1A & 1B Course Overviews

I wrote this overview a little over two years ago. With exception to some minor editing, I am posting it here almost verbatim. Looking back, I realize that my writing has changed quite a bit.

So far, in ECE we had two courses on linear and digital circuits and two on programming (C# and Java). I studied about an hour per weekday and 3-4 hours per weekend, doubled it during exam times, and missed a third of assignments and tutorials. If you study twice more than me and hand in the assignments, you’ll do well, guaranteed. The course materials appear challenging (especially the physics and circuits courses) at first but they do become easier as the course progresses. I think most students didn’t go to professors’ office hours. 20% of my class regularly understand the professors’ lectures and 60% partially understand them. I found most of the knowledge that we learned to be dry because I had trouble connecting the dots, and believe others felt this way too. Apparently more than one professor felt this way as well.

Student (at the beginning of year): What’s an application of this?

Professor: Right now there is no application. I’m teaching you the basics.

Same Student (at the end of year): Is there an application for using this method?

Different Professor: I’m sure there must be…

First term, up to the midterms is review from high school. After midterms, pace speeds up.

1A Courses

CHE 102 (chemistry): Stoich, gas laws, other laws, and things that have long since been forgotten. The midterm is 10 multiple choice questions; the exam is 15 multiple choice questions. All the questions are straightforward and I’ve heard that the textbook can be found online online.

MATH 117: One of the instructors made insightful course notes for this course and the next course, MATH 119 (to be taken in 1B) . There are two options for grading assignments: a) hand-in only the solutions to textbook questions, which would be worth 10% of our final grade, or b) hand-in the solutions to textbook questions and online questions, which were worth 5% each. The online section offers simpler questions than the textbook but is also 3x more time-consuming. PROTIP: take option a).

ECE 150 (programming): We learned C#, beginning with variable declarations, then loops, and finally linked lists. Linked lists is the curveball in this course and once you learn how it works, bright light will shine from above and your mind will be purified with the beauty of OOP (memorization works too but then the light won’t shine). There are weekly assignments and programming assignments. The former are worth 1% and takes 30mins-2hrs to finish. The latter are wroth 5% each (I thought they were a cumulative 5% and learned of my error only when grades came out) and takes about 2-5hrs to complete.

ECE 105 (physics): Life was great and then this course showed up. The harbinger of fear, the destroyer of souls, the mother of all evil, the father of tears, the son of a…you get the point.  PROTIP: Try to attend Professor’s Ballogh’s classes and review sessions. Legend has it that Ballogh is to physics what Harmsworth is to math. Seriously, attend Ballogh’s courses. I was told that his students didn’t even need the textbook and after I attended one review session, I understood more physics than I had learned in a whole month.

ECE 140 (linear circuits): This course is the sole “engineering” course in 1A. Originally a second year course, it was placed in first term for students to get a feel for the program. That being said, it’s okay to dislike this course and still be in ECE. I despised this course and I’m still in engineering. Hopefully, I’ll stay.

ECE 100A: lol whut?


1B Courses

In 1B, with exception to calculus, the courses are independent from those in the first term. They are also more academically stimulating (translation: more study hours)

MATH 119: Taylor polynomials, multivariable calculus…blah blah blah. Most honourable mention goes to  Harmsworth’s graciously written notes.

ECE 124 (digital circuits): Take notes of both what the professor write and says. Heck, do this for all your courses. Instead of a midterm, we had two quizzes. This is the course that strikes fear in students’ hearts, melts egos, taunts brains, and will eat one alive for dinner. Triumph over it and you can triumph over anything: no sky too high, no sea too deep, your name will be etched forever in the fabrics of history. There are four programming labs for this course (VHDL). Try to find a knowledgeable partner because the labs usually take a great many number of hours (and patience).

ECE 103 (discrete math): Factors, divisibility, graph theory, and other shinanigans. This should be new stuff to most. Rumours have it that this is the hardest course this term and although this course isn’t easy-pie, those rumours are about as credible as the saying that the moon is made of swiss cheese.

ECE 106 (physics): Half is review of electromagnetism from IB. I enjoyed this course. Remember to take notes of what the professor says out loud but doesn’t write down on the board. Also, you may find that the Yale Open Courses may sooth your mind if you feel like punching a wall. Apparently, one of our exam questions came from there.

ECE 155 (programming): We’re learning Java-ish. It’s more like, self-learn snippets of Java code and understand programming “structure”. My professor was very knowledgeable and his comments in class are gems about programming. Sometimes though, I feel like falling asleep in class. In the programming labs, we made a pedometer and a map.

ECE 100B: Did I attend class? PROTIP: attend the class with a guest speaker from Infusion at the end of the term. He was talking about the role of technology in preventing genocides. If he presents again next year, try to attend it. 5/5 rating


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