Review Comment

[APMA E4204] Functions of a Complex Variable

January 10, 2014

Letourneau, Pierre-David
[APMA E4204] Functions of a Complex Variable

I agree with the other reviews that the class was a bit disorganized. However, Professor Letourneau was overall not too bad. His lectures could sometimes be confusing and hard to follow, but I don't think it is his fault that the material he teaches takes time to absorb and understand. He always responded to our questions on Piaza, and was very helpful during office hours. I ended up not doing as well in this class as I hoped, but I wouldn't say it's his fault. If anything, I think the undergrads just get unlucky that the class is filled with graduate students, many of whom have already taken the class.

Workload:

10 problem sets (each takes a few hours, some are easier/shorter than others)
1 midterm and final

December 12, 2013

Letourneau, Pierre-David
[APMA E4204] Functions of a Complex Variable

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

DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. WORST PROFESSOR EVER. I can't believe I'm taking time out during reading week to write a review for this class. This is probably how upset I am in this class.

Professor Letourneau is a young guy. Just got his phD from Stanford and probably only a few years older than most of us. Whereas most of the younger professors are easy to get along with, he is NOT. First of all, he is a horrible instructor. He began the class by teaching complex analysis (as composed to complex variables) and promised not to anymore. Did he keep his promise? Not necessarily. His lectures became even more theoretical throughout the semester to the point that a lot of the students in the class stopped showing up. We would have taken Complex Analysis, offered by the Math Department, if we knew that he was going to teach it like that.

The homework, however, was completely practical. Actually, it was very computational and you get the ugliest answers ever. You never have to look back at your notes to do the homework. Thus, going to class is indeed completely unnecessarily. You should save yourself from going to this class Monday evening and just teach yourself. Oh yeah, there is a lot of typo on the homework assignments and even in the solutions that it doesn't help.

The exam is brutally hard. The average was a 70% on the mid-term. Is there are curve? NO. He offered to be "lenient" and do it so that our final exam grade will override our midterm exam grade if we do better on the former. Oh, he also mentioned in the last class that the final exam will be significantly more difficult than the midterm exam. So thanks for the leniency.

A couple of things now regarding grading. Homework is not easy, but doable. Most kids get a 90%+. You have 10 homework assignments, but you can only drop an assignment if you do a bonus homework assignment (I know that there isn't a written rule in this, but don't most professors drop an assignment regardless?) But the work you had to do on the bonus homework was x5 the amount on your regular homework, so it was essentially impossible to complete. The class made rational and earnest pleas to extend the deadline for the never-to-be-returned bonus homework (there were 15+ students asking for extensions at 5am), and Professor Letourneau completely shut everybody down. In fact, he commented that we shouldn't "rant" (we were making earnest requests Professor) and erased all of the comments later on. Talk about communication with the Professor!

I have an exam in this class in 4 days and I don't know how I'm going to do. I'll probably end up with an A-, but this was the most annoying class I have ever taken at Columbia. I heard he's teaching numerical methods next semester.. for any sophomores/juniors considering to take it Spring 2014, DO NOT TAKE IT. I can guarantee you that he will make you hate that class.

Workload:

10 Homework Assignments (Take 3 hours per week)
Difficult Midterm (Avg 70%)
Told to be an even more difficult final exam

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Amir Fam 2012 Fall M / 7:00- 9:30 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Lorenzo Polvani 2010 Fall M / 4:10- 6:40 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Lorenzo Polvani 2009 Fall M / 4:10- 6:40 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Lorenzo Polvani 2008 Fall M / 4:10- 6:40 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Lorenzo Polvani 2007 Fall M / 4:10- 6:40 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Lorenzo Polvani 2006 Fall M / 4:10- 6:40 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Lorenzo Polvani 2005 Fall R / 4:10- 6:40 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Joseph Wright 2004 Fall M / 6:50- 9:20 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Joseph Wright 2003 Fall M / 6:50- 9:20 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Joseph Wright 2002 Fall T / 6:50- 9:20 PM 1
APAM / APMA APAM APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable Joseph Wright 2001 Fall T / 6:50- 9:20 PM 1