Reviews for professors for CMSC216

Professor Information Review
Larry Herman
Anonymous 05/07/2021
This man will make you hate computer science. He will also make you hate yourself and the entire university.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 05/07/2021
He's honestly a pretty good lecturer, except for the fact that he seems super against people asking questions. And sometimes I don't really feel like I understand a lot of concepts until I watch the lectures over again, but that might just be me. Like people said, his project descriptions can seem super dense and overwhelming, but they're pretty helpful and I found the projects here to be easier than 132 (since you're doing a lot of basic stuff, just in C). His grading is pretty ridiculous, the first exam was returned over a month later and many projects are still ungraded even though we're coming close to the P/F deadline. He did, however, grade the last exam in about a week, so I'll give him that. His online tests are pretty ridiculous because of the brutal multiple choice (each question have multiple answers and you have to choose all) that he claims is only graded harshly because that's how ELMS says it has to. The averages on all our exams have been around 68%, I think. He does come off as rude and condescending, probably due to his voice, but he's honestly a nice guy. He does have lots of annoying policies like no emails, limiting questions in lectures, only submit projects once, etc. though. If you have him, it's definitely going to be a challenging and annoying class/semester, but there are certainly far worse teachers here.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 04/29/2021
Larry is a great teacher. He teaches concepts well and gives very detailed explanations of why it's so. However the reason why this review is a 3 star is because of the exams. They are completely unfair and do not accurately test one's learning in this course. Many questions are multi select and test over obscure one off questions rather than the high level concepts that are very well explained. The most you will learn in this class is from the projects where you get to implement the ideas that are discussed in class and in discussion. This class could be great if the exams were a bit more fair. In my opinion if Larry dropped the lowest scoring test and raised the project weight, this class would be a 4 or 5 star.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 04/26/2021
The way Larry formats his online classes is very unpleasant. The class is time-consuming and unforgiving. His lectures are OK, very boring but they get the job done. He is not great at answering student questions, cutting students off often, so go to office hours for help. His projects are fair, just make sure to read every sentence of the wordy document very carefully. The problem is that exams are very unforgiving and weighted very heavily compared to projects in the class. He is a slow grader. If you want to do well, make sure you pour in 110% of your effort.
Larry Herman
Expecting a C
Anonymous 04/19/2021
OK lecturer but is highly pedantic and nitpicks projects/exams. Helps students as minimally as he possibly can in lectures and office hours, moreso in online than in person
Larry Herman
Expecting a B
abhimod 04/18/2021
The class can be difficult at times but if you start the projects 1-2 days after they are assigned you will be fine. Project descriptions are very long but reading every sentence is important if you want to get a good grade.
Larry Herman
Expecting a P
Anonymous 04/15/2021
Genuinely the worst professor I have ever had. His lectures are completely useless and boring to watch. The exams are completely unfair, with one small trivial question on each exam (minimal partial credit) corresponding to 3-5% of your ENTIRE grade. If I could give negative 5 stars, I certainly would. I would not recommend this class to anyone, even my worst enemy.
Aki Praveen
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 04/14/2021
ABSOLUTE G. He spent so much time with me and helped me get a good grade on the class. Deserves 10 Llamas as a prize for being the GOAT.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 04/05/2021
I had him this semester and was nervous but he turned out to be a really good teacher. The class is just time consuming, but he teaches the material really well because everything on the exams and projects is always covered in a clear and straightforward way in the lectures. I loved his lectures. His lectures waste 0 time and are super direct and packed with material (useful in online learning where you can just note everything he says, and use that note sheet as most of your studying). He is always very clear in his lectures to its easy to follow along. He gives tons of resources to prepare for exams (practice exams, homework and worksheets which are usually optional) and he really seems like he wants us to do well.
Arun Dhingra
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 02/12/2021
Best TA ever. Best teaching, best help, and deadass a G.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 02/11/2021
Actually the GOAT! I could see how some other people don't like him because he's very pedantic, especially with projects. However, because he's very exact, you know exactly what to do and there's "what if's" to worry about. Also, he provides tons of study material that, if you do and understand them, you will get at least a B on the exam. When taking him, the amount of work you put in correlates to the grade you receive.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 01/11/2021
Disclaimer: I took these courses in 2018. I'm a senior now. Herman was pretty much the epitome of a hard but fair professor. He can come off as kind of a dick and he certainly has his quirks but he is by far the fairest professor I've had in CS. His exams are pretty much identical to the practice exams and there are generally little to no trick questions involved. His project descriptions are extremely thorough and well written, which any upper classman would know is a rarity in this department. I don't know how he handled the transition to online but as an in-person professor he's my absolute favorite. If you're willing to put in the work for his class, you will do good.
Ilchul Yoon
Expecting a B
Anonymous 01/04/2021
Although Yoon is a decent (in-person) lecturer, once the pandemic started his exams were insanely difficult, with barely any time and literally nothing we learned on it. Half of the class would fail these disastrously bad exams. Also, projects were vague and confusing, and the lectures online were scratchy, boring, and equally confusing. DO NOT TAKE.
Ilchul Yoon
Anonymous 01/03/2021
As a senior, who is doing a double major with engineering, I say that he is the worst professor that I have had at UMD. He rambles and does not connect with students at all. If you learn on your own, you will have no problem with him because you would have already taught yourself everything that you need to know. It is unfortunate to have professors like this who you technically pay to teach you. However, learning on your own is an essential skill in Comp Sci anyways. Stay away if you can.
Larry Herman
hermanhater 12/31/2020
HES THE WORST, If you have him game over
Larry Herman
Expecting a B-
Anonymous 12/29/2020
Not a great choice, slow grader, everything gets graded the last second. Everything is self-taught which has a change on grades. If you know everything pick him, otherwise stay away
Ilchul Yoon
Expecting a B+
Anonymous 12/22/2020
I took this course in Spring 2020. Cons: - Lectures are quite boring, and once we went online they became significantly longer. - Exam content was completely unlike the practice, ESPECIALLY for the final. Practice material given was utterly insufficient in terms of relevance.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/19/2020
went to his office hours once because larry wasn't available, and was rude lol. terrible lecturer idk how any of his students learn anything. thank god larry did most of the course management this semester.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/19/2020
I am so torn. I have come to really like Larry over the past two semesters with him (216 and 132), but I will admit he is 100% not for everyone. His project descriptions are legendary, and the projects were delightfully challenging. His exams can be difficult, but he'll curve accordingly. I think he is understanding of students when the students' sentiment is widespread. The discussion work is graded for participation which is such a nice change. He's quirky, and weird, but works really hard for his students. I see why he gets the bad rep (I did not like him at first, even completely after 132), but I personally have come to like him.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 12/15/2020
shut the fuck up about his stutter. if you think a stutter makes a class hard to teach, how about you cut off your tongue and see how hard it is to ask questions. he goes slow in lectures, yes, but he's not unprepared. I had this class online so it was co-taught with Herman, and yes, if you want a "better instructor" in terms of quantity of content and breadth of content covered go for Herman. But Shankar knows his stuff when it comes to explaining concepts in memory with diagrams. he is thorough in his lectures, but yes, slow, and perhaps, for you folk who can't sit down and listen, you will "lose interest quickly". at times, he might not fully divulge the nuances for concepts that require more exposition, or detail verbally. he will not explain the slides for a lecture, or clarify them in the clearest way (in my case, it was with: register spilling, clarifying the functions of registers, and the instructions to load values into registers). That being said, the way the course is designed itself is very good. the homeworks, worksheets, and projects are your ticket to a good grade in this class. The lectures, resources, and textbook correspond to a good majority of the content, and you will not have to fuss to find more content to learn from if you pay careful attention to the content given.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting a C-
Anonymous 12/10/2020
Taught in joint with L. Herman. Although I feel horrible saying this, he is very hard to listen to (stutter). He seems like he really cares about students, but his lectures were boring. He's always willing to take questions, unlike Herman, and always willing to take the time needed to answer them. The only interaction I had with him was during one office hours session, were he was quick to find the issue and resolve my problem. Probably would avoid him if possible, but take him over Herman.
Larry Herman
Expecting a C-
Anonymous 12/10/2020
Tought in joint with Shankar. He's a knowledgeable guy as a CS teacher, but he never let students ask questions, and his lectures were so boring. There were a LOT of projects, and the PDF descriptions seemed as if he went out of his way to make them hard to interpret. The exams were hard, but I suspect that's standard across CMSC216 sections. Wouldn't recommend him to anyone. PS, Start your projects early. It often took students 1-2 days just to understand what the project was asking for.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B+
Anonymous 12/10/2020
He is the textbook definition of a lecturer that does it because they have to and not because they like it. If he does enjoy his job it is not reflected at all in his lectures. He frequently interrupted his students when they tried to ask simple questions and told them instead to go to office hours (which I was told were super busy). There were times where the questions were too in-depth for him to answer quickly, but often times he didn't give students a chance to ask the question. You can do well in this course, and if it was in person I feel like it would be a better experience, but he was almost harming accomodation for students rather than helping by restricting lectures to certain sections earlier in the semester and only lecturing once a day instead of 3 times a day like he was supposed to, which meant that if you had class during the time that he decided to hold lecture, you had to then accomodate another 75 minutes out of the day to watch his lecture. There are better lecturers than him.
A.U. Shankar
Anonymous 11/23/2020
Took his class when it was co-taught by Herman. He is, in my opinion, a far better lecturer than Herman IF you can pay attention through his stuttering. It was definitely more interesting and easy to understand the concepts Shankar taught. Again, this is if you can pay attention through the stuttering. I can't really speak about his exams or quizzes though b/c I'm pretty sure they were Herman's, at least for my year.
Larry Herman
Anonymous 11/18/2020
Honestly, Herman is probably the worst professor I've ever had. He's not a bad lecturer but he's not great either, he shuts down students asking questions and has such a rigid structure to lectures is pretty annoying. Also the way he's formatted the class virtually is kinda annoying too, from requiring a password to access any files to how office hours work. I do feel like he'd be a better professor with an in person class but he hasn't made a good transition to online classes and expects too much out of students.
Larry Herman
Anonymous 11/18/2020
Honestly, Herman is probably the worst professor I've ever had. He's not a bad lecturer but he's not great either, he shuts down students asking questions and has such a rigid structure to lectures is pretty annoying. Also the way he's formatted the class virtually is kinda annoying too, from requiring a password to access any files to how office hours work. I do feel like he'd be a better professor with an in person class but he hasn't made a good transition to online classes and expects too much out of students.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 11/16/2020
Truly the worst professor I've had at UMD.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B-
Anonymous 11/16/2020
The worst professor I've had at UMD so far.
Larry Herman
Anonymous 11/09/2020
He does try to make lecture engaging, albeit not very successfully. It is possible to do well in this class, but be prepared to spend an obscene amount of time studying and reading from the textbook. He is not accommodating despite having an online semester and feels that only his class matters.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting a B
Anonymous 10/29/2020
Nice guy, much nicer than Herman. Knows the course material very well and is response to students. Unfortunately, he has a stutter that makes his lectures very hard to understand.
Larry Herman
Anonymous 10/27/2020
This professor has been THE LEAST accomodating professor during this pandemic. He assumes so much about his students. He assumes that if you aren't on top of everything 24/7, then you don't care about the class and you don't care about your grade. Although the university is telling their professors to be accommodating, his policies are still incredibly strict. He's also the most condescending professor I've ever had. Don't take a class with him if you value your mental health.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 09/15/2020
I love herman. He is arguably the best lecturer we have in the CS dept
Ilchul Yoon
Expecting an A-
kjmehta 05/17/2020
Sometimes hard to keep up with during lectures, but he knows his stuff
Ilchul Yoon
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 05/16/2020
Yoon is a good professor for the material he teaches. I see that he has taught CMSC411 in the past, which does not surprise me. Yoon likes to attack the details of memory and other minutiae of the work done in the class. This is a good thing for those who can get a conceptual grasp of the content, but for those who are just here to code, it will be considerably difficult. Many students took to watching Nelson's lectures from previous semesters after the move to online because Yoon's lecture style proved too difficult to keep up with for some without being able to ask questions as they came to mind. Taking the time to understand Yoon's lecture style did prove very useful and I felt I learned quite a bit from the course overall. Yoon's exams are tricky for similar reasons. Unlike Nelson, who will usually make his exams based around high-level understanding with code, a lot of Yoon's questions felt like tricks. There was a "catch" of some description in almost every coding question across all three exams, which can be annoying if one detail causes you to lose many points. Yoon (and moreso Shankar) unfortunately did not do the best job of transitioning to the online environment after COVID-19 began making its rounds. I think they were unprepared for the scope of what they had to transition to, and as the semester progressed both got fairly crass. I don't hold this against Yoon too much, however, because the transition was hard for everyone. Overall, I'd recommend Yoon if Nelson is not teaching the course. You can always fall back on Nelson's material if Yoon's style does not make sense to you. Be prepared for tricky exams, but if you understand the low-level implementation of many different features in C, you should be able to score at minimum a B in the course.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/03/2020
Horrible lecturer. He is very hard to listen to and doesn't seem prepared for lectures. I ended up going to a different section's lecture for the class because I couldn't focus on him.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting an A+
jschne55 04/10/2020
Lectures were basically useless because of the stuttering and volume, ended up just going to Larry's lectures. Definitely knows his stuff, just can't teach it very well.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 04/10/2020
Great lecturer, has very reasonable exams and practice material, and INCREDIBLY CLEAR project descriptions.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 01/10/2020
Took him in Summer 2019. The best!!! Such positive energy and lighthearted jokes to break up the content :) Loved the way he taught the class, so now I'm about to TA for the first time for 216 (not for Nelson tho :(((( )
Larry Herman
Expecting a B-
Anonymous 01/09/2020
Larry can be very monotonous, which may make it tough for people to pay attention, but he does try to make 216 easy to understand. He may seem unapproachable but if you go to his office hours, you will find out that he is a pretty nice guy. Overall, I would say he's not great, but good.
Larry Herman
Expecting a W
Anonymous 12/21/2019
I had him before for 132 and I hated him. I only picked him again for 216 because he was better than Shankar. Herman is completely boring once again and makes me fall asleep with his monotone voice. So I would have to go home and review his powerpoints and examples (since he doesn't record nor allow phones/laptops in class), which are extremely vague. I even read the textbook for goodness sake and was still confused in a class because there is so much information in the textbook that I don't know what he wants us to know for class. By far the worse lecturer I've had.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/18/2019
Solid lecturer. Awkward and strict about things but good guy. Attendance is important. He repeats key things in lectures a lot. Slides are kinda incomplete.
Larry Herman
Anonymous 12/18/2019
Herman may seem unapproachable, but if you understand and like his odd sense of humor then you'll have an easier time approaching him. He does talk very fast, but if he repeats something he says it's probably very important. His slides are super detailed, but reading the books and going to office hours will help fill in the gaps. I repeat, go to office hours, because you're going to need all the help you can get for his projects. The projects are tough but the descriptions are very detailed, so read those before you even touch your keyboard. As for his exams, you either know the answer or you don't, since you can't really look at one part of the exam to help you answer another part. And yes, Herman does have laser vision and will see through the tables to find you on your cellphone, so use your phone at your own risk. All in all, this class is challenging and Herman does a good job of explaining it. As a bonus, he gave out chocolate to random people for several lectures in a row. Additionally, he made his Halloween lecture about zombies, so if you want to learn more take him in the fall when lecture falls on Halloween.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B-
Anonymous 12/18/2019
Larry is awesome, and underrated as hell. Never had a better professor than him. Yeah, he doesn’t let you use electronics, and yeah, he doesn't let you sit in the very back. Who cares? That’s to your benefit. Larry is the best teacher I’ve had at this school. Nobody can explain concepts like him. He just makes everything make sense. His assignment descriptions are fantastic. Long, yes. But the few extra minutes it takes to read could save you hours of work compared to professors who don’t really make it clear what they want. He provides practice exams that include every single topic that could possibly be on the exam, so if there’s anything you don’t know, you now know that you should study it. Compare it to, say, Jason, whose practice exams inevitably leave something off that appeared on the real exam, and include something that isn’t on the exam, wasting everyone’s time. The point of the practice exam is to let me know what I don’t know! I don’t know that I don’t know something unless there’s a question asking me about it! Larry is underrated. The GOAT, if you ask me.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 12/17/2019
Stutters, which makes his lectures impossible to follow. You're better off reading the slides or just showing up to Herman's lecture.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/12/2019
He is a fun and knowledgeable instructor. He tries to make jokes in class and explain things in an interesting way. He might be boring and strict on administrative stuff, but his teaching is beyond doubt fantastic.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/02/2019
Extremely harsh and unreasonable teacher. His curriculum doesn't make sense and makes time management extremely difficult. He assigns project due dates the day after exams and breaks. He focuses more on people not emailing him and not sitting in the back of the class more than he teaches. Very bland and hard to understand lecturer.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting a B+
Anonymous 11/27/2019
He's Nelson... enough said
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/17/2019
Really good lecturer. Some of his antics can be annoying, and his insistence that students sit close to the front of the lecture hall and not use electronic devices and that contact with TAs or instructors must be done in person were all silly or somewhat annoying, but otherwise he's great at explaining the material and his project descriptions are very clear, outlining every single edge case for students so that there isn't much of a need for a forum like Piazza. You'll have a very good understanding of the material by the end of semester. Would definitely recommend.
Austin Starnes
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 10/29/2019
Best dude ever
Nelson Padua-Perez
Anonymous 10/24/2019
Amazing amazing amazing. Best CS professor in the department honestly. He cares so much about his students, actually understands that we might be going through stuff and offers help. He cares. If you tell me your favorite professor is Fawzi, then I'll know you never experienced having Nelson. Sure, the class is hard. But Nelson gives you a really strong foundation, and motivates you to do the comp sci major.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 10/20/2019
He is very nice if you talk to him, but if you want to understand the material I would recommend either looking for another teacher or preparing to rely heavily on the textbook.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 05/26/2019
Great exams/projects, seems to care about his students. I found myself distracted in lecture a bit by his lecture style, since he tends to go back and forth between topics. Because of this, I think Pedram might be better at conveying the information we needed to learn
Michael Donahue
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 05/24/2019
He is a good TA. He gives you pointers and hints to get you to the answer on your own, which really helps you understand the problem.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/20/2019
He is really great at engaging the majority of students but I tended to find his jokes to be childish and distracting. I didn't always feel welcome in his lectures. He had a routine where he would repeatedly pretend to interrupt students while they asked a question, and I found this to be disrespectful. Well-intentioned but lacking execution. His exams and grading are fair, and he gave a decent curve.
Michael Donahue
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 05/15/2019
He's a good TA. Very respectful and willing to help out and answer any questions, along with providing tips and tricks based off his own experiences.
Michael Donahue
Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/14/2019
He's alright. Nothing special.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Anonymous 05/12/2019
Great professor. I was lucky enough to have him for both CMSC132 and CMSC216. Straightforward exams, great sense of humor. Encourages the making of memes on Piazza. Very approachable
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting a B+
Anonymous 01/24/2019
Funny guy who will engage you with his demeanor and slides. If you have been doing well in 131 and 132 you should expect to do well as long as you put in the work for projects.
Larry Herman
Expecting a D
Anonymous 01/04/2019
I had him for both 216 and 132. He's one of the best lecturers ever, but the classes are HARD. You're going to have to study a lot in order to do well in the class. For reference, I didn't pass 216 even while working a lot. Projects are only public test and secret test based, no release tests. Exams are fair, make sure you study from the practice exams and HWs often in order to do well.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/13/2018
Larry is a solid lecturer. He is tough but extremely fair when it comes to grading.
Pedram Sadeghian
Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/11/2018
Very boring. Does not engage the class very well. His voice has a habit of putting half the class to sleep and his lectures do not keep your attention. He goes over concepts pretty well, and his diagrams/drawings in class are helpful at times. When he makes his own exams, he is very pedantic about specific concepts, which is guaranteed to trip up most students, including those who have a strong grasp of computer science.
Pedram Sadeghian
Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/10/2018
I had Pedram for 216 and for 132. I think Pedram is a great lecturer and does a good job of explaining concepts. He tries to spend most of his time going over live coding examples as opposed to just reading off of the slides. For 216, Pedram co-taught with Herman so we had Herman's exams and projects. If Pedram is co-teaching definintely take him. However, if Pedram is not co-teaching like he was for my 132 class, his exams are definitely way more difficult, but not impossible. I recommend him!
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/21/2018
Herman is a great instructor. Sure, his policies initially can seem pedantic, but they are intended to help you learn. Herman not only knows his CS stuff very well, he also knows how to run a class so that the students learn the material effectively. He doesn't want you to use your electronics during lecture because research has shown that it impedes your learning, and from my personal experience, I found that I have been able to focus in lecture a lot better, and have followed this policy in my other classes. Additionally, he wants students to sit in the front and actively participate and answer questions because it actually helps you learn the material better. Everything he does is for a reason, and people who criticize him for these policies is not understanding the point of what he's trying do. In regards to his teaching style, I personally think he's a funny dude, and he does a really good job at explaining the material comprehensively and thoroughly. There are worksheets in discussion that you really should do, and he provides really comprehensive project guides that pretty much give you all the information you could ever need. His administrative procedures are very refined, so you should have all the information you need about that. His tests are also very fair; they follow a similar format to his practice exams but sometimes with some curveball questions, but you should be capable of answering those. If you want to succeed in his class, just pay attention in lecture, do his discussion worksheets, and start projects early. He's a great instructor, and you'll definitely get a thorough understanding of the material if you take him. Plus he's such a meme.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/19/2018
people who complain about his no phone or laptop policy should just try to take a different professor, i mean how hard is it to spend 50 -75 mins not using your phone? i personally like this policy as it helps me focus during class better. he can be strict at times, but he is overall a nice and funny guy. his lectures can get boring but that's just because the material is dry at times. his tests are EXTREMELY fair, as they are exactly like the practice exams. the projects (this semester at least) heavily relied on your ability to test your own program which is a practically skill in an actual job, but may seem annoying when doing actual projects. overall, i recommend herman for 216
Shyam Pujara
Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/15/2018
definitely recommend this TA
A.U. Shankar
Expecting a B
Anonymous 04/11/2018
Shankar is a nice guy if you were to ever speak with him. However as a professor i would avoid completely. The class relied heavily on a generous curve and the entire semester was a struggle to stay afloat. Good luck if you have him
Larry Herman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 02/15/2018
He makes silly jokes, feels very passionately about very specific things (like sitting in the frontest row possible), but overall he's a good instructor. His project descriptions are super clear and that's fantastic.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting an A
Anonymous 01/23/2018
One of the worst lecturers I have had so far. He has a stutter and doesn't communicate material well. Be prepared to teach yourself everything. His PowerPoints are incoherent and you would be better off using Wikipedia or a textbook as a resource. He does curve to compensate for the lower averages, however if you really want to learn something I would suggest taking another teacher.
Larry Herman
Expecting a D+
Anonymous 01/02/2018
Overall he's a pretty good professor that knows the material, however that being said the way he does tests is completely arbitrary with one having to know some minute detail that he covered for a brief time during his monotonous lectures. His projects are actually extremely well done and are very straightforward with him having a project description for each several pages long. But even if you pass all of the projects 100%, while it should give you insight into his testing methods, it does not. Herman I'd also completely unapproachable and hates being bothered for anything other than administrative reasons (which he will reiterate almost every lecture, yes really). If you had to choose between Herman and another teacher, Herman is actually a solid choice but be wary that his tests while not overtly difficult, are extremely roundabout and arbitrary.
Larry Herman
Expecting a D+
thunderd568 12/23/2017
Nice guy but as a teacher, very ineffective. He's too by the book, doesn't explain things in a conceptual way but instead the technical way. He made CMSC 216 a painful experience for me. Tried to befriend him and he wasn't having it. I followed his advice on how I could be successful in his class and I missed the curve by half a point... He likes to cite studies that were done that show how to improve students learning and I followed every single one of them. I sat in the front row, I got to know him on a first name basis, I asked questions (and sometimes he would answer in a condescending way), and participated as much as I could with his worksheets. Find a better option.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 12/14/2017
Gives ample resources to study with (lengthy practice exams before every exam and the final) along with detailed solution guides. I don't think anybody could possibly write better project descriptions. They can be upwards of 10 pages long, and cover literally everything you could want to know about how to write it. I have never had any confusion in terms of not knowing how to handle a certain case in a project due to this. Exams aren't difficult if you study, but you will certainly have to know some small little details for each exam if you want to get an A or above on them. Definitely recommend Herman for 132/216/anything else he's teaching
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/30/2017
Full disclosure, I was initially biased against Herman at the start of the semester due to a few exchanges I perceived as callous and unnecessarily severe. As a few other reviewers have said, he can come off as unapproachable and abrasive. But since taking his class, it's obvious that he is a good professor that puts a lot of effort into teaching. If you pay attention in lecture, take notes, and do the readings, you will do great. Herman simply demands that you put effort into the course to get a good grade. His exams are fair if you've been taking notes and doing the readings, and projects are a non-issue if you start them early enough, and pay attention in discussion when debugging tools are covered. Essentially, attend class as expected, learn, do the readings, and you'll do fine and learn a great deal in the process. If that much effort is too much, then take another professor who may have lower standards.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/21/2017
If someone actually gives herman a 1/5, they are in for a rude awakening as the program continues. Herman is a strong lecturer if a little dry, and has very clear project descriptions. His exams are fair and do not try to trick you, if you do well on the projects and pay attention in class you will have little trouble with them. Likely one of the best professors throughout the CS program as a whole.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 11/19/2017
I've found Larry to be fairly entertaining and his lectures are useful. His project descriptions are extremely in-depth, so you have to read a lot, but I think that makes them fantastic. I think his exams and quizzes are fair once you start to figure him out and what he's looking for you to know. It seems like people either love him or hate him, but I love him.
A.U. Shankar
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 11/19/2017
Stutters. Slow lectures. Exams are exactly the same as Herman's but the coding problems are much harder. Do not take.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
AnnieS 12/13/2016
Very un-engaging lecturer. Lots of self-studying required. Tests and quizzes are nit-picky and unexpectedly difficult, and grading can be inconsistent and unfair at times. Projects are too time-consuming, changed at the last minute a lot of the times, and graded in a way so as to maximize the points you lose. Doesn't grade in a timely manner at all. Focuses too much on just insisting everyone stick to his banal policies and strict expectations. Unapproachable and abrasive at times.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B-
Anonymous 12/13/2016
DO NOT TAKE THIS MAN. Disclaimer: I understand that many like his style; he's very clear on course expectations, covers almost all content in class, and is a good programmer, conveying concepts clearly and effectively. STILL: He's boring. Beyond monotonous and un-engaging. I know that sounds like a me problem, but it's nigh impossible to focus on him for the whole 90-ish minutes, and so many times the tested material is in the small details of what he says, or the tools/materials he explains briefly - and then you find yourself playing catchup. Also - always changing project requirements, sometimes to the last day or so. He jokes that this is the only class you should worry about in your semester, but it's painfully true - projects are a pain in the ass if you don't start right away and know what you're doing each time. Tests are a little unfair - practice material either isn't sufficient or doesn't reflect the difficulty of quizzes, etc. Unapproachable AF. Lots of self-studying is required despite his teaching style. This semester they added a lot of material, and so he just kind of charged onwards, covering all these complex threading, library function, etc. concepts and making them a significant portion of the final. Don't expect any grade-related leniency, or leniency in general beyond one excused absence.
Larry Herman
Expecting a C
thunderd568 12/08/2016
Herman is NOT my kind of professor. He is too by the book, uptight and relies on you to learn the material by reading a text book (again not my style). Personality wise he is a great guy. I would like to work WITH him some day but I have no intentions of taking him for a CS course again. His projects were fairly simple. I finished them well before they were due all the time, he always has the best TA's as well. His quizzes and exams are designed to trick you (a methodology I do not advocate) and his lectures tend to be a little dry. He uses the slides like a script. I am relying heavily on the curve just to make it out of his class. Take that for what it's worth.
Alan Sussman
Expecting a B
student8 04/26/2016
I'm giving Sussman 5 stars because honestly, he's one of the better professors in comparison to the other CS professors in this department. It is hard to pay attention in lecture because he doesn't make things very interesting (although, an intro computer science course will never be that interesting). However, he for sure knows what he's talking about, and he definitely explains things thoroughly. Just try to get enough sleep and stay focused during lecture so you can learn because he does say good things. He really does care about his students. He is very nice during office hours and will respond to your concerns.
Larry Herman
Expecting an A-
Bucket_hats 12/21/2015
He's awesome, but his timing of assignments often left the class scrambling to get things done. If you can figure out how he runs his class and writes his tests, then you're good. Work hard and you'll do fine
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/22/2015
Nelson is a wonderfully funny professor who really values his students. I would certainly recommend that you take him, if possible, because he makes his classes very enjoyable. His exams can be fairly tricky, but if you study well you will be fine.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Anonymous 05/19/2015
In my opinion, Nelson is a solid CS professor. I took 216 with him, and he made it a point to ensure us that it wasn't a weeder course. Once you get around the accent, he's great at explaining the topics at hand. He keeps his lectures fairly lighthearted and relaxed, and he also has a sense of humor. He, along with his TAs, are stationed on Piazza to help students with any problems or concerns, and this is very convenient and helpful. Projects take longer to complete than those in 131 and 132, and starting early is essential. Quizzes and Exams are fair, and he provides a test bank from previous semesters. The final was challenging, so be prepared. Regarding the cons of a class with Nelson - he can be very annoying. The amount of times he will stop the lecture just to call out a student fooling around is just unnecessary and it also distracts everyone in the class. His humor also doesn't appeal to everyone. In addition, be prepared for your inbox to be flooded with his email updates on the course material. I once remember receiving six emails in a 15 minute span from him alone. Overall, he's a great CS prof, and the only professor I would take over him is Fawzi Emad.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/15/2015
Here's the thing with Nelson: he's a great guy and fun to be around, but sometimes that gets in the way of his teaching. He jokes a lot, which makes lecture interesting, but I feel as if I could've gotten a lot more out of 216 with someone else. His projects and quizzes are fair. The tests are fair too, although he likes to test very nit-picky, minor details that any normal person would just test out in a dummy program rather than memorize.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/04/2015
I think he is an amazing professor. He is a pretty decent lecturer, but I think what makes him stand out is how receptive he is to student concerns. Every decision he makes is meant to help us succeed and have a better understanding of the material.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/09/2014
He's a pretty good professor. His lectures are extremely boring and he sticks unfunny jokes in them, but all of the slides and recordings of his lectures were available online. I needed to start my projects right away because the last half of them were given back-to-back with little time to work on them and I couldn't get any help from TAs. If enough students were confused about some part of an assignment, he would explain it in detail during lectures, but individualized assistance was hard to find. He never gave any of the pop quizzes he threatened to give, but if he says that something will be on a test or quiz, it will be.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting a B
watergems 08/23/2014
Nelson's class was very disappointing. The first half was challenging and interesting. The second half died for me. The projects were super simplistic but overly complicated with external obfuscation/unclear specification. He seemed to claim this was some kind of test of character or professional challenge. But it just made the last 1/3 of the course into a technically inadequate, stressful game. He is funny but that's not why I'm in school. Nor am I in school to be stressed and have my character tested. There were way too many cheaters, collaborators and brown-nosers who had their strategies for getting their projects done, and they really benefitted in the second half of the course during the b.s. projects. The students who were doing their own work were then at a disadvantage. Meanwhile the technical quality of the material covered during that last 1/3 was very low. i'd rather have a less engaging, entertaining teacher and get a good education throughout the entire class.
Nelson Padua-Perez
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 04/29/2014
Great professor , absolutely hilarious. Very fair in terms of exams , quizzes , and projects. You can find everything in his lectureExamples if you are confused on any topic. Would highly recommend, best teacher i've so far in CS.
Neil Spring
Expecting a C
Anonymous 11/21/2013
I don't know about others. But I would definitely not recommend him to my friends. He teaches really fast and he just seems to be too smart to explain much things. May 216 is a very hard class but honestly I don't think Neil Spring did a good job lecturing. I got both A's in CMSC131 and CMSC132; but I found following Neil Spring in lecture very hard. I might do better in other professor's class. Reading books at home or going to TA's are a lot more helpful than sitting in his lecture and feeling awful for not following. The worst part is, I don't even know what is it that I don't understand. Challenge yourself if you think you are a pretty smart guy and have experience with C and linux before. Good luck!
Larry Herman
Expecting an A
Turing 07/24/2013
Two semesters ago I took CMSC 132 with Larry Herman. I hated it. Every word that came out of his mouth filled me with aggravation and contempt. I thought he was an egotistical, straight edged jerk not to mention being completely boring and seemingly condescending to students. I was dreading the previous semester knowing that he was the only teacher for CMSC 216. As every other reviewer has mentioned he does in fact take attendance, force people to sit in the front, prohibit electronic devices during lecture, etc. He will also ask the trickiest, exception-to-the-rule questions on tests that are generally the difference between an A and a B. Some of the projects can also take a pretty good amount of time and probably average to about 20 hours or so but can be done in a lot less time with good planning/understanding. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, he tends to not include some of the key details on his slides so you will not be able to get a lot of the practical information unless you are regularly attending lecture even though he says that the “lecture notes will be posted on line so you don’t need to take notes” which most students mistakenly interpret as “you don’t need to come to class”. Yet as the semester went on I slowly came to the realization that he was actually doing almost all of these things to the benefit of the students. As was noted in a reviewer below me noted, the no-electronic policy forces you to pay attention with the exception of an occasional text. Preventing students from sitting in the back gets them closer to the material and allows him to police for devices better. His stringency on the honesty policy is annoying on face value, but definitely one of the most annoying things are when people who have no understanding of material get credit for things other people came up with, so his strictness could be out of respect for the students that are actually doing their own work. His attendance taking is also not in the grading policy, so lack of attendance will not directly affect your grade. He claims to use it simply as a statistical study on the grades earned versus attendance, but I also suspect that he uses it for curving. For example, he will be much more likely to curve up a grade from a B+ to at least and A- if he sees that they have attended almost every lecture. Almost any time a good portion of the class is in jeopardy of missing the project deadline, he will extend it even though if the whole class wouldn’t have been remiss in their responsibilities as students and started even a few days earlier they would have been fine. He always assigns them with ample time in the first place. Ample. Also, early in the semester I discovered that I had a scheduling conflict with the final exam and he said that it wasn’t a problem and let me take it with three other people at a later date. I also missed a quiz and hadn’t notified him or the TA until the day of and he still allowed the zero to be replaced with the average of my other quiz grades. Concerning the lecture material, he is good. He is always well prepared and he always drills the important parts that you need to remember. Always. Drills. Knowing these drilled points should secure you a B in the class. To achieve an A in the class, Larry expects a mastery of the subject material. He expects an A to signify Excellence, unlike other classes where A stands for Average and anything below that stands for Stupid. Therefore, Larry is a great teacher. Anyone who argues otherwise is either too stupid to get the grade they want, or too arrogant to put in the work he requires. In short, if you are smart and willing to work, you will like him and you will do well. Or even if you don’t like him, you will at least respect him, and he will do the same for you. No question about it.
Larry Herman
Anonymous 05/21/2013
Despite what other reviews here say, I Larry Herman is one of the best teacher I've had in the CS major. It's fair to say that Larry can be strict and "by the book". He does forbid electronic devices during his lecture, doesn't allow students to sit in the back, and taking attendance at every lecture. If you're looking for a class to sleepwalk through, you aren't going to do well under Larry. He fully intends to educate you, whether you like it or not. For those who put in the effort, Larry will "go the extra mile" (his words) for making sure you understand the content. This desire to help students took the form of extensions on half of the projects this semester as well as providing extra TA office hours as project deadlines approached. Both in lecture and office hours, Larry could be extremely friendly (not to mention downright funny). Throughout his lectures, Larry also made it clear where he was going with the content. One never failed to understand why he was illustrating a topic. CMSC216 can be a difficult course. However, Larry makes it seem a lot easier. It was a pleasure to take the course with him. I wish he was teaching CMSC330 this fall.
Larry Herman
Anonymous 04/30/2013
STAY MILES AWAY FROM HIM. It doesn't matter how smart you are. You will get stupid points taken off because he is so nit-picky. He is the most unfair professor I have ever seen. He is so disorganized and doesn't keep his word about anything. He is the devil. I wish I could give him zero stars.
Neil Spring
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 01/01/2013
Neil is the best teacher I've had at UMD. I'll preface the rest of this by saying that I'm a pretty competent programmer, and pick up CS-related information quite quickly. For students like myself, Neil is the ideal professor. He really knows his stuff, and likes to do a lot of his teaching by working through code examples (he doesn't like the slideshows). For those that aren't as familiar with the course content, I can see Neil getting a bit confusing. His way of jumping around on the terminal and in vi might be a bit to take in at first, but I think it gets easier as the semester goes on.
Neil Spring
Expecting an A-
zaqu413 12/22/2012
Lecture: I honestly don't know how we are supposed to learn from a compsci lecture. Instead of paying attention during class I would just go through Dr. Spring's lecture file and if I was going at the same pace as him I could ask questions. Otherwise I would just figure things out by myself. It was nice that he allowed laptops during lecture. If you want to keep up with Spring during lecture you either have to be a genius, already know C really well, or study the lecture slides the night before (Note: Spring doesn't use lecture slides, but we had access to Nelson's lecture slides.) Discussion: Was somewhat useful I guess. We had about five quizzes and two unannounced graded lab projects. The quizzes and lab projects were fairly easy. If we didn't have a project or quiz the TA would go over something useful for the current project. Projects: Range of difficulty on the projects. We had six projects and the most difficult one was probably the Shell project (#5 for my class). I was lazy about testing and would fail a couple of secret tests on the projects. The secret tests are much more in depth than they were in CMSC132. Assembly: This class is on C and Assembly. I thought Assembly was fun and not that hard. If you are one of those people that rely on compilation and debugging to see if your code works you are going to have a hard time with assembly. My advice is just to go slow and keep very careful track of the registers. Debugging in Assembly is very hard, so your goal is to not have to debug. For our assembly project I wrote 2/3 files perfectly on the first try because I was VERY careful and coded very slowly. Tests: The first exam and the final were very hard multiple-multiple choice questions (like circle all correct answers, not just circle one letter). I think they made the 2nd and 3rd exam a little easier to account for the fact that the average on the first exam was like a 60%. They liked to make you code parts of the project on the exams to make sure you knew what you were doing on the project and that you weren't just guessing on the project. Last Remarks: I didn't treat this class with enough respect, which is why I got an A-. I didn't really study for the first exam and got a 63%. Studying before lecture (even just for 20 minutes) would have been very helpful.
Larry Herman
Expecting a B+
Don't_Take_Larry 12/08/2012
DO NO GLOSS OVER THIS REVIEW BECAUSE IT'S LONG! I've been right where a lot of you are right now. I'm sure there are a lot of you reading this review to see if "Mr. Herman" (don't call him Dr or Professor) isn't terrible and you can suffer through his class. The answer is no. Look there are some cases where Larry has shown some compassion to individuals, but I haven't witnessed it. I've had him for both 216 and 330 and both classes were made more difficult just for the sake of being difficult. Project descriptions will range from about 10 to 15 pages that is mostly filler that will take you over an hour to sift through. Somehow, the descriptions still end up being vague and don't bother emailing him or asking on piazza. Instead of just giving you a simple yes or no for what is usually a simple question, you will most likely be told to look somewhere in the project description that doesn't help you, or give you an answer that is completely vague. He's just a stereotypical awkward computer science professor that's liked by some stereotypically awkward computer science kids. Some of his exam questions will focus on a topic from lecture that was covered on a single slide for five minutes in lecture. All that most of us should be trying to take from these programming classes are better programming skills. We shouldn't give two s#!t$ about some of the obscure topics that his exams can and will likely focus on. Don't expect to get any grades back for months and you may not until the end of the semester. Most likely I'm going to get a high B in his 330 class and I got the same in his 216 class the previous semester. I'm not bashing him because I'm going to get a bad grade. I'm not even bashing him because he's a terrible lecturer. I'm writing this because he should never be put in charge of a class. He can lecture fine but he is terrible in regards to every other aspect of being a professor. Anyone that says otherwise is kidding themselves. To sum this up with a simple comment: DON'T TAKE HERMAN! WAIT A SEMESTER TO TAKE THE CLASS!
Larry Herman
Expecting a B-
ashivkum 11/12/2012
Larry Herman is a very kind-hearted guy, as much as you think otherwise. The poor guy shattered his vertebrae last semester (for those who had him for CMSC216 Spring2012) and missed the first 3 weeks of class. He might have been a bit cross last semester, but that would be due to all that stuff he was under (medicines, etc.). I tore my ACL this semester, and I have him for CMSC330, and he was more than understanding of my plight, allowing me generous extensions on almost all the assignments that I turned in. I hated to try to push the deadlines for him, but there were times I had to. However, he is a wonderful teacher, and will answer your questions during the lecture at a specific time. When you ask a question and he says "We'll get to that", mark my words, he will "get to that". And far from being a douche or a dick, as many comments here described, Herman is doing his job as a low-level CS Professor, being harsh on the kids who are in the weed-out classes, those who think Computer Science is something easy you can BS your way through. I highly recommend this professor for future classes.
Alan Sussman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 08/30/2012
216 is nobody's favorite class, from what I hear. I was dreading taking it, especially with an unfamiliar professor. But Sussman proved to be a very competent, engaging, thorough, and considerate instructor. Sure, it helped that I was already well-versed in the language the course is taught in (C) so that I didn't have to worry about syntax. Still, I believe Sussman covered things pretty well. He is not very energetic, which would be nice for a 75-minute class, but I've had much worse. What matters is that he is a nice, sincere, accommodating guy who tries his best to deliver a good lecture and leave nothing obscure. I doubt you can do better than Sussman for 216...unless Fawzi is teaching it! The first 2 exams, in my opinion, are perfectly fair. You can reasonably expect a A- or B+. The final was kinda hard and intentionally so; it was curved accordingly. I got an A+ in 216 (slightly higher than my grades for both 131 and 132)!
Alan Sussman
Expecting an A
autonym 05/24/2012
Dull voice, and comes off as a bit... insecure, but not quite snarky. He cares about his students, but wants them to take responsibility for their learning. By no means a creative lecturer. Don't expect him to do much more than read off the slides - going to class is not really necessary, just make sure you read and understand. I have few complaints about this course, and think that 90% of it is extremely clear and relevant to CS. It's worth noting that there were a few things that were not explicitly covered in class/slides that we were expected to know from the textbook (which is actually a very solid resource if you ever crack it open). For example, we needed to use exit() in a project before we went into process control and would have naturally encountered such system calls. Also, Assembly is tedious, but not devastatingly so. Overall, this is a very interesting course; as for the professor, it's probably not a huge factor in your experience. Do the projects early and be sure to understand what's going on.
Larry Herman
Anonymous 05/23/2012
Herman is a fine instructor. Not great, but far from the terrible instructor that some of the reviewers suggest he is. He did a good job teaching CMSC216 and didn't really rely on the slides. He doesn't get 5 stars because he's somewhat boring and can act a little harsh at times.
Alan Sussman
Expecting an A+
dfarias 05/21/2012
Sussman really isn't as bad as some of these reviews pose him as. It's a very difficult course designed as a "weed-out" and you really need to work hard and study continuously to do well. Sussman, however, gave very fair quizes, especially compared to the previous semester, with Keleher, and the quiz material was almost always predictable. He's a pretty decent lecturer, even if he does read off of the slides a lot. When you go to him for office hours, he really shows that he cares about you and will even stay longer than his hours if he's not done figuring out your issue. Overall, I felt he was a great teacher with fair assignments, especially for a non "lecture" professor.
Larry Herman
NotAnonymous 05/03/2012
I had him last year for a class and did poorly, and back then I would have given him one or two stars.. this semester though, he seems to have improved a lot. He definitely intelligent, and knows the coursework and material really well. He often asks questions and encourages students to participate, and his lectures are a lot more entertaining now than they were back then. However, he can be dickish and may be hard to approach, but he's far from the "useless lecher" that the other reviews make him out to be. Things to remember: 1) if you go in there expecting to hate the class because he's cocky, monotone, etc, you've pretty much just made a self-fulfilling prophecy. 2) he's not the "best teacher ever", but he's really far from the worst. 3) Call him MISTER Herman. He is not a professor, and he is not a doctor. He gets surprisingly touchy about this.
Peter Keleher
Anonymous 02/25/2012
Teaches reasonably on the current subjects but makes quizzes ridiculously difficult. Instead of putting the topics we've covered and practiced on the quizzes, he not only puts the most recent material but also the most abstract and picky questions. Projects were very difficult like any other teacher in 216. Very full of himself and difficult to approach. If you read all of the readings yourself and start the projects early, it's a manageable class.
Jandelyn Plane
Expecting an A
Anonymous 01/26/2012
I thought that Jan was a good professor who did an excellent job explaining confusing concepts in Lecture. All lecture slides are available online, and she also posts many coding examples that make life a lot easier when it comes to doing the projects and studying for the exams. In office hours she is friendly and willing to help. The class definitely is a lot of work, but just avoid procrastinating and you should do fine. For many of the projects extra credit is offered if you pass all of the public tests by a certain day, so definitely start early and take advantage of this option. There were also office hours from 10-6 every weekday, so if you are stuck on project just go to the TAs and they will usually clear up the problem for you.
Jandelyn Plane
Anonymous 01/23/2012
Jan is a very nice and knowledgeable professor. Because of the nature of the course, she has to cover a lot of material in a short amount of time so blanking out for even a minute will leave you lost for the rest of lecture. She's not one to care if you're messing around on the internet during lecture (as long as you're not disruptive to the rest of the class) but I highly suggest you pay attention. One of the most efficient ways to study for this class is to attend and understand the lectures - and this is only a quarter of the work. This class is curved around an average of 75, despite what she might say about only ever curving 2-3% ... this is a lie. Quizzes - She says "you are always to expect a quiz in discussion" but she really only gives them about once a week or every 10 days. The topics are never announced but you can bet that it will be on slides covered about 2-3 lectures ago. If you use those topics as a guide and prod around, Jan can't lie, so I suggest you straight up ask her if, say the quiz will have 'Assembly' coding on it. If she says 'maybe', or does a slight nod, it's probably a yes. Use your best judgement. Labs - you can tell that no one put any effort into these as my labs were titled with the previous semester with the wrong directory name. We spend the first third of the class trying to locate the file, the 2nd third trying to figure out what the directions were asking and the rest trying to follow the confusing instructions. Put out your best effort and hopefully your grader isn't a dick and gives you a 2/2. Highly suggest consulting the people around you. Projects - start early. Try to talk to Jan/TA(/friends). Use Piazza. They are hard and you never know what the Secret Tests are looking for. If you think you're done, you're not done yet. Exams/Final - You'll be able to pick up clues on what's to be test in lecture and if your TA is nice, in discussion. Give yourself code to write and run them on your computer before you have to spit it out on paper. If you've had to do it on a project, expect to do a simplified and different version on an exam/final. TA - possibly one of the worst TAs I've ever had. Thought he was too smart for anyone else and just sat in the front of the class not answering any questions. Complained about now being paid enough ... -__- Overall, if you're not a CS genius, work your ass off if you expect to even pass.
Jandelyn Plane
bigbabby 12/20/2011
Alright, so this class is gonna suck, regardless of who you chose for 216. 216 is a fast-paced course by nature and on the way you'll likely be learning two new languages - C and assembly. If you barely passed 131/132 or had trouble on some of the assignments I HIGHLY recommend you work on projects early. These are not the kinds of projects you just sit down and burn through in a few hours like in 132, and I took the honors version. Anyways, Plane is a decent 216 professor, she uses the same slides as all of the other professors use and she remains fairly engaging at 9 in the morning, so that's good. She does a good deal of coding examples in lecture which helps you understand topics. I would recommend you go to lecture and work a bit on your projects while she teaches, and pay attention during the more important bits of the lecture. There are six projects in this class, each with about two weeks to do. The spec for each one is drawn out and boring to read, but make sure you do, as there are a lot of hidden tricks and requirements hidden in the text. Gone are the days of private tests - 10 percent of your grade is public tests, and 75 is secret tests. You don't get to see what your project grade is when you submit - you wait a week and you get a magic score. Again, start these early. If you finish early, great, you can relax for a week and you are prepared for the quizzes. Again, this is NOT like 132. Secret tests often test a bunch of odd things (malformed input, large sample size, etc) and since you can't see the results until it is graded you can't just spam submits like in 132 until you get that perfect submission. Quizzes are slightly tough. If you haven't started the project most likely the material on the quiz will be brand new to you, and considering you are given 15 minutes to do a few concept questions and a programming assignment, you need to know the subject matter going into the quiz. Labs are the same as quizzes - if you have started the project, you should know what you are doing because the labs are a derivative of the project material of stuff that has gone on in lecture. Tests are fairly hard, alot of programming questions, and the graders seem to love taking points off on things like syntax (I always found that rather stupid - a compiler will catch syntax errors, not logic errors). All you really need to do is look over all of the slides (posted online) before each test and refresh yourself. If you do well on the quizzes, labs, and projects up to the test, you should do fine. I learned so much from this class - and that's because the class moves insanely fast. You'll be doing C projects while learning assembly, then going back to learning C and doing assembly projects. If you are not up to date with the latest 131 and 132 concepts (recursion, structures, blah blah) you will get your ass handed to you in this class. I aced 132H and this class was much more time-intensive.
Jandelyn Plane
Expecting a B
Anonymous 05/24/2011
I'm going to start off by saying that this class was hard. Really hard. Probably the hardest class I've ever taken. I breezed though 132 and pulled an A easily, but 216 kept me stressed almost the whole semester and especially during the last two weeks of the course. This is the review of the course: -From what I've heard from friends the books are useless, don't buy them. (I didn't) -The entire course is in a Linux environment, through GRACE. If you're already familiar with Unix commands and such, you're in luck. Unfortunately I wasn't, and this made the first few weeks using it very, very confusing. Even at the end of the course I still felt weak with Unix. -You use Emacs to code in which is OK. The debugger is complicated and I never bothered leaning how to use it. I just debugged using print statements and other little tricks. -The major topics for the course were as follows: Learning basic C, Arrays in C, Structures, Pointers and pointer arithmetic, Makefiles, Dynamic Memory, Assembly, Process Control, Function pointers, Threads, and some misc. -Both Midterms and the Final were good. They were challenging but definitely not unreasonable and tested fair material. -The quizzes, on the other hand, were plain rude. The difficulty was unreasonable, they tested stupid material, they were graded harshly, and everyone failed the shit out of them. I failed every quiz except for 2. -Lab exercises were really hard for me, and I felt like everyone knew what they were doing except me. I would recommend trying to study the material that the lab is on beforehand. It's hard to ask questions when you're completely lost. -There were 6 projects, each of them took around 10-18 hrs to complete. Projects for this class were hard and stressful (a recurring theme). I didn't need office hours at all in 132 but I went for 4/6 projects for 216. The difficulty of the projects went up for each one. Even though the projects were extremely challenging, I thought they were all semi-reasonable as long as you started early. Except for the last one. -(Mini rant) The last fucking project. Assigned literally 10 days before the final, it was easily the hardest and longest project of the year. Project 6 stressed me out so much that I felt like I was going to vomit in the coming days before it was due. (Right before the final remember) You have to pass 75% of the public tests for each project to pass the course, and I couldn't pass any of them until the day before the project was due. I tried to go to office hours all 3 days before it was due, and each day office hours had at least a 20 person waiting-list for 1 TA. I have NO IDEA what Jan was thinking. How difficult was the project to complete? Fuck if I know, I didn't even try to implement threading because I needed to study for my two hardest finals that were the first day of finals week. -Overall the course was VERY fast paced. Looking back I definitely learned a ton from the course, but I didn't really have time to get a thorough understanding of all the topics. This is the review of Jan: -I'm giving Jan 4 stars mainly because I think her current rating of 2 is too low. -Jan is a very nice person and a pretty good lecturer. She has a good grasp on all the material and knows what she's talking about. It's not too hard to pay attention in class, there is just so much material that it's easy to instantly forget a lot of it. -The format of the class is a bit boring. Powerpoint lectures. -Some of the powerpoints are not well done and confusing. You really need to pay attention in lecture to figure out what's going on. Especially the powerpoint on Assembly, which I thought explained Memory very poorly. Advice: -Go to class, study before the Lab Exercises and quizzes. -Start the projects as early as you can. I wish I hadn't procrastinated some of them. -Make a couple friends and talk about the projects together. Yeah it's technically against the rules, but it will keep you from going insane when working on the projects.
Alan Sussman
Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/23/2010
This is my first B of college, and it was a travesty the manner in which I lost my 4.0 gpa. To quote a previous review: "He is one of the most terrible, boring, and unresponsive professors you'll ever deal with. He DOESN'T care about you, nor he cares about your concerns. He is there to do his research, to get paid or whatever other reasons he might have. He is not there to teach you." Sussman's projects were awfully and strictly graded, with averages in the 60%'s, and his tests were even worse, and had such difficult questions that everyone knew they failed (average on the tests were around 60%). Many people dropped this class with a W, others dropped Computer Science as a major, others got horrible grades and planned to retake the class. Whatever it is, this class was the doom of many people, and I took it the first semester it was offered, which means it was even more horribly taught than 212 since it was a new class. F*** you Sussman, and the computer science department, for making such a bullsh*t class with nothing to gain. I have no real-world knowledge of C or Assembly language programming from this class. Just my first B of college. That's all.