Nelson Padua-Perez

67 reviews
Average rating: 3.96




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Information Review
CMSC131

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 12/04/2019
Perfect, approachable, answers questions, funny, and commands classroom
CMSC216

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 11/27/2019
He's Nelson... enough said
CMSC216

Anonymous 10/24/2019
Amazing amazing amazing. Best CS professor in the department honestly. He cares so much about his students, actually understands that we might be going through stuff and offers help. He cares. If you tell me your favorite professor is Fawzi, then I'll know you never experienced having Nelson. Sure, the class is hard. But Nelson gives you a really strong foundation, and motivates you to do the comp sci major.
CMSC132

Expecting an A-
Anonymous 10/21/2019
Nelson is a really good professor who explains things very well and gives you the resources you need to do well in the class (lecture videos, old exams, discussion questions). His lectures are also entertaining which is something that I miss now that I no longer have him.
CMSC216

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 05/26/2019
Great exams/projects, seems to care about his students. I found myself distracted in lecture a bit by his lecture style, since he tends to go back and forth between topics. Because of this, I think Pedram might be better at conveying the information we needed to learn
CMSC216

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/20/2019
He is really great at engaging the majority of students but I tended to find his jokes to be childish and distracting. I didn't always feel welcome in his lectures. He had a routine where he would repeatedly pretend to interrupt students while they asked a question, and I found this to be disrespectful. Well-intentioned but lacking execution. His exams and grading are fair, and he gave a decent curve.
CMSC216

Anonymous 05/12/2019
Great professor. I was lucky enough to have him for both CMSC132 and CMSC216. Straightforward exams, great sense of humor. Encourages the making of memes on Piazza. Very approachable
CMSC131

Expecting an A
braniac9 04/11/2019
Lived up to the hype. Great and engaging lecturer who cares about his students (overused some jokes, though). Other reviews mention grammatical errors in project specifications, but this was not my experience. Receptive to student concerns.
CMSC132H

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 04/06/2019
Great professor. Funny and covers the material well. Class is hard though.
CMSC131

Expecting an A
Anonymous 02/28/2019
Don't know why a lot of people hate on Nelson. He's an awesome professor and I thought he explained things to beginner programming students very well compared to other 131 professors. I had experience in Java before coming in, so I didn't have to study as much I guess. I would recommend Nelson over Herman any day. He does make some weird jokes here and there, but if you have at least a little sense of humor, the 75-minute lectures fly by.
CMSC216

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 01/24/2019
Funny guy who will engage you with his demeanor and slides. If you have been doing well in 131 and 132 you should expect to do well as long as you put in the work for projects.
CMSC132

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 12/24/2018
He is funny and makes lecture interesting, but attendance isn't mandatory and he records lectures. The exams were sometimes difficult but practice exams were released. He responds to student concerns (changed the release tokens from 24 to 12 hours) and is fair.
CMSC132

Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/22/2018
Good teacher, exams can be vague.
CMSC131

Expecting an A-
Anonymous 12/19/2018
My only prior experience to CS was Programming 1 my senior year of HS, and all those topics were covered within the first two weeks of CMSC131 so everything was fairly new. Nelson is an incredible professor! He makes the lecturers funny and engages with his students. He really cares for his students and extends projects when he sees fit. Sometimes there are 1 point assignments to boost your grade a little. His lectures are posted online but I highly recommend going to class and then going home to rewatch the lecture and taking notes. I did this for the final exam and scored really high that I wished I did this throughout the semester so that I wouldn't have been crying about the projects. Projects are hard but people are willing to help!! His exams and quizzes are no surprise if you studied and dedicate time for the materials. I ended up with an A- in the class with the small curve. I highly recommend Nelson!
CMSC132

Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/13/2018
He is not a very effective lecturer, as I end up teaching most of the material to myself outside of class. He gets distracted very easily and will look to call anyone out that is talking to their neighbor or on their phone, even if they are not bothering anyone. This ends up being a distraction to the entire class and I find it hard to focus or take him seriously. He posts lecture slides that are very helpful and they reflect the content that will be on the exams. He is a fair teacher but I do not enjoy going to lecture.
CMSC389N

Expecting an A-
Anonymous 05/23/2018
This guy is basically your favorite high school teacher as a UMD professor. Really, really good dude. If you ever have any problems while you're taking his class, you can go to his office hours and talk to him about it and he will do his best to work through those issues with you. He seriously, legitimately, actually cares about his students, which is something you don't see very often. As much as I'm tempted to give him a 5 star review, I can't just because he's not a great lecturer. He's funny in class, but he gets a little off-topic and distracted a lot, so a lot of what you learn from him, you have to learn from his slides outside of class. He makes this super easy though, because his slides are great and he records all his lectures on panopto, so you can go back over things if you missed something. All in all, he's one of my favorite professors I've had here and if you get a chance to take a class with him, do it. You won't be disappointed as long as you actually take the time to talk to him and get to know him.
CMSC389N

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 05/11/2018
He's a very funny professor who actually provides a good CS course. His projects are very reasonable, and he even gives code example to help with the projects. Tests are very easy, you just have to practice his old exams that he provides. I never got lower than a B- taking 3 of his classes. CMSC131, CMSC132, CMSC389N.
CMSC389N

Expecting an A
Anonymous 03/27/2018
Currently in his 389N class now but this is my third straight spring semester with him as a teacher. Had him two years ago in 132, and last year in 216. So this review will cover all those classes. 132: First time having a class with him and my god he was crazy funny and just all around cool. People don't like him because of his jokes but he does that because he believes that students can only focus for a short period of time and need to take a small break before focusing on the lecture again. I find this VERY effective! He is a really effective teacher. I got a C in 131, barely survived, and when I took Nelson for 132, I had a whole new understanding of the material that was way more invaluable from studying java the previous semester. First time taking his exams at this time as well and he basically makes his real ones the same flavor as the practice exams (because they're all old exams). Naturally he makes the final harder and a little more different but it can be done. 132 was my favorite semester at UMD and nelson was a HUGE part of it. Made me happy to be a CS Major. 216: Ok so i had to retake after fucking it up the semester before with Herman. Most of what I said about 132 can be repeated here as well. Old exams follow the same style as the ones he gives you. The projects, yes are daunting and make you stress a little bit but with a little tenacity it can be done. he made 216 a lot easier for me after Herman ruined it for me. 389N: It's my most favorite class of the semester. Despite the time its taught in the mornings any class with Nelson is a blast and this class is his "child" so to speak. It's web dev which is right up my alley and his passion as well. The first exam was really really (and i mean really) easy. And the projects i can finish in a matter of 2-3 days depending on how much time i spend on them. Unless Nelson offers more classes or teaches more in the upper levels this will most likely be my last semester with him as a teacher :( It was well worth it all three times. He makes you proud to be a CS major.
CMSC131

Anonymous 01/30/2018
The worst thing about Nelson is that his jokes get really old.
CMSC389N

Expecting an A
Anonymous 01/25/2018
Amazing
CMSC389N

Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/14/2017
This is my third time having Nelson as my CS professor (I had him for cmsc131 and cmsc216), and he's growing on me. He makes so many weird/painful jokes in class which makes it difficult for me to focus, but also keeps me awake so that's good haha. CMSC389N was an alright elective. Midterms were easy as hell and the final probably will be too, but there's a ton of written code required. We had a group project where we had to use php/html, javascript, and bootstrap and that was actually pretty neat and a good group learning experience. This is a great class for anyone looking to get into php/javascript and web app platforms, or databases. I ended up despising web dev this semester, but it was a good experience to learn some php/html, JS/JQuery, and SQL in case I have to use it in the future... plus Nelson is a laugh, haha. Good luck!
CMSC131

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 11/26/2017
Amazing professor! Keeps the class entertaining while teaching the material in a well paced manner.
CMSC132

Expecting an A-
Anonymous 11/20/2017
Easy to follow.
CMSC132

Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/19/2017
First CS professor I've had and seems to be one of my favorite professors so far. CS material can be really confusing but Nelson uses simple analogies to make sure his students understand what's going on. Really engaging as well, both inside and outside the classroom. If you have the chance to take him, do so.


Anonymous 11/19/2017
His project descriptions are full of grammatically errors and make absolutely no sense at all. Every single minute of his lectures, he interrupts himself to tell someone to stop talking even if they aren’t talking. This makes it difficult for us beginners to focus on what he’s saying since he keeps on interrupting himself mid sentence. If you’re good at coding, sure, take his class. He’s funny and makes a ton of jokes. But if you’re a beginner, beware. His inability to teach the content in an easy-to-understand way, coupled with his convoluted project descriptions, will give you headaches and nightmares.
CMSC131

Anonymous 11/19/2017
Good personality with a great sense of humor but that’s about it. Complaints: + His project descriptions do not flow well at all. They often have grammatical errors and information seems to be scattered all over the place, making projects very intimidating for beginners. Explanations do not make much sense at all unless you’re proficient with programming. Instructions for projects are simply horrible to say the least. Either too much info scattered throughout or too little. You’ll spend a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly it is you have to do, unless you’re already good at coding. + His lectures are all over the place. Every minute, he interrupts himself to tell someone to stop talking (even if they weren’t talking). For us beginners, it doesn’t help that he keeps doing that. He should just focus on his presentation and teach us the lectures without interruption. If you’re good at coding, take his class. He’s funny and makes class fun. But if you’re new to coding, be careful. His projects will give you constant headaches, and you’ll waste a ton of time trying to make sense of the project briefings.
CMSC132

Expecting an A-
lactaid 11/19/2017
Nelson is a great professor. He tells jokes to make class interesting. Some may find this distracting however. I took him for 132 and 216. He's a really nice guy. The projects are difficult but they can be rewarding.
CMSC132

Expecting an A
mike 11/11/2017
Nelson is one of the best professors I have had at Maryland. He always keeps his lectures interesting with jokes and stories. He also is great at teaching the material so it's easy to understand. His projects take some time, but he gives a great explanation of exactly what you need to do. Definitely try to take your CS classes with Nelson (everyone calls him by his first name).
CMSC131

Expecting a B
Anonymous 01/05/2016
Nelson is a great guy! His personality is so nice and he's HILARIOUS in class. He makes it fun to learn and a lot easier to pay attention in class. I am a newbie to computer science so the class itself was a little difficult. Nelson is a good guy for people new to computer science because he will make your introduction to compsci very fun. The first midterm for us was really easy and was just like the practice study guide they gave us. The second midterm was ridiculously difficult. It was impossible for anyone with no experience prior to have done well on that exam. Even people that were experienced were depressed after the exam. As for the final, it was a lot better. It wasn't too difficult like the first one but it was still challenging. Make sure to study a lot and go to all the discussions and lectures and to try to learn on your own time because class time is not enough. This class is tailored more for the experienced kids so being a newbie is quite the disadvantage. The whole "you don't need any experience prior" was one of the biggest lies I was told. Also be aware of cheating and copying other people's projects or even collaborating. There was a whole thing this year where the professors are going to prosecute those who cheated on projects which will result in an XF (failure and cheating mark) that will stay with you forever even if you retake the class. It's also better to do it on your own because you learn a lot more that way. BTW: TA hours are a HUGE mess. It's always packed in the TA office and you have to wait a long time for the TA to even come to you to help you. Kinda why I don't understand why the rules for even talking about the projects together are so strict, but can't really do anything about it. Don't show anyone your code and don't ask anyone for theirs. It's a serious issue. TIP: Do really well on the projects because those were the only things holding my grade up (as well as the quizzes). You can bomb the exams and still get a decent grade if you do extremely well on quizzes and projects.
CMSC132

Anonymous 12/30/2015
Nelson is absolutely and unequivocally the worst instructor I have ever had the misfortune of taking a class with. He is decent at lecturing most of the time, but that is not too much of a merit, since he just reads off slides. I have asked questions both in class, and in office hours, and I have never received a satisfactory answer. For example, one time in class, he offered an opportunity for us to ask questions about the current project we were working on. When I asked a question, he told me my question was too complicated to understand, and instead of letting me clarify, he instead told me that he wouldn't answer my question, and would be moving on to the next topic. I decided to go to his office hours to try and clarify my question. However, he would not even let me finish my question before interrupting, and repeatedly telling me my confusion regarding the project was because I had not read the public tests (which is a solution not remotely related to my original question). He was very rude and discourteous the entire time I was in his office. He uses Piazza (sort of like a forum), under the pretense of having TAs or fellow students being able to help answer questions regarding the class. However, he only uses Piazza as a way to avoid answering nuanced questions himself. This was quite obvious the other times I had attended his office hours, when he would simply tell me to ask my question to the TAs instead. As noted in other reviews, he stops lecture to call out students unnecessarily for the most ridiculous things. Aside from it not being funny, it is quite embarrassing to be put on the spot like that. He is able to still be popular among students because he makes frequent jokes all throughout class. While some of them can be funny, a lot of the jokes I find to be annoying. He jokes about marijuana, cocaine, drinking, etc., in order to project a "chill" image which the typical college student will find hysterical. To summarize this review, Nelson has repeatedly proven he is rude, unable to answer questions that are nuanced, and desperate to be liked. Those genuinely are the three most dangerous traits an instructor can have, as he will find opportunities to belittle you throughout the semester if he knows you don't like him. Stay away from his class at all costs.
CMSC132

Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/02/2015
People told me Nelson was awesome before I chose his class, but honestly I'm a little disappointed now. He jokes a lot during the lecture, with makes the class seems easy, but I just feel like I cannot really learn from him. Also I don't like him making fun of students in the lecture. I think his exams and quizzes are fair, but the projects are really hard. I personally won't recommend him. In my opinion, he might be a good guy but just an okay professor.
CMSC216

Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/22/2015
Nelson is a wonderfully funny professor who really values his students. I would certainly recommend that you take him, if possible, because he makes his classes very enjoyable. His exams can be fairly tricky, but if you study well you will be fine.
CMSC216

Anonymous 05/19/2015
In my opinion, Nelson is a solid CS professor. I took 216 with him, and he made it a point to ensure us that it wasn't a weeder course. Once you get around the accent, he's great at explaining the topics at hand. He keeps his lectures fairly lighthearted and relaxed, and he also has a sense of humor. He, along with his TAs, are stationed on Piazza to help students with any problems or concerns, and this is very convenient and helpful. Projects take longer to complete than those in 131 and 132, and starting early is essential. Quizzes and Exams are fair, and he provides a test bank from previous semesters. The final was challenging, so be prepared. Regarding the cons of a class with Nelson - he can be very annoying. The amount of times he will stop the lecture just to call out a student fooling around is just unnecessary and it also distracts everyone in the class. His humor also doesn't appeal to everyone. In addition, be prepared for your inbox to be flooded with his email updates on the course material. I once remember receiving six emails in a 15 minute span from him alone. Overall, he's a great CS prof, and the only professor I would take over him is Fawzi Emad.
CMSC216

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/15/2015
Here's the thing with Nelson: he's a great guy and fun to be around, but sometimes that gets in the way of his teaching. He jokes a lot, which makes lecture interesting, but I feel as if I could've gotten a lot more out of 216 with someone else. His projects and quizzes are fair. The tests are fair too, although he likes to test very nit-picky, minor details that any normal person would just test out in a dummy program rather than memorize.
CMSC216

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/04/2015
I think he is an amazing professor. He is a pretty decent lecturer, but I think what makes him stand out is how receptive he is to student concerns. Every decision he makes is meant to help us succeed and have a better understanding of the material.
CMSC216

Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/09/2014
He's a pretty good professor. His lectures are extremely boring and he sticks unfunny jokes in them, but all of the slides and recordings of his lectures were available online. I needed to start my projects right away because the last half of them were given back-to-back with little time to work on them and I couldn't get any help from TAs. If enough students were confused about some part of an assignment, he would explain it in detail during lectures, but individualized assistance was hard to find. He never gave any of the pop quizzes he threatened to give, but if he says that something will be on a test or quiz, it will be.
CMSC216

Expecting a B
watergems 08/23/2014
Nelson's class was very disappointing. The first half was challenging and interesting. The second half died for me. The projects were super simplistic but overly complicated with external obfuscation/unclear specification. He seemed to claim this was some kind of test of character or professional challenge. But it just made the last 1/3 of the course into a technically inadequate, stressful game. He is funny but that's not why I'm in school. Nor am I in school to be stressed and have my character tested. There were way too many cheaters, collaborators and brown-nosers who had their strategies for getting their projects done, and they really benefitted in the second half of the course during the b.s. projects. The students who were doing their own work were then at a disadvantage. Meanwhile the technical quality of the material covered during that last 1/3 was very low. i'd rather have a less engaging, entertaining teacher and get a good education throughout the entire class.
CMSC330

Anonymous 05/19/2014
I've taken Nelson for CMSC216/CMSC330, and he has to be one of my favorite CS professors. He explains the material well and tries to keep it fun in the process. If you are deciding between Nelson and another professor for a CMSC class - do yourself a favor and take Nelson. You will learn a bunch and have fun in the process.
CMSC216

Expecting an A-
Anonymous 04/29/2014
Great professor , absolutely hilarious. Very fair in terms of exams , quizzes , and projects. You can find everything in his lectureExamples if you are confused on any topic. Would highly recommend, best teacher i've so far in CS.
CMSC132H

Expecting an A
Anonymous 09/23/2012
Great professor, awesome person. If computer science is not your thing, this is the best professor you can have. He explains every concept thoroughly and tests you only on what he goes over in class. I'd highly recommend going to class because if you don't, the powerpoint slides will seem really disjointed and incoherent, but in class he explains everything. Projects are extremely reasonable and are very relevant to what you're doing in class. Quizzes mimic the worksheets he gives out. If you have a problem in the class, USE YOUR RESOURCES (professor, TAs) because they can immensely help. Makes some funny jokes that lighten the mood of his class, creating a very comfortable environment. The only complaint is that the end of the semester is pretty rushed in terms of material. He goes over many design patterns, sorting techniques, and algorithm strategies very quickly, and you're expected to have a basic understanding of ALL of them on the final exam.
CMSC131

Expecting an A
Anonymous 01/16/2012
I thought Nelson was a really nice guy, but his lectures weren't really all that good. He makes the class easy tho, so if all you're worried about is your grade, you'll be fine. I recommend taking another instructor (Fawzi Emad or Evan Golub) if you really want to learn something.
CMSC122

Anonymous 12/15/2011
In all honesty, I don't know why everyone is praising Nelson. Maybe it is because they didn't have him for CMSC122. Seriously, don't take this class. It is just a bunch of unneeded stress. Nelson is the first teacher that I've ever had that actually discouraged asking questions. I asked him reasonable questions during lecture and he not only didn't answer them, he makes an example of me in front of the class. He also teaches the class as if it is a bunch of grad students or something. He goes super fast and will once in a while ask us if he is going to fast. When I told him he was, he proceeded to go at the same pace. He is also very inaccessible. He often ignores emails or sends back nasty messages saying things that frankly, I don't understand. The TA's also don't show up to class so when you go into office hours (which also suck) you don't know who they are. I went to a lot of the lectures, but I found myself learning more from a friend in a 2 hour period than I did all year with him. I noticed that computer science is a thing that comes natural to some and not to others. If you are like me and know nothing, seriously reconsider taking this class.
CMSC122

Expecting an A
Anonymous 10/11/2011
He's a good professor and will take every single question you have. His jokes are hilarious the first few days, but then he starts to recycle and it gets old and awkward fast. Which is fine because he really does break down the material into manageable pieces for someone like me who has never done a bit of programming in my life. There are quizzes but he tells you when they are. He threatens pop-quizzes sometimes because a few weeks in no one listens to him anymore because he moves on to miscellaneous and useless topics after JavaScript, but he never pulled it. Make sure to ask him questions in class though because once that clock strikes 1:50 (or whenever the class ends), he is outta there. Won't answer your questions and isn't helpful in office hours. Go to the TA's for that, and that's what he tells you. I'm taking this as a programming requirement for my math major so if you need one and want to do minimal work, take this course with Nelson.
CMSC132

Expecting an A+
fma1 08/23/2011
I took CMSC132 during the summer and I say he's not a bad professor. Lecture material was kind of boring to me as a lot I already knew, but Nelson tried to connect it to real life examples. The two things I didn't like were that he would make jokes time to time and he would pay too much attention to me. I got 100% on his pop quiz, so I was actually paying attention. I understand why he makes jokes, but I didn't come to class to listen to jokes. I came to learn about OOP. So whenever he did that, I would study something else.


Anonymous 05/19/2011
Nelson was funny, but eventually it got really annoying, and was a waste of time. For a DCC class, this class was a lot of work, considering that most of us don't have programming experience. He's nice and helpful though, so if you enjoy a joker and comedian, Nelson might be the professor for you.
CMSC122

Anonymous 05/11/2011
This is by far the worst class at any level of education I have ever taken in my life. The syllabus did not describe the guidelines in the class at all. It just listed that there would be projects at some time during the semester but students were not informed of when projects were due until they were assigned. The professor also assigned a major assignment each week about halfway through the semester. I never had a break from this class. I was always either working on a project or studying for a test or quiz. I understand that there will be assignments, but I never had more work in any class of college so far and I have taken some 400-level classes. When I had questions about some of the assignments, I would go to both the professor and the TA's office hours. However, once I was there, I received no help. I was told to look over the powerpoint slides again and then turned away. My questions were not answered at all. The lectures for this class were incredibly boring. The teaching style was horrible. At the beginning of the semester, Nelson said he did not care what students did during his class. Yet throughout the semester, he constantly called out students for talking, texting or typing on their computer. His lecture style was not engaging at all. It was so hard to focus and he did not gear the information at all to people who are not great with computers like myself. Whenever students asked questions, his answers were not helpful at all. Worst class ever. Do not take this if you are not great with computers and are not a computer science major.
CMSC131

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 05/03/2011
Nelson is a very engaging and fun teacher to have. He enjoys to teach and make jokes at the same time which is very entertaining. Even though he said in the beginning that he will teach like you never did programming before, I believe that is not true. Exams are not that difficult and projects are pretty fair, where as if the class is struggling to finish it, he will extend the deadline. Overall, I would recommend him as a teacher 100%. The TA does not explain the concepts pretty well.


Expecting an A
Anonymous 02/04/2011
I had Nelson for the first time in a winter course on PHP (cmsc389p). I loved the class. I highly recommend it. Some of the reviews here complained about Nelson's teaching in class, but the problems with these critics are that Nelson teaches such easy topics (CMSC131, CMSC132, CMSC122 for non majors, CMSC198 for non majors), and other ridiculously easy classes that he doesn't have to spend all of class lecturing "int x = 3;" and basic syntax to you. He's funny, approachable, and will be a great teacher as long as (in his words) "they pay me enough". Great guy. Sign up quick, because his classes tend to fill up.


s8214 12/07/2010
The first day he had me laughing so hard, i knew it was going to be a good semester. Hes really great at explaining tough concepts, extremely helpful if you go to his office hours, very patient with students who do not understand the material, and very funny. Its rare to have a teacher that can make the class laugh every single lecture. Awesome professor.


Expecting an A
Anonymous 12/06/2010
Great teacher. He is very straightforward and posts all the powerpoints used in lecture online. There are also weekly study sheets on the class website that I found helpful for our quizzes and tests. Nelson also cares about his students, and he is very good at communicating via e-mail and addressing student concerns. He's also a pretty funny guy, and will tell jokes to make class more interesting. Just pay attention, because if he sees you using your phone or going on facebook he will call you out on it in front of the whole class!


Expecting an A
ashivkum 11/30/2010
Nelson is an excellent teacher for thsi class if you have programmed before. Otherwise, the pace of the class might be rather brisk. Sometimes he does not explain certain material, and asks you to go to his office hours, which apparently he doesn't give a shit about. On the bright side, he is an extremely funny guy, but he has his days, like some days he is 100% business, and other days he is just cracking jokes and you don't learn shit. He is very understanding in projects, and will give you extra time if you truly need it. Overall, an extremely friendly guy, but if you get sidetracked, he will pick on you in front of everybody. My opinion? Take this dude, for whatever class he teaches.
CMSC131

Anonymous 10/25/2010
Guy says he teaches the class as if none of the students have had programming experience before but that's so false ....... guy sits there and writes code and just gives little explanation. Majority of the class already had programming experience so they understood so the class was clearly catered toward them. Get Fawzi.
CMSC132

Expecting a B
Anonymous 05/21/2010
Nelson is a great teacher. He's very upbeat and likes to tell lots of really geeky jokes during class. He'll know if you're not paying attention and he'll call you out on it, but it's not a big deal. The class is certainly not an easy one. Make sure you have plenty of time to do the projects. Nelson is very accessible and always there to help.
CMSC132

Anonymous 05/20/2010
Funny teacher whose ppt lectures are relatively more interesting. Just do not expect him to help you with any personal programming issues. Easy A. Point questions toward TA. Sometimes does not show up to classes for unknown reasons. Does not do anything he doesn't get paid for, I guess. If you have questions just be sure to ask during class so that he will actually give you an answer.
CMSC132H

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/17/2010
Pretty easy class. Projects could get a bit tricky, but tests and quizzes were not a problem at all. Starting the projects early and getting them out of the way is a good idea. Nelson was encouraging and helpful the few times I have approached him outside of class. As a teacher, he did a pretty good job explaining concepts. No complaints here.
CMSC132

Anonymous 05/13/2010
Terrible professor. If you have a backround in programming you will be fine. But if you are taking the class because you are forced to take a programming class and are not a CMSC major and do not spead time programming "just for fun" you will be lost. And he is not helpful. Most of my conversations with him were as follows; I dont understand this.... Well, we went over that in class. Yes I remember, but I didnt understand it in class either. And I still dont understand it. Well why dont you understand it? I went over it in class. I know, but I dont understand it. OVER AND OVER AND OVER


Expecting an A+
Anonymous 04/07/2010
I took CMSC198J over winter term with Nelson and absolutely loved it! He explained concepts very well and gave us a lot of time to practice programming while he was around to help us. This class was an excellent way to finish my Comp-Sci requirement, and the winter term set-up gave us a lot of face time with Nelson. He was very funny and very helpful and appreciated any student who actually made an effort to do the practice programming challenges. Some of the projects took a lot of time, but I found them fun--like solving a puzzle. Nelson was an awesome professor and also wrote me a great review for study abroad. If you are a motivated student with a sense of humor, I highly recommend his class.
CMSC132

Expecting an A
Anonymous 01/03/2009
He likes to joke around a lot in class and its pretty funny at first but really gets old and annoying after about the first week. When asked a question in class, he'll most likely respond "come to my office hours" or "go to the TA office hours". Then when you go to his office hours, he gets irritated and tells you that he already went over it in class. He always emphasizes the fact that he cares about his students and wants to see them successful in class. I really question that... Best advice I can give you for this class is to start the homeworks and projects early and do take advantage of the TA office hours. They help out a lot. Also he posts practice quizzes and exams which are pretty good study material for the real thing. Oh yea, and never go to his office hours asking about a project that is due soon. I went to ask a question about a project three days prior to the due date about a question the TA's couldn't even answer. He spent 10 minutes lecturing me about how "successful programmers" start projects early so that they aren't cramming to do it at the end. Then he told me to go to TA office hours... Overall not a hard class but don't expect too much out of Nelson.
CMSC132

Anonymous 11/24/2008
the only reason im giving nelson any stars at all is because he explains concepts pretty well during class. other than that, if you have to take 132 this semester, take it with fawzi. nelson wastes A LOT of time saying jokes that have NOTHING to do with class. he may seem funny at first, but when you really need help and he doesn't answer your question, it's not funny anymore. when people ask him questions, he either says "ask the TA", "we already went over that", or "come to my office hours". ive gone to his office hours and he just sends me back to the TAs. he also is not considerate of our time. he gave a project AND homework at the same time (homeworks are like mini projects). i also agree with the person below me about EVERYTHING they mentioned.
CMSC132

Anonymous 11/19/2008
i lot of people liked him. but to me he was very annoying and got on my nerves. he tries too hard to be funny, and most of the time isn't funny at all. he also says he does not care if u don't pay attention in class as long as you don't disrupt the class. but he himself disrupts the class every 5 min to yell/joke at some kid for not paying attention when the student wasn't even disrupting the class


Expecting an A
BriBri013 10/27/2008
This is probably the hardest I have ever worked for an "elective" course, but I really did enjoy the class. It says it is for beginners but Nelson covers a lot of difficult material. I had background in some web programming so I did alright, but the people without any experience seemed to struggle. I would take it over again just for him, he's worth coming to class! If nothing else, even if I was so behind I wanted to cry, Nelson made class interesting and fun.
CMSC132

Expecting an A
pluralfacade 05/17/2008
Awesome guy. I've had better teachers, but Nelson keeps class interesting with his jokes, and the way he ran his class really helped me to get a solid grip on the material.
CMSC132

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 05/12/2008
I took him a few years back, he is pretty good at teaching, but goes overboard with the jokes every now and then to a point where you feel kind of embarrassed and annoyed. Some days he is on the money with his comedy show, but some days I really felt like telling him to stfu. The only other complaint was that he rushed the end of the semester pretty hard, so make sure you stay on top of the material. During the last week he made us memorize details for dozens of design patterns which were all on the final.
CMSC132

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 12/16/2007
Quite simply, Nelson is among the best professors UMD has to offer. His class is immensely interesting, he is very funny, and he is a fair grader. The work isn't very hard, but if it is, he is very helpful. No complaints.
CMSC132

Expecting an A
unitar 12/04/2007
I actually took class with Nelson in Fall 2006, but felt that he was such a good teacher he deserved a review now that this site is up. Nelson is an excellent teacher that keeps his students laughing, which keeps the material interesting. Take every class he teaches!
CMSC132

Anonymous 11/15/2007
Nelson is a good teacher. Like everyone has said he tells jokes during class to keep the boring subject material interesting. He also does a good job explaining the projects. I got an A in his class.
CMSC132

Anonymous 11/06/2007
I took 132 with Nelson a few semesters ago, but I did want to mention that he is a great teacher. He keeps class interesting, always cracking jokes and telling stories. My only complaint is that sometimes I was in the mood to just learn what I needed to and leave, and sometimes the jokes were a little too much. Other than that, I learned a lot and had a bit of fun, too. Got an A in his class.