professor
Wayne Lee

May 2021

This class will be tough for those (like me) who have never coded before. I struggled intensely in the course. Wayne considers this course to be introductory, but I think this course is really at the high introductory level given the breadth of the material covered and the pace at which the class progresses. The topics this course covers are variables, vectors, data structures (lists, data frames, matrices, etc.), joining data, functions, creating functions, loops, data wrangling, scraping, regular expressions (processing text data), calling data from APIs, and debugging. The examples done in class may make you feel confident that you know the material, but you will not be prepared to complete the homework based on the examples Wayne goes through in class. For example, on the unit on APis, Wayne did a relatively simple API call in class. On the homework and exam, you needed to do multiple API calls using a loop. Multiple people opted to not submit that particular homework because they were not confident they could construct the API call (You are allowed to drop one homework assignment, which is nice to have when you get to the end of the course and the material begins to feel quite impossible). This also applied to other topics, where the examples that Wayne did in class did not really prepare you to do the homework and exam questions. Wayne has not exactly mastered teaching yet, so learn how to Google well enough to be able to more deeply understand concepts and learn how to solve problems that test them. Honestly, class would be better served if he went through multiple example problems to illustrate a concept. To succeed in this course, you should work with friends to complete the homework and attend office hours when you are stuck on the homework. At the very least, make sure you understand the homework solutions, so you can be prepared for the exams. Wayne does not really give out practice exams, and when he does, he does not give out the solutions to the practice exams. He also does not really release midterm solutions. The best preparation for the exams is to understand the homework. For the most part, the homework prepares you for the exams. The only thing that makes the exams difficult is that they can be very time-intensive (I generally spent 8+ hours on exam 2 and the final exam and so did many others). Also, Wayne wants the code and output to be structured in a certain kind of way. He loves to threaten to take off points. Do not output an entire data frame in your submissions and try to avoid hardcoding.

May 2021

The good: Wayne is an extremely friendly person and he will always make time for students even when he is visibly swamped and burnt out. He never gets too theoretical and will always try to connect the algorithms he's teaching with real-world applications. Very generous curve although I think he was kind because it's his first time teaching. The questionable: I personally didn't like the simulations he used to teach the algos. It seems easier to dive right into applications. The breakout rooms were also very unhelpful in my opinion because we all just stare at each other while one enthusiastic person does all the work. The bad: Wayne is not the best communicator. He would go off tangents that have very little relation to the topic at hand. He also doesn't word his homework properly and we often don't know what he wants. The horrible (dealbreaker): He didn't have transparent metrics for evaluating our projects. He would arbitrarily insert his personal data science experience and expect us to know what sort of things should be in the report. Given that the projects were 70% of the grade he should have been a lot clearer with what he wants.

May 2021

I enjoyed the course and I think I learned a lot. I think the curve was VERY generous. I was expecting to get a B but I got an A-. It is true that take-home exams were too long, and it took me 9-10 hours to finish the midterm that was supposed to take 1.5 hours. However, I think that having a day to think about the problems helped me absorb the concepts a lot better. The bad thing is, however, that I was thinking I am incompetent because I did not know that other students also took a day to complete the midterm. It was very unfortunate that Wayne didn't listen to the class when we asked him to give a 48 hours window for the final exam (which was twice as long). I would suggest giving the exams as projects with 48-hour windows. Then students would have proper expectations, and won't panic during the exam when they can't finish. Another suggestion is to talk about the curve at the beginning of the class. Wayne excluded students who did the best in the class while calculating the curve. If I knew he would do that, I wouldn't have been as stressed after the midterm. I think that Wayne kept his promise in providing the class a generous curve. The first exam was easiest if you understand your homework assignments you could do pretty well on it. The midterm was pretty hard. But don't panic, I got an 23/39 on the midterm but still managed to get an A-. The final exam is actually pretty doable IF you properly understand the midterm. Take time to go to office hours, and ask Wayne to go over the midterm questions. And after that go over them by yourself. If you understand them, you will perform well in the final. The final is composed of questions that were either on midterm, in the class, or in the homeworks. I basically read a question in the final, found a similar problem that I solved during the lecture/midterm/ assignment, and applied it to the final. If you follow that rule you would do great. Also Wayne drops your lowest homework grade! I hope Wayne continues to record his lectures in the future because it was very helpful to go back and rewatch the recordings.

Apr 2021

Wayne Lee wants to see his students fail. I genuinely believe he takes pleasure in seeing his students fail. When you tell him that his “1.5 hour midterm took you 15 hours he giggles and says it takes him 45 minutes or less. He genuinely sets his students up for failure and it is disgusting. To give some concrete examples: Wayne Lee’s second midterm was supposed to take an hour and a half. After it took me 15 hours I went around to see if others felt the same way. Not a single person said that the midterm took them less than 5 hours. Most people said it took them about 10 hours. I heard from like 30 people in the class groupme where a poll was made. When we received our scores back on this exam Wayne Lee said that a 30/39 would be an A, which is an expected curve. Although we were shocked to see that Wayne lied to us, and did not really curve anything. That’s right. No curve. 30/39 average. I got a 29/39 on that midterm and did around the same compared to the mean on other tests and ended up with a B+. I have put in half as much work for A+’s. Wayne Lee is also a horrible lecturer and refused to provide class notes even though he went way to fast and it was impossible to write down code while paying attention in class. After a month in his class I realized that if I wanted to learn anything it would have to be by figuring it out online. Wayne Lee provided me with the worst educational experience I have ever received in my life. I give him a fat F in teaching overall. I am not sure why he decided to be a professor if all he manages to do is turn students off from the statistics discipline. Wayne if you’re reading this please consider retiring. You are only making students lives worse and doing a very bad job at teaching statistics. If you are considering taking a class with Wayne Lee just don’t do it. It’s really not worth it. You will end up either pushing yourself past your limits and getting an A(if you’re smart and have coding experience) or pushing yourself past your limits and getting a B+(if you’re average). If you need to take a course with Wayne for the statistics concentration then just don’t take the concentration. It’s not worth it if you have to deal with Wayne Lee.

Apr 2021

Wayne is definitely nice in that he’s very willing to schedule one on one office hours to help you… but for an intro to R programming class, this was really quite tough. His exams are mentally exhausting. For someone with no programming experience, it’s basically impossible to complete his exams within the time frame he expects us to. He gave us take-home exams, but all of them ended up taking over 12+ for me (straight with no breaks!), and I was still unable to finish it sometimes. He told us that this class would be too easy for those who have programming experience, which is possible, but even so it seems that some people with experience spend way more time on the exams than he thinks his exams should. The problem sets are difficult in that there are often typos and wordings that make it confusing to understand. They’re good practice problems, but a lot of time is spent on deciphering what exactly we’re supposed to do. The good thing about this class is that you get exposed to a lot of handy tools in R, but because we go through the concepts so quickly, I never felt like I could comfortably use the tools without Googling for a long time. The course is somewhat rewarding because I've become familiar with a lot of concepts in R, but it can be discouraging especially during long assignments. He makes it sound as though he will curve generously and he probably will, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult.

Jan 2020

Before I write anything, you should note that Dr.Lee is an incredibly nice person who clearly cares about his students. I didn't attend office hours regularly, wasn't at all engaged with his class, but he still knew my name. The one time I went to his office hours he was helping so many people and provided snacks. His grading is also extremely generous. That being said, if you are at all quantitatively competent aka from the CS, Math, or Stats department, you will not learn much from his class. He teaches from powerpoints which follow pretty trite derivations and observations about linear regression. He stresses application over formalism (which some people might like). However, all the intuition you gain from the class can be gained in an afternoon with an applied statistics textbook. His exams were odd to say the least. You have to code on them, which I found easy but other people really struggled. The math is pretty basic and those questions are weighted pretty low. I did meh on the first midterm which I studied a lot for, and aced the second midterm which I didn't study at all for. That should tell you The homeworks were actually very interesting. The questions seem vague, but if you really think about them, you realize there really is one right answer ... most of the time. The homeworks make you think about how to frame problems and think deductively. I hated the vagueness of the homeworks, but I think it served an actual pedagogical service. Grading seems pretty generous. A+ is pretty doable. So tldr; It's a straightforward class that should be a relatively easy A. The most interesting part of this class is his pseudo-introduction to graphical models in the regression context and its application to instrumental variables and the like. However, you'd be much better off just taking AI + a machine learning course. One note to the less mathematically inclined: On the mathematics in the class, the only thing you really have to understand is the orthogonality relationships in the linear regression machine.

Jan 2020

Wayne Lee is a very enthusiastic professor. He is fresh from industry, and is eager to excite students to find real-life applications to their learnings in the way you apply the topics you learn in class to a job. He encourages us to call him by his first name, and within the first two classes of the semester he learned every student's name. Wayne is a pretty good lecturer. He wants to be good, so he took a few opportunities throughout the semester to ask for feedback. His homeworks were often worded poorly, making the tasks a bit confusing. Office hours, Piazza, and Ed (a platform he likes to use) were very important for straightening out any confusions. 9 homeworks (every 1-2 weeks), all a mix of short response and using R (or python if you prefer) to code up a solution. Could be BS'd quickly to finish in 1-2 hours, but you probably did it all wrong. The TA graded everything after the semester was over, and turns out they were strict on grading! Everyone complained and said if things were graded on time they would have known their mistakes and wouldn't have continued to make them, etc... Wayne went back and lightened the grading. Not totally sure how the homeworks factored into the overall grade, as Wayne offered a few different scenarios as to how your grade would be calculated. 2 Midterms, cumulative, and quite difficult. Hardly anyone finished in the 75 minutes. This is mostly because it was a mix of written response and coding, in which we had to download a safe exam browser application which blocks all connection to the outer world so you cannot cheat on the exams. This backfired on the second midterm and we lost 10 minutes of exam-time. Again, wording isn't always clear. Final wasn't too complicated, but he gave a practice final that had questions that would repeat for the final... At the end, I wasn;t sure if I would walk away with a D or an A, but ended up getting a B+ and being quite happy with it, considering the lack of work I put in throughout the semester. Wayne is a really nice guy who wants to see you do well. Make him believe you truly care and he will take care of you. I wouldn't recommend this class if you dont need to take it, but that is solely because its just another washed up statistics course that could use some fine tuning. Otherwise, don't shy away from taking Wayne, You'll be fine.