June 01, 2011

Truong, Van-Anh
Production Planning and Intro to Production Planning, Inventory Control

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

There are professors at Columbia that are extremely smart and knowledgable in their fields, but horrible at teaching. There are other professors that you have no hope in understanding because of an accent or other language gap. Professor Truong is hindered by neither of these faults, and yet, was both the worst and most incompetent professor I have experienced at Columbia (and I have had classes with both O'Flaherty and Virdol).

At the beginning of the year there was hope. Despite the fact that Truong's first language is not English, she speaks it well and is understandable. But that is where my praise for her ends. After sitting in class, you learn that it doesn't seem to matter whether or not you can understand her because she is constantly correcting mistakes she makes on the board. I think she averaged between 5 and 6 large mistakes a class (at least for the classes I went to, which admittedly was not many, because 1. the professor sucks and 2. the class was at 9am). Even when I was awake to go to class, I didn't because it would just be a huge waste of time.

The homeworks varied. The first assignment was to write an essay about a stupid article that I doubt she even read. Sometimes she would give us optional problems on an optional homework. One of these problems was to read a book and write a book review about it. This makes me question whether or not she read the homework that she assigned. Overall, however, it was not very difficult and she allowed students to work in pairs/ allowed a student that had done none of the work to write his/her name on the already completed homework of another student.

She didn't allow for a cheat sheet on the first midterm (and we really did not need one), but students complained and she gave in to them and allowed one on the second midterm.

There is also a project. There are 4 people per team and each is in charge of managing a simulated production line. There are 2 separate simulations, each lasting a week. Professor Truong claimed that they would be very similar and that the first one would just be a practice run and not count. She then changed her mind and stated that the first one would count towards our final project grade. To make matters worse, the second game has multiple options that could be changed, which the first game did not have. This made both our observations and model that resulted from the first game useless.

Now onto the final...

First, the final review sessions skipped over reviewing the hardest material taught during the course because we just had a midterm on it. I think the average was just over 50% (I could be wrong, but it was not very high) on that midterm, clearly showing that students obviously had a strong grasp on that material.

We were also given a practice final, but were then told that the real final would look nothing like this except in difficulty and length. She also did not have the solutions to the final because she just took it from a professor that taught the course in 2005. Carlos, one of the ta's in the course, came up with the solutions for it luckily, but only because students complained about the ridiculousness.

The questions on the practice final were much harder than any of the problems we had seen either in homework or in class. It was also like the practice final in neither difficulty nor length. The only resemblance was that both tests could be applied to the same course, which at that point, I guess I should have been thankful for.

Last thing: Grading

She presented a grading scheme at the beginning of the course:
Your numerical grade will be determined by the maximum of the
following two schemes, Scheme A (or Scheme B):
* Assignments 7.5 % (7.5 %)
* Littlefield Project 7.5 % (7.5 %)
* Midterm Exam [Lower]: 20 % (10 %)
* Midterm Exam [Higher]: 20 % (20 %)
* Final Exam 40 % (50 %)
* Participation 5 % (5 %)

In an email clarifying this scheme, she wrote (right under saying the above was how our grade would be calculated) that only the higher of the two midterm exams would be counted. Whether or not this was beneficial to some people is irrelevant. This is another display of her incompetence at being an organized, sensical human being.

I also don't think she knows how to curve correctly.

tl;dr: Truong does not understand the material she teaches. Incompetent and frustrating. Makes large mistakes and wastes too much time correcting them. Does this every class. Does speak understandable English.

Workload:

Not a large amount. Reading the book to actually learn the material takes a bit of time, but is way more helpful than going to class.

Weekly homeworks - 7.5% most are easy
Project 7.5%
2 midterms 30 or 40% total, maybe? No idea what she decided to do here after she updated her grading after we had already taken both midterms.
Final 40/50%
Participation-5% Unless she knows you, she will give you 80% on this section

June 02, 2005

Huh, Tim
Production Planning

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

Despite the fact that most people I know disliked professor Huh, I thought he was a very pleasant professor: he was funny, energetic, and very approachable. Though he wasn't the most articulate instructor, he makes up for it with his enthusiasm. It's quite hard to engage a class at 9 AM! He takes a different approach with his teaching, he encourages class participation. On top of that, he makes a big effort to learn everyone's names. As time went on, I relied on his class notes more than the book.

Workload:

weekly problem sets-a bit tedious but very doable. two simple mechanical midterms and one difficult conceptual final. don't underestimate!

June 27, 2004

Sethuraman, Jay
Production Planning

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

Yeah this course is pretty awful but because everyone does poorly in it its not too hard to get a decent grade in it, honestly. The course material actually is pretty interesting but the lectures were just too basic and would simply skim the material whereas the homework and tests were VERY VERY HARD and you were lucky to receive any points on the homeworks. It just doesn't make sense that the homework solutions don't even follow the methods in the book or methods given from the lecture. The book is so worthless and the TA could barely do problems from the book. The solutions to these damn problems were solutions that you'd have to have your phd in IEOR to be able to conjure up. But everyone does poorly, honestly even the smart kids, so just go to every lecture and get all you can out of it and get through it.

Workload:

homeworks are hard but don't spend too much time on them becuase it really is impossible to get the answers to some of the problems. midterms and final aren't too hard. there are a couple gimmees on the tests but the other problems are very very very very hard so just know the basic formulas and you can get the mean grade.

May 15, 2004

Sethuraman, Jay
Production Planning

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

This guy is awful. This course is awful. The book is awful. The TA is horrendous.

The tragedy lies in the fact that this is a required course for IEOR majors and so you will most probably be stuck with this guy. I will try my best to describe and justify my opinion of this class but let me just say that nothing compares to the actual experience of being in the class. At the most basic level, this class is incredibly inconsistent. Methods/variables used in lecture rarely match up with those in the text book and the recitation is completely useless (other than the fact that it is where you hand in your hw, but don't worry one of your friends can just drop it off for you), as the TA skips dozens of intermediate steps and is barely comprehensible. Also, the "lectures" page on Sethuraman's website contains little more than a list of the dates class was held and a vague 1 or 2 word "description", so don't let those e-mails about how the "lectures page was updated" fool you. That doesn't mean anything.

And now for the book. My god, what a useless resource. Most of the crucial topics have little in the way of examples and unless you are willing to hit up the Mudd library stacks to find some obscure paper written by Goofus and Gumpus (1971), the book will be of very little help.

Let this review not deter you. Being in SEAS you should probably be ready for this level of mediocrity and just consider it a rite of passage. Stumble out of it with your C and just be thankful you get to take Managerial Behavior and Corporate Finance your senior year.

Workload:

uhh...2 midterms (both hard) , problem sets every week that are ridiculous, and a final (also hard)

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