Comment: Took this class with Balsara Spring 2014. Covered the basics on how to model a few processes governed by differential equations and the control of processes. Learned about feedback control, feedforward, cascade control. Didn't feel like we learned that much though. Balsara kind of seemed lost at times and wasted a LOT of time during lecture fiddling around with MATLAB and Simulink ftrying to figure out what he was doing wrong. Shouldn't that be done before lecture?? Pretty certain we wasted about 15-20 minutes out of the 50 minute lecture period. This equates to more than 10 lectures worth of lost time which is a pretty big waste of time. The labs and homework weren't too bad although finding closed loop transfer functions by hand sucked for certain assignments. It's actually not that much work and provided plenty of practice to fool around in Matlab and Simulink. Luckily Balsara seemed somewhat enthusiastic about what he teaches with that battery example he kept bringing up throughout the semester. Never went to his office hours. He said he would be in class a half hour before every lecture. LIES lol. He rarely came less than 5 minutes AFTER Berkeley time. GSI's were very helpful. Were a bit rough at the beginning but they gradually got it together. Midterm was fair too and on computer. Time crunched but that's always expected from a ChemE midterm. Final sucked, also on computer. Sitting in the computer lab for 3 hours was terrible. They should find a better way to do this. Overall could have been a better class but we learned the basics of control and process modeling in Matlab. Long live the DCS!!
CHM ENG 162 (Spring 2013)
Comment: One of the crappiest classes I've taken in the ChemE department. Nitash is quite boring as a lecturer, and is constantly making mistakes. Most of the times, his Matlab code had errors in it. Having two assignments due in a week sucked a lot too, and he also had this stupid policy of mandatory lab attendance. Lab was not very useful. It is apparent that Balsara does not care too much about teaching the class, although he tries to make it seem like otherwise. The midterm exam was poorly structured in that if you missed part 1, the rest of the exam would be wrong, as it depended entirely on the first part. Also, it was probably the most time-crunched exams I have ever taken. The class material is not that interesting either, and although the material is useful, I do not feel like the class is structured in a way that is conducive to learning. Avoid if possible, but since I don't know about the other professors, he may be the best choice. Also, Donner lab is a terrible room to hold a lecture in.