Literally avoid this class at all costs if you don't really care about calc but just passing. I took calc 1 in high school and did well so didn't expect this class to be terrible... I got bodied. Alessandrini just assumes you know the material. Can't read his handwriting or understand what he is saying. 100% unlearned calc in this class. Problem sets were hard and long. Somehow passed but only bc of the massive curve due to everyone struggling.
These CULPA reviews really do Alessandrini dirty, and I'm here to tell you that his class was totally fine. Disclaimer: I did take Calculus AB in high school, but I found that Alessandrini's class was easier and covered less material than Calc AB. We didn't even start calculus until a couple of months into the Calc I course; it is largely just a review of functions that you will have learned in high school (this type of work includes exponential functions and inequality problems and the like. Algebra and pre-calc). Then, we go over basic derivation and integration and how they relate to graphs. Pretty chill stuff. Midterms/the final occasionally had tricky questions, but honestly, it was mostly pretty straightforward. And his lessons are very straightforward. All it really takes to get an A in this class is making sure you've wrapped your head around the rules for each type of problem. He doesn't throw much-unexpected stuff at you. Alessandrini allows a cheat sheet during exams. His curves are *extremely* generous. He drops the two lowest homework grades. He writes pretty short exams and gives you ample time to complete them — I tend to struggle with time management, and I never had a problem with that in this course. It's one thing to not enjoy calculus or to not find it easy, which is totally fair, and to each their own. But I do think that Alessandrini does a pretty good job of making your life as easy as it can be with his relatively gentle grading and willingness to answer any questions you have about content.
It's a shame that the reviews here don't do Professor Drini justice. He's a good professor, just suited to the needs of a specific student. I took AP Calc AB Senior year, and didn't do quite well enough to be exempt from Calc 1. Because of that, I sought out a course where the professor would talk fast, and not slowly lecture over a bunch of details, Khan Academy style, that I already knew. Professor Alessandrini does exactly what I wanted. He assumes you already have a basic understanding of the subject, then turns to his blackboard, and in a quick Italian accent, explains the topic of the day. The homework will be harder than the lecture problems, and this is clearly stated in the syllabus. He wants students to understand HOW things work, so they can solve complicated problems. Students are encouraged to meet together to go over the homework and discuss what they didn't understand. I also sought out Youtube videos and went to office hours every week, and with that help, always got A's on the homework. Students who did not do that, or started the HW the day it was due, instead of days before, had a harder time. The course is much less difficult if you do those three things: start HW early, go to office hours consistently, and review the homework before turning it in with classmates. Here are my two major qualms with the course: 1. As much as I enjoyed his lecturing style, sometimes he doesn't explain topics in as clear as he could. Going to office hours is key to understanding whatever it is he was trying to teach in the last 20 minutes of the lecture. 2. The tests are HARD. I studied for hours on end but barely passed both midterms. They dragged down my grade, and that was disheartening. This is exacerbated by his confusing system of grading. On the scored test, he will give you your actual grade, and then a letter grade he thinks you'll get in the class in the end. He doesn't actually curve the tests themselves, he'll curve your final grade in the class. The curve is strong, (~25 points for me) but the uncertainty of not knowing your final grade in the class is unnerving. To be fair, it is Calculus, so it's not like I should have expected it to be easy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Overall: You can get a good grade, as long as you put in the time.
Although this is an introductory Calculus I course, DO NOT take this class if you have no experience in calculus!!! A lot of people in my section had taken calculus before in high school, but we still felt very lost in the lecture due to the complexity of his (rare) examples and the strange way he would define/prove concepts. In general, I don't recommend him as a professor. If you are going to take this class: I want to begin by saying that Professor Alessandrini is clearly very gifted in math, but this does not mean that he is the best professor for students taking this intro course. His understanding of math didn't always match up with the way his students view it, and although he tried to answer questions and address what people didn't know, his explanations were never really that helpful. He tried, but he was hard to understand and hard to get ahold of. Also, his handwriting isn't the best (his a's look like o's) and he sometimes used words we weren't used to because he wasn't a native English speaker. However, you can definitely get used to this. I fully relied on my calculus knowledge from high school, and I know a lot of people just followed the textbook instead of showing up to lectures. However, I don't suggest this, since the "unique" way he would teach were at the same difficulty as the problems he would include in the weekly assignments and the midterms/finals he made. I feel like although he generally met what needed to be taught in this course, a lot of his students, if not all, felt very frustrated because of him. He also wasn't very good with returning grades, which stressed a lot of people out since a lot of us felt very lost in lecture. For example, it took him more than two weeks longer than he said it would for him to grade and create a curve for our second midterm. I’m not sure how someone with no previous calculus experience would keep up, but I learned more about the proofs behind concepts and I gained exposure to complex applications to calc I concepts. He didn’t exactly follow the textbook or use problems from it, but I think he expected us to read it although he never assigned anything. I spent a lot of time teaching myself content to solve the assignments. He would teach the basics and assign difficult problems so we could figure it out for ourselves, I’m assuming.
For the love of god, DO NOT TAKE CALC WITH THIS MAN. He spends too much time on things that are unnecessary or even counterproductive to understanding the actual concepts. Take it with literally anyone else and you'll have a great time.
DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS! He overcomplicates everything! In lectures, he only defines concepts and talks about theorems. He almost never does examples in class and when he does, they are very simple and do not resemble anything on the homework he assigns, much less the exams. Coming from someone who had already taken calc before, he was very confusing and hard to follow most of the time.