Review Comment

[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

January 27, 2020

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

Don't confuse this professor Wang with the professor Wang who apparently teaches Chinese quite well. Wang is not a particularly exciting lecturer but he does convey the material fairly effectively. The material is extremely difficult and I would definitely stay away from this class unless you need it for your major or you are particularly interested in time analysis. It is really a math class in the EE department which Wang will tell you straight out so don't take this because you're interested in Circuit Analysis. The exams and HWs are very difficult if you don't have the solution manual to the point where it becomes hard to actually learn the material well since you have to really focus on doing well in the class as opposed to learning the content. He generally has a policy that if you don't do well on the midterms he will count the final instead of them changing the grading scheme from 40% midterms (2), 20% HW, 40% final to 80% final and 20% HW, so you basically must do well on the final to succeed in the class. Overall I'd say this class is extremely difficult and should be avoided unless required, but Wang is a capable professor.

Workload:

Material is quite difficult so assume workload is heavy

December 16, 2014

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

With all the negative reviews I think I'll come out and say that I *appreciate* Professor Wang. I don't *like* him - I don't think anybody likes him, and to be honest he doesn't give a shit about students either. He cracked exactly one joke during the semester, completely deadpan.

Honestly I would not trust Vallancourt to teach this class. Professor Wang presents the material in a clear, systematic manner, and test problems are basically the same as homeworks with the numbers changed. Some of the material is difficult but gives you a solid background for future signal processing courses. I especially appreciated that proved all the theorems he presented. But be careful, it's not for nothing - the exams have proofs and you will probably be asked to prove Parseval's theorem at some point.

If you ever have a chance, look up the research he does too - he's an IEEE Fellow and gets millions of dollars of NSF funding.

Workload:

1 pset a week, two midterms. Psets very easy

December 13, 2011

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Unless your engineering major requires it, try to avoid taking Signals and Systems with Professor Wang.

First off, this man has no soul. According to some of my classmates, he merely acted like a "typical Chinese professor," but I have had professors from the Mainland/Middle Kingdom who were incredibly creative, ingenious, inspiring, and motivating. XW is none of those.

Xiaodong typically speaks into the blackboard from only several inches away. His accented English is very good, except for his tendency to pronounce "delta" as "derta." This is clearly not a deal-breaker, but you may also find his tendency to say "this is just high school math," "nothing more than...", and "Okay? Alright" all extremely infuriating. He writes extremely fast, and only uses two board panels, so that he has to erase material unnecessarily quickly.

I recommend that you make jokes (ideally non-disruptive) in class and ask questions to lighten the mood and encourage a modicum of Socratic dialogue.

My last criticism of XW's teaching style is that he just shows up to class on time, stares at the class until people slowly hush up, teaches class for 75 minutes straight, and then leaves. He does not bother to show up to exams, and is sometimes condescending and dismissive at office hours.

However, Wang Laoshi does wear stylish Puma indoor soccer shoes...check it out if you need to be entertained mid-semester.

As for the positive parts of the course: this stuff is really useful. Fourier and LaPlace transforms at first seem highly technical and complex in the very dense Lathi textbook, but once you struggle through the problem sets, and read the text in the soberest of moments, you will come to see the light.

In fact, the last class of the semester didn't cover any examples, but did a fly-through at Mach speed of all of the course material, from basic imaginary numbers all the way to LaPlace-generated block-diagrams of how to build highly-specified filters.

The beauty in which this course merges with Circuit Analysis at the end is both incredible and rewarding. It makes all of the tedious, dense, analytic math seem worth the squeeze.

In comparison to a substitute instructor (while XW supposedly spent three class-sessions in China at a conference), XW is way more organized (we did still manage to joke that we hoped XW would be barred from re-entry at JFK Immigration at least until the final). That said, the Greek substitute had far more of a sense of humor and presented the material in a far less rote, dry way. That said, when you're going through your notes before a MT or exam, XW's organization pays off.

My final comment about this course is that many Asian foreigners (sadly not Asians born in this country, for the most part) seem to have been trained in some of this material as early as high school. Sadly we westerners are mostly left out. Thus, this course requires a bit of a jump in acuity from standard (advanced) Calc or Stats or Intro Circuits classes. But once you take this class, you will feel far more confident about rocking Stats or Intermediate-to-Advanced Econ. Just prepare to suffer unnecessarily thanks to WANG Xiaodong, since he seems to assume a lot of knowledge and acuity of his students (almost to the extent that he thinks they have seen all the material before).

The exams are tough but not impossible. Prepare a good (permitted) cheat-sheet with as many formulae as you can cram in. It will pay off. Apparently this course was executed this year much better than last: more balanced and less challenging exams, and better feedback from TAs.

That said, I found myself wishing desperately on multiple occasions that Vallancourt or Zukowski could have taught us the material.

NighTalon, NYC, 12/2011

Workload:

Weekly problem sets are time consuming if you haven't read the text. The text is very dense, so reading before class is not always useful. However, exam problems are very similar to the stuff on the PSets, so preparing for exams should not be too tough, even though there are no practice exams. There is a generous curve if you're in the top half of the class, but you will get shot down if you're not.

August 09, 2011

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I completely agree with the last review. The class was absolute hell, I hated every bit of it. He CANNOT TEACH, and grades badly - not the best mix of qualities. The class was terribly dry, so I just stopped going at one point. But make sure you get the notes, because they are important for the midterms and final (which was curved to a C+ or B-, wonderful). If you cannot get the notes from anyone then just go to class and suffer through it, but just write down whatever he puts on the board. When I finally studied the material, I found that it was actually kinda interesting, although challenging.

Workload:

Homework every week, not very easy. Midterm 1 - manageable. Midterm 2 - RIDICULOUS. Final - hard, but review the midterms before it because some questions were repeated!

December 25, 2010

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Take a professor who lacks any teaching ability and would have difficulty explaining to a 4 year old how to add 2 +2, combine with a book that is completely useless, consider that this subject is fairly challenging to begin with, mix in a first midterm that is fair but a second midterm that is SO difficult that entire class bursts into laughter when time is called because they weren't able to even begin half of the problems, and as icing on the cake, put in a final grade distribution with the average grade awarded a C+, 17 % of students receiving a C- and 15 % of students receiving a D (yes, he gave 8 students a D), and you have Signals and Systems with Professor Wang. If you don't need to take this class, DON"T take it, you will not learn anything and it will only hurt your gpa. If this is a required class for you, my heart goes out. Pray every night that a different teacher might be leading it by the time you have to take it. And by the way, he distributed grades out on Christmas, just to make us all have a great day.

Workload:

Problem set every week, two midterms, and a final. You didn't have to study for second midterm, there is no way it would have helped. On final, make sure you know random definitions, otherwise you won't know how to start the problem.

May 09, 2005

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Wang isn't a particularly good lecturer. He has a thick accent and just about all of his info comes straight out of the book--personally, I definitely didn't go to lecture very often. The material in the class, however, is kind of interesting, especially if you're good at math. It's pretty important stuff for a lot of the engineering applications. Wang uses a pretty complicated curve for his grading system, but the best part of the entire system is that if your grade on the final is higher than your average of the two midterms, your final counts as 80% of your grade and the midterms don't count. Wang's nothing special, but he's organized and you can always just follow from the book. Tests are challenging, but with pretty low means, you'll end up doing fine. I bombed both midterms, but nailed the final and ended up with an A-, despite going to lecture on only a semi-regular basis.

Workload:

Two midterms, final. Either a 20/20/40 split between them or the final counts for 80 if you do better on the final than the average of the midterms. Weekly problem sets count for the other 20%, but those are pretty straightforward. Tests are a time-crunch, but are definitely doable.

September 08, 2004

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Wang is a good professor. If you go to class, you will do well in his class. He provides all the information you need in class. He is also very reasonable with grading; and wants you to do well.

Workload:

1 Problem set a week(towards the end they take longer to do); 2 midterms which you must study a lot for but again the notes are key & final

December 02, 2003

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN 3801] Signals and Systems

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Excellent professor. He has a good approach to deliver the materials. Lectures are very well organized. The exams are easy. most exam questions are taken from the homeworks, so make sure you go through all the homework before going to the tests.

Workload:

weekly problem sets with 5-6 questions. problem sets are harder than the exams.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E3801: Signals and Systems Xiaodong Wang 2012 Fall TR / 7:10- 8:25 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E3801: Signals and Systems Xiaodong Wang 2010 Fall TR / 6:50- 8:05 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E3801: Signals and Systems Rui Castro 2009 Fall TR / 9:10-10:25 AM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E3801: Signals and Systems Rui Castro 2008 Fall TR / 9:30-10:45 AM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E3801: Signals and Systems Xiaodong Wang 2007 Fall TR / 9:10-10:25 AM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E3801: Signals and Systems Xiaodong Wang 2006 Fall TR / 9:10-10:25 AM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E3801: Signals and Systems Xiaodong Wang 2004 Fall TR / 9:10-10:25 AM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E3801: Signals and Systems Xiaodong Wang 2003 Fall TR / 9:10-10:25 AM 1