Review Comment

[IEOR 4307] Statistics and Data Analysis

May 27, 2018

Dieker, Antonius
[IEOR 4307] Statistics and Data Analysis

After seeing the mean comments about Professor Dieker, I feel like I am obliged to say something. I have taken two courses with Professor Dieker: IEOR 3658 and IEOR 4307. And I would like to comment on him based on my experience.

Professor Dieker is definitely a responsible instructor and a nice person who cares about his teaching and students. During his OH, he could stay overtime until all questions from students are answered. And I am personally a fan of his teaching style. Unlike many instructors who simply dump out great amount of complicated materials and leave students alone to digest them, Professor Dieker leads the class to work through the whole material at a reasonable pace. And his explanations are concise and precise, which helps me understand the material efficiently. His lecture doesn't cover too much contents and rarely mentions complicated theories. In a word, his lectures purpose to help students understand the fundamental concepts and I was able to understand most of the materials right in the lecture most of the times. Sometimes he would require us to read the text for the things he doesn't have enough time to cover in class. But I could easily self teach those content as Prof. Dieker had helped me understand the basic concepts.

His HWs are not trivial and he sometimes likes to give us puzzle-like problems that takes us a while to figure out what we are supposed to do and some involved mathematical problems that requires us to scrabble through long algebra and mathematical derivations. But they are completely doable. For IEOR 4307, most problems are from the textbook and we could solve them by easily applying some simple concept/formulas. But for IEOR 3658, Prof.Dieker wrote his own problems and many of them are puzzle-like. That is the feature of Probability: really hard problems can be made on top of really simple concepts. Many problems are given in a context of a real-world scenario. We can’t solve it by simply applying some concepts/formulas. First, we need to understand the scenario and figure out what concepts/formulas we learned in class might be related. Then we should interpret the scenario to set up a problem that we could directly apply the probability concepts/formulas to solve. And finally, apply the concepts/formulas to obtain what we want.

For his exams, many people are afraid of them because no formula sheet is allowed and there are too many things to memorize. Prof. Dieker has talked about this concern and he said that we only have to memorize a handful of things if we have understood the material. And I completely agree with that.

Many people don't like Prof. Dieker either because they find his lectures/homeworks/exams insanely hard or because they can’t bear with some personalities/behaviors of Prof. Dieker that they find weird. For the former one, I would say that both 3658 and 4307 are not very hard courses. At least I have seen courses way more insane than these two. You are not required to get in touch with a lot of complicated theories. All you need to do is to fully understand some basic concepts/formulas/techniques and apply them to solve problems proficiently. The workload is not too much, exams are reasonable and his grading is generous.
For the latter one, I honestly felt strange about some of his behaviors as well because not many instructors do so. But those should definitely not the things that bother you guys that much. If electronic devices are strictly prohibited in lecture, then you could just leave them alone for a while and pay full attention to the lecture. The point you come to class is not to play electronic devices, is it? If you find Prof. Dieker overly strict and serious during exams, then you could just follow his commands, focus on the exam itself and don’t do anything crossing the line. You take the course either for fulfilling some requirement, learning something you are interested in or boosting your GPA by earning a good grade. And as a matter of fact, none of the Prof. Dieker’s “weird” personalities and behaviors would prevent you from achieving those main purposes. It is completely meaningless to bog down in something you dislike, stay cynical all the time rather than try to get the most out of the experience.

Workload:

Weekly problem sets, but no problem sets during exam weeks and breaks. One project, three exams (two midterms weighing 20% each and a final weighing 35%). It requires some hard works and times but the workload is definitely reasonable.

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