Evaluation Comments
Course:Data Structures II

Quarter:Spring 12/13
Time: Tu 17:45 - 21:00
Location: Loop Campus
James Riely PhD

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

2.   His classroom management skills exceeded those of my previous instructors. Prof. Riely and Prof. Streeter are among the best professors I've had so far at DePaul. I love that we work through the algorithms together without Java code and then we write the code together. I also love that he even questions the book materials as they are sometimes not right (typos and such). That shows that his head is really there in the classroom and cares about giving us the right information. I really liked getting all of the algorithms from each section of the book organized in the "algs4" folder. This made it extremely easy to search for algorithms for review. He kept class engaged with humor and made us laugh. Learning should be fun, challenging, and enlightening. He made it worth it. I never felt inferior or unwise in his classroom. Thanks for everything! I wish he was the teachers in my other classes.
3.   I thought he was knowledgeable about the subject and kept the material informative, interesting, relevant to today's professional. I needed more code examples for homework and exam prep.
4.   He's very knowledgeable on the material and his energy was definitely a lot of fun in the class. His weakness definitely would be on grading the homework on time, but we would discuss the homework in class in length, so I never felt like I needed a score back in order to see what I'm doing wrong/right.
5.   Excellent explanations of concepts and demonstrations.
6.   Strengths: Very knowledgable, Makes learning the material fun, Excellent communication.Weaknesses: I didn't notice any.

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   Doing the readings and lectures were the most helpful.
2.   Google groups is so much better than D2L. I was able to take notes on my computer during the lectures. The biggest light bulb to go off in my head was when we drew 2-3 nodes that corresponded to Red-Black Trees. If I had never been given that assignment to draw these things out, I would have lost out on a valuable tool. I will continue to draw out my algorithms and use that cognitive spatial part of my brain to problem solve like this in the future.
3.   Getting exposure to java and learning the data structures we can create.
4.   The programming assignments, and real-world applications.
5.   Homework assignments.
6.   The material is crucial for furthering programming knowledge and for pursuing a career in software engineering and creation.

What do you suggest to improve this course?

1.   some homework problems that challenge us to apply algorithms to real world problems would be beneficial to understanding.
2.   Give us more problems like the last question on the mid-term for homework. Maybe one of those every two weeks.
3.   Add more examples to prep for exam and homework.
4.   More of the long assignments. The KD tree homework was longer but it was the best assignment all quarter just because there was so much to understand and fix in our programs. I liked that it had a visual result as well, because personally I find it a little hard to figure out some of my errors if I cannot see it visually. So longer, more difficult assignments that have a visual performance test would be good.
5.   N/A
6.   Some of the material feels extremely dense in scope, and I feel it might be better to slow down the pace a little bit.

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

2.   I did well on the mid-term but ended up receiving a better percentage than I first realized. Thanks.
3.   Need more clarity and definition around grading procedures. Need a general outline of the potential exam items.
4.   Homework was submitted and we were given a grade for attempting the work. We didn't know until the end of the quarter though that they wouldn't be actually "graded". For credit it is okay, but there were a few weeks that I was hoping for some feedback because I may have done things slightly differently. Exams were tough but fair, and definitely having short-answer exams was a lot better than the multiple choice of last quarter.
5.   N/A
6.   Grading is extremely fair.

Other comments?

2.   I think using Java for the language is really clear. It gets rid of all the funky syntax. No void * or memory management. It really gets out of the way so we can concentrate on the algorithm's core rather than these extras in other languages. Also, thanks for meeting outside of class time. I wonder if it could be done on a Google Hangout? Or call? I had one day off that I came down for but if I could eliminate the travel that would be nice. However, I do like face to face conversations better.
4.   In general I took a LOT out of this course. I definitely had a tough time with it, which I'm happy with because I'd rather be struggling to learn something than sail through a course and get an easy grade. That's not what I'm paying for. Also, Professor Riely was pretty good about reading my face when I was confused and calling me out for it. Which I liked though, because there were times I was trying to understand something and I wouldn't say anything because I'd be trying to figure it out in my head, so when he'd call me out, I'd be almost "forced" to figure out outloud what it was I didn't understand.In general, definitely happy with this course and would definitely take another course with Riely if I could.
5.   N/A