Review Comment

[EECS 6720] Bayesian Mod for ML

December 27, 2018

Paisley, John
[EECS 6720] Bayesian Mod for ML

on a scale of 10, paisley and his class is a solid 4.

first of all, piazza is abandoned. no teaching stuff monitors it for paisley's logic that it's a place for student interaction... most of the TAs are incompetent and poorly managed. one didn't show up to office hours unannounced on multiple occasions...

the class organization is one of the poorest i've seen. all graded materials cover only nine or ten lectures, and there is no exercise on all the material after. all graded materials are super redundant and you are just doing the same thing over and over again... because of this, the take-home exam, which is essentially just a homework with super tight deadline, and homework 4 felt like a chore and entailed very little learning.

however the biggest issue i had with paisley was his hypocrisy. in november, he made homework 3 due and also gave out the take-home exam. homework 4 was gonna be due in mid-december, as he first mentioned in class. then because of the possibility that grad student union could go on strike in early december, he moved the due date of homework 4 almost three weeks earlier to the week after thanksgiving weekend. his logic was that he wants his grad student tas to have the choice to participate in the strike, so he's just gonna make them finish all the work before when the strike was supposed to happen... then basically we did 70% of the graded work for this class all in november. as you can probably tell from the high percentage of each homework assignment, they take a ton of time to do, and it was so damn stressful. the hardest part was you had to choose to either spend thanksgiving with your family or work on paisley's long homework... i chose to spend time with my own family, and i guess because of my unwillingness to sacrifice the time of the year when i'm supposed be with my family, i wasn't able to finish homework 4 even after i pulled three all nighters in a row for it. i was also very very harshly punished by it in the end...

two days before homework 4 was due, the grad student union announced that the strike is no longer happening. you would think any sensible professor would move the due date back should they feel even a tiny bit guilty for ruining students' thanksgiving, but nope, paisley the principled man refused without giving any reason regardless of many super stressed out students begging him to move it... so here we go, by late november we were already done with the class. you would at least expect paisley to finalize grades early, but you guessed wrong again. a week after homework 4 was due, all assignement grades were released and basically everything was finalized. another week later paisley sent out an email saying grades won't be finalized for another week. another week later during finals, there was no update from paisley... and grades were finally posted after christmas, literally three weeks after grades were finalized. this would all have been fine if paisley had any regard for students' well-being or wasn't so stubborn about not moving the deadline, but keep in mind that, unless the world is ending or something, paisley will allow absolutely no exception for any individual late submission or move the deadline back. but it is perfectly fine for him to arbitrarily move the deadline earlier and not stick to his own words.

this is one of my last classes at columbia, and unfortunately it's been quite unpleasant.

Workload:

overall not bad if organized well, but super stressful when he put 70% of the graded work all in november

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