Evaluation Comments
Course:Object-Oriented Software Development

Quarter:Spring 03/04
Time: Tu 17:45 - 21:00
Location: Loop Campus
James Riely PhD

Associate Professor
Instructor homepage

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What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the instructor?

1.   The instructor did not properly explain concepts in a deterministic manner. I remember one specific example where the professor was discussing two similar design patterns and when asked what the difference was he simply explained that with practice one will be able to distinguish the two.
3.   No weaknesses. He repeatedly warned the class that this class was difficult and time consuming--well before the course even started. Definitely the best professor I've had. Well-spoken, organized, knowledgeable and funny. First class I've taken where I don't doze off!!!
4.   A lot of the sample code was not written very well. There would be a lot of bugs at best, and I was kind of disapointed. I also did not like how he did the COL stuff. When i tried to review the material the board was not reset after erasing and there would be a lot of scribling all over the place.
5.   Strengths: enthusiasm, knowledgeable. Weaknesses: I would have preferred that he include many more comments in the class lecture notes regarding the specific code examples - either nested within the code, or immediately preceding or following the code. This would make it much easier to go back and review before exams. Also, sometimes he showed a lack of patience with me. In general though, he was a good professor.
6.   Very good presentation skills. Able to keep attention.
7.   He didn't really explain the material all that well. The material presented in class didn't relate to the homework assignments sometimes, and when it came time for the midterm, I found out that I didn't understand a single thing.
8.   Strengths: Good Knowledge of the subject and could explain it well with examples.Weakness: Appreciate if he could slow down a bit for students to grasp the topic.
9.   Instructor was very knowledgeable about the course material. He knew it so well that at times he took it for granted, which made him assume that it was also easy for the students.
10.   very valuable lectures & notes.
11.   + excellent faculty- to much information for the course

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   Design patterns have helped me to become a better, more efficient programmer. I have no doubts, though, that I could have simply read a book on design patterns rather than taking a course on the subject. The course was a bit overkill.
3.   Thinking in patters. Desiging. Prototyping. Testing. I use cpp unit (for c++) now!
6.   Programming concepts and experience.
7.   I got to practice my java programming skills
8.   Started thinking in OBJECTS.
9.   Taught me about OO design and OO languages at a much deeper level than I had previously known.
10.   Unit testing practice , Code hands on, Use of design patterns

What do you suggest to improve this course?

1.   I believe that with more technical content, the course would become very beneficial. I feel as though this course is an 'artsy' course which teaches how to 'feel out' the proper structure of a program ... I believe that more technical content such as how programming languages implement objects, inheritance, etc. would have been quite wonderful.
3.   Not much. More exercises on class & object diagrams.
4.   The emails were very iritating. He had entire class email back and forth about silly stuff sometimes. While I do think that communication is very good, i did not like the method it was used. The email that was registered with depaul was used and I would get about 20-30 messages a day that I really did not want to read. On top of it all this is the email that i use for important stuff and not for some message board. I think the instructor should utilise COL and the message board that is there.
7.   Need to spend much more time on explaining and showing solid, concrete examples. Homework should also more closely follow what is being discussed in class.
8.   Better room. We were "DUMPED" in a small room.Also on Course Online , the instructors notes are not viewable.
9.   Way too much material is covered in this class. Also, instead of the initial homework exams, I think the project should have been started from the very beginning of class.
10.   I found James lectures very valuable. I wish we could have all 11 lectures/teaching time. I mean Midterm, Project demo should have takehome instead of using lecture time.
11.   may be split into two courses add more guided but ungraded projects for experience

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

1.   The midterm exam was absolutely horrendous. I remember that after the exam a great portion of the class was complaining about it on the webboard. Here are the specific reasons:The professor provided two sample midterms from previous quarters from which we could study. The midterm exam was at least twice as long (almost everyone was still taking it after 3 hours) and none of the questions were equivalent to any in either of the sample midterms. In addition, a couple of the questions were very ambiguous, allowing multiple answers which would be correct; however, the professor seemed not to realize the ambiguity as he explained that he had 'expected' certain answers. Also, the instructions were wrong ... they explained that the student must 'be as specific as possible' when creating UML diagrams; however, when he went through the exam during the next class period, the professor was not 'as specific as possible', he was only as specific as necessary to convey the important points of the problem. The professor ended up curving the exam; however, I believe that the grading was quite arbitrary as many of the questions were quite arbitrary ... I wouldn't know where to begin if I were grading this exam as it was very ambiguous.
2.   Homework grades were not received for some time after submission. The first three homework assignments build upon one another so a mistake in homework 1 was marked off on the subsequent homework since we received both grades late.
3.   Fair.
4.   Midterm was way too hard. It was way too long and it kind of confusing at the same time. My brain kind of stoped working after about 1 1/2 hours of working on it and would not budge anymore. I spent the entire 3 hour that he allowed working on it and left that exam felling pretty bad. This was after spending most of the weekend studying for it.
5.   Some more general concept-based questions within the exam would be good - e.g. short answer essay regarding when one should use a particular pattern etc. This is because there are some people, like myself, who freeze up on 100% code-based exams in which either you see what the professor is intending with his code, or you don't. This would help to even the playing field a bit.
9.   He did curve the exam, which was very fair. The exams were harder than what anyone had expected. A lot of people who thought that they were very prepared found that the difficulty of the exam was disproportionate with what had been taught in class.
10.   Midterm should have take home

Other comments?

1.   I believe that with a different, more deterministic, professor - this course would have been more beneficial. The professor, I believe, had good intentions but he was very subjective and 'artsy' in his presentation and grading of student's work.
3.   I hope to take another class that Prof. Riely teaches. The guy is an excellent teacher.
4.   Overall, I have heard a lot of good things about Prof. Riely but i was not very impressed with his teaching methods. I think they are good, but they are not great as i was lead to believe by my friends who took his classes and what lead me to take him for this course. I think there are many better profs. at CTI that convey their material better and with greater understanding.
7.   Based on the extensive trouble I've had in this class, I will most likely have to re-take it with a different instructor.
9.   This class favors those students who are Java programmers. It is not enough to only have taken 211/212/224 to become proficient in the material in this class.
10.   Very Nice class, I learned many new things...