COMP3411 - Artificial Intelligence
Difficulty: 2/10 · Time Commitment: 1/10 · Enjoyability: 0/10 · Mark: 89
(Please don’t ever take this course)
NOTE: Before I get into my summary of this course, I would like to point out that the course staff for this course deliberately lowered the marks of most students in this course without reason and justification. This was done during assignment 3 where the assignment specification stated that a specific part of the assignment was worth several marks but ultimately, significantly fewer marks than stated were awarded. There have been multiple grievances filed against the course for this and many other reasons, and I will get into more about this course below.
I took COMP3411 (Artificial Intelligence) in Term 1 2023. Unlike the other course reviews on my website, this review is more of a rant as this course was absolutely terrible when I took it and I would highly recommend anyone reading this to never consider taking this course even if the university were paying people to do it. The subject consists of 3 assignments, 5 short quizzes and a final exam. Each of these assessment components were organised extremely poorly to the point where they were not only completely irrelevant to the course but also really confusing because of countless typos and extreme vagueness. Overall, the course was poorly organised, bland, and extremely outdated and most students taking this course felt robbed of their money even after the computer science faculty stepped in twice to fix huge course grievances.
- None :(
- Course staff completely ignoring students’ questions on the forums. Whenever a question on the forum was even slightly complex and required a more complicated answer than what you could find on a google search, there was a high chance of the post being completely ignored. By ignored, I mean that posts directly above and below would be answered but the slightly more complicated post would never have a single response even when reposted. This also happened to almost every complaint on the forum about vagueness of assignment specifications or questions about incorrect lecture content.
- Lecture content was plagues with inconsistencies and blatantly incorrect content. Having done AI courses in the past, I had done a lot of the topics done in this course before and I regularly found myself pointing out mistakes in lectures as I watched them. Additionally, a lot of lecture slides were directly copied over from another university and it felt like the lecturer didn’t even read the slides before the lecture because he would frequently mumble when it came to any questions or complicated explanations on topics from the slides, and would get worked examples wrong or make leaps inexplicable leaps in working out to get to the answer.
- Lecturers refuse to admit mistakes and would rather delete lecture slides than admit they were wrong. There was a really terrible instance in this course of a lecturer getting a worked example of a question wrong after very poorly explaining the theory behind it. When someone pointed out his mistake, he told students he would post a clarification announcement after the lecture. This announcement was never posted and instead, he replaced the lecture slides with an exact copy without those worked examples he got wrong. Then, whenever a post on the forum was made about this, it would either be completely ignored or the course staff would pretend that the example done in the lecture was correct and so, to this day even after the course has ended, most students are still confused about that concept.
- Assignment specs would be extremely vague and students would be penalised for following the specification arbitrarily simply for not reading a clarification response to one of the hundreds of student posts about clarifications. There was no proper announcement system in place and course staff would change their mind about the specification at will without making any announcements or pinning any posts, leaving students with absolutely no way of obtaining a high mark without a lot of luck.
- Assignments were extremely boring and completely irrelevant to what was being learnt. Usually assignments are ways to further students’ knowledge of course content, however, this course had assignments that took 10-15 minutes to finish and in one of them, the hardest part of the assignment was finding where to open a file in python. There was never any comprehensive testing provided and it was almost always unclear what marking scheme was being followed.
There are many badly organised courses at UNSW, however, I have always walked away from each course I have taken with a new skillset and an appreciation for what we learnt. Before this course, I have never felt robbed of my money and I have understood why I was paying thousands of dollars each term even when courses weren’t perfect. However, this course is the one and only time I cannot express that sentiment as it has issues beyond a disorganised staff. It is evident that course staff were aware of many problems throughout the course and chose to do absolutely nothing, instead justifying their mistakes at the expense of students’ education and the only way to fix this course would be to completely overhaul it which I am extremely skeptical of in the next few years. Because of this, my recommendation is to never take this course (unless you are reading this in 2030 or later).
I am not going to go into an in-depth summary of this course because there was no depth to any of the content in this course and course staff were always willing to change different course components without any warning. There are so many amazing and cool courses that you could do instead of this one and I hope you never have to do a course like this ever :)
Link to some student representative complaints on the course: Sturep Meeting Minutes