Review Comment

Mechanics (Statics & Dynamics)

January 17, 2012

Testa, Rene
Mechanics (Statics & Dynamics)

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

By far the worst professor I ever had, made me reconsider taking a minor in civil engineering. He is very organized, uses an unfriendly book, as well as teaches from a different book and sequences the chapters randomly. It is hard to figure out which chapter he is one, as he combines concepts from different chapters and jumps randomly back and forth between chapters. His notes are unorganized, and his methods are unclear. He could make a kindergarten class challenging. DO NOT TAKE HIM, YOU WILL REGRET IT.
His grading is random, you could answer things right on the exam and he could still take away points, then you can go and talk to him about and he would say that you are testing his teaching methods and tell you that these points don't matter and you should focus on the material!
Finally if you have taken the material before in another institution you will be fine because his exams are not hard but BEWARE!

Workload:

homework problems are simple in theory but the wording is hard to decipher. It is hard to understand what he wants.

December 19, 2011

Testa, Rene
Mechanics (Statics & Dynamics)

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

Testa is hands down the worst teacher I have ever had. The material is highschool level physics with some vector analysis worked in, but he finds a way to make it difficult, mainly because he does not teach out of the book, words all problems as ambiguously as possible, is a disorganized and uncharismatic lecturer, and refuses to help you during office hours (He actually gave me the silent treatment when I asked him a question). If you ask him a conceptual question regarding a problem, he tells you to look at the math, or repeats it back to you. This is fitting, because all he does during lecture is read the equations that he is illegibly scrawling out. To top it all off, he butchers vector notation for the fun of it

Tests are as ambiguous as the homework, which is fantastic because his so-called conceptual questions are usually worth a third of the points, and include gems such as "Tell me something about point A". All of the actual problems that he gives are incredibly easy, both on homeworks and tests, once you figure out what he's asking for.

In short, save yourself the pain and take this class with Hone in the spring.

Workload:

9 homeworks 2 midterms 1 final (50%)

January 05, 2011

Testa, Rene
Mechanics (Statics & Dynamics)

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

The Good:
Testa is a native speaker of English, and he'll tell you what's on the test if you show up the day before a holiday. Also, this is fairly easy material - you could get an A by knowing perhaps 6 equations and being willing to scramble a bit. He claims that if you've done poorly on a single test, he'll weight that test less than the others in your final grade (though this is obviously very difficult to verify).

The Bad:
Testa's teaching skills are among the worst I've ever encountered. Therefore, the class seems much harder than it really is. Material on the blackboard is organized illogically or not at all. Examples jump from board to board in a very nonlinear fashion, and there are no sequential, step-by-step explanations of methods (a particular tragedy because this class is basically a series of recipes). Testa's handwriting is very unclear, and he does not vary his tone, volume or body language to emphasize important points. When examples are demonstrated on the board, you will never, ever be told what the purpose of the calculation is until after the whole example is worked out. This means that you sit taking frantic notes for 15 minutes before you understand what you're trying to find. The questions on homework and tests are very, very ambiguously worded.

In Conclusion:
If you already know statics or get a tutor to explain things, you'll probably dominate this class because everyone else will be confused by the poor instruction. Otherwise, it'll be a long, hard slog of trying to fathom Testa's meaning. Dynamics is a given short shrift and squeezed in at the end.

Workload:

2 "Quizzes" (really midterm tests): Ambiguously worded problems, but can be finished in 1/2 hour if you know what you're doing.

1 Final: Barely longer than the midterms, hugely biased toward the very end of the semester. Also quite vague.

Weekly problem sets, typically three multi-part problems each. Easier than HW for other engineering classes, but much harder to figure out what the HW is asking.

August 24, 2001

Gjelsvik, Atle Silver_nugget
Mechanics (Statics & Dynamics)

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

Atle is the shit. He is an old-school professor who has worked in industry and education for a long time and really knows what is going on, and how to teach. I would take the same class over with him anytime. He makes complex concepts easy; he could teach statistics to a third grader. He is also really entertaining to listen to... great stories. Funny accent a bonus.

Workload:

Weekly problem sets, sometimes a bitch. If he thinks they are too hard, he usually would to them in class before they were due. Exams were just like the homework sets. not too hard to get an A.

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