Evaluation Comments

Term: Spring 2019-2020
Course: CSC 447 901
Course Name: Concepts of Programming Languages

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Summary View

What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the instructor?

  • Strengths: very knowledgeable, good presentation skills Weaknesses: making exams extremely difficult.
  • NA
  • Strengths: Good at answering follow-up questions and good knowledge of the subject matter Weaknesses: I think lecturing could be clearer (more concrete examples). I.E. explaining traits in Scala, I don't think needs an 8-minute discussion on Cartesian Products. I think to talk about Java interfaces, leading to Scala traits, and then extracting out the concept of Cartesian products may be a better way to go. This might not be the instructor's fault but the complex nature of the subject matter.
  • Nice and polite. Enthusiasm for the content, and welcoming.
  • + Great audiovisual material. - focus sometimes in too many details about compilers and errors.

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

  • I learned many of the different programming languanages.
  • Worksheets and homework
  • The video lectures are useful in this course to help explain the concepts.
  • Learned about Scala
  • Most of the concepts taught in this class are directly applicable to what I'm doing (software engineering)
  • . I actually enjoyed the lectures. It's great how it was organized into topical videos. Great layout with the slides. I like the worksheets, but way too hard. Interesting concepts. I enjoyed his enthusiasm for Computer Science. Grateful for having my questions answered during lecture.
  • Audiovisual material

What suggestions do you have that could help improve the course?

  • The professor carried out the activities to convey goals of course was good.
  • Placing 65% of the course grade on midterm and final, during a pandemic which has forced people into strange new territory, while simultaneously making exam questions full of composite functions with intentionally tricky answers based on syntax, seemed borderline cruel. The class average for the midterm was 61%. This should tell you something. The amount of material seems excessive in normal circumstances. If I could do it over again, I would postpone taking this course until I could take it in person, because the workload while trying to work full time and care for a 1 year old buried me. I did well on homeworks and quizzes, but failed the midterm, which happened in week six, long after it was possible to drop without financial penalty. I think the percentage structure for grading should have been recalculated considering the circumstances this quarter
  • I strongly feel that the exam should not be multiple choice. I don't think the exams really reflect my grasp of the material in this class. Some of the homework assignment prompts were a little confusing.
  • I think too many languages have been covered in the class. Out of which, only scala and scheme were put into practice. I could hardly keep up with progress and lecture with different languages. It was confusing.
  • I think homework should be harder and weighted more heavily. There should be learning targets at the beginning and ends of each of the lectures that act as objective summary statements of the important points to be taken away from each lecture. If this ever gets moved in person, I think a flipped model might work better because you have already made videos. I feel like the content discussed in the videos took far longer than 3 hours to absorb. I had to keep pausing the video and sometimes spread watching a video over the whole day, I cannot imagine having to do this in one 3 hour class session, it's just too much. That is why watching of the lectures on our own time/pace is better, and having an in person Q&A and work session just seems like a better idea.
  • The programming assignments were impossibly difficult. They took me forever. I needed a tutor's help after not being able to get it after a couple of days. argpass was particularly horrible. After taking the test it is tough to see how the classwork relates to the grading.
  • Too many technicalities that from my point of view scape from learning the types of programming languages

Do you have comments on the grading procedures and exams?

  • I understand exams are an assessment of understanding, but they were punishingly difficult and in stark contrast to the homework and all but one worksheet.
  • The midterm was more difficult comparing to quizzes and assignments. The midterm was open note and with lockdown browser. I had to get a printer to print out notes. It was stressful.
  • If the homework is made significantly harder, I think it should be waited more heavily, pulling from the weight of the exams.
  • no comment
  • Homework is like a whole or nothing at exercise-level. Work done on the exercises, even if it is not fully correct, should matter.

Other comments?

  • Other than the midterm (can't speak for the final yet), I thought Dr. Riely maintained an atmosphere of respect and presented material in a conversational manner that was appealing. But as his syllabus states, the student is responsible for much learning outside of lectures, readings, homework, and worksheets. I just didn't have the time this quarter to put in the extra effort that is seemingly needed to get a passing grade in this course.
  • I appreciate the effort taken to make these YouTube videos
  • The course was incredibly difficult. I felt we moved impossibly fast by having to master programming in scheme to mastering scala and then escalating the difficulty even more.