Okay teacher as of right now, decent at best. Lectures are mostly useless, consisting of quotes and occasionally paraphrases from Boyce and Diprimaâ€™s Elementary Differential Equations book (the only reason to go to class is to turn in your homework for the week). My chief complaint of Cagatay, shared by many in the class I spoke to, was his inability to connect with the students during lecture. I would sometimes come out having understood much less than half of what he was talking about. His explanations, and responses to student questions, were limited to rewordings of Boyce (which itself is a difficult text from which to self-learn) and offered little to clarify problems or elucidate the material. The results of the ridiculous first midterm, where the average was 40, median 39, led him to reconsider the scope of the class material, and he ended up cutting Chapter 7 (systems of linear equations) from the syllabusâ€”we focused most of our time on series solutions and Laplace transforms.
After a while, Cagatay did get more accommodating to student needs, and our second midterm was much more straightforward, as were the homework problems. The average was a 72. The final wasnâ€™t bad either, and the average was also a 72. I think the distribution of grades was about what an engineering (but not math) class is normallyâ€”the average was curved to about a B/B+ (although Cagatay frightened us initially by saying heâ€™d curve to a C+/B-).
On Cagatayâ€™s good side: heâ€™s quite responsive to email and enjoys interacting with the students (he learned all our names within a few class meetings), and seems open to talking during office hours. However, he doesnâ€™t seem too interested in teaching the classâ€”as itâ€™s sort of run by the engineering school while heâ€™s in the math department. Cagatay will get better soon, I think, as seems very willing to change his lesson plan and heed student opinions (e.g. he gave us mandatory evaluations during class).
Overall, after speaking to friends from the other ODE classes, I would say take Cagatayâ€™s class if you canâ€™t get into Laudaâ€”whoâ€™s awesome, I had him for Calc III. Cagatay is probably better than Virdol et al but I still wouldnâ€™t call ODE with him an enjoyable experience, as of now.
P.S. I have serious difficulty believing it was anyone but the professor (or the kid in the back who got the A+) who wrote the previous review.