Evaluation Comments
Course:Computer Systems I

Quarter:Spring 07/08
Time: W 13:30 - 16:45
Location: Loop Campus
James Riely PhD

Associate Professor
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What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the instructor?

1.   Strengths -- smart, somewhat humorous.Weaknesses -- assumed too much from students, blamed students for poor test results when it was an obvious reflection on the poor teaching from the instructor. Zero A's on the midterm with a 41 pt curve means you are doing something wrong.
2.   Pros- presented material in an interesting way- explained well, in a short concise manner- energetic and enthusiastic
4.   Can be funny sometimes in class which helps raise awareness, however, continue through material in class when it is obvious that students do not understand.
5.   The instructor mentioned several times that he had neither taught this course before, nor taught any undergraduate course in some time, and felt out of practice. I think he relied to heavily on the prescribed curriculum, using slides book and assignments from a prepackaged set. It's not that the material was bad, but I would have preferred hearing the instructor describe and explain on his own, without trying to stick to the given slides, which were not always very clear. The instructor was always ready and willing to help out with any questions, and set up a message board for the class which he replied to frequently, offering detailed explanations for any questions, which was very helpful. He also strongly encouraged class participation both in and out of class, though he seemed frustrated by a lack of response much of the time.
6.   great depth of knowledge and really into it, possibly too much because he gets rolling too much and leaves some of us behind

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   Nothing.
2.   - using gdb- understanding assembly language- buffer overrides
4.   The physically layout of the logical process of the computer and the assembly behind it were most interesting.
5.   Despite the difficulty of the assignments, I did learn a fair amount from working through the debugger, following the execution of programs while looking for specific values. I did not learn as much as I had hoped to from this class, but what I did learn was certainly valuable.
6.   some assembly and C

What do you suggest to improve this course?

1.   Tailor the class to the students instead of following the CMU course to a T. We were struggling and you continued not to change anything. Require C programming.
4.   Be more forgiving on the homework and understand that everyone has different experience with programming.
5.   I felt ill-prepared for nearly all of the homework assignments, which were very challenging. The textbook is written in a style that suggests the authors were intending the book to be read either by math professors, or people already well versed in the subject. There is frustratingly little in terms of explanation in the book, and many "practice questions" requiring information that simply isn't present in the book. In my mind, there should have been far more in-class instruction before any of the homeworks were assigned.
6.   Slow it down! Not all of us have taken C or C++ and even those that have haven't learned some of the depth needed here. Taking all the material from CMU is a problem because their program is quite different from DePaul's. Most importantly, this class is a requirement for majors other than computer science so some of us do not have the same background or basis for this class.

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

2.   - fair and impartial- exams and homeworks were graded promptly- feedback was useful and timely
4.   The midterm was curved, however, I found it unusual that the curve was such that no one got an A.
5.   I think the grading was fair, although it was confusing when a curve was applied to the midterm. I'm still not sure how it was determined. I do think the grading of everything was fair and appropriate though.
6.   Seemed fair.

Other comments?

1.   Worst class I have ever had. Ever. Please never teach this class again, or at least talk to somebody who has before you have to teach this again.
3.   Homework takes too much time.
5.   This class was much harder than I had anticipated, and I did not learn from it much of what I expected. I think it would have been better if the instructor had prepared his own material, and gone into greater detail on most topics. The instructor clearly knows the subject, but often seems to be holding himself back in order to stick with the plan he has been given. I would be very curious to see how he handles a graduate level class where he is more comfortable.
6.   Felt too much like a grad-level class