Evaluation Comments
Course:Data Structures I

Quarter:Winter 12/13
Time: Th 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?

2.   Presented the material well and kept us engaged. He is very knowledgeable. I liked the group format to post questions and provide help and get help.
3.   Very good at explaining things, and very open and willing to give guidance and advice on class materials.
4.   The professor is a really nice guy and very very intelligent. I think he tries to be as available as possible and does his best to answer questions and what not, but some times even his answers are hard to understand. He assumes we (the students) have more coding experience than we actually have so he assigns a lot of homework. The homework though is way too much!!! I can''t sleep at night because this class just takes way too much time. I have a full time job and I can't dedicate all my time not at work to this class. I have tried but I couldn't keep it up for too long.
5.   The Instructor explained concepts very well and kept the class engaged.
6.   He has fun teaching, consequently, we have fun.
7.   He was very accessible and reasonable.
8.   Riely is very interested in and excited about the material. He presents topics with enthusiasm.

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   The google group message board was very beneficial. I would have struggled a lot more without that.
2.   Walking through the prior week's homework assignment
3.   Access to the professor.
4.   I picked up a lot of things in this course in a very short amount of time but none of it was due to the professor. He just went over concepts, more than actual code. I learned a lot through the very challenging homework because most of it was done through the help of the tutors in the tutoring lab. The tutors taught me a lot.
5.   The homework assignments.
6.   Every aspect.
7.   N/A
8.   The homework, as it made me internalize the larger concepts.

What do you suggest to improve this course?

2.   More examples. I found the book problems to sometimes not be clear on what is being asked.
3.   I don't have any.
4.   detailed examples of working with the code before assigning the homework. not just one example but many examples. less homework. some times my job gets very busy, but with this class once you fall behind by a day or two its almost impossible to catch up. I got sick for 3 days and I was freaking out because I was still working and didn't have enough time to do the hw.
5.   N/A
6.   Don't teach people Python, teach them Java from the get go. I was fine because I'm a programmer, you failed out a bunch of people because of the curriculum's structure.
7.   I felt completely unprepared for this course, coming from Python. I was unfamiliar with the language used to teach the course and had great difficulty completing the assignments and exams. I was under the impression that this class was an introduction on how to program using Java, meaning, I would be taught how to use Java, not given assignments in a language I've never learned. I was very disappointed, but Professor Riely is an exceptional instructor, and I fault the structure of the program, not the teacher.
8.   TEACH JAVA FIRST. I came into this class with only Python as my prior programming experience, as the coursework dictates. I found myself to be at a great disadvantage for the first 3-4 weeks of classes because I was struggling with the implementation of the algorithms, which meant I couldn't focus on the actual subject matter.

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

2.   I believe it to be fair and in line with my prior experiences.
3.   Extremely fair and objective. Conducted in a timely manner.
4.   the exams are extremely challenging. They are not very straightforward questions. I spent around 9-10 hours over the weekend studying and found that I barely managed to finish the exam on time.
5.   Grading and exams were executed as expected. I have no criticisms in this regard.
7.   N/A
8.   These were fine and expeditious

Other comments?

2.   I find James Riely to be tough but I am learning a lot.
4.   I would not recommend this class to other students if they have a job and are beginners in java development. The stress and frustration might actually kill you.
5.   None.
7.   N/A
8.   I feel that it is worth mentioning to potential students that this class - for someone with little programming experience - will require a significant amount of time outside of class. Having a full-time job, I have been stretched very thin between the 25-30 hours of homework I had been doing for this class, attending and accomplishing homework for another class, and attending lectures on top of working 40 hours per week. While I have no issue with Riely, it would seem that students with no prior experience should have the option of an intro to Java course. Python is lovely, but it's hard to just pick up Java when you haven't learned how to teach yourself a programming language.