Evaluation Comments
Course:Data Structures in Java I

Quarter:Winter 15/16
Time: TuTh 13:30 - 15:00
Location: Loop Campus
James Riely PhD

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What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the instructor?

1.   Was very knowledgeable and able to present things in a way that was easy to understand.
2.   He has a strong passion for the material, however, the class was a bit disorganized and hard to follow.
3.   Professor Riely is great at showing how programs work in a visual manner which was extremely helpful. He is also very insightful and knowledgeable when it comes to Data Structures and analysis of algorithms. He also responds to emails and messages very quickly. I would say that his weakness is teaching the class in a manner where students often feel discouraged in the course because the work load feels overwhelming in the first half of the quarter. Since Riely is so well versed on the subject it is very easy for him to lecture but often times the technical jargon confuse and discourage the students. I believe this course is challenging in nature because students have to learn a new language on top of how to complete the homeworks to the professor's specifications. I also disliked that there wasn't any partial credit available on homework; however, I see why it was necessary to be so decisive over homework grading. I believe Riely to be a harsh grader, but it is great preparation for coding outside of class.
4.   Major strengths include his extensive knowledge in the topic that he is teaching, and perhaps one of his weaknesses is his age...haha jk, no he's great. Maybe being a little more in your face might be good, because it will force the students, who may not be doing so well participate, and if they make mistakes, THATS GREAT! It means they won't make them later. Better get them addressed earlier than later when it actually counts on a quiz or test or something.
5.   Very passionate, and knows his stuff. Can get very overzealous at times and I found myself lost in the amount of material being presented. As someone who knew nothing about Java besides it's name coming into this class, I'd consider the professors assumption of how quickly I would learn to be a weakness, as I was often left in the dust when it came to new material.
6.   Dr. Riely is among the most knowledgable professors I have ever had. He is up to date on his Java knowledge and knows the ins and out of of coding. He can answer almost every question because he knows it backwards and forwards.However, he can be a little all over the place. He wasn't extremely clear when it came to course objectives, and the same goes for class objectives.
7.   Dr. Riley is a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic instructor
9.   His arrogance is a major weakness.
10.   Very fair and helpful, though he could stand to slow down a bit when explaining some things ans speed up a bit on others.
11.   Lectures were presented in an interesting and engaging way.
12.   Strength: explaining concepts, up-to-date knowledge; weaknesses: sometimes, goes too fast
13.   Great explanations and class was conducted nicely

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   Learning about these essentials skills for programming.
2.   The material taught
3.   SI sessions were a great help, tutoring was a major help as well, the pictures that were drawn to show how code worked in class was beneficial to me, and the availability of the instructor to help me outside of class was beneficial. The most helpful thing was drawing everything out and working with visual and tactile example created in and out of class.
4.   The assignments were the most beneficial to me because they helped my apply what was discussed in class, and helped me understand the topic more clearly.
5.   The entirety of the course, learning a fundamental programming language (somewhat) is extremely beneficial.
6.   I appreciated the focus on algorithms.
7.   Learning to code in java, otherwise I had already learned just about all of the material.
8.   SI Sessions!!!!!!!!!
10.   That homework is actually programming and not pseudo-code.
11.   Video demos of algorithms helped make them easier to understand.
12.   learning different data structures
13.   The Homework assignments were helpful to fully grasp the topic at hand

What do you suggest to improve this course?

2.   More practice! Other than homework and exams, there were no practice problems at all.
3.   please please please find a different book. Algorithms 4e is a good book and it can be appreciated much more once people have a better grasp of the Java language, but it is rather hard to swallow and digest at first glance and first read through. It's more helpful, to me, if I have a reference type book similar to other books I have read such as Introduction to Computing using Python, Python for Kids, Metasploit, Packet Sniffers, etc (most of these books are printed by NoStarchPress). Though, if another book cannot be found, Algorithms 4e is still a good book. It just requires some time spent on it.
4.   Well, a more up to date textbook, but I believe the prof already found one....other than that, like I said earlier, trying to get the students more involved, force us to, call us out more, stuff like that.
5.   A slower pace, and more connecting of why we're learning what we are, instead of just "hey, here's how to do 'x', your homework assignment is on 'x', and so is the quiz." Sure, Im learning how to do X, but I have no idea why I need to know it. What does knowing how to do X actually help me, and why is it worth learning?
6.   The course should decide if it is about algorithms or about data structures. It seems to be more of an algorithms course, but we never got into the particulars of data structures, which would have been very beneficial to go into detail.The homework assignment should have been about the construction of data structures.
8.   Instead of having us read a certain section, then take the quiz, and then have the Professor give a lecture on the material that was on the quiz, have us read that certain section, then have the Professor lecture us on that section, thennnnn take the online quiz.I would of gotten a much higher overall quiz grade average if our Professor would of done that.
9.   Riely should be less rude when discussing students or people who do not understand the material. On multiple occasions he has encouraged students who do not understand a certain aspect of Java to switch majors.
10.   Nothing I can really think of at the moment.
12.   partial homework grades and giving feedback on code instead of scripting everything
13.   N/A

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

1.   Homework was graded fast and fairly.
2.   Grading seemed fair
3.   Coolio.
4.   It was fair, it was funny how the assignments were graded by a program, and the assignments were programs themselves. hehe I don't know it was ironic, but at least we know that the grading was definitely fair.
5.   Weekly quizzes sucked. They always seemed to be about content that I didn't know until the next class period.
6.   No comment.
7.   Grading was fair, and strict.
10.   All fair.
12.   Would like it if most homework wasn't scripted
13.   Done in a timely manner

Other comments?

3.   the Trace class was super cool and helpful for debugging.
4.   He's funny
5.   I never found myself using the textbook, since readings were never specifically talked about in class. Sure there was "X is talked about here in your textbook." but there was never a time where I was told "read this part of your textbook for next class", and I ended up forgetting that this class even used a textbook. Maybe more suggestions to reading outside of class could be helpful for those that aren't aware of how what we're learning follows the book.
7.   Ppppppppppp
9.   On the first day of class he stated that he is "not here to teach you, but to test you", this is the opposite of what a professor at Depaul should be telling his students. Also he is a professor not a proctor so he actually is there to teach and not just to test. He also said that if you do not understand the material that you should switch majors; this is really disturbing to hear from a professor. I am really dissatisfied with professor Riely; CSC 300 is a difficult course and I do not feel like I have learned much from him. To give him credit, he did tell us he was not going to teach us. I would not recommend my colleagues to take any courses taught by him.
10.   N/A