V3212 Statistics/Methods

May 2005

AVOID THIS MAN. Michael Sobel was the worst instructor I have had at Columbia. In fact, he's the worst instructor I have ever had and I went through the New York City public school system! There's no way I can state strongly enough how shocked I am that any university has ever hired him. His teaching style was abominable. He dumbed everything down to a point where it was incomprehensible. The class moved ridiculously slowly and we didn't get through the syllabus. His grading was inept and showed his own lack of comprehension of the material since he would grade down for not phrasing any idea in exactly the words he had stated it in class. If you quoted the textbook you were wrong because he had "clearly emphasized" how he wanted you to "understand" the idea in class. If the textbook is wrong (ie writing its ideas mean you lose all credit) then why does he assign reading from it? He didn't put the homework on courseworks until halfway through the semester, and never posted due dates. The homeworks seemed to have been made up hastily and sloppily. They were ambiguously worded and contained typos. Then he would blame the class when no one would succeed on them. Most of all, he was incredibly unprofessional. When I asked him when his office hours were, he barked that they were on the syllabus on courseworks and that I could look it up myself. The syllabus wasn't on courseworks, never had been, and was indeed never posted by the end of the semester. Then, when I set up a meeting with him, he was almost 15 minutes late and didn't drop a hint of apology. Despite all this, he was quick to toot his own horn. He spent days telling the class how lucky we were to be receiving this valuable information we couldn't get from any textbook from him and how he was not only enriching our academic careers but our lives as a whole. He also went on about how professional he was, though no one had questioned whether he was or not. Please, if you have to say it, you ain't got it.