Reviews for professors for CMSC414

Professor Information Review
Michelle Mazurek
Anonymous 07/08/2019
She is not a good lecturer. Pros: Class cover a lot of interesting topics Material is genuinely interesting for the most part Cons: She is a very boring an ineffective lecturer She is a harsh grader Exams are tough Projects are tough Bad at communicating/grading I would avoid taking class with her. I recommend taking Dave Levin if you can
David Levin
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 06/11/2019
He seemed like a good professor, but I think co-teaching 414 was a mistake. Between the three professors (Bobby, Michelle), he was the best lecturer but was barely there and oftened talked about the more interesting but less important (for exams) topics.
Michelle Mazurek
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 06/11/2019
Knows her stuff, but is quite boring. Her exam questions are also not up my alley. Nice person though.
Samrat Bhattacharjee
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 06/11/2019
One of the co-teachers for 414. Dude knows what he is talking about, but is a bit of a douche to students in class.
Michael Marsh
Anonymous 11/20/2018
Project grades are always off by at least 20% because he trusts his "scripts". Exams are tough, hard to study for. And everything else is as other reviews described. Terrible professor.
David Levin
Expecting a B+
Anonymous 10/23/2018
Favorite cs professor ive had. great lecturer. super nice guy. projects and exams were extremely fair
Michael Marsh
Expecting an F
Anonymous 08/30/2018
I agree with everyone else
David Levin
Expecting a C+
Anonymous 07/29/2018
Love this man. We would do our work in the student lounge, he would pass by and say hello since he recognized us and would hang out for a little while or ask us about the class. Always went up to him after lecture to ask questions and he was very cool about it. The material itself I became less and less interested in. The exams were quite open ended. A lot of short answers and a few multiple choice or word bank style questions thrown in. I did awful on all the exams, but fortunately the projects for the class were 50% of the final course grade. I did very well on all the projects but they were quite challenging...Basically they are a bunch of individual tasks you have to try out and they range from write a .c file that does this or make a txt file with a piece of code that does blah. I really disliked the final project which was a paired/team project. It caused me a lot of distress. Also several people did not submit a working project so there were only 20% of the class where you had to try and 'break' their code and write reports about it. Taking this class, I learned that Security is NOT for me. This class was more security than it was Networking which I actually like a lot more. Maybe the last month or so was focused on the Networking aspect of the class which I found quite disappointing. If you like security and networking, Dave is the man for you. His shiney bald head will make you fall in love with him.
Michael Marsh
Expecting a B
Anonymous 06/11/2018
Worst computer science professor I've ever had at UMD. He puts this university to shame, and the worst part is - he's a pretty nice guy (it's so frustrating). - lectures are downright impossible to follow - he gives high-level explanations and then tests on low-level code implementation - his take home exams require the use of libraries/tools that have bad documentation - his take home exams are heavily biased towards students who have already taken cmsc417/cmsc456 - warning: if he gives take homes, prepare to devote 20-30 hours of work to it and watch the average be a 40-60% - his grading scripts are terrible and you always need regrades - he uses elms discussion boards instead of piazza - he's stubborn, unhelpful, and oblivious in general My advice? Avoid this class at all costs, and don't take any class with this professor. Not worth your time.
David Levin
Expecting an A+
Anonymous 06/02/2018
Best lectures I've had for a computer science course. Lecture recordings were also posted online so attendance wasn't mandatory. Exams and projects weren't easy but they were certainty fair. Highly recommend taking CMSC414 with professor Levin.
Michael Marsh
Expecting an A-
Anonymous 05/21/2018
Nice guy. Worst professor I've ever had. I could go into all the reasons, but frankly it would just be exhausting, so I'll just say this: >He is bad at communicating >His project descriptions are borderline unfollowable >He only holds one office hour a week that is shared between 417 and 414 >His test grades are almost always wrong and you have to ask him for points back every time >His grading is completely opaque unless you bug him for his inputs >He forces you to use elms discussion boards and does not respond to any student questions posted to elms >His lectures do not cover exam topics, they just give general, high level explanations of things >He does not understand the math behind cryptography but tries to teach it anyway >If you take him, you will learn everything on your own DURING the test >He gives assignments that take much longer to complete than he says they will (his catch phrase is "30 minutes of coding per problem") The list goes on... If you take him, prepare to be paying for nothing I wasn't gonna list everything, but I did anyway. Woops. There you go. Avoid at all costs.
Michael Marsh
Anonymous 05/21/2018
Wish i could give a zero rating for his Excellenc in organizing lectures and his remarkable project readmes
David Levin
Expecting a C
Anonymous 05/11/2018
Wonderful lecturer. Great teacher, and great guy in office hours. His projects are difficult and the specs contain typos, but I believe that is the fault of the grad student TAs, not Dave's. I recommend taking the class, but make sure we're working with someone.
David Levin
Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/04/2018
AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING Professor. One of the best professors I had at UMD.
Michael Marsh
Anonymous 04/17/2018
worst class ever. Don't even know what I should get
Akhil Koul
Anonymous 04/05/2018
Helpful
Michael Marsh
Anonymous 04/04/2018
He is the worst professor. Just reads off the slides and gives like 4 15 minutes excercises in class. Doesn’t give answers to these exercises. He forced everyone to use elms discussion instead of piazza. Exams are extremely hard avergae was 52 for our first midterm. He doesn’t have time for his students. 1 hour of office hours per week and that too for 414 and 417 combined.i am not sure what grade i have in this class. Extremely unorganized professor. Biggest mistake of my life to take 414 with him.
Michelle Mazurek
Anonymous 01/24/2018
Professor who clearly knows her stuff. However, I'm not sure if it was the long class block or the presentation, but I struggled staying awake every class - especially about private and public keys. The programming assignments are kinda fun, but can be really challenging if you don't have the right mindset. Exams were alright, she allowed cheat sheets, but still lots of potential material. I'd maybe recommend to a final semester senior.
Peter Keleher
zaqu413 12/21/2013
Summary: Very average professor. Lecture: Mostly off of power-points which he posts online. Going to class is optional, but questions on the quizzes will sometimes come from things he says during class that are not on the power-points. The actual material was usually very interesting, but there was so much material to cover most of the time we just brushed over topics without really learning how they worked. Taking CMSC456 before this class will give you a slight advantage (very slight). Quizzes: There were 3 quizzes which were pretty hard. They are all short answer or diagram drawing. I felt the quizzes would emphasize a random subset of the material covered, so if you are weak on a certain topic and it shows up on the exam you are screwed. On the other hand it could not show up at all and you get lucky. Projects: The projects were actually pretty fun as we got to carry out things like buffer overflows, dictionary attacks, and XSS attacks. They also more or less got easier as the semester went on. Languages used were C, Java, and Javascript. He provides resources and examples if you don't know Javascript, I taught myself everything I needed to know for the Javascript coding in less than an hour. Final: It was a little harder than the quizzes I thought. But it is only worth 12% of your grade, which was a weird concept as I am used to it being between 30% and 40%. Grading: 5 projects 11% each 3 quizzes 11% each 1 final worth 12% Overall the material was interesting, but it seemed crammed. I think this would be a good first 400 level course as it gives you a nice overview so you can think about concentrations you would like to focus on in future courses.
Jonathan Katz
Expecting an A
rockinbassman 06/22/2012
Prof. Katz is a pretty good CS teacher. He teaches on the board and does not just read off of a powerpoint. The midterm was moderately difficult, but the final was in-class, online, all multiple choice and was easy. Projects and homeworks were cool, but honestly there could have been more (assuming you actually liked the topics) Biggest issue with this class is that 50% of the people come in with not a clue about any of the topics and with no security background and the other 50% has experience and knows a bit already. This makes the class either too easy/boring OR too hard/too fast. Can't make everyone happy, but this gap can make the class less enjoyable.
William Arbaugh
Expecting an A+
xenonscreams 01/11/2012
He's trying really hard to change this course and make it interesting. The biggest fallback comes from trying to change it too quickly, often mid-semester. Long-term changes to a course are appreciated, but within a semester a course should be completely consistent (e.g. the professor should have the labs prepared in advanced), otherwise it can be stressful to the students. Otherwise I thought his teaching style was decent and the class was pretty cool. I learned a lot. I got to do lots of awesome things that I had never looked into because I wasn't sure how to do them legally. He was pretty nice and accommodating when I spoke to him. I was just stressed out about my grade for most of the semester because of how frequently details of the course changed. And Capture The Flag is awesome, but shouldn't be a graded assignment, since that brings it straight from something fun and interesting to something worrisome and annoying.
Jonathan Katz
Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/19/2009
He's on OK professor. I didn't really go to class because it was boring (not the prof's fault). But he put up the slides online. Exams are actually pretty easy but everyone does badly on them (trust me, I'm no genius). The projects/homeworks are awesome and entertaining (best part of the class). The course gives you a good overview of things, although a good 25% of the course seems common sense.