This class was one of my favourites last semester. Contrary to what some other people have said, I felt that he explained the material very clearly and understandably. I enjoyed the precautions that he took to make sure that no one cheated (although I sure some people found a way). In office hours (I went once, before the final) he was also very helpful. A word of caution however: if you are not a visual thinker, do not take this class! Personally, I enjoyed the challenge that the material presented me (it's not longer an easy A, but the A is not un-reachable) and I hope to take Groups and Symmetry with him eventually. Awesome Prof., definitely deserves a gold star.
This was the dumbest class I have ever taken in the course of my academic career and Dave Bayer was easily the worst professor that I have ever had. Before you chalk this review up to the ramblings of a bitter student, I did very well in this class and so on that count, I have no reason to resent Bayer. This class was so boring, it was painful to sit through. If Bayer had spent half the time and energy he spends trying to trap his students on exams or catch them cheating on actually teaching the material in a clear way, this class might have been more bearable. Bayer seems to dislike his students intensely, and resents having to teach. His attitude basically was that we're all liars and cheaters until proven otherwise and treated us as adversaries. I've never been to his office hours, but the way he answered students' questions in class was rude. He wouldn't even listen to the question before launching into an explanation that had nothing to do with what the person was asking. My two "favorite" Bayer moments: 1. When he took off points on people's midterms because they hadn't drawn lines the way he wanted. He never told us how he wanted the lines drawn but he said that we should have picked up on his subtleties. 2. When he didn't post the answer key to a section of review questions for the final so that the people who didn't come to class would have a harder time figuring it out-yeah, except that the people who did come to class didn't know whether they were doing it correctly either. Take a real math class with a teacher who will respect you, and teach you what you need to know. Your brain will thank you.
Dave is the best math teacher I've ever had. Long after I've forgotten everything I learned in Calculus, I'll remember what I learned in Surfaces and Knots. It may have been an easy grade in the past, but the course has become more difficult. As another reviewer noted, Dave is passionate about teaching, and he has a way of making complex ideas understandable for non-math majors. Take his classes; attend his lectures.
I honeslty don't know how people who don't show up to class can do well. I am not a math person at all, but I definitely think I would have been better off taking an easy algebra class. If you are not a visual person, and can't visualize the "unknotting" of knots, etc., do NOT take this class! The final was really hard! This class was not the easy 'A' I had hoped for- as a matter of fact, I regret not taking it pass/fail.
This class is no longer going to be one of those that you can skip everyday. Dave says he only wants to teach people who are passionate about the subject which was evident this semester on the final. He designed a section that was impossibe to figure out by going to the last few classes and was evident that most people couldn't figure it out because almost everyone went from getting a perfect score down to B's. So be warned. I'm sure Groups and Symmetry is going to be like this too now.
this man and this class were excellent. easy grade aside, the class is really interesting for visual thinkers (ie:me). the format of the class makes the exams easy to take. i recommend going to class at least sometimes. it's refreshing to go to a class where the professor is actually interesting, engaging, and where his passion for the subject is written in chalk all over his face. ;)