Tobias von Petersdorff

14 reviews
Average rating: 3.00




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MATH120

Expecting a B
Anonymous 01/26/2018
Try to take somebody else. His lectures are messy and make no sense, and the tests include material that hasn't been covered before. Tests are also very long, as almost everybody would be working till the end. Don't take him.
AMSC460

Expecting an A
student8458 12/07/2015
There was one day in class where Von Petersdorf ran around in front of the classroom at full speed and repeatedly apologized to the class in a high pitched squeaky voice because he got too nervous to continue teaching. He suffers from some serious anxiety when talking to people and should not really be in front of a classroom. Posts notes online that were actually quite good and reading through these is much more useful than going to lecture. Did not hand back any homeworks or exams at all.
MATH462

Expecting a B
zaqu413 06/01/2012
Von Petersdorff is crazy. I don't even know what to say. Read the description below (by the anonymous guy in AMSC466) for a detailed description of lecture, as hard as it is to believe that description is correct and there is no exaggeration. Tests: Were fair, and based on lecture material We had one test and one final, but we were supposed to have two tests. We took the test before spring break and got it back on the last day of classes in May. Homework: Was somewhat difficult, but we only had 3 homework assignments. This was also handed back very late, about 2-4 weeks after turning it in. Office Hours: If you want to learn anything you pretty much have to go to office hours, he is much less nervous while in office hours. If he wasn't crazy he would actually be a good professor.
AMSC466

Expecting a B
Anonymous 05/03/2012
Von Petersdorff is prone to panic attacks which sadly interfere with his ability to hold meaningful lectures. Last lecture, he got lost in the middle of a proof which put him in such a state that he twice threw himself on the ground in fits after dropping the eraser. His medical condition is manifested by loud bursts of panting and crying, and overall nervousness. He runs around the front of the classroom, and when he is having trouble reciting a proof will chew on his hand. Because he has panting attacks, students will falsely reassure him that they understand his lecture so he doesn't have an episode, if they think he is about to break down. This problem is compounded by the fact that he does not use a text so the student is reliant on his lectures to learn the material. We took an exam on March 12, and as of May 3, we have yet to get them graded and returned. That exam and 3 homework assignments are all we have done in this class, so he is completely disinterested in providing feedback to students. When approached about this, he always says they will be ready tomorrow. Finals are soon and we have received feedback on 2 homework assignments from March, nothing else.This is not an appropriate review of student performance. To clarify: This teacher has a condition that negates his ability to be an effective teacher during lecture, and outside of the classroom he finds no reason to provide feedback to students or find other methods to evaluate a student's progress. It is hard to be led to any conclusion other than the University turning a blind eye to his troubling condition out of pity. I would not recommend this teacher to any student.
MATH241

Expecting an A+
zhangsta 01/06/2012
Good lecturer, fair exams. However, he gets an anxiety attack anytime something goes even slightly wrong like writing the wrong thing on the board. He will erase and rewrite the whole thing multiple times. The exams weren't hard if you did the homework. The MATLAB assignments he gives out can get really ugly and painful if you don't know MATLAB. Overall, the class wasn't too bad.
AMSC460

Anonymous 05/04/2011
Despite the fact that AMSC460 supposed to be an application course, we hardly learned any applications. Lectures were good, but we were barely given any HW assignment (4 assignments were given to us instead of expected 6). Because we did not have any text to rely on; lack of HW assignments was especially hurting. The few homework assignments, that we did get from instructor were very short, and given to us on last minute notices (to be fair, they did contained interesting problems). Pros: 1)Online notes that he did provide to us (which is materials covering first quarter of the course) were very organised and extremely helpful. 2)Lectures in class were also good. 3)He is a fare grader when it comes to checking exams. Cons: 1)Through later part of the course he almost stopped providing updates on his website and virtually gave us no HW so we had to rely only on the notes we made in class to prepare for the second midterm. 2)Exams were not always related to HW 3)He is very sensitive about due dates. 4)He is difficult to talk to when he is tired or stressed out.
MATH246

Expecting an A
xenonscreams 05/20/2010
He's an excellent professor who really understands the material and is pretty good at teaching it. His exams are extremely fair, and if you study you should do well, although it is easy to make stupid mistakes and lose a lot of credit. Matlab assignments were relatively long, but were graded very kindly and generally helped with everyone's grades. He does have panic attacks, as other people have mentioned. Sometimes they interfere with class or getting an exam passed out on time. He seems to be working on controlling them, as sometimes he will come close to having a panic attack but will breathe deeply and control himself. It seems to help to give him all the answers he asks for and ensure him that everything is OK and readable when he starts to frantically erase.
MATH246H

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/16/2010
His exams are very straightforward, and he goes over the material on the review days before the exam. He's a very good professor and always tells you whats relevant. If you go to class you probably wont even have to study for the exams. He will also drop and exam if you need it
MATH246

aloo1111 05/11/2010
He's a good professor. Study well and earn your grade with him
MATH246

Anonymous 04/27/2010
The instructor covered the material very well and explained how to do each type of problem however it was distracting to watch the professor have panic attacks in class in middle of a problem. It is unnecessary to erase the whole board because of a small algebra error such as a missed sign. His matlab assignments are very long and since he forgets to post them up I had less than a week to do the matlab and no time to do them over the weekend. I would suggest Von Petersdorff as a math professor since he covers the material well and because his tests are fairly straight forward on material covered in class.
MATH221

Anonymous 01/04/2010
I have no idea what happened to me in this class. Math used to be my favorite, and best subject. But for some reason I got to this class and was just clueless. From what I heard, my classmates all found the class very easy and were doing very well on his exams. Me? I ended up with a C in the class because I failed the final miserably. The lectures left me lost and confused. On a side note, he was always very helpful during office hours. I don't quite know how to review him. Everyone around me found his exams easy. For me, I was just lost and confused.
MATH241

Expecting a B
Anonymous 05/22/2009
von Petersdorff is a good professor in my opinion. If you go to class and take good notes, you'll have a good idea of what's going on even if you don't pay attention. However, his exams are in no way easy. If you want to do well, you'll have to do the homework even though it doesn't count towards your grade. As with all math courses here, having a good TA can make a HUGE difference in how you do.
MATH241

Expecting a B
Anonymous 05/14/2009
Dr. von Petersdorff conducts his class in a manner that is suited for math majors only, and fails to realize that the majority of people in the class do not necessarily have the same aptitude for math that he does. He fails to explain concepts that he deems simple, instead spending most of his lecture time on proving equations instead of actually teaching the class why those equations are useful. Few examples are shown, and those do not at all cover the breadth of problems that students are expected to answer. He is very disorganized, hard to contact (when I e-mailed him from my school address he never responded), and is overall a poor teacher for large introductory classes. On the other hand, if you have a really good TA or spend a lot of time learning the material yourself, his tests are generally pretty easy. Unfortunately, most of the class does not understand the material, and the median for our last two tests was in the mid-sixties. He's not curving the class. If you have other options and want a good math teacher for lower-level classes, don't pick him.
MATH246

Expecting an A
gundamwing4132 05/01/2008
Fair exams, good lectures.