Reviews for CMSC250

Information Review
Daeun Jung
CMSC250

whiskers
09/08/2022
dude, i cannot understand what shes saying, and ive been around thick asian accents for my whole life. she does write on the board in a very explanatory way but she erases what shes written after like 10 seconds. would avoid
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/28/2022
To do well in this course, study Justin's notes. For quizzes and exams, showing how you got the answer is important and you will lose points. However, Cliff doesn't teach how to do it, he just scribbles all over the board leaving the class confused. His class is manageable, but I would rather take it with someone who grades harder and teaches better.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/20/2022
really bad organization of the class
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B-
Anonymous
05/20/2022
Just gonna say, this class was so rigged and I'm so glad I'm out of the woods. Most people cheat and screw others over by making the exams have an unusually high average. Cliff is nice but also delusional when it comes to this issue. It was survival of the fittest/"get a high grade by any means possible" all semester long. The exam reviews were not that helpful and were recycled from last semester. Additionally, we were given wrong answers for them. I felt like two of the TA's at office hours took more of the role of professor than Cliff did in lecture. Can't even read his hand writing because he uses a super pixelated drawing program. He also took out learning about logic circuits from the class which really sucks considering this is a computer science course it'd be nice to know about those. Just be prepped to be at office hours regularly and maybe you'll do okay.
Mohammad Nayeem Teli
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/18/2022
While very knowledgeable about the topics the class was pretty bad. Quizzes had random content at times but exams were ok. Try to avoid taking him if you can.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/18/2022
People are correct about his disorganized class, but I think he still is a great prof to take. All exams and quizzes were online which was nice, and the overall was just a great and accommodating person. His lectures were tough to understand at times as his handwriting is pretty horrible. If he continues to keep the content online take him, if not then run.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/17/2022
I think some of the bad reviews that he is getting on here are a bit unfair (especially the comment about his speech impediment) considering how accommodating he was to students this semester. He made all quizzes and exams online, moved multiple quizzes because of upcoming exams in other courses, and was generous in providing make-ups. Also after students complained about it taking too much time to take the first exam, he made the second exam and final shorter and easier. Grade averages this semester were pretty high for this semester, so not much of a curve will be needed. For the most part his lectures went at a decent, if not a tad slow, pace. However, there were certainly some issues in the structure of this course. Grades took a very long time to come out for many assignments, and many times the TA's made mistakes in grading. But they were all rectified with regrade requests. Overall, I do think that taking this course with Cliff is a good experience, and I thought that all-around he was a very solid professor. There is no doubt that he truly cares about his students and wants them to succeed in his class. His luscious locks make attending lecture worth your while.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/17/2022
Cliff is a great person and a decent teacher. He is definitely understanding of students' concerns and I feel that he teaches the material in the course properly (wish Cliff was more engaging though and enthusiastic). However, I think his management of the class was rather poor. Assignments were never graded correctly and very few TAs seemed to care about teaching the course material properly. There would be several times when a student had the correct answer and approach to solving a problem but would get graded incorrectly. I think that through better management and more enthusiasm for the content, Cliff could easily become a great professor. He is young and has a lot of time to improve. Hopefully, the class will go much better next sem.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
05/16/2022
Pros: The class was entirely online and open note this semester so was not particularly difficult (stress load/work wise). His exams are more or less fair although a bit of a time crunch. Cons: This man is a genius in everything EXCEPT teaching. His lectures are straight from Justin’s Notes (which carried me through the course), but the way he explains everything so disinterestedly makes them so hard to watch. Plus, the examples he provides in lecture are not well explained and incomplete. Honestly I ended up just using Justin’s notes for most of the class and the only reason I watched his lectures were to make sure I was using the style he wanted for proofs. However, there was no point as he is EXTREMELY inconsistent in grading. I don’t know if it’s him or his TAs. He goes back in what he says about style numerous times and the only reason I’m even finishing with a B is the amount of regrade requests I submitted. Overall, the only positive about taking Cliff this semester compared to the other professor is that his class was online. I feel bad for whoever has him in coming semesters in person. I honestly don’t know how I would pass the class with his terrible teaching and inconsistent grading .
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
05/16/2022
I took Cliff in the Spring of 2022, and I probably have a totally different experience than everyone else. Cliff was a super flexible guy who cared a lot about his students, and he did try to set us up for success. I believe the downfall of the course was the disorganization and laziness of most TAs throughout the semester as the grading had a lot of errors for people with it being inconsistent as well (since everything was online). There were a lot of errors on assignments as well, which I hope Cliff is more cautious of next semester. However, i never really got affected by any of this and I really did enjoy and felt like I learned a lot in this class. Cliff offered tons of OH, and I know some cannot make it to OH, but i found it to be super helpful I could come anytime to OH whenever I had a question, and I would say all the in person TAs were super helpful this semester over the ones online. I will stand by my 5 star rating because I thoroughly enjoyed the class, I never had anything wrong happen for me, and Cliff (and all In person TAs) were super helpful to me this semester to learn discrete math. If you are willing to just get out of your bubble and try to use the resources Cliff gives you to the best of your ability, the class isnt too bad. Some materials that really helped me in the class was: The lecture slides, IN PERSON OH, Justins Notes, the recommended textbook, discussion slides and recordings from some TAs, and answer keys for every single assignment despite the errors. I think Cliff will do a better job next semester and will eventually shape how he wants to structure his class in an organized manner soon.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/16/2022
Solid guy, seems pretty chill. However, his teaching and course organization abilities are frankly dismal. Most assignments have errors in them, adding to that there would be grading mistakes for almost everything. Lectures are boring and hard to follow. The pacing of the material is extremely poor, with some lectures covering seemingly nothing important and others leaving many students confused. The worst part of the class, however, are the TAs. It is obvious that the TAs don't care about the class whatsoever, the discussions are poorly led and the TAs often give contradictory information. To do well in the class, students are forced to constantly haggle for points on blatantly ignorant grading. The material should be easy to understand but being in Cliff's section made this class far more stressful and difficult than it had any right to be. The silver lining is that Cliff is a new teacher and should learn from his mistakes as he gets more experienced, oh, and he has cool hair... I guess.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
05/16/2022
Immaculate hair, but his TAs are quite disorganized and grade inconsistently from each other. His handwriting Isnt stellar so you have to pay extra attention to what he is saying and his lecturea overall arent too good for note taking since its almost all just examples, each being implement in a different manner. Regrades take ages and the autograder has had mistakes in almost every homework, 8/11 if im counting correctly.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/16/2022
CMSC250 with Cliff started off very well, but it ended with some noticeable flaws. This may be due to lack of teaching experience, miscommunication with the TAs, or some TAs slacking on their share of grading work. But PLEASE NOTE, I'm not considering class management in this review. Homework grading took a considerable amount of time, and there were often incorrect problems/solutions in exam practice problems. Whether this was Cliff's fault or the TA's, this was a major issue that stressed out many students and must be taken care of for future classes. Considering lectures, I thought Cliff was a solid instructor. Sure, some content could have been explained better, but Cliff made an effort and answered every question during or after lecture. I think the best way to prepare is to read Justin's 250 notes alongside regularly attending lecture. Other than doing the homework (yourself!), you should understand the general content. To me, lectures felt well paced and taught. Some content was boring, but well, it's 250. Just attend lectures and take notes and do your share of studying and you'll be fine. Exams were fair. Quizzes were fair. Got extra credit opportunities sometimes. Like others have said, Cliff is one of the most understanding instructors. If you approach him and explain your situation, he will accommodate. Super nice and chill guy. I genuinely think that in a few years Cliff will be a top-tier instructor. Hopefully 250 will not have these issues with grading/TAs moving forward. Side note: Cliff might keep exams/quizzes online moving forward. Don't cheat with others. Not worth the risk and 250 content is important in later courses. You'll get imposter syndrome if you do.
Mohammad Nayeem Teli
CMSC250

Expecting a C+
Anonymous
05/16/2022
Teli is strange. At the beginning of the semester, it seemed like he was a great professor, and that he and Cliff were keeping pace. However, it just got worse from there. The difficulty, quality, and wording of his assignments vary wildly (both in between assignments of the same type and assignments of different types). This made it extremely difficult to productively study for exams and quizzes because I'd never be quite sure how they would flow. Teli also fragments course information across 4 different platforms (ELMS, Piazza, Gradescope, and his own UMD web space), and not all of these platforms send notifications. For the platforms that do send notifications, it is so hard to keep track of them and I have felt like I'll receive them a long time from when they were relevant (I have definitely missed a regrade window because of this fact). Finally, the TAs all had their own slightly different ways of doing things and interpretation of assignments, which I can only assume comes from lack of communication. This made grading inconsistent with different rules being applied to different assignments. TLDR: Do not take CMSC250 with Teli unless it is your only choice.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/15/2022
Cliff's 250 this semester was quite an experience that could (and should) have been much smoother. As already mentioned, his biggest flaws are much mismanagement (having no work graded until 1 week before the final, including the second exam, very little explanation as to why points are taken off and what is expected, hardly responding to emails). A decent portion of my grade lost would be from assignments that I was not able to send or resend in time from not having a printer which stifled numerous questions on quizzes and exams. Additionally, there were some times when he muddled up material, or said things incorrectly and didn't follow a set standard that TAs may have graded. However, given that Cliff is a relatively new professor, and was handling 2 huge CS courses this semester, it seemed he did try to put a good deal of effort in both courses. In addition, the hybrid structure of in person lectures and exams/quizzes being online was weird to adapt to and caused numerous issues, which is not Cliff's fault particularly. He definitely has a chance to grow and despite the problems, he did an alright job handling the teaching/lecturing he needed to do this semester.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/15/2022
This class had the potential to be good. Cliff structured the course in a "hybrid" kind of way that was very understanding towards students—lectures were-in person but basically everything else was online and/or asynchronous. Homeworks were encouraged to be done collaboratively; quizzes and tests were open-note. Lectures are dull but not notably duller than any other 3-star CS professor I've had so far. Incredibly poor organization, however. Slow and inconsistent grading. Takes off points for style yet the lecture examples—Cliff handwrites proofs and screen shares—are a mess. I stopped showing up to discussion because my TA didn't seem to care about the content, and because what we were told in discussion didn't always line up with what we were told in lecture and/or what was expected on graded assignments. The proof style guide was helpful but only for the first few units, and then it was no longer maintained. Most of my learning in this course came from provided practice material, which was okay in the beginning but once we started getting to more word problems—proofs, statistics, combinatorics, etc.—hilariously poor quality. Hilarious because if someone just proofread the material once, 90% of the problems could be fixed. They're obviously copied and pasted from other sources—they'll be talking about pizzas one sentence and party hats the next, which isn't so bad until you try to check your work and they didn't even bother to change the answer key to match the new question at all. Answer keys are wrong or just plain irrelevant on a good chunk of the questions. Unclear phrasing and the questions can be interpreted many ways, which isn't great when they're expecting one solution. Ask three different people these questions and they're bound to interpret the question three different ways. I only grasped the combinatorics and statistics unit because of Justin's notes and through group studying in order to figure out what the question is really asking.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/14/2022
Lectures might be a bit boring but all of the content you need to know for the exams is explained pretty well. Quizzes and tests were online and open-note for us which made them very stress-free.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/12/2022
Very disorganized class, grading was extremely poor, examples were convoluted, and it seemed that there was no consistent standard for how proofs should be written, as Cliff seemed to change his style at random between lectures. Would definitely recommend avoiding Cliff.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/11/2022
While there were a few snags this semester, Cliff clearly cares about the class and is doing his best for his first-time teaching independently. At most, the late turnaround on assignments and errors in grading were inconveniences, and did not impact my understanding of the class at all. His lecturing style worked for me, and I always felt set up to complete all the assignments just from just the lectures. Most of all, Cliff is simply the most compassionate and understanding professor I've ever had. People here put that in as an aside, but if some roadblock suddenly emerges mid-semester, you will be very glad to have Cliff instead of a more apathetic professor. Overall, I think it is only fair that we give Cliff the same level of compassion that he extends to us. Given that it's his first time alone and he's clearly trying his best, I'm willing to let a few things slide.
Mohammad Nayeem Teli
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/09/2022
Teli is a terrible professor. He doesn't teach us anything and the quizzes/HWs don't match up to what we're learning at all. However, I must concede that he is experienced and knows the content. The exams were also rather reasonable. Only take Teli if you have to. And if you do end up taking him, buckle up.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a C-
Justacoder
05/09/2022
TLDR: Nice dude, poor teacher Look I want to be fair. Cliff is a nice person and I feel like he understands what we go through. With that said I really felt hopeless at time during his class. I didn't really understand these concepts until I started reading Justin's notes. (I guess that's sort of my fault, if I had looked at the notes earlier maybe I would have done better) His lectures honestly jumped around a lot. When showing us steps he would sort of pull out solution from thin air. He didn't show us the intuition and the though process behind what he was doing. This lack of clear steps really frustrated me. Grading wasn't great. His examples in lecture don't go into enough details and so on exams and quiz's I would miss several points because of formatting or slightly different methods. The grading was also inconsistent at times. Several regrade request were sent.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
05/08/2022
Cliff is nice and understanding but his teaching style is very subpar. He's constantly unorganized and doesn't respond to emails. Although he records lectures to post online, he is constantly late and posts the material needed for homework on the day it's due. It seems he doesn't understand how to take responsibility and maybe that's because this is his first class he is teaching without help, but over the course of the semester, I started to realize that he continues to fall below normal standards.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
05/07/2022
Great person, horrible teacher. Every single paper or lecture has has a mistake, even answer keys and en exam. Don’t expect to get scores back for anything until 2 months after you submitted it. Cliff doesn’t look at Piazza doesn’t post lecture videos until weeks after you need it. Terribly run class but I believe he has potential ti be great, just not anytime soon.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/07/2022
immaculate hair but terrible class management
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/07/2022
Cliff's class is the most awfully organized class I have every taken. Nothing is posted on time: lectures, grades, etc. Good person, but highly overrated as an instructor because he co-taught with Justin. All of his content is recycled from Justin's material, and it doesn't even feel worth going to lecture. His practice exam for the final consists of a copy paste of the Exam 1 and Exam 2 practice exams, with like two additional questions, even when he stated that over half the final would be on stuff after Exam 1 and Exam 2. Probably because this was all the content available from Justin. It's overall a horrible experience to constantly be frustrated with nothing being graded properly, posted on time, having no idea what your grade is, and feeling like you aren't set up to succeed in the class. I would not recommend taking Cliff if there is a better alternative.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
05/06/2022
Honestly has the potential to be a great teacher but is completely unorganized and seems like he doesn't care. Grades for assignments are not released until 2 months later which does not help you for exams or homework at all.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/06/2022
Maybe the material just came quickly to me, but the organization of this class was a mess. I understand Cliff is young and stressed and new to teaching, but oh my Took about 2 months to get an exam graded, multiple questions were messed up. I am not joking when every single assignment/homework/quiz/exam he gave us had some sort of mistake on it. I have never seen a group of TA's who have cared less about what they're doing, and honestly, it was extremely insulting. Every single homework had an issue with grading, as well as quizzes and exams. I understand that this isn't Cliff's fault, but it felt like my future in CS was being determined by his TA's who must've had their eyes closed while grading any assignment. It honestly felt like the entire team gave up halfway through. With all that being said - He understands what he's doing. My guess is that he just needs time - AND NEW TA'S.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a C-
Anonymous
05/06/2022
Don't take him. Period.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B-
Anonymous
05/06/2022
DO NOT TAKE CLIFF!!!! Confuses himself in lectures, illegible handwriting, speedruns lecture slides in monotone, doesnt post lecture slides for weeks, takes 3 MONTHS to grade EACH homework, and once it is graded there are mistakes everywhere with autograding and TAs. The previous ratings were when he co-taught with Justin so he had high ratings, but now that he is on his own, he is beyond awful. Perhaps the worst class and lecturer I ever had. If you are fine with not having half your homework, quizzes, and exams graded when you take your final exam and are fine with a disorganized monotone speedrunning professor with illegible handwriting then take this course.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/06/2022
Cliff has good intentions but is far from being a good, or even an average instructor. This was his first semester teaching and the class has been a disaster. Mistakes on every assignment, weeks to grade, slow responses - overall a really frustrating experience. His class was the worst organized class I have ever taken.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
05/05/2022
Cliff doesn't know the material he is teaching and recommends us to use Justin's notes because he even confuses himself during lecture. He didn't post lectures until weeks after the material was covered in class and in those videos, usually posted after the homeworks were due for that material, he would correct himself about something he said during the in person lecture. He didn't hold his TAs to any standard and he was very behind in grading and we had to go into every quiz and exam without knowing the grades of the relevant work we turned in weeks prior. He told us at the start that he came from a philosophical background and not CS and it showed. He would trip up on his wording and sometimes would scrap half of the work he was writing because he was lost himself. I would try to avoid him in future years if he ends up teaching anything more than 250 because I can't deal with being taught by someone who acts like a student themselves and can't stay on top of their own responsibilities. I know this was his first semester teaching on his own but it was even worse than I thought it could have went.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
05/04/2022
Great guy, terrible teacher. Cliff cares about his students, but the structure of the class and lectures was god-awful. There was seemingly little communication between him and the TAs, leading to a lot of misunderstandings and extremely delayed grading. Lectures were either incredibly trivial and boring or very confusing. Lectures also often didn't prepare us fully for the homework or exams. The grading was super questionable for everything, and almost everyone I talked to in the class submitted multiple regrade requests throughout the semester. Mistakes on seemingly every homework assignment were only fixed several days after being released. I actually learned most of the content in Discussion thanks to my GOAT TA. Cliff bases his lectures and content off of Justin's notes, but often presents them in a more confusing manner. The previous positive reviews were from when he co-taught the course with Justin, so I guess it was drastically different than this semester, because the general consensus is that this class was a mess.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
04/29/2022
Cliff is a very understanding person, but he has very boring lectures, keeping me and others very disengaged. Handwriting is not good so it’s hard to follow, and when it comes to grading, there will either be a lot of mistakes or grades just won’t come out until a month after the assignment.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
04/28/2022
Very boring and unorganized teacher. Don't expect anything graded for weeks.
Mohammad Nayeem Teli
CMSC250

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
04/28/2022
The best I can say about Teli is that he is a good guy and he really cares about his students. However, this is only the second time that he has taught 250 and it really shows. His course materials are at least half a decade old focusing on subjects none of the other 250 teachers teach anymore. Additionally, notes and materials from other teachers are useless since he sometimes just makes up his own proofs. Teli also doesn't provide any detailed notes or practice exam materials which is very frustrating. His lectures are difficult to follow skipping essential material and making substantial mistakes in all of his example problems. The worst part is that his test, quizzes, and homework are extremely difficult and is completely different from anything he teaches in class. His grading is brutal and the TA often grades incorrectly so it's important to request regrades. Overall, I hope Teli gets better as he gains more experience teaching this class, but I cannot recommend taking CMSC250 with Teli at this time.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
04/25/2022
Not very engaging as a teacher but gets the job done. Handwriting isn't the best so sometimes it's hard to follow, and examples in class aren't nearly as hard as the homework/exam questions. Class is unorganized as a whole, as documents and solutions always seem to have some typo or mistake. TA's are not that helpful and sometimes can't answer certain questions. Grading is very poor, as graders often make mistakes when grading and it takes very long for assignments to be graded. Regrade requests aren't looked at for a long time as well. Cliff is an understanding and nice guy, who keeps the students' best interests in mind, but there are definitely many things that can be improved.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
04/25/2022
Hard HWS but can do with friends. Generous to students about quizzes and exams. Lectures start off slow, but speed up. Never got too fast tho.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
04/14/2022
He does not respond to emails. TAs are as unresponsive as him. They mess up grading and answer keys.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
04/10/2022
He does not read his emails, TAs are unresponsive. Assignments take forever to get graded and graded incorrectly a decent amount of times. Not great.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
03/31/2022
Cringe professor. Tries too hard to be funny; has pointlessly stupid questions for quizzes that don't make any sense (i.e. one time there was an answer choice that says "Proof by Human Exahustion"), and for multiple choice questions you have to pick exactly all the write options and none of the incorrect options, or you will lose all points for said question, which makes no logical sense for someone who claims to be a "logician". Another time he said you have to answer 0 instead of "63 choose 64", even though they both equal 0 and are technically correct, simply because "63 choose 64" doesn't demostrate cRiTicAL tHinKInG. Choose him if you want to cringe for a semester.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
02/13/2022
Great hair and a good lecturer who likes legos.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
01/22/2022
Lectures get a bit confusing at times, but he answers questions clearly. He’s also very understanding and really wants everyone to succeed. Would take this class again if he were teaching it, if the material itself wasn’t so confusing at the end o_o
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
01/21/2022
Cliff is amazing. 250 itself is hard but he made it as easy as possible to understand the material. 10/10 hair and 10/10 teaching.
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
01/02/2022
Had Justin for MATH241 and used his notes for CMSC351 this past semester. He's the hardest working and probably best prof I think I've ever seen. Definitely take if you can.
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting an A+
Anonymous
12/27/2021
His rating speaks for itself. Take Justin if possible.
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
12/26/2021
He is the GOAT! Take him at all cost!
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
12/22/2021
Fantastic lecturer, makes concepts easy to understand and apply. His notes on his website are a life saver and are remarkably thorough. His exams were fair and straightforward if you were prepared, and the homework problems were extremely relevant to the exams. Greatly enjoyed taking this class with JWG; even if math is not quite your thing, pay attention and do the homework and you'll succeed. Highly recommend.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
12/22/2021
First of all, his hair is amazing. Second, he is a really nice guy and he wants you to succeed. The co-taught with Justin WG this semester, and the exams were reasonable. Some of the homeworks were pretty difficult, but they are not impossible if you utilize office hours. I would recommend him!
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
12/18/2021
Great lecturer, hard to pay attention at times with the 75 minute lectures but that's a personal problem. Only thing I can complain about is the absolutely atrocious organization of the course. Every released practice has at least 13 mistakes on the answer key, 50% of my homework had to be regraded because the TAs misread and marked my answers as incorrect when they were correct. Overall, probably one of the best lecturers out there but not great at organizing courses.
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting a B-
mewuzhere
12/16/2021
This probably doesn't need to be written again but Justin is one of the best at UMD. If you have the opportunity to take him, take him. Lectures were engaging and super organized. He provided all of the notes that he used for lectures. Exam expectations were very clear. Homework tracked well with the material in the lectures and was helped reinforce concepts. Everything was graded in a timely manner and everything was well communicated.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
12/09/2021
Cliff teaches really well. He's young and relatable, his lectures are organized, and he does a great job of answering questions and clarifying on points of confusion. He seems like a nice person too. My only qualm would be with the class itself, which was that the homeworks often covered really complicated or difficult applications of what was covered during the lectures, especially towards the end of the semester.
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting an A
fiftyseven
12/09/2021
Amazing teacher. Super engaging and explains everything really well. He handles any student questions really well too, not only answering them but going into depth so everyone gets a better understanding. Uploads the notes for the class so you can see everything and review it. In addition, he has his own typed up LaTeX notes he uploads which are also really good. Workload is good too, just a weekly assignment. Would highly recommend.
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Expecting a C
Anonymous
12/06/2021
Solid professor, super nice. Couple times had some confusing examples and lectures but super understanding with student concerns
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
11/30/2021
impeccable hair, 10/10 teacher
Cliff Bakalian
CMSC250

Anonymous
11/08/2021
Great guy
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
06/01/2021
Phenomenal course. The course was organized amazingly well. Major kudos to the whole team (Jason + TAs). You learn a lot and you get to practice weekly with homework and quiz to solidify your knowledge. Sadly, I don't think Jason will be back to teach again.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/26/2021
Jason's a really good professor. Yes the class is difficult, but that's to be expected. If you're having trouble with concepts, talk to Jason or the TAs in office hours. Jason's easy to talk to and he always keep it real. He also released additional videos outside of lecture to help us understand concepts that we're struggling to pick up. In short Jason really did everything he could to ensure we had a smooth semester. Also quick shout-out to the TAs. They were all phenomenal.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a B-
Anonymous
05/25/2021
Difficult course, prepare to be challenged a lot. If you don't understand a concept fully, ask questions. If something doesn't click for you properly, it will not go well for you on exams. Jason is a fine teacher. He explains everything well though at times it can get a little bit confusing and wordy, discussions and homework were also really helpful to fully understand concepts. Jason tries to relate to his students a lot and he's sort of like the elder brother you never had. He definitely keeps it real with his students.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/25/2021
Extremely well recommended. The course was difficult, and I definitely could have done so much better in the class in hindsight, but Jason did extremely well explaining concepts and taking time out to go through student questions and concerns and address them to the best of his ability. He and the TAs did an extremely good job helping us as students and doing their best to provide us a better experience in the course. Exams and quizzes were graded on time, we had a 24-hour window to submit exams which was extremely helpful, we had recordings of lectures and lecture slides available to us, and Jason created a spreadsheet complete with resources, discussion links, relevant textbook sections, etc. All in all, I had a pleasant experience with the course, and would recommend taking Jason as a professor. :)
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a B-
Anonymous
05/25/2021
Pretty difficult course overall, but Jason explains things pretty well and is very receptive to student concerns. TAs are also awesome for this class. Exams are also very fair and were pretty generous, including a 24 hour submission window.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/16/2021
One of my favorite professors now. The class is difficult and I definitely could have done better on the exams, but Jason explains everything so well. He and his TAs were always quick to respond to student concerns, and he made adjustments to the syllabus throughout the weeks to better accommodate everyone. He's easy to communicate with and he always gives a straightforward answer when you ask him questions in office hours. Overall I would recommend him to anyone trying to take the course.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a C+
Anonymous
05/04/2021
Say what you will about CMSC250 but I think Jason makes the course all the more enjoyable. The course is difficult (hence my grade, which is due in part to slacking off for the first exam) but Jason explains the material in multiple ways which is extremely helpful. Additionally, there are many resources that are available in the class that exist solely to make the life of students easier. He is a very sarcastic and frank individual, so if these characteristics in a professor don't bother you then Jason is a perfectly acceptable option for this course. Something I wish I had known earlier on was the GSS sessions and 1-on-1 tutor sessions available through the Iribe (ask your counselor). These became especially useful when office hours were full or you're someone who just needs more personalized help.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Anonymous
04/30/2021
Jason's lectures are amazing. He is very thorough with his explanations and examples, and he makes an effort to make his lectures engaging. His slides are very detailed. There is a lot of HW, but it is manageable if you don't start it on the last day and all of it really helps with the exams. He is very caring about his students and adjusts the course to fit his students' needs.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
04/29/2021
Jason is a great CMSC 250 teacher. He explains the concepts well and his lecture slides are very descriptive towards the process and logic behind every topic. Jason is very open to feedback and wants his students to succeed even providing extra credit opportunities and video announcements relating to the course. On the topic of Jason he is very down to earth and tries to connect with the students. It's always a good time in his lectures and I look foward to meeting him in person once fall opens up!
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
03/01/2021
Anyone who thought Jason was a lousy professor was simply caught lacking. His lectures are great and the topics are explained well and the HW and exams are not that hard if you've paid attention to the lectures and done the practice problems in the textbook. Yeah if a majority of the class does badly on an exam or HW he will say "wow you all got rekt" or something like that, but it's all in good fun and very clearly not meant to be hurtful. I think y'all are just mad because he made you realize your late-night cram sessions aren't a good way to study and you lost sleep for no reason. Don't slander his name because you got caught lacking.
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
02/08/2021
Justin was a lifesaver during Zoom U. He was very knowledgeable and taught everything clearly. He was very good at engaging with his s tudents during lecture and they could ask questions. 100% the best professor in the CS/Math dept.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
01/11/2021
Good lecturer, and explained the topics well, which are important to know. However, online transition was rough. Hard hws and exams, and send emails that berated us. He also downcurved our grades when clearly the opposite should have happened. However, he was getting a lot of abuse from jerk students in the past who felt entitled to a good grade no matter what, so it's not completely his fault; he just cracked. Future semesters should be smoother.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a P
Anonymous
01/03/2021
His name is actually Jason, I don't know why he has a different name here. He is a very passionate and caring lecturer, one of the few that you will come across. He is a millenial, so he will talk to you like a big brother. I took him in Spring 2019 when we went into online classes and thought that he did a great job of teaching. A lot of people had problems with his communication style and complained about him to the department but he was definitely worth my tuition unlike Dr.Yoon. I wouldn't sweat about his long e-mails etc. Take him, he is a great lecturer. His communication channels and methods can be confusing sometimes so that would be feedback to Jason from me. Jason, please keep your communication short and perhaps use piazza since campuswire wasn't any better.
William Gasarch
CMSC250

Expecting an A
abhimod
01/03/2021
Class was challenging but very doable and I learned a lot. The grading was very fair and lenient in a lot of cases. Office hours were very easy to go to.
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Anonymous
12/29/2020
Even though it was his first time teaching this course, he was very knowledgable about the material and his lectures were very interesting and helped prepare us for exams.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
12/22/2020
I took this course in Spring 2020 Pros: + It is extremely obvious that he is passionate about class content. lecture is never boring. + At the end of the day, he does care about student long term understanding and success. + Pretty funny at times. + Transparent about how he grades questions, and what the curve will be. + Lecture content is extremely digestable. + Is quite adaptable to extenuating circumstances. Cons: - Has made unprofessional announcements which increased everyone's stress levels (if you took the class when I did, you know what I am referring to). If he has problems with individual students, then he should email them individually. - Partial credit is sporadic, sparse, and brutal. On proofs, you can lose 5-7 points immediately for not explicitly stating certain statements. Likewise, some probability problems will cause you to lose 10 points for calculation mistakes, even if your work is correct. In his defense, you may know about these ahead of time, but it's still frustrating to lose a significant amount of points for little things.
Justin Wyss-Gallifent
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
12/22/2020
Very hard class but his explanations made them doable. Exams were timed, but not on Zoom.
David Sekora
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
09/16/2020
I'll offer a differing opinion, as these reviews seem to skew negative. Course work was difficult but manageable. As the course was asynchronous, homework was often used as a way of developing understanding & building intuition. Quizzes were straight-forward (just checking that you understood/paid attention to the lecture). Exams were difficult but David gave ample time for each (24 hours for the first, 48 for the second, 72 (I think) for the final). David wrote interesting problems and explained concepts well. He was a bit overly reliant on slides, which, in my opinion, aren't conducive to a productive learning environment. Having said that, most piazza posts were answered quickly or at least by the next morning. Occasionally, answers were curt/dismissive (fairly, in my opinion), but, mostly, answers were in-depth and helpful. Additionally, David gave a ton of partial credit and dropped enough quizzes and homeworks to potentially curve substantially. If you are not good at self-learning, you may struggle. Be warned, however, that self-learning will only be further emphasized as you continue through college. Given all of this, I think David is a fine teacher and will only become better as he gains more experience. He clearly wants his students to do well. It may be difficult, but don't confused difficulty with malevolence.
David Sekora
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
07/11/2020
You would think Sekora may be understanding as he is relatively young. But the class was very unorganized. With his method of updating slides for classes, there is absolutely no way to being able to keep track of the order. David also makes quizzes and exams much harder than what he goes over in class, and doesn't even bother to touch on problems that my give students an idea of how to apply them to other situations. He explains concepts, and sends us off expecting you to be able to handle any situation. He is terrible at writing problems as well, where he writes them in a way they could be interpreted several ways, where he would like a very specific answer which usually doesn't relate to any problems he does. Overall, trash teacher and do not sign up.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a B-
Anonymous
06/25/2020
Great professor. Always prepared for class and puts in so much effort into them. Did have some crazy things happen this semester but Jason honestly tried his best and students needed to cut him a little slack as it's been challenging all around. One of the most detailed and organized professors, I never was confused about what was going on. Sometimes he does make mistakes during lectures but he'll correct it if someone points it out. It was a hard class in general though, unless you pretty much already know what's going on. Grading can also hit hard too with grading proofs and stuff, but there are regrade requests. Acceptable workload and all the assignments were helpful for the exams. Really enjoyed his class and I appreciate him and his class a lot.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
06/09/2020
This professor sent an email to his entire class of 250+ people saying ‘all lives matter’, more than 2 weeks after the course ended. This is in the midst of the nationwide civil unrest following the death of george floyd in 2020.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A
kjmehta
05/17/2020
Really really good lecturer. Class was properly tough. Kinda scary though
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/11/2020
i'M a cOLLeGe sTuDeNt aNd i sTiLL eXpEcT eVeRyThiNg tO bE sPoOnfEd tO mE. bro pick up a book, hop on google, jason is a fine professor.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/07/2020
Jason is a really nice professor. He is extremely approachable, he makes jokes in lectures, and his lectures are extremely thorough and easy to follow. He likes to break them up with a small check your understanding type question and does his best to walk around the classroom and answered questions. That being said this is not an easy course. This requires a lot of work and studying. His exams tend to be hard and such that if you mess up one question bad you look at a B. His grading is fair, and I never felt like I lost more points than I should have, but the class was challenging. It makes you think in a way most of us are unfamiliar with doing. If you go to office hours, he will do his absolute best to answer your questions, and I always left feeling better. GO TO DISCUSSIONS -- DISCUSSIONS ARE IMPORTANT they will go over practice problems exactly like the homework WHICH HELPS A LOT and they also will go over material Jason will not cover but expects you to know, or will reiterate material that was complex and confusing in lecture. The TAs are really helpful. The class is hard, but Jason is really nice. I highly recommend taking his class if you have to take this course.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/03/2020
Great guy who seems to truly care about his students. Interesting lectures
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
04/27/2020
Jason is easily the best prof i've had here so far. PROS: - lectures are engaging and slides have extensive explanations (he goes at a good pace and occasionally stops to answer questions, has his TA's in the lecture so they can reach all the students w/ questions efficiently) - exams are very fair (95% is loose variations of problems from lecture/quizzes/HW, 5% is a challenge question) - jasons a solid guy -- pretty funny, caring, etc. (really wants to set up his students for success in 351 and other upper levels) - i personally like the math part of cs more than the programming & found the logic/proof aspect of the material in 250 very interesting, and jason presented it in a pretty clear way. CONS: - the grading with this class can be annoying occasionally, i remember losing 10-15 points on HW's for small mistakes here and there, but the TA's are solid with accepting regrade requests - his daily (or hourly lol) elms announcements can get annoying but thats really just because he doesn't want anyone to fall behind/forget about an assignment/exam
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A+
Anonymous
04/10/2020
Lectures can be pretty boring/dry, but the content is gone over well both in lecture and discussion. There is more than enough practice for the exams from the discussion sections even though he does not provide practice exams. Exams are pretty straight-forwards.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a C
Anonymous
12/21/2019
Fair professor but can be really unapproachable/rude with the way he responds to students' piazza posts and elms messages. There are pop worksheets (basically quizzes to make people attend lectures) that are graded on "participation" but are actually graded on accuracy. Sometimes he is nice and tells us when to expect a worksheet. He goes over fairly easy examples in class but the homework and worksheets are usually much harder so if you didn't take good notes or rewatched his lecture, you'll be very unlucky for the worksheet. He also curved DOWN the entire semester since people were doing pretty decent in the class but since students didn't too hot on the final, there ended up being a slight curve up. Main pro: records lectures and has great TAs Main con: expects you to know the material completely once it's taught (hence the timed worksheets the following lecture) and expects you to know confusing notation that was barely taught
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
12/18/2019
Prof. Perlis was a great choice for CMSC250! Take his section if you can. The good: Lecture notes and discussion practice are thorough and updated frequently on ELMS - textbook not even required! Exams were fair in both difficulty and length, with averages around the department norm of 80. Of the homeworks (~2 per week), one easy ("A") and one hard ("B") version are dropped, and one midterm as well, if it benefits your final grade. Feedback is prompt, and Prof. Perlis is always willing to help you understand topics! The bad: Lectures can sometimes be a bit dry or repetitive - staying attentive can be difficult. "B" homeworks are quite a bit more challenging than the exams, and often require you to think outside the box to get full points. My advice: GO TO CLASS. Ask TAs for help in discussion! Start your homeworks (especially "B") homeworks early. Also, ignore the older reviews for this class - Prof. Perlis no longer assigns quizzes in discussion.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Anonymous
12/18/2019
This class made me enjoy mathematical reasoning. Perlis is not very strict on notation and is more concerned with the overall mathematical concepts, which is nice. I bought a textbook but never had to use it because his lecture notes are very detailed. His exams are almost entirely based off the homeworks, which makes studying for them easier. He's a nice guy too and gives a lot of info on what to expect on the exams.
Aditya Acharya
CMSC250

Anonymous
12/12/2019
Class was fun. Very mathematical and rigorous. Actually prepared me pretty well for 351. He posts lecture notes, which I feel are more helpful than slides that other instructors use. Homeworks and exams are hard but he curves generously. If you're looking for an easy time though, avoid him.
Aditya Acharya
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
12/12/2019
Knows his material. Loved that the homeworks were challenging and collaboration was allowed. Had to put a lot of effort but personally learnt a lot
Aditya Acharya
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
12/11/2019
Great
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a P
Anonymous
11/28/2019
Imagine being the reviewer beneath me, and criticizing Jason for making mistakes, but you being the one who made the mistakes. I could never.
Fawzi Emad
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
11/27/2019
Fawzi is an amazing proffesor, one of the best in CMSC. He makes topics that could be really hard as easy as possible. Homework always fits well with the exams. Warning that he has a dry sense of humor so if you're not prepared for it you might think he's making fun of you. Hilarious and cares about his students.
Anthony Ostuni
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
11/04/2019
Perfect!
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A+
Anonymous
10/30/2019
Easily one of the worst instructors I have ever had. Makes silly mistakes nearly every lecture and uses nonstandard terminology that makes no sense to mathematicians. For a discrete math class, I feel like the topics could have been introduced more rigorously with precise definitions and more formal proofs. This guy once said that "the rationals are closed under multiplication" and that "the derivative of a sequence is undefined, so it is zero everywhere," or something along those lines. Instances like these made me question if this guy was even qualified to teach a discrete math class. In fact, they should change the name to "introductory proof writing for computer scientists," or just allow the math department to teach the topics instead (in fact math310 covers more content in greater detail so it is a mystery why it does not exempt students from cmsc250). The quizzes that he has started doing in Fall 2019 are basically joke questions whose only purpose is to force students to attend his lectures. Also, the guy is super passive-aggressive and sends out ELMS announcements pretty much every day. One of the head TAs is extremely cringy, and although I would say he's overqualified for the role, he's super unprofessional and tries way too hard to be likable. Also, homework problems prepared by this TA in question often use ambiguous terminology such as "simple" or "new" that is never given a precise definition in class.
Aditya Acharya
CMSC250

Anonymous
07/14/2019
Taking him for CMSC250 in Summer 2019. He is a good instructor at what he teaches but I will never understand why he insists on making the homework feel like hell. I hate having to rely on going to office hours to understand it. It never makes me feel prepared for any kind of midterm; if anything, it only makes you feel worse. Additionally, he doesn't put in grades into ELMS, which makes it harder to calculate your own grade in the class (something that I don't understand either). This makes always ask questions about what the curve is going to be, and we don't have a generally good feeling about how we will do.
Clyde Kruskal
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/29/2019
Kruskal made it clear he was not too excited to be teaching 250 this semester. He is a knowledgeable professor but during lecture he would often refuse to answer questions and would sometimes make students feel unintelligent. He was not very responsive to students' concerns and the class was not very well run. If you take him make sure you attend lecture because he purposely does not record lectures and there are often no slides posted (and if they are, all the examples are absent and say "do in class").
David Sekora
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/29/2019
The class was very disorganized. There was a lack of slides and it was clear that TAs and professors did not communicate (TAs often did not know what we were learning in lecture), nor did the professors seem to communicate with each other. Some of the homework problems were ridiculously hard but for the most part TAs were fair in grading both homeworks and exams. The midterms were pretty fair and similar to the homeworks except for the occasional challenge question, but the final was much longer and harder than the midterms despite having the same amount of time to finish as the midterms, making it an unfair exam (average was less than 60%). It took a long time to get grades in and the class did not have much structure to it, although I know that this was Sekora's first time teaching 250. Sekora was an engaging lecturer despite my complaints with the way the class was run.
David Sekora
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/11/2019
Terrible terrible teacher. Posts slides online but it is completely useless, any problems in the slides are marked "do in class". Teaches on the fly without clear formatting whatsoever. Waste of our time.
Junchi Chu
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/02/2019
Honestly he's a great TA that clearly cares a lot about his students and their success. He made a review sheet for our exam when the prof didn't provide one, and attending discussion with him definitely boosted my final grade. Very understanding with any issues / conflicts students had.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
zainbhaila
04/06/2019
Good lecturer. Exams were fair, but you need to study and stay on top of things.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
01/30/2019
Jason was a decent teacher and I liked his style of handwriting problems step by step during lecture. However, sometimes he could be unclear about the small details, such as how to write an inductive hypothesis for strong vs weak induction, and the TAs would have to clear that up during discussion. He also could get very defensive or annoyed if people asked a lot of questions during lecture, which was entertaining once in a while. The homework problems could be hard but go to office hours early in the week and some of the TAs were very helpful (I figured out early in the semester that some of the TAs were very confusing and explained things in a super complicated high-level way while other TAs explained the problems clearly so be careful which office hours you go to). A lot of the times Jason would make mistakes on the homework questions and then have to send out an announcement, that happened quite frequently throughout the semester so pay attention to your ELMS announcements. At the end of the semester Jason dropped our lowest homework grade which was a pleasant surprise because it wasn't in the syllabus and he didn't tell us until then he was going to do it. The two midterms were quite fair and very similar to the homeworks, so the best way to study was to go over the homework problems and then if you have more time go over class and discussion problems. I thought the final was much more difficult because a bulk of it was on a topic (countability) that we had learned at the very end of the semester and had only learned very briefly. I did the worst on the final but ended up getting a B in the class because Jason curved a decent amount (6-7%) considering I didn't think he would curve at all. In general for this class I would say keep on top of your studying and every week go over the problems from lecture and discussion. Ask a lot of questions in discussion and office hours (but be careful who you ask your questions to if you want a clear concise answer lol).
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
12/13/2018
Jason is disorganized and disrespectful. I would not recommend taking him. Also, don't even bother to go to class. He records all his lectures and even so you won't learn anything from them that you couldn't learn from reading the slides.
Clyde Kruskal
CMSC250

Expecting an A+
Anonymous
12/13/2018
Clyde's class is difficult. His homeworks are the same as Eastman's, but different from Jason's. I found that the "prep" and the self-study sheets that Jason would post around midterms or throughout the semester were very helpful if you did all the problems listed. Most of the exam problems look just like the ones on the practice midterms but expect a few curveballs. As an instructor, Clyde is objectively frustrating to follow. He'll take examples from the slides and change them so that if you don't pay close attention the whole time, you may end up lost. Asking questions in class is good. He won't demoralize you if you have the balls to ask a question, but if you try and answer a question that HE asks, and you get it even slightly wrong, he will not be forgiving. Just before Thanksgiving, he taught a lecture that was like an intro to algorithms, and there were only 15 of us in class that day (weather was bad and it was the day before break). I guessed the answer to one of his problems, and upon learning that I got it wrong, he followed it up with "I guess you really don't know anything." It's objectively a terrible teaching tactic, but the TA's will be a lot more helpful in giving constructive feedback during discussions or office hours. My tips for surviving the Clyde: 1. I definitely wouldn't have survived without this. Go to discussion. The TA's will go over problems more in-depth than he does and will answer your questions without ridicule. I personally never went to office hours but if that's your thing hey more power to you. 2. Do problems from the textbook to prepare for exams. I got a 78 on the first midterm when I didn't do this, and then a 98 on the second when I cracked open the book. 3. Look back at the homework to get an idea of the types of questions that can come up on exams. Oftentimes, midterm problems will be carbon copies of these with a few words or numbers changed. 4. Follow along during lecture on a laptop with the lecture slides. I found it helpful to get some notes a minute or two in advance of him covering it. Side note - Jason makes the slides and Clyde lectures on it, so that's why it seems like he's only reading it for the first time. Also, Clyde will sometimes skip over a lot of slides at once because he feels it's not important, but it can be helpful to get a couple more examples under your belt while he's rambling. 5. Try to keep your cool. Clyde is so frustrating, I can't stress this enough, but if you're taking his class, the best you can do is get your bearings and learn more in-depth on your own time (which honestly can be during lecture). I hated his class, but I'm taking 351 next semester with him because I'm a freshman and register last so wish me luck.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting a B-
Anonymous
12/11/2018
I couldn't really understand what he was saying in lectures because he goes on so many tangents. I attended Jason Filippou's lectures instead, and quickly understood concepts better. Barely scraped by with a B-, though because 250 was tough for me as I was new to that style of math. Tough class, but interesting and insightful. I learned a lot, but I would recommend taking Filippou instead if given the chance.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
09/23/2018
I took 250 Fall 2017, my 1st semester of freshman year (no joke here). I thought he was a great teacher. The homework I recall could be difficult at times, but if you did them then you'd be ok. Even though my TA was terrriiibble, I still got an A. So I guess a mix of Jason + working hard. I'm taking 420 now and I have Jason again. It is lit
Clyde Kruskal
CMSC250

Anonymous
05/03/2018
If you can take Jason Filippou instead for CMSC250, you should. Kruskal knows the material and can teach it, but he always complains about his lack of interest in CMSC250 and even when he teaches, skips over steps. He thinks that everyone knows about certain things, so he'll just skip over things, but most people attending the lecture may not know what he is doing. However, he does like to joke around and have some fun, so his lectures can be interesting on occasion. Normally, I attend his lectures and then look at Jason's slides on ELMS, which are more in-depth and have better examples. If you have to take Kruskal due to the fit of your schedule, you will be fine, but I hope that he has regained excitement in teaching CMSC250.
Rohan Chandra
CMSC250

Anonymous
04/23/2018
One of the best TA's I've ever had. Rohan goes out of his way to help the students and I actually learned more from him than from the prof. He sends out useful practice resources before exams. Other than being very knowledgeable about the subject, he actually cared if we learned the material. I couldn't have succeeded in the class without him
Roger Eastman
CMSC250

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
04/11/2018
Nice guy. Gets a little frazzled during class and always read off the slides. Helpful in office hours but overall very average, not the worst
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
03/15/2018
Had him for 250 in Fall 2017 and he was great. Jason's homeworks can definitely be long, but they're straightforward if you pay attention in class or know how to search for information you don't know. Exams were also very fair. His exams always had a free bonus point question on topics unrelated to class as well. Overall, I would definitely recommend Jason for 250
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a D
Anonymous
12/30/2017
I had the misfortune of taking Jason for CMSC250 in the Fall 16 semester. It was not a pleasant experience. We had quizzes in discussion every wednesday and it was on material we would review then and there and be tested on it immediately after. Not how I learn. His lecture slides were too...brogrammer like. He made "post lecture" quizzes every time after lecture due online 10 minutes before our next lecture. These were pretty stupid and I never did well on any of them. The homeworks were really hard and I could never do them on my own. I found myself in the TA room doing them every week which was really frustrating. As a lecturer he is very dull. Very technical and doesnt explain things very clearly. I had to rely on TA's a lot just to understand the whole point behind proofs and induction. And when it came time for combinatorics, I was eaten alive.... Jason is pretty immature. At the end of my semester, not only did he NOT CURVE but he sent out a message on ELMS where he defended himself for his lousy teaching and blaming it on what he called a "un sexy bowel decease". I understand he has become the only option for 250 and he apparently sounds better for 420, but if you have to take him for the former, I suggest you spend a lot of time studying with a group or become buddies with a TA. If you have other options, avoid Jason.
Jason Filippou
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
12/15/2017
Jason is very knowledgeable in this course, it's just that the there's a lot of material and it's difficult
Sina Mirnejad
CMSC250

Expecting a C-
Anonymous
12/14/2017
Great! So enthusiastic about the material and he carries it over to teaching his students!
Andi Hopkins
CMSC250

lactaid
12/13/2017
Knows the material well. Really helpful and nice — would definitely recommend as a TA to anyone.
Larry Herman
CMSC250

Larry_Loves_All
01/18/2016
Fawzi Emad
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
05/19/2015
Best professor in the Computer Science Department, and I don't think it can even be debated. I've taken him with both 131 and 250. Fawzi teaches every course with a genuine interest and enthusiasm that just makes you want to learn and grasp every concept. His ability to teach with clarity is absolutely amazing. In addition, he's always there to help if you have any difficulties with the material. His quizzes, homeworks, and exams are incredibly fair and with a good amount of studying, doing well in the class shouldn't be an issue. CMSC250 is traditionally known as one of the weedout courses, but with Fawzi it never seemed like one. If you ever get a chance to decide between Fawzi and another professor, you pick Fawzi, end of discussion.
Fawzi Emad
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/15/2015
Fawzi is the best teacher I have had at UMD, if not the best teacher I've ever had. He knows the material very well, is actively interested in it, and loves to spark interest in others. His tests are not necessarily easy, but they are a very fair reflection of the course. The best part about Fawzi, though, is that he's just a really cool guy. He has a great balance of nerdy, intellectual habits and a perfectly normal personality. He's the type of person you'd want to have as an uncle.
Fawzi Emad
CMSC250

Expecting an A
lordwill753
05/06/2015
Fawzi was a really fun and engaging professor for 250. Although the material in the class is fairly difficult, he manages to make the material fun and engaging sometimes. He's actually funny, which is another plus since his jokes will probably wake up the class if they ever decided to doze off. Tests were pretty fair too, sticking to questions that were on quizzes. The homework assignments were challenging, but at the same time doable. Overall a great class for me, and I definitely would take Fawzi again if I could.
Evan Golub
CMSC250

Expecting a C
wonderful_wonton
05/18/2014
His lectures are good but he's very self-absorbed, biased and will passive aggressively undermine students he doesn't like. He wastes lecture time on repeatedly describing his past exploits catching proofing errors in other people's work, but then leaves core topics for TAs to teach in discussion. Too few exercises & worked problems overall. Pedantic, with heavy focus on empty formalism. He starves his course without adequate worked problems, especially since he places so much emphasis on extremely formal procedural steps. You often can't tell if you got points off because of some formal expression nicety you didn't follow or because your whole proof was wrong. It's difficult to learn well when you have only a couple of examples for each core topic to work off. If he didn't leave so much core teaching to his TAs, the discussion sections could be used for more exemplars and working of problems, but as it is there is inadequate work. He compensates for this all by having limited coverage of topics and never gets to graphs at all. All he really cares about (obsesses over) is formulaic formalism, it seems. Yet, he hands out a lot of A's simply because students who want to memorize off the few worked examples you get and the limited coverage his course provides can do well in his classes. The people who have it worst are those who want to do their own work (not get solutions from other people) and not memorize problem-solving. The average students who do well in his class are ones who band together and pool their resources to create a set of solved problems. What they are doing in effect is compensating for how he starves his course for worked problems and exercises. His personal biases and prejudices against individual students comes across strongly at times in the classroom, like when he snaps impatiently at a student he clearly thinks is a fool. Personality and appearance-wise, he's rather like that character in the Simpsons who runs the comic book store.
Jandelyn Plane
CMSC250

Anonymous
02/19/2013
I know this is late but I had her for 250 over the summer. I was a little scared because I've heard crazy mixed reviews, but there is nothing to be afraid of. She is very kind and helpful but most importantly she wants her students to succeed. She knows that the material can be confusing so she goes over it and makes sure the class understands before moving onto the next unit. What I really love about her is how approachable she is. She had set office hours but I sometimes showed up at her office randomly and she still was happy to help. She is really helpful about exam grading too. She will explain to you why you got the grade you did and will negotiate with you if you don't think you deserved it. There was one time I misread a question and would have lost a lot of points but I explained that to her and she let me rewrite my answer. She is overall a very understanding and caring professor. She made 250 a fun class (like we were doing puzzles rather than long boring proofs). I recommend her not only as a professor but also an adviser (you can ask her about anything!)
Clyde Kruskal
CMSC250

Expecting an A
zaqu413
12/22/2012
Lecture: Kruskal seemed to be a little out of his element this semester (Spring 2012). He supposedly never uses power point, but was forced to because Meesh said her class and his class had to keep up with each other. I didn't really learn much from the power point slides, most of the interesting tricks came when Kruskal would steer away and do one of his 'fun' problems. He was disorganized and late to every class. I honestly don't know how I learned during lecture, but I did. So I would suggest going to lecture (no pop quizzes or anything like that though). Homework: Assigned weekly, and very hard. I took MATH310 and MATH406 (A+ in both) already, and I thought this homework was very difficult. Quizzes: On Monday's during discussion. Usually pretty easy, just look over the slides. Exams: the midterms were long, I kind of finished them, but I didn't really get to check my answers. Final: He randomly gave us 2 hours and 7 minutes to finish the final. When I asked him why he just said "I have my reasons" which is the response he gives to just about everything... The exam itself was not that bad, I got a 90% but the class average was a 60%. It was only a little bit longer than the midterms, but it was harder. **Finally I would like to say that I considered testing out of this class, since I was a math major I could have probably passed the placement exam. But I wanted the free 4 credit A. Turns out this class is not a free 4 credit A no matter how much math you know. Kruskal makes the homeworks too hard for that. That being said I think that you should take this class rather than test out of it, I learned a lot of stuff (especially Induction stuff, which isn't covered very well by the math dept. but Kruskal did a extensive covering of induction). ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- I also had Kruskal for 351: He did a much better job in 351 than he did in 250. I think he just wasn't really into the 250 stuff. In 351 his exams and HW were very hard, but he curves like crazy so don't worry about it (like a 60% = B for our class). This seems weird, but it is done because it is hard to test algorithms. The only thing I didn't like was that there was one midterm that was 40% of my grade, the final was 50% and homeworks were 1% each. On exams if you are asked to make-up an algorithm on the spot just make one that works and disregard efficiency, you get a lot of points for one that works. Efficiency will get you more points, but just move onto the next question and try for efficiency if you have more time at the end of the exam.
John Aloimonos
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
09/23/2012
He admittedly does not cover the material he is supposed to, and whenever he does, it is always a very cursory overview whereas Fawdi Emad's section comprehensively went over all of the material, yet we were all given the same exams and quizzes, all written by Fawzi. Seems pretty unfair, eh? On the bright end, Yiannis is a very nice person who appreciates other people's input. He may not be the best professor, but thankfully this class is extremely easy to begin with and you can be fine by just teaching yourself everything from the textbook.
Clyde Kruskal
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
05/01/2012
You have to work your butt off in this class because it is a hard class to begin with. But, to top it off, the professor doesn't teach well. Hopefully you have a good TA
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
02/20/2012
Honestly, going to class is optional and so is reading the book. However, I hear the book is excellent in clearing up most of the topics covered. Also, find someone that has taken the class before because at some point they find out the textbook is available online... His exams are based on the homeworks and almost identical to the practice exams he puts online. I can't comment much on his teaching style because I never paid attention in class. But he posts notes up online if you need, I never used them. I never studied for this class. Understand the homeworks and you'll do well. I loved Perlis because the way he grades helps out everyone and does it in such a way that is beneficial for everyone. He has no need to curve but he might. I definitely recommend him. I will say that some of his classes are extremely boring and I learned nothing from them.
Michelle Hugue
CMSC250

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
01/26/2012
This class was one of the more boring/frustrating ones that I have taken here at UMD. It seemed like the curriculum we covered was just all over the place, and I didnt feel like I learned much at all from this class. The graduate teaching assistants for this class were not good at all; they didnt care very much about the students and were horrible at grading exams. A lot of people found 5-10 points worth of mistakes on each of the exams, in addition to the fact that many of the points awarded were subject to the grader's own opinion, rather than actually getting a right/wrong answer. As for Dr. Hugue, most of the stuff mentioned below is true. She is pretty crazy, which can make the class funny at times but will also annoy you to no end if you actually are confused about something and want to learn the material. In lecture it seemed as though she just went over random topics with no real sense of organization or purpose. I had to teach myself everything for the assignments and exams. She is a really nice person who will listen to you after class and respond promptly to email. If I had to choose over again Id take this class with Perlis, because I learned more from him the one time I was in his lecture than I did all year in Dr. Hugue's lecture.
Michelle Hugue
CMSC250

bigbabby
12/20/2011
Hugue...oh boy. I thought the subject matter of 250 was pretty boring to begin with, and Hugue didn't change my mind. Lectures start off with a TA teaching for the first few minutes, then Hugue going over slides mixed in with random stories about her life. Homework is easy, about 20 minutes a week, and quizzes are just as easy, as long as you've done the homework and stayed semi-conscious in lecture. Tests are okay, alot of partial credit, which is great if you mess up on a proof. Hugue isn't great but compared to the other professors I'd prefer her. From what I hear the other 250 professors are like Hugue minus the stories in lecture, and that's the only thing keeping me from falling into comas during lecture. Also, she's much nicer than the other professors. She wants the class to do well and promises to curve/give partial credit/etc. if it will help the class.
Fawzi Emad
CMSC250

Expecting an A+
rockinbassman
03/21/2011
Fawzi was a great teacher. Fawzi sets his expectations at a reasonable level and then expects you to meet them, unlike many teachers that expect WAY too much and then curve. Curves always seem to add more stress to the class than necessary. Fawzi always did a good job conveying his thoughts, and was also good at coming up with multiple ways to explain the same concept for people who were struggling. Fair exams too. Don't expect much of a curve, but you shouldn't need it since he's fair.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
02/15/2011
Easy class. Weekly quizzes and homeworks given, but mostly re-iterate simple topics. Grading in the class is set up to help immensely. Honestly, the material is not too difficult, so there isn't really much to say. Perlis' lectures are okay, but attending them is not actually necessary to understand the topics.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Kristian Sooklal
12/23/2010
Perlis is a great professor to take CMSC250 with. Coming into this semester, I read ourumd.com's reviews and I was pessimistic about this course because of the low reviews and comparatively low GPA that Perlis had, but after taking this class I can assure you that Perlis is fair, if not even easy to take. His tests are fairly easy with a major recurring focus on induction, and his homeworks are pretty fair as long as you pay attention to details. The quizzes are extremely easy and are just attendance points. The curve is significant and he dropped the lowest 2 homeworks and 2 quizzes. Combined with the curve, this allows you to pretty much have an 85% and get an A. I'd definitely take 351 or whatever other classes he teaches in the future, because I enjoyed this class, learning about new mathematical concepts, and getting the A at the end.
John Aloimonos
CMSC250

Expecting an A+
xenonscreams
05/20/2010
He is the most accommodating person I've ever met. If you have a problem and you address it to him, he will absolutely help you out. He is completely engrossed in the success of his students. This is an extremely rare quality in a professor. There are only a few things holding me back from giving him five stars. Firstly, he goes on a lot of tangents. If you are the type of student who learns solely from lectures, it might be difficult since sometimes he does not cover all of the material. Secondly, he seems to have difficulty teaching the students who have difficulty grasping the concepts. If you really have trouble with theoretical math and logic, it might be best to take it with a different professor.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
12/28/2009
Perlis is a pretty good professor. He is extremely fair on every assignment, quiz, and exam in terms of what he asks and how he has the TA's grade it. He tries very hard to make the material interesting with his own little twists in how he presents the topics. However, the topics were fairly easy in general, especially if you come from a strong math background, so class can seem like a waste of time. Also, he mostly just presents stuff from the book, so you technically don't really need to go to class at all if you can just learn it from the book. Though this class, while being easy, will introduce you to some very interesting areas of math which I'm assuming will be covered in more detail in later classes. Overall, you've got a few very interesting topics, a pretty good professor who is at least very fair in grading, and not much hw (just one short assignment due each week), making this a decent class to take.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
12/24/2009
Coming from MATH, I can say 250 is an unique course. It takes elements from different math categories that you have either seen (As a math major) or will see (as a CS major). Some overlaps include elementary number theory (seen it if you took MATH406), counting (seen it if you took STAT400), and logical equivalences (CE majors probably have already seen truth tables and logical curcuits. Although, I was very familiar this class is not a walk in the park. Hence the overall GPA of the course. If you want to get a 4-credit A or B, take this class with no one other than Perlis. He has two methods: Method one: 15% quizzes, 15% homework, 20% midterm 1, 20% midterm 2, 30% final Method two: 15% quizzes, 15% homework, 30% best of two midterms, 40% final Your grade is determined based on the highest of the two methods and the curve. This class with Perlis is really convenient, especially if you are taking 212 or 313. I suggest taking this with Perlis if you are taking them, or take 250 and 212 or 313 separately.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
05/26/2009
This professor consistently confuses himself to the point where he wants to bang his own head on the wall and waste 25 minutes of our 80 minutes lecture time. His examples in class are completely irrelevant to the stuff on the quizzes and the final. The homeworks are challenging but if you memorize the examples solved in the book you will do fine. Final verdict: Because Perlis is incompetent at understanding the material himself, he is not the best professor to take this course with. It's like paying good tuition for someone who doesn't even know what he's talking about. Pick another professor.
John Aloimonos
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/06/2009
Dr. Aloimonos is a great guy, good teacher, and interesting to listen to in lecture. Like some of the other reviews said, he covers the material really quickly and perhaps not in as much detail as they should be, but if you do the worksheets in discussion and/or study, you'll be fine. His lectures are good to go to because he covers a lot of stuff that other professors don't, and talks about philosophy and stuff sometimes (its always somewhat relevant though). He knows a lot, but if you don't want to study and don't already know some of the material, then maybe someone else would be better.
John Aloimonos
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
03/20/2009
He is a great professor and a teacher. I mean he may not cover the subject material in any detail (u HAVE to read book to get stuff and practice for this class). But it is a fun class with him coz' he brings in so many higher level fun topics into the discussion. he is very knowledgeable and funny. recommended if u like logic math.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
01/12/2009
Perlis is an interesting guy, very frail. His lectures aren't difficult to follow, and his tests are ridiculously easy. I went to about 50% of lectures up until the first exam and got a 100 on it. I then did not attend one lecture for the rest of the semester, and still got a B+ on the final (left a lot blank, and did not review or study at all) and an A in the course. Sometimes he seems to get a little confused in class, but always answers any questions via email (which gets really annoying after a while, since he replies to the whole class). My recommendation is to attend all of the discussion sections, as this is where you will see what you really need to know.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
12/24/2008
Personally, I agree with some of the earlier complaints about Perlis confusing himself on some of his examples and problems, but he always corrects himself when he figures it out, by email if he can't in person. He also sends answers to any homework questions students ask him to the entire class listserv, which can be very helpful in figuring out the problems. The homeworks are hard, but considering that you have a week to do them and can ask questions about the assignments to the TAs (I personally had Peter Fontana, who I have to say made everything SO much easier) or Perlis in class or via email, they're not so bad. Quizzes are also hard, sometimes extremely so, but to compensate, he drops two of them at the end of the semester. He also drops two homeworks. As for exams, as long as you have a reasonable understanding of the material, they're quite easy. None of them are terribly long; a few large questions, a few short answers, a couple fill-in-the-blanks, and you're done. To make things even better, if you screw up terribly on one of the midterms, it gets dropped (though the other midterm and the final are made to count for more to compensate). All told, I found Perlis to be a very fair and nice teacher, which is a lot more than I can say for some others.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting a C
Anonymous
12/23/2008
Dr. Perlis would post huge reviews online that were normally problems taken right out of the book and then changed a tiny bit... with a couple tricks. The range of grades in the class is very large. As any math major that is in the class will maintain an easy A, while pure CS students will struggle. The curve for our class was as follows: For each student grades were calculated as follows: Method 1: HWK 15%; QUIZZES 15%; TWO MIDTERMS 20% each; FINAL 30% Method 2: HWK 15%; QUIZZES 15%; MIDTERM (best of two) 30%; FINAL 40% The curve is as follows: A >= 85.6 B >= 76.0 C >= 58.5 D >= 47.7
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting a c
Anonymous
12/21/2008
this guy is the worst lecturer ever. he is all over the place, and has terrible handwriting. he insists on using markers that are half out on the dry erase board. you can tell that he knows what he is doing somewhere in his crazy little head, but he just cannot translate it into something other people will understand. the course itself is also rather dumb. most of it is spent formally proving intuitive things. ex. on the final, he gave a hint that 1+1=2.... okay this is all good and fun, but when it is graded off because you stopped your proof when things got that intuitive, someone needs to get shot.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Anonymous
12/18/2008
THE worst professor ive ever had. unorganized during class, VERY sloppy notes, quizzes are often not relevant to anything gone over in class. his explanations are terrible because he gets confused with his own problems a lot. halfway through a problem he will realize he made a mistake and go back through the entire problem. homeworks are mostly hard. in my opinion he might know what hes doing, hes just terrible at explaining it. also, he'll spend an entire lecture on the same topic doing the same 2 or 3 problems. a lot of the class is based on learning things from the book or online. BUT, there is a HUGE curve!!! A >= 85.6 B >= 76.0 C >= 58.5 D >= 47.7 it saved me from taking the class again!!!
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Anonymous
10/16/2008
terrible, terrible professor!! is very unorganized, gives examples that make no sense, quizzes cover stuff not covered in lecture
Larry Herman
CMSC250

Anonymous
08/06/2008
I second that the guy is anal. You should avoid him as much as possible ...trust me , start planning your schedule from avoiding any of his classes ... You will regret the day you decided "Oh, well, this class fit into my schedule"
Larry Herman
CMSC250

Expecting a B
pluralfacade
05/17/2008
He was pretty good at teaching the material. However, appraoching him outside of class is out of the question. He just does not seem to want to help people, and even gets angry when you send him emails asking about the homework. Tests and quizzes were pretty fair though.
Clyde Kruskal
CMSC250

Expecting an A
Anonymous
04/22/2008
Heh, what can I say about Kruskal... first off, I had him for both CMSC250 and CMSC351. He seems very averse to doing work, and though he is very smart he rarely imparts this knowledge on students in a way that really impresses people. His lectures can be disjointed (he never has slides) and it can be hard to follow what he is doing, most of the class was not able to learn the material from the lectures. On the other hand, if he likes the material, I feel like he is able to teach something. And he seems to be really passionate about algorithms. So there is a silver lining - if you understand and follow what he does, you can learn.
Donald Perlis
CMSC250

Expecting a B
Anonymous
02/28/2008
I've never seen a professor baffled by his own sample problem until I took this class. Literally, he would give us a practice problem over the listserv and then be unable to solve it the next day. He was disorganized and invariably gave an inaccurate description of his exam material. For example, his "cumulative final" had a small section at the beginning pertaining to early course work and the remainder of the exam was based solely in the material of the last two lectures. The average on that exam was... distressing.
Larry Herman
CMSC250

Anonymous
02/13/2008
Herman is not a bad teacher; you will likely understand some material from lectures and take some solid knowledge away from the class. His tests were also quite fair in this class. He is, however, completely unapproachable before class, many times shrugs people off during office hours. He wouldn't even let me ask him if I could come to an earlier lecture session, because he was "too busy." He is also VERY partial to girls, often fawning and flirting.