it, but every tutorial went like this:
short recap of lecture -> breakout groups of 4-5 people to do a task -> everyone presents to the class. SUPER repetitive, and it's just a roll of the dice to see if you have good breakout partners or not. It was very awkward and I hated doing these.

I found the assessments alright at best, for the first one, you are given a really good resource, and following that same format as that is bound to give you good marks. A pretty simple assessment

Assessment 2 was a doozy though. It had requirements to be user friendly, neat and creative. I do not do well with these, and as a result, my mark took a hit to this. My booklet ended up being 27 PAGES long, so if you're doing this course, get onto that assignment early, it's a big one.
2018: UNSW B science (physics)/B education

Kicking myself into gear

HSC Physics Topics 1 & 2 Exam!

katie,rinos

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #214 on: September 21, 2020, 02:25:35 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: Becoming a Performer

Contact Hours: 2hr lecture, 2hr tute (straight after each other).

Assumed Knowledge: MUSC2802 and enrolled in a Music Pedagogy stream

Assessment:  2 Critiques (30%), essay (40%)

Lecture Recordings?  Yes

Notes/Materials Available:  Readings available through moodle

Textbook: Burwell, K. (2012) Studio-based instrumental learning. Available online through the library.

Lecturer(s): Kim Burwell

Year & Trimester of completion: 2020, 2

Difficulty: 3/5

Overall Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 77 D

Comments:

I really enjoyed my pedagogy course last year so I was disappointed to see it online but it still worked really well! This course wasn’t as practical as last year and was more academic. We needed to do two presentations on articles about music pedagogy and then write critiques on their claims, theoretical/empirical support and persuasiveness. The first article had to be picked from a list and we chose the second.

Afterwards we wrote an essay based on the topic of the articles we were researching/presenting. I looked at verbal ways to teach musical expression. We had personal mini tutorials about our essays, how to structure them and what we could include.
Class of 2017 (Year 12): Advanced English, General Maths, Legal Studies, Music 1, Ancient History, History Extension, Hospitality
2018-2022: B Music/B Education (Secondary) [UNSW]

MisterNeo

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #215 on: November 17, 2020, 11:47:03 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: COMP3231 - Operating Systems

Contact Hours:  Two 2hr lectures + 1hr tutorial

Assumed Knowledge: COMP1521 and COMP2521

Assessment: 
  • Assignment 0: 4%
  • Assignment 1: 12%
  • Assignment 2: 12%
  • Assignment 3: 12%
  • Final Exam: 60%

Lecture Recordings?  Yes.

Notes/Materials Available: You get access to all lecture recordings, slides and tutorial resources for previous terms/semesters.

Textbook: "Modern Operating Systems - 4th Edition", by Andrew Tanenbaum. (Optional, but good textbook IMO)

Lecturer(s): Dr. Kevin Elphinstone

Year & Trimester of completion: 20T1

Difficulty: 3/5

Overall Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 97 HD but it didn't count because of COVID-19  :(

Comments:
Very good course if you want to learn about the history of operating systems and how they make your computer work. You also learn about the various decisions OS programmers sometimes make about the designs, e.g. what type of file system data structure to use. Other topics include synchronisation, threads and deadlock, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The first 2 assignments were straightforward and easy, however Assignment 2-3 involved the OS-161 project where you implemented parts of a working operating system, such as the TLB and page table, plus you had to work in pairs. The final exam was a timed Moodle quiz because of online learning and it involved understanding certain features of OS's and why they are designed that way.

Kinda bummed that the course was forced to move online halfway through the term because of COVID-19. I really enjoyed the lectures/tutorials and highly recommend the course to anyone doing computer science or similar.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2020, 11:48:55 pm by MisterNeo »

HelpICantThinkOfAName

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #216 on: November 30, 2020, 09:43:48 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: ECON2102 - Macroeconomics 2

Contact Hours:  1 x 1.5 hour lecture per week. 1 x 1.5 hour tutorial per week.

Assumed Knowledge: ECON1102 and (ECON1203, MATH1041, MATH1231, MATH1241 or MATH1251). Not entirely sure why MATH 1B was assumed knowledge, we really didn't use intense math in this course. The most we ever did was a couple of Lagrangians.

Assessment:

Macro project presentation - 25%. Get yourself a good group for this. I had an amazing group, and we got nearly full marks for this.

Tutorial Participation - 5%. This was based on the weekly readings. The tutor would ask you to present what you learned from the reading/answer some questions related to the reading. Straightforward.

Assignments - 25%. This is the strangest part of the course, and where many people's grievances this term lie. Three assignments were due, but two of the three assignments were "selected at random", and only one or two questions per assignment will be "randomly selected" for marking. We found out that after submitting the first assignment that it would not be marked because "people submitted it too close to the due time". I spent 6-7 hours working on it, and being told the very next day that it would not be marked was infuriating. Furthermore, the questions that were selected "at random" for the second assignment were those that were auto-checked by moodle and not those that had significant mathematical derivations. Felt very lazy.

Final Exam - 45%. 55 Multiple Choice, 11 True/False/Uncertain with explanations. 4 mathematical exercises. This is the first time that I've nearly run out of time in a final exam. Does a good job on testing you on the whole course.

Quizzes - 5% Bonus Marks. Short weekly quizzes that took place in lectures. Bonus marks were given on a linear scale, if you achieved 50% overall you would get 1% extra, while the highest mark in the class (~95%) was given the full 5%.

Lecture Recordings?  Yes.

Notes/Materials Available:  Full slides given out. We weren't given access to any study material other than the limited tutorial problems. This includes the weekly quizzes, which we were unable to view again after submitting.

Textbook: Jones Macroeconomics. This is by far the best textbook for intermediate macroeconomics. Essential to have a copy as several questions from the tutorial problems, readings, and assignments came from this book. Also was great to have as a reference throughout the term.

Lecturer: Gonzalo Castex. 2.5/5. Doesn't seem fair rate him this low, especially after being spoiled by having Otto last term. I only rate him this low because of his dismissiveness towards students. Questions in Edstem were often met with "should've gone to office hours". Decent lecturing though.

Tutor: Felipe. 5/5 - sold out to go work for a bank halfway through the term.

David. 5/5 - the OG. Fast speaking (as usual), but always a pleasure to have him

Year & Trimester of completion: 2020/T3

Difficulty: 2/5.

Overall Rating:  3/5.

Your Mark/Grade: 81 DN

Comments:

I don't really felt like I learned anything new in this course, which is a sentiment that a few of my friends in the course have also echoed. Most of it boiled down to "Macro 1 but now we use a bit of calculus instead". After suffering through Micro 2 last term I expected this course to be much more difficult than it was, especially with the lack of a Macro 3 course. A bit underwhelming, but still an essential core economics course to master.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 12:46:05 pm by HelpICantThinkOfAName »
Studying Economics/Mathematics @ UNSW

HelpICantThinkOfAName

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #217 on: November 30, 2020, 09:55:52 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: ECON2206 - Introductory Econometrics

Contact Hours:  1 x 1.5 hour lecture per week. 1 x 1.5 hour tutorial per week.

Assumed Knowledge: ECON1203 or MATH1041 or MATH1231 or MATH1241 or MATH1251.

Assessment:

Assignments - 15%. Two assignments which required some heavy use of Stata. The Stata use was (often) beyond what was used in lecture slides or tutorials, and required more googling than programming. Not super difficult though. Made some very stupid mistakes in my second assignment, similar to my midterm.

Midterm - 25%. This should be easy marks, with the average hovering around 70%. I did very poorly in it, due to misreading one number at the very start of the second section and not being given any carry-forward errors for the remainder. Still extremely salty about that, and it severely capped my potential marks.

Quizzes - 5%. Online quiz due every other week, which could be repeated indefinitely. Questions were all multiple choice. No reason to not pick this 5% up.

Final - 50%. Similar to the midterm exam, just longer.

Lecture Recordings?  Yes.

Notes/Materials Available:  Full slides given out. Minimal Stata resources were given, which is sorely missed in this course.

Textbook: Wooldridge, Introductory Econometrics. Another standard text. This textbook is one of the few that I own a physical copy of. An amazing resource to have.

Lecturer: Federico Masera, 3/5. The given recordings were poor quality, I wish that he had given us access to past recordings. Other than that a pretty decent lecturer overall.

Tutor:  Hang, 4/5.

Year & Trimester of completion: 2020/T3

Difficulty: 1.5/5. Not a difficult course if you don't do what I did and misread so many questions.

Overall Rating:  2.5/5.

Your Mark/Grade: 50 PS. (yikes). This is entirely due to the no carry-forward error in the midterm. Should've been an easy 70+. Cost me Business School Deans List :(

Comments:

Another essential course for all economics students to master. My only wish is for more Stata materials.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 10:26:58 pm by HelpICantThinkOfAName »
Studying Economics/Mathematics @ UNSW

fun_jirachi

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #218 on: December 01, 2020, 10:34:06 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: COMP1531 - Software Engineering Fundamentals

Contact Hours:
2x 2hr lectures
1x 3hr Tute/Lab

Assumed Knowledge:
Prerequisite: COMP1511 or DPST1091 or COMP1917 or COMP1921 (stolen from above link)

Assessment:
For this term:
30% Final Exam
50% Project
20% Class Mark (incl. attendance, lab work)

Lecture Recordings?
Yes

Notes/Materials Available:
Lecture slides + provided links

Textbook:
None

Lecturer(s):
Hayden Smith

Year & Trimester of completion:
2020 T3

Difficulty:
3/5

Overall Rating:
4/5

Your Mark/Grade:
86 HD

Comments:
The course was really well organised and well run by the faculty. The only criticism I really have is that a lot of the content was crammed into the term, teaching both Python and software development. While software development was a priority, teaching Python was also a mandatory part of the term. Teaching Python was probably easier than it would've been otherwise considering COMP1511 was a prereq but at the same time, taking time to teach it takes away from teaching software development. However, I don't think this is any fault of the teaching staff as they did what they could given the circumstances and did it very well. They gave more than enough information for everyone to pass comfortably, marked leniently enough and were really friendly. Nice course - I'd recommend it even if it wasn't a prereq for many other courses.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 09:02:13 am by fun_jirachi »
Spoiler
HSC 2018: Mod Hist [88] | 2U Maths [98]
HSC 2019: Physics [92] | Chemistry [93] | English Adv [87] | 3U Maths [98] | 4U Maths [97]
ATAR: 99.05

UCAT: 3310 - VR [740] | DM [890] | QR [880] | AR [800]
Guide Links:
Subject Acceleration (2018)
UCAT Question Compilation/FAQ (2020)
Asking good questions

fun_jirachi

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #219 on: December 01, 2020, 10:51:12 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: COMP2521 - Data Structures and Algorithms

Contact Hours:
2x 2hr lectures
1x 3hr Tute/Lab

Assumed Knowledge:
Prerequisite: COMP1511 or DPST1091 or COMP1917 or COMP1921 (stolen from above link)

Assessment:
Quizzes 14%
Assignments 35%
Labs 11%
Final Exam 40%

Lecture Recordings?
Yes

Notes/Materials Available:
Yes

Textbook:
Suggested texts are available:
Algorithms in C, Parts 1-4: Fundamentals, Data Structures, Sorting, Searching (3rd Edition)
by Robert Sedgewick, published by Addison-Wesley
Algorithms in C, Part 5: Graph Algorithms (3rd Edition)
by Robert Sedgewick, published by Addison Wesley

Lecturer(s):
Ashesh Mahidadia

Year & Trimester of completion:
2020 T3

Difficulty:
3/5

Overall Rating:
2/5

Your Mark/Grade:
86 HD

Comments:
Perhaps because of the organisation of COMP1531 which I did at the same time, COMP2521 felt particularly poorly run. The course content was appealing because it was basically logic with extra steps, but I couldn't really shake the fact the course didn't have that feel good factor. It didn't really help that extra recordings and tutorials were often better resources to learn from than lectures, though there was markedly less work than last term (gauging by the reports of one friend complaining about the workload). The tutors were great :) - but there's really not much to add apart from the fact that unless you enjoy the content, I would not recommend taking the course as it exists right now.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 09:02:30 am by fun_jirachi »
Spoiler
HSC 2018: Mod Hist [88] | 2U Maths [98]
HSC 2019: Physics [92] | Chemistry [93] | English Adv [87] | 3U Maths [98] | 4U Maths [97]
ATAR: 99.05

UCAT: 3310 - VR [740] | DM [890] | QR [880] | AR [800]
Guide Links:
Subject Acceleration (2018)
UCAT Question Compilation/FAQ (2020)
Asking good questions

HelpICantThinkOfAName

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #220 on: December 02, 2020, 04:04:41 pm »
+7
Subject Code/Name: MATH3411 - Information, Codes and Ciphers

Contact Hours:  2 x 2 hour lecture per week. 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week.

Assumed Knowledge: MATH1081 or MATH1231(CR) or DPST1014 (CR) or MATH1241(CR) or MATH1251(CR) or MATH2099. In practice, as long as you are comfortable with first-year linear-algebra you'll be fine.

Assessment:

3 x Online tests - 40%. Test 1 worth 10%, while tests 2 and 3 are worth 15% each. All the questions came from a question bank that we had access to weeks before the test. The questions really made you focus on the links between different aspects of the material though.

Final exam - 60%.

Lecture Recordings?  Yes.

Notes/Materials Available:  Full slides and notes given out.

Lecturer: Thomas Britz, 10/5. What can I say about Britz that hasn't already been said. He makes going to lectures and tutorials fun and exciting, and really makes you interact and engage with the material. My favourite moment was when he brought up a webcam and drilled a hole into a DVD copy of The Emoji Movie to demonstrate error-correction. He is easily a contender for the best lecturer at UNSW.

Year & Trimester of completion: 2020/T3

Difficulty: 2.5/5. I didn't find this course to be the easy wam-booster that it's made out to be, as I was a bit rusty on my linear algebra when going into the course. But as long as you engage with the material it will all fall into place by the end.

Overall Rating:  5/5.

Your Mark/Grade: 79 DN

Comments:

Wow.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 12:50:32 pm by HelpICantThinkOfAName »
Studying Economics/Mathematics @ UNSW

Opengangs

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #221 on: December 05, 2020, 05:00:16 pm »
+7
Subject Code/Name: MATH2931 - Higher Linear Models

Contact Hours: 2 x 2 hour lectures, 2 x 1 hour tutorials.

Assumed Knowledge: Even though the pre-requisite is MATH2801 (DN) / MATH2901, I strongly advise you to have taken a Linear Algebra course or have experience with Linear Algebra past first year before advancing into the course. The lecturer assumed a lot of things from MATH2501/2601 that play a central role in the nature of linear models.

Assessment: 2 x assignments (15%, 20%), 1 final exam (60%), 5% class participation.

Lecture Recordings? Yes

Notes/Materials Available: Live scribbles are available after each lecture.

Textbook: None prescribed, but recommended:
- (Less advanced) Dirk P. Kroese and Joshua CC Chan. Statistical modeling and computation.
- (More advanced) Dirk P. Kroese et al. Data Science and Machine Learning: Mathematical and Statistical Methods.

Lecturer(s): Dr. Zdravko Botev.

Year & Trimester of completion: 20T3.

Difficulty: 4/5.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5.

Your Mark/Grade: 72 (CR).

Comments:
I think the structure of this course really says a lot about the course. Even with previous lecturers, the course has not fared well so it says more about the content taught in the course than the lecturer. The course ties statistical modeling with the theory of linear models so a lot of what you need to know (particularly with the higher course) really comes down to coding it up on a language such as MATLAB, Python, and R. I, on the other hand, enjoy the theory so it didn't really sit well with me.

The course, as a whole, was unstructured and I didn't feel like I gained too much from doing this course. It was confusing to follow the lecture content because course content was organised by timestamps more than specific topics so it was really in your best interest to continuously keep up with the course itself. Zdravko typesetted his lecture material on Overleaf live so hearing the the keyboard clacks while listening to him speak was a bit distracting at times.

One of the biggest downfalls with this course is that Zdravko never really emphasised the coding in the course. It's a core component of the course with one question specifically dedicated to coding in the final exam, so him not really emphasising the coding component in lectures disheartened me from wanting to even attempt the question (thankfully, it's optional).

Preparing for the final exam was a bit of a headache, purely because we aren't given too many resources to work off of besides going over the tutorial problems repeatedly. It's not a terrible course but it's not a memorable one either.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 10:22:40 pm by Opengangs »
Computer Science (Artifical Intelligence), Advanced Science (Pure Mathematics Major; Physics Minor)
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anomalous

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #222 on: December 17, 2020, 01:18:18 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: MATH2621 - Higher Complex Analysis

Contact Hours: 2x 2 hour lectures, 1x 1 hour tutorial

Assumed Knowledge: Formally, one of
- MATH1231
- MATH1241
- MATH1251
- DPST1014
with at least a mark of 70.

Having MATH2111/multivariable calculus in your toolbox before this course also helps in some parts - specifically, the preliminaries of continuity, limits and differentiability of complex functions as well as contour integration will be familiar material if you’ve done 2111 before. This is optional though, and there’s a nice duality as well because doing 2621 before 2111 will make some parts of 2111 easier in turn.

Assessment:
- 2x class tests done during a lecture time, worth 20% of your mark
- 1x final exam, worth 60% of your course mark

Lecture Recordings? Yes, and I imagine in-person offerings would be the same.

Notes/Materials Available: A decent problem set was provided as well as a typed lecture notes document, on which the lecture slides seem to be based on. You get an okay selection of past tests and papers for assessment preparation, though most of the class tests in particular don’t have any solutions, so you’re on your own there.

Textbook: None formally prescribed or used, but some recommended ones are
- Wunsch’s “Complex Variables with Applications”
- Needham’s “Visual Complex Analysis” for a visually/geometrically-motivated text
- Rudin’s “Real and Complex Analysis”, a classic text in analysis, but be warned that this book is quite high level

Lecturer(s): Dr. Arnaud Brothier

Year & Trimester of completion: 20T3

Difficulty: 4/5 just because of that exam, but the content itself is non-trivial too

Overall Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: 91 HD

Comments:
An interesting course, but also a bit hard this term all things considered. I’ll reiterate what other reviews have already mentioned to say that the theorems and results in this course are as technical as they are surprising, so they take some time to sink in. If you’re an integration junkie, then you’ll probably love the end of this course where you learn some neat tools to tackle hard real integrals using complex methods. The difficulty of this course during the term was pretty tame but spiked significantly at exam time, with our final being a bit of a killer.

Why this course loses 1 point in rating is because it could be improved content-wise. In terms of how engaging it is, the parts of the course preceding contour integration are fairly stock-standard and, in my opinion, not too interesting as a whole. This is in large part because integration is vital to the derivations of many results in complex analysis, so you really have to know some theory of it before being able to fully appreciate them - without that, you’re just left hanging at times. With that in mind, it’s a bit of a shame then that with how fundamental integration is, it comes into the picture quite late in week 7. I definitely think time spent covering more integration at the expense of some topics in the first bit of the course (looking at you, fractional linear transformations) would be a worthwhile trade, since time during trimesters is quite precious. So much additional content that the course used to cover in semesters is now forgotten, which is a real shame - this has probably been the most affected by trimesters in that respect out of all of the courses I’ve done so far.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 02:41:05 pm by anomalous »

anomalous

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #223 on: December 17, 2020, 04:32:32 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: COMP3161 - Concepts of Programming Languages

Contact Hours: 2x 2 hour lectures, 1x 1 hour tutorial

Assumed Knowledge: Formally, either COMP2521 or COMP1927.

In addition to this, I would recommend that you have a good relationship with discrete maths, particularly proofs and logic as you’ll be doing a fair bit of that in this course. You should ideally also have Haskell/functional programming experience from self-study or a course that covers Haskell (e.g. COMP3141), or be ready to learn on your own during the course. I didn’t have Haskell experience and managed to do well in spite of that so it’s possible, just harder.

Assessment: Due to COVID, we had a (harder) assignment instead of a midterm, and obviously the exam was online, but the rest of the assessment was normal. Nevertheless, the breakdown is
- 1x written assignment on proofs, worth 15% of your course mark
- 2x programming assignments, worth 17.5% of your course mark each for a total of 35%; bonus marks towards your final course mark on offer for completing extension tasks
- 1x final exam, worth 50% of your course mark

While we’re on the topic of bonus marks, 1 bonus mark was given to everyone in the course if the MyExperience feedback response rate was over 50%. This isn't the first time such an incentive has been given by the lecturer, so it might happen for future offerings too.

Lecture Recordings? Yes, lectures were recorded.

Notes/Materials Available: For some of the major topics, a set of (non-compulsory, but good practice) exercises with solutions are given. Notes written by a previous lecturer for the course are also available for most topics as a supplement to the lecture material (but mostly just a rehash of that lecture material). Sample exams and midterms are available if you look around the course pages from previous offerings.

Textbook: N/A, though Liam posted an extensive list of resources which you could look into that relate to the larger subject matter if you’re interested.

Lecturer(s): Dr. Liam O’Connor (RIP) and Dr. Christine Rizkallah

Year & Trimester of completion: 20T3

Difficulty: 4/5 without Haskell or functional programming experience, maybe 3/5 without

Overall Rating: 5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 94 HD

Comments:
This course is great, and probably my favourite that I’ve done so far. It positions itself as a “programming language appreciation course”, and you spend a lot of time modelling the semantics of programming languages and learning what some common programming buzzwords (polymorphism, type safety, etc.) actually mean in a formal manner. It is initially quite mathematical as the preliminary tools for doing the aforementioned have to be introduced, but if you can make it through that then the reward is well worth it. The overarching theme of the course is definitely on the functional side, however given that the paradigm has been responsible for so many features enjoyed by mainstream languages, it’s an understandable bias. That being said it’s not all functional - you of course look at some imperative programming, crack plenty of jokes at OOP/Java’s expense, and at the very end even do a bit of concurrency appreciation (which gives you a bit of a taste of COMP3151).

The programming assignments provide you the opportunity to implement parts of a simple functional programming language in Haskell. Although they claim you don’t need to know FP/Haskell already, not knowing it makes your life harder - for someone with only imperative language experience under your belt, writing Haskell code will probably feel weird and takes some time to get used to.

This is an essential course if you’re interested in programming language theory, and especially if you’re planning to do a thesis in most areas within formal methods. Even if not, it’s made me consider doing some courses in the future that I originally hadn’t planned to, so I’d still recommend it highly if you're looking for something to do.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2020, 09:58:41 pm by anomalous »

RuiAce

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Re: UNSW Course Reviews
« Reply #224 on: December 17, 2020, 05:02:22 pm »
+8
Subject Code/Name: MATH5945 - Categorical Data Analysis

Contact Hours: 1 x 3hr lecture, 1 x 1hr lab

Assumed Knowledge: No formal prerequisites stated (quite common for postgraduate courses). Assumed knowledge is pretty much any general level of statistics (for UNSW undergraduates, definitely MATH2801/2901). I recommend having some in-depth knowledge of statistical inference (for example, equivalent of MATH3811/3911) and/or statistical modelling techniques (for example, equivalent of MATH3821, especially GLMs) before coming to this course. Some overlaps are shared with MATH3851, but it is not a prerequisite.

Assessment:
- 3 x 15% assignment
- 60% final exam

Lecture Recordings? Yes during COVID period. Presumably yes otherwise, since Jake uses lecture slides.

Notes/Materials Available: A comprehensive 700+ lecture slides. Takes a long while to absorb everything. No tutorials (quite common for postgrad maths courses). One SAS lab every week. Not too many resources otherwise (I only ever used Google for SAS in this course.) No past papers.

Textbook: None prescribed. Two reference textbooks are: Agresti A. (2012) An introduction to categorical data analysis, 3rd Edition. Wiley, and Dobson AJ, Barnett AG. (2008) An introduction to generalized linear models, 3rd edition. CRC Press. A SAS textbook was also referenced.

Lecturer(s): Prof. Jake Olivier

Year & Trimester of completion: 20T3

Difficulty: 4/5 (although surprisingly the final exam was a 2.5/5)

Overall Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: 97 HD

Comments:
This is one of many postgraduate statistics courses. From what I can see, it used to be on a 2-year offering, but has recently been moved up to every year offering.

The course is as its title says; the focus is on analysis of categorical data. Categorical data rises in tons of ways; some examples being whether you wore a helmet and/or involved in a crash, what kind of drug were you given as treatment for a sickness, breaking of ages into age groups (as opposed to the exact age itself) etc.. The course teaches a huge amount of techniques that statisticians use to incorporate categorical data into their studies.

This course definitely leans more on the applied statistics side, but some theory was also examinable. Don't expect a level 5 maths course to have absolutely zero algebra. But to those that want to focus on useful statistics skills, there is a ton of value. Applications were definitely the focus in my opinion.

SAS was used because Jake believes SAS is the superior option for categorical data. Having now done this course, I'm honestly not surprised. SAS gives a ton of output for categorical data, and it feels REALLY automated (no fidgeting around with the code). Of course, battling SAS can be a bit annoying. Jake assumes that you come into this course with statistical programming background of some sort (e.g. R), but doesn't assume you know SAS. There's a bit of guidance along the way.

Assignments weren't actually that hard (but I will give a piece of advice - when it says "estimate", give confidence interval estimates as well...). It was partly because guidance was subtly given through the lectures and labs. Occasionally it was possible to just copy code Jake provided, and appropriately adapt it to the problem at hand. The 5 page limits for the assignments should NOT be an issue.

Studying for the exam felt a lot like studying for MATH3821 again (only this time, there's no tutorials to worry about). It's pretty scary, because there's so much content out there, and we basically had no clue how it was gonna be examined. I spent a lot of days being really concerned for this paper, and it wasn't until I saw the actual paper I was like "oh wait this is friendly". Bless Jake for that; it's rare having stress pay off.

The final exam was open-notes (you're only using the course material; you shouldn't even need the internet). Carefully studying the notes helped a lot. It was very easy to look things up in the exam, because I knew where to look! If the exam is open-book again, that's a very valuable piece of advice I'd want to give.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 05:07:19 pm by RuiAce »