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InstructorShai Simonson

Course Description | Lecture and Course Files | Student Evaluations

Quantitative Evaluation:

  1. Lectures:
    • Clarity of lectures: 8.74
    • Organization of material: 8.47
    • Willingness to help: 9.26
  2. Recitations:
    • Clarity of recitations: 8.16
    • Organization of material: 8.63
    • Willingness to help: 8.42
  3. Teaching Assistants:
  4. Michael S Allen
    • Clarity of TA explanations: 7.51
    • TA patience: 7.35
    • TA willingness to help: 7.24
  5. Dimitri Kountourogiannis
    • Clarity of TA explanations: 8.16
    • TA patience: 8.49
    • TA willingness to help: 8.21
  6. Rusty Chris
    • Clarity of TA explanations: 8.31
    • TA patience: 8.96
    • TA willingness to help: 8.72
  7. Samuel Klein Jr.
    • Clarity of TA explanations: 8.23
    • TA patience: 7.71
    • TA willingness to help: 8.04
  8. Overall course:
    • Overall course rigor and challenge: 8.11
    • Course organization and design: 8.6
    • Clear relationship to curriculum: 9.03
  9. Administration:
    • Administrative friendliness: 8.45
    • Administrative responsiveness: 8.35

Qualitative Evaluation:
For most of the class, month 5 was an improvement over the previous months in terms of recitations (compared to the Java course) and problem sets (compared to the Discrete Math course). According to the majority of the students, the lectures, notes, problem sets, recitations and text were a solid combination.

The students were asked to evaluate not only on the program content but also the faculty and staff with whom they interacted. The following summary is based on 22 student responses out of a class of 34.

Lectures (Shai Simonson):

As usual, Shai's lectures were right on target. The only point of complaint in this area was that the lectures should start no earlier than 10:00 a.m.

Recitations (Mark Dettinger):

This month recitations for the students on the whole were well organized. Although Mark's style of presention was less dynamic than Shai's, he did a good job of presenting material. He is very clear and his recitations provided a nice supplement to the lectures. The students liked his choice of recitation topics.

The recitations in this course were restructured to introduce the concept of \"advanced recitations\". The two advanced recitation sessions held were really enjoyed by the student, but more could have been even better. As one student commented, \"More advanced recitation topics were promised but not delivered.\"

Problem Sets:

The problem sets were much better than those in Discrete Math, but most of the students would have been preferred fewer and perhaps some easier problems.

Additionally, the students complained about problem set solutions and feedback not being available in time to apply it to the next problem set. To quote a particular student, \"I am disappointed with the aching slowness with which the evaluation of our problem sets is progressing.\"


As with problem sets, the students had thesame complaint about the un-timeliness in receiving corrected exams. Most students found the exams useful for self-assessment, but a few did not.


The students found the \"Introduction to Algorithms\" book by Cormen, Leiserson and Rivest to be great. In combination with the lecture notes, the text proved to be very helpful.

Relation to Computer Science:

The concept of algorithms is central to the CS curriculum. As one student commented \" Understanding how to make problems reduce to known algorithms and how to apply the algorithms that have already been written to your own code is central to being a good programmer.\"

Teaching Assistants (Mike,Dimitri, Rusty and Sam):

Compared to Shai and Mark, a few students found the TA's to be less useful this month. Rusty was still credited as a great addition to the staff along with Samuel Klein Jr.

System Administration:

There were not very many comments in this area.

Most helpful staff:

Shai and Mark stood out as the most helpful staff. As the students put it, \" Both were always around and very helpful.\"

Future changes to the course:

Corrected problem sets and exams to be given to the students in time for improvement and assessment.

Advanced recitations were a good idea but only a few were scheduled. We certainly need to continue to explore this idea.

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Site last updated: May 14, 2013
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