Introduction to Statistical Reasoning

Apr 2021

Disclaimer: Class taken during Covid, fully online Professor Nguyen is a nice man and he's obviously very knowledgeable about statistics. However, as a professor, he wasn't the best. His powerpoints were confusing and the topics jumped around so much that it didn't really make any sense. It was very hard to follow him sometimes because he wasn't the best at explaining concepts. His exams are easy and the homework is doable. Pretty low stress class, but I don't think I really walked out having learned much about statistics. Overall, nothing against him as a person, but I don't know if he was the best statistic professor.

Sep 2020

Professor Donoghue is very friendly and engaging, and when students asked to slow down, he was very receptive. Anyone with a knowledge of basic algebra should be able to pass this class (Professor Donoghue emphasizes that it is a reasoning class, not a math class).

May 2019

Guy Cohen, the professor of your dreams. What a nice guy. Let me tell ya. Haven't done math in a. minute and was terrified to fill my QR. This man made it easy. Easy homework, lecture slides posted in advance, easy textbook, and the best part? EXAMS MULTIPLE CHOICE OPEN BOOK OPEN NOTES OPEN COURSEWORKS AND HE MADE US A CHEATSHEET SUMMARIZING EACH CHAPTER OF THE TEXTBOOK TO BRING ALSO don't think twice, take this class and fill your QR with ease

Apr 2018

Professor Neath is great. Everything in his class is extremely straightforward, and his teaching style really makes all the concepts very simple. No surprises in this class or on the exams. Most people don't show up to the lecture, but I found it extremely helpful to go to lectures and listen to Neath explain the material. He also is old school and writes all his notes on the chalk board. I found this made his lectures way easier to follow than most others. Overall, I highly recommend taking this class with Professor Neath if you can.

Apr 2018

He was always timely in returning assignments and available to discuss questions in office hours. The class is definitely in lecture format so not a real discussion during class, however, he encouraged students to answer questions when he'd ask them. The exams were written fairly. He is doing a review session in between our last class and the final, which will be useful in reviewing further. He is funny and lively in lectures. He writes everything out slowly so that everyone can keep up with handwritten or typed notes, which is really helpful in a stats class. You don't feel like you have to learn everything from the book.

Dec 2016

This course starts out really basic. If you have some common sense, and/or know the differences between: a sample and a population, discrete and continuous data, and surveys, observational studies, and randomized experiments, then you can skip the first eight lectures. Then the class suddenly kicks into high gear with hypothesis testing, normal curves, confidence intervals etc. It's not really hard material but it took me a while to understand in which situation I would do which test, and why. Cohen is a really nice Guy, and really makes an effort to be helpful, but I found his slides and lectures to be more confusing than helpful. He was a career statistician, and understands the material inside-out, but does a poor job presenting it in a simple, coherent manner. We learned a modest amount of material overall, which could have meant a chill class if it'd been covered thoroughly and concisely. Instead it was scattered, confusing, and repetitive, and it wasn't until the end that I realized what fit where, and that I actually hadn't learned much. This class is probably easier if you skip consistently. I made the mistake of attending every class. Fortunately Cohen is a very fair grader, and the exams are open notes. The two projects are very straightforward. If you're looking for a skippable class that gives you the basics, go for it.

May 2015

I admire Mr. Cohen's friendly demeanor and vast knowledge that shines through from years as a statistician, but regret taking this course. I thought the class would be an easy A given the previous reviews. Despite scoring almost perfect on every assignment throughout the semester, I found myself vastly unprepared for Cohen's final, which was unlike anything we had done throughout the term.

Feb 2015

Pro's: NO ATTENDANCE! Puts all slides online open book open calculator open computer open errrrthang exam! you can give in the hw late, he's the kindest person cons: weekly hw (some q's have answers behind the book.. sad thing that I found out about this the last week but anyways) lectures are not that entertaining so not many students went, he merely reads the slides but as a stat professor what can he really do? responds to email pretty late inconsistent grading

Nov 2014

Great super cute old guy but tends to ramble during class about his adorable home life and wife rather than actual material. I found this class to be particularly easy since it did not need calc and I barely took math in high school. As an athlete I seriously enjoyed being able to skip whenever because you teach yourself the material from the book, his slides on Courseworks and homework - not the lecture. Definitely recommend if you're looking for a large lecture thats chill and not much work involved.

Mar 2013

She is often very nervous, like she thinks we're constantly judging her. She also apologizes profusely when her phone goes off, despite it not being a massive deal. Those things aside, she is the sort of professor you feel like you could go to in a bad spot. She's warm, friendly and fun. Overall, a good instructor. For the basic level of stats she teaches, perhaps a bit too much review, but nothing to complain about.

Nov 2012

Here's the thing. This class isn't hard per se, it's just time consuming. If you want it, you will get a good grade and like any other class at Columbia you will have to work for it. Do not be fooled by the idea that this class is going to be easy because there is no math. This class is manageable because much of the content is common sense and what math there is, is fairly basic. It really does teach you a new way, or a new approach to thinking in terms of statistics. If you're going to be open to that and, perhaps a little uncomfortable until you get the gist of it, then I'd say you'll be fine. If not, stick to what you know and forget the liberal arts degree thing. The homework's are not hard, they are tedious. But do them, they are a significant portion of your grade, they are relatively straight-forward and they are great study guides for the midterm. Donoghue will know your name by the first few weeks, and it is nice considering how many of us are in the class. Most professors wouldn't care to know. He is a sweet man but not a very good lecturer. The lectures are posted online and he reads straight from the slides minus a couple Irish jokes to lighten the mood now and then. Verdict: It's time consuming but manageable. If you know that you already have a course that's going to be difficult for you and you know you're going to need to spend as much time on it as you can then do not take this course.

Apr 2012

I took Professor de la Pena's Intro to Stat Reasoning course in Fall 2011. I am not a math person, and this course is definitely easy in terms of what is learned if that is what you are looking for. However, while Professor de la Pena is very sweet outside of class, in the classroom it is very difficult to follow his lectures - he often got very nervous and would make mistakes, confusing not only himself but also the class in the process. My advice? Go to his office hours - literally no one would go, and I would get the benefit of getting help for the problem sets (usually he assigns one per week). Also the TA, Ben (I don't know if he'll be the TA again in Fall 2012), was helpful and his sessions were well-attended - he breaks down the concepts that are mentioned in lecture. You can get through this course, just know going into it that you will be confused by Professor de la Pena's lectures but that if you go to office hours and the TA's advising sessions then you will be fine.

Mar 2012

I agree with the previous review and am mystified by the rest - perhaps the homework assignments changed significantly this semester? But really....that thing about the problem sets being quick and easy was complete bullshit. Well, they are easy, but they're also time-consuming as fuck and incredibly tedious. Professor Donoghue is great and all, but for some reason he thought it would be acceptable to assign us a project (longer version of a problem set) AND the most incredibly time-consuming problem set that were due on Monday and Wednesday of the same week. Think ten pages of writing and at least eight different graphs for just one of them.....WHO DOES THAT???? I'm hoping he sees this by the end of the semester and never tries doing that to us again. HAVE MERCY, GOOD SIR. So take this as a public service announcement in case you are fooled like the rest of us by the older reviews. Once again, the professor's actually cool - his adorable accent is a plus - but the workload isn't. (So ignore all that advice you see down there and don't start on them the night before they're due.) P.S. No one's been able to figure out if we're actually supposed to go to class or not. #strangeattendancepolicies

Feb 2012

Apparently I'm the only one who isn't a fan. This is not a math class. Don't mistake it for one. All I want to clarify is that the whole mess about problem sets not being long? FALSE. I'm on hour 4 of the problem set, which is due tomorrow, and I'm not even halfway done. I go to class, but we don't go over the material much. We just talk about bogus studies and why they are bogus. I very much regret taking this class. Take stat without calc. Nice guy--and cute--but the only reason I go to lecture is because we have these godawful $40 clickers that he uses to take attendance. They're frustrating. He sends an email saying you don't have to attend, but attendance is still a part of your grade. Logical? Oh also the book is a piece of poop. Maybe the class will get better? Who knows. Updates to come at the end of the semester.

Dec 2011

This class isn't revolutionary (it is an intro, after all), but you'll learn a lot about statistics, how to interpret and analyze data, and why everybody should have those tools at their disposal. Donoghue far one of the humblest, most approachable, most down-to-earth professors I've had. His lectures integrate practice problems with practical applications, like news clips and psych studies. He constantly had us laughing and really cultivated a sense of community in a class of 60+ because he took the time to learn everyone's name. During lectures, he was always asking the class what topics we wanted more explanations on, even giving individual students the chance to take the spotlight and explain concepts in new terms. He made himself endlessly available in person and by email, too; he was always fielding questions and sending out explanations and clarifications on the material and on assignments to the class. I'd forgotten how nice it was to have a teacher who was passionate about teaching and connecting with his students before this class. Also, lecture attendance every day is optional, so if you want to do the fairly straightforward homework, fairly projects, and studying for exams on your own, it's ok by him. And if you aren't into that sort of thing or happen to struggle with stats, in my opinion, the combination of the clarity of the textbook, his availability, and the pace of the curriculum make Intro to Stat Reasoning one of Columbia's most manageable courses. Some below didn't love his lecturing style and I could see that, but the class is designed so well that I never found it to be a problem.

Dec 2011

Professor Donoghue is a great guy. Very approachable and easy going. But he is not good at teaching the material in his lectures. Many a time he would be lecturing and seem to be lost himself and a student would have to correct him or guide him to correct explanation. I learned very quickly that you don't have to go to his class to really succeed in it. I would not have taken this course if I had known the lecture classes were not going to be helpful at all. I even went to a lot of the classes to just to see if he could clarify points, but I ended up dicking around on my computer instead because listening to him wasn't helping at all. I would not recommend taking this course.

Sep 2011

The other review is crap, glad to see so many people disagree with it. If you understand what this class is about (which clearly the other reviewer did not) this is one of the most important classes you may take. Dealing with uncertainty in both mathematical and real world terms is a necessary human activity. Donoghue deals with the ideas about how we can and should do this in elegantly simple ways. The class is not complicated but if you get it, it is profound. I would draw an analogy to evolution. The idea is incredibly simple, understanding the implications and ramifications is less so, but neither of these facts gives us access to how important and fundamental the idea is. Take this class, if you show up and are thoughtful you will get a tremendous amount out of it. The professor is extremely nice as well. He learned everyone's name by like the second class in a room with like 60 people and optional attendance. Only a professor that actually cared would bother doing this, and the odd thing was that he acted like it was totally normal, and just was calling on people by their names until people were like, do you know all of our names, and he went around the room and said hello to us addressing us by our first and last name correctly. Also his accent is great and makes listening to him a treat. Finally he makes statistics very relevant and is constantly making insightful analogies to seemingly unrelated topics like Bob Dylan lyrics or 1984 or Huxley. It makes the math part of statistics seem a lot more interesting and relevant. Take this class, you will not regret it, and if you show up and are decently intelligent, do very very well to boot. I never write reviews but I felt like the other one was so unjust I had to write this.

May 2011

Don't take this class. I know, I know, there's no calculus, it's easy blah blah blah but don't take it. If you decide to take it because (like me) you need to fulfill that stat requirement you've been putting off, or it's the only class that fits into your schedule, be prepared for: > half the semester to be wasted explaining concepts such as "mean," "median," and "mode" which you probably learned in elementary school, and definitely needed to get a high enough score on the SAT to get into Columbia (on a side note, people in my class who didn't know these things: HOW DID YOU GET IN? and how can I sign my kids up for it in the future. Give a girl a hand here.) > the second half of the semester to be devoted to everything else in statistics that you may NOT have known, crammed all together > a book which refuses to give you formulas and equations, instead offering ambiguous prose definitions which don't actually help you when faced with solving a problem. > more writing (hw, projects) than I've done in 70% of the lit seminars I've taken > a teacher who acts as if this class is the only one you're taking and dUH the most important one. this being said, the homework is relatively easy, the midterm was easy (although, maybe I'm an idealist, but I thought a math class wouldn't require filling two blue books with straight writing)

Jan 2011

I am not a math person. I took this class because it was advertised for those who do not enjoy math. But I LOVED this class!!!! Professor Madigan is the sweetest professor you will ever have. He wants his students to do well more than anything else, and he has no problem explaining and re-explaining a concept if you don't understand. You can email him asking any question, and he is always available to meet privately to go over a concept or a homework. He is also extremely receptive to grading (if you don't understand why something was graded the way it was, he'll either explain it to you, or agree with you and change your grade for the better). I've never enjoyed a math class before this one. TAKE THIS CLASS!!!

Dec 2010

AMAZING! If you want an easy way to fulfill your math requirement, this is the class for you. Not only is the material incredibly manageable, but Madigan is the nicest Professor in this university. He is always available in class or out of class to help, and eagerly does so. Plus its incredibly easy to do well. The work is straight out of the textbook so as long as you do the reading before the homework or midterms, your fine. And if you didn't do well on your homework, he will gladly go through it with you and give you a higher grade. I cannot stress how great this class was. Take it!

Nov 2010

I had a very positive experience taking STAT W1001 with Professor Madigan in Spring 2010. Firstly, Professor Madigan is obviously very smart and accomplished in his field. He is the current Chair of the Statistics department, and has served as an expert witness in a number of interesting cases, which he would often share during class. Despite being so successful, Prof Madigan still knows how to make stats approachable and understandable to students with no background in it whatsoever. I think I did more math in 7th grade algebra than in this class. It is much more conceptually based. Prof Madigan is great about answering students' questions in a thoughtful manner. He will go over homework or exam questions in class with great detail and make sure that everyone understands the concepts. Though attendance at lectures is not required, I would highly recommend it just because Madigan explains the concepts well. He is a very reasonable grader and genuinely wants his students to do well. He will meet with you instead of just passing you off to the TA's (although they are pretty good too). He's prompt with responding to emails, too, which is nice. In short, I highly recommend taking this Stats class--if you take it with Madigan. I have heard that other professors teaching the same course just don't compare.

Dec 2008

Professor Rad has no sense of classroom interaction. He doesn't walk you through any formulas or makes sure everyone gets it. He doesn't challenge the students to try and solve a problem in class. The man is simply not someone you want to be taught by with this course. THIS COURSE IS HEAVY MATH. Do not take this if you don't already know enough math to get through. His exams and quizzes are disturbing in scale 20 point final, for example. If you get 1 wrong you're SOL and so on...

Dec 2008

This class was not particularly difficult. The textbook was organized well and the material is vaguely interesting if you're curious about statistics. However, this was a very odd class. The professor looks like he's plucked right out of grad school and he speaks with a heavy Iranian accent. (Sometimes two thirds is pronounced "two turds"). Classes are very lifeless and dry; I have seen people fall asleep on several occasions. There's pretty much no way to schmooze this guy. I believe he made a total of 2 jokes the entire semester.

May 2007

This is the worst class I have ever taken in my entire life. The professor is completely inept and does not speak English. The homework has absolutely nothing to do with the lectures, and her lectures were filled with mistakes (both gramatically and mathematically). I cannot stress this enough-- do not take this class as an easy way to fulfill the math requirement-- you will get screwed over. Basically this course is designed to confuse and irritate.

Jan 2007

This class was adequate. Not bad, not great. Gerardo spent a lot of time at the beginning of the semester going over very basic stuff at length -- really, did anyone need the 30-minute review of PIE CHARTS??? His explanations of more complex topics could be a little confusing, but he was always willing to answer questions at any time. This was both good and bad, because there was an incredibly annoying girl in the front row who asked a lot of inane or irrelevant questions. I have sympathy for those who don't pick up material as fast as the rest of the class, but Gerardo would have better served the 79 other students if he'd asked her to see him after class instead of monopolizing class time. Tests and quizzes were pretty easy -- two pages of notes, sometimes open book, no trick questions. Problem sets weren't too bad, although sometimes he would assign stuff he hadn't really covered in class. My biggest annoyance: at the beginning of the semester he told us we would need graphing calculators. This was not true; unless he's changed the curriculum, save your money.

Jan 2006

I believe that Professor de la Pena is a good person and a great teacher. Yes, he has a distinct accent, but it did not prohibit us from understanding what he said. His lectures were clear, and he conveyed in the concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. He definitely has a superb grasp on the material, and he enjoys teaching what he knows to his students. He is very approachable in the very rare event that anyone who has had basic math has a question. My problem with the class was that it seemed to lack students who had basic math skills. One student didn't seem to know how to calculate an average! I know I'm no math genious (after all, I'm in Intro to Stat REASONING), but I do know how to do basic addition and subtraction. The reason that I emphasize this point is that it really seemed to confuse the Professor (understandably) at times. There was no way to make his concepts simpler, yet some students still didn't get them. This might be the reason that some people didn't like him, but I think it is a sign of the students' inadequacies rather than the professor's. In short, take this class if you want a good general knowledge of statistics from a good professor.

Dec 2005

I was in the midst of studying for my final in this class, and I realized I had to write a review for it. As many others have said, Professor de la Pena is a nice man with good intentions. Most people's first reaction to him was "awww he's so adorable". However, I don't know how he is still teaching this class. With all the terrible evaluations he must receive annually, it is unfortunate that he has not taken advice from them or actually learned how to teach! Class lectures usually have nothing to do with assigned problem sets. Things are completely unclear and it is very obvious, to me at least, that the class as a whole is lost. Professor de la Pena will randomly call on people if no one responds to a question, he just doesn't seem to understand that everyone is confused. DO NOT take this class! I took it to fill a requirement and I cannot wait until tomorrow when I will never have to look at this stuff again. TA's are not helpful at all. I went to office hours every week, but I went to speak to others in the class, not the TA.

Dec 2005

Yea, he's a nice guy, but he's a terrible teacher. Unless you absolutely have to take this class, DON'T TAKE IT. Everybody is totally lost in every class, most people don't bother and just read the book, which is only mediocre. One time he tried to help us review for the midterm and then couldn't figure out how to solve the problem himself. And the TAs? Don't bother- they're even worse. de la Pena's sympathetic enough, but this class was a waste of time.

Jul 2005

Prof. Hernandez, as a person, is remarkably approachable and friendly (but don't expect him to shoot the breeze with you--he keeps the relationship very student-teacher-esque). I have yet to see him turn down a student that needs help, from a simple question to a problem that might take longer to complete. He posts reasonable office hours (about 2x a week), and will usually stay longer to answer every students questions--although at times few people, if anyone, comes to his office hours. As an Instructor, Prof. Hernandez teaches Intro to Statistical Reasoning in the same fashion--approachable and friendly. He thoroughly teaches basic concepts, and welcomes questions from students at all times of his lecture (which can be a double-edged sword--if you are a vocal student, this is the class for you. If you are annoyed by the same 5 people who keep raising their should take this class anyway). He will not hesitate to explain homework problems that people have trouble with in class. During finals, he is more than willing to schedule a review session that he personally heads, not a TA. In general, the people who take this class do not have a great interest in statistics or mathematics, and Prof. Hernandez can see that, but nonetheless he approaches teaching as thought the opposite were true. He is somewhat by-the-book, but at times will include an interesting statistical anecdote or two.

Apr 2005

It seems like the policy of Gerardo's Stats class is to make the class as non-mathematical as possible. That being said, yes, there was a lot of math (for a non-math person), but he actually made it doable. His lectures are clear and understandable, he greatly encourages questions/suggestions and is always more than willing to help no matter how simple the concept. For a non-math person, it was a great class. Also, if you are having problems turning things in on time, just go and talk to him and he's quite understanding. Almost no one went to his office hours, so going and even just chatting with him is a great idea. Overall, very nice guy and really tries to help everyone in the class understand the material. He's also quite enthusiastic about statistics and applying to the real world, and that makes all the difference.

Jan 2000

I agree that de la Pena is not the best professor. English is evidently not his native language, and although his accent is decent-good, you can still tell he is translating stuff in his head - which hinders his ability to explain things in a perfectly clear manner. Although he sticks to the book closely, he tends to summarize it very nicely and your notes become a useful complement to the book. Plus, he is a sweet guy, and to basically succeed in the class you have to be an active student. You won't get it all just by listening to him, but you can ask him questions and he WILL keep answering them until you say you get it.