professor
Christopher Dolan

May 2021

This class was taken online due to covid restrictions, so some observations might not apply during usual class setting. He's a nice guy, and he puts an effort into the class. I disagree with the other reviewer that his exams are the same as the practice exams - they were not! This class covers material that would otherwise usually be covered by two undergrad classes, so everything was kinda rushed. He did try to explain the concepts well, but most of the time they just didn't get through. He would go back and explain things again if you had questions, and there, I guess, he did a better job explaining concepts. He tells a few jokes, and most of them aren't bad. The grade was calculated using exams and HW, with a fair weighting scheme that he modified to help students' grades a bit more, and he dropped the score of two HWs. While teaching, he makes quite a few mistakes. While most professors do make mistakes, you will notice that he makes them more than the average professor. This can make the material confusing at times. He does catch most of his mistakes in class, though, and sends clarification emails. I never went to office hours or asked him questions after class, but based on some interactions in class, it seemed like he was available for answering questions during office hours. Overall, nice guy, puts an effort into the class, but you'll need to read the textbook or look for some online resources to understand some concepts properly. Exams were hard, but the grade was curved. (That might not be helpful, though, if most students are cheating on the exam and you're not.) He did try his best to minimize cheating too.

May 2021

Chris is pretty cool and his class was low stress and enjoyable. I really like data science so I was interested in the material regardless, but this class has a weird structure that covers so much in such little time. We had to cover data visualization and cleanup, probability, stats, and machine learning all in one semester, so the end result is that you only learn a little bit about each topic so it doesn't feel like enough. You would definitely need to take more data science classes after this one if you want to feel sufficient. Chris is also really helpful in office hours and everything in his class was graded leniently with a generous curve. I think he's really good at what he does so the material comes to him very easily, making it a little hard for concepts to sink in when it's your first time being introduced to them.

Apr 2021

I enjoyed this course but it went so fast that I'm not sure how much I actually retained. We basically went through a normal course load worth of probability, statistics in 7 weeks, python in the first 3 weeks, and then did machine learning for the last 3 weeks. I liked Chris as a lecturer but only at 1.5 or double speed. He is pretty charismatic and definitely tries to crack jokes / make the course more enjoyable for students and takes constructive criticism on his teaching well. He cancelled our midterm after students had voiced concerns over not feeling comfortable with the material and just had us do an extra homework instead. He's also really helpful in office hours. So while I enjoyed the class and his teaching, I'm just unsure how much I actually learned. I feel like I got lead through a crash course of all these different things without fully understanding the theory behind any of it, but it definitely will serve as a good foundation for when I take classes later that specialize in the topics he covered.

May 2015

Chris can't teach for his life. Yes, the course was pretty easy. Yes, the exams were very much like the review sheet, but I can't really say that I learned statistics in the process. Chris stops regularly to ask if people have questions and encourages student participation, but he always seems exasperated. On the first day of class, he said to us: "when you raise your hand and ask a question or make a comment, make sure to tell me your name so I can judge you when you say something stupid." I have a pretty strong math background - I've done well in both Calculus and Chemistry thus far in college. But, for some reason, it is very difficult to understand the material when Chris lectures. I think the problem is that he doesn't provide an overview or even say what topic we're covering, he'll just write some numbers on the board and forget to say which test statistic it is, what formula we're using, what assumptions we're making, and the general purpose of the test. If you have to take statistics, I'd choose a professor who uses a powerpoint. At least the lectures would be somewhat standardized...If you're a Barnard student, take psych stats for goodness sakes. I thought regular stats would be fine, but it's honestly just been a hassle...