professor
Elizabeth Sklar

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Mar 2005

I have to dissagree with what other majors have been saying about this course, if not what they have been saying about Professor Sklar. Professor Sklar is the nicest person in the world and will do everything in her power to help you if you actually go to her. She is pretty quiet, and won't come to you, even if she thinks you're doing badly. If seek her out though, I have never seen a professor go to such lengths to help her students. She even has an aim sn just to help students on the nights before big assignments are due. She is usually a little bit late everywhere but she's a fine lecturer and presents the material she has to present clearly (ps people complaining about her writing code on the board a lot, all of the code up there is usually on the website). The class however, is a complete nightmare. None of the annoying weekly labs are that hard, and the homeworks are definitely resonable, but you switch languages every week. I suppose if you really know you're stuff (ie you've programmed in pretty much all of the languages others have mentioned some before) you can skip a bunch of the lectures and labs and do fine in the class. However, even if you're a major, if you're just taking the class right after 1007/1004 you're going to be in pain (even if you did well, I got an A in 1007). And looking up syntax/googling everything for all of the assignments all all the time. The department is pretty ridiculous to expect second semester majors with limited experience to do very well in the course. Moral of the story: unless you're programmer extraordinare go to office hours and make lots of friends you can run to at 3am for help

Jan 2005

Professor Sklar is a wonderful teacher--extraordinarily helpful and kind and a clear lecturer. However, Advanced Programming does not live up to expectations--it's more of an Intro to Programming in Several Different Languages (and it may even be easer than 1007). It doesn't go enough in-depth into the subjects it covers, and the assignments aren't especially challenging. Covers basic C/C++, PERL, PHP, and Unix tools.

Jan 2005

This semester, we were told that the course was to be "watered down." I see that all of the other CULPA Advanced Programming reviews talk about how they always had to Google stuff, but I only had to Google stuff once in a while. We covered C, Perl, PHP, a little UNIX/shell scripts, and C++. I had lab in 9 in the morning, so I would cut it often, but going to them makes you get the labs done faster (for the same reason you get HW done faster at a library). The course is not curved, but that's a good thing; I think the average is around an A- (although no A+'s are given). I'm glad I didn't have to constantly Google stuff like the previous reviewers did, but the class was still -literally- a waste of time. If you can get notes (and if you can't, there are abbreviated versions posted online), and lab handouts from a friend, you'll do fine by attending neither lecture nor lab. The lecture does not teach you anything you can't learn by reading a handout.

Dec 2004

This class wasn't too hard, but BEWARE if you're not a cs major. I thought I was doing OK throughout the semester, and I got quite a shock when i received my final grade. the class was not curved AT ALL. If you don't REALLY know your stuff, you won't even get a B in this class.

Jan 2003

Nice person and nice teacher. Her method of teaching involves going through slides on the projector, and making frequent extra notes on the board. Cracks jokes frequently, and gives the class a very relaxed atmosphere. On Halloween, she played Shrek on the projector and gave out candy for all of us. I definitely recommend her.

Jan 2003

As compsci professors go, Sklar is a pretty good one. She's got a sense of humor that keeps things somewhat interesting, and helps make the material a little less dry. She speaks softly, so sit towards the front. Her understanding of the material is very good - her lectures might be boring to non-geeks, but she explains stuff very precisely and everything's in a logical order. Available help for her classes was very good, and she was even pretty flexible about things like late homeworks. It gets a lot worse than Elizabeth Sklar.

Jan 2003

As much as people may say that AP was a disaster from the start because the CS dept messed it up, Sklar did not in any way help the situation. I learned absolutely NOTHING from her in this class. She wasted half of the class time writing code on the board, which could have been printed or posted online to the same effect. The rest of the time she read her useless slides, which were posted online. The best thing to do was to skip all classes and learn any new material by searching for it on google.

Jan 2003

Professor Sklar actually speaks English well enough to explain herself to her students. That right there puts her ahead of all but 3 or 4 CS professors. The fact that she makes class interesting, that she genuinely cares about her students, and believes in the department enough to take on an insane workload because she knew students needed her? That's just icing on the cake. In a department bereft of professors who care about education, and filled with academics who manage to make simple addition incredibly difficult, Professor Sklar is a breath of a fresh air. It's probably unfair to judge her based on the frenetic chaos that was AP; it was thrust on her in August, and it was a doomed course even before then. She's teaching it again this Spring, and here's hoping that she could figure out what the hell this course is actually supposed to do. The department certainly picked the right professor

Dec 2002

First of all, it's a required course for SEAS students so many of you can't really get around it. The point of reviewing this course is more to alert students who are going take it to some of the difficulties they may face (she's teaching it again Spring 2003). That said, Prof. Sklar is not a bad teacher--not at all, especially when compared to many other SEAS and Physics/Chem/Math professors. For the most part she means well and is quite flexible and open. I think the main problem with the course was the overly aggressive syllabus--which has more to do with the CS department and the unfortunate fact that it is pretty much still experimental than with Prof. Sklar herself. Officially, the course is to "better prepare students for courses like OS and Networks". However I felt it was trying to cover such and such topics just so that the department can suppose we know them when in reality we only know _about_ them. _In short, in this class the syllabus is more important than you_. As with most other CS classes, there are some very prepared people with extensive C and UNIX and internet programming backgrounds who find the course and the lectures a joke. The ultra-motivated student with a lot of time in their hands may enjoy the "sink-or-swim-ness" by swimming very hard and doing a lot of reading and experimenting on their own. The average student may also do well by doing the bare minimum and choosing cheesy ways out in programming assignments but will unlikely feel satisfied with the experience.

Nov 2002

I cannot think of another class I left so often thinking, "what?"... too much information taught way too quickly by a professor who assumes you know more than you do and who does not use a microphone in a large lecture classroom. She means well, and does care about what the students think, but her teaching is less than what one would hope... she thought that writing out a long java program using servers and clients would show us how to write servers and clients in java, but while giving us the code offers us the opportunity for rote memorization, it does not show you HOW to get that solution. And instead of teaching us C++ which would have actually built off of our knowledge of C, she tried to teach us CGI in one day, javascript in one day... you get the idea. Of course it isn't entirely her fault that there is too much information in too short a time. This class was a bad, bad idea. The only perk is that the game, once done and all unnecessary elements for the purposes of the homework are removed, will probably be cute. Oh, and she had the TAs teach us parts of the class we were responsible for exclusively in recitation -- bad idea... some TAs were good, but most were, well, not good.

Nov 2002

Prof. Sklar is invested in her class and respects the delicate line between challenging vs. overwhelming students. She actually wants student feedback and because of this she doesn't undermine the integrity of the class. A rare thing in cs, there is no one "holding the grade cards" except the students, whose participartion is equally proportional to the grade. Her exams and assignments can be fun and will never cover anything that wasn't presented or isn't relatively easy to look up (but plan on taking the time to do so). When she makes a mistake, she compensates and makes sure it is cleared up. She is also extremely organized and even tries as best as she can to pick up the TA slack.

Jul 2002

Prof Sklar was pretty nice and understanding... I was sick for the midterm, and she actually had multiple makeup sessions which made it really easy for me. Her lectures are quite organized and easy to follow along, and she makes a good effort in keeping the class awake. The homework is easy until like the third/fourth one... I felt a bit lost at the end especially. The TAs try to give partial credits which was helpful. An advice: learn to use debugger (Forte or JBuilder)! cuz the cunix system only gives you syntax error, and if you're stuck somewhere logically, then good luck trying to figure out the problem. She won't talk at all about debugger, but I really wish she'd told me earlier! Midterms (multiple choice, T/F, and coding) and Final (all multiple choice) weren't too bad if you know the basic stuff. Overall, not too bad of a class.

Jan 2002

Prof Sklar's class wasn't boring at all. She was aware of that some students in the class had minimal programming background, so she tried to accommodate them. Her lectures notes, which were put up online, were extremely useful (as a summary, of course, because lectures were much more detailed) when it came to exam times. She's really into robot soccer games, so many assignments had something to do with that theme. As othere reviews said, first midterm was unbelievably easy, and most people didn't even finish the second midterm. She admitted that she only wanted to make it harder than the first one, but overdid it. Overall, a good class to take especially if you have limited programming background.

Jan 2002

Prof. Sklar's class was by far my favorite of the semester. Easy to understand and very helpful, she was also reasonable especially when it came to homework extensions. Even experienced programmers will learn something in this class, she tries to make it interesting (whether or not she is sucessful depends on who you ask.) Her exams aren't too difficult, if you go to lecture and do the homework you will get an easy B+ in this class, at least.

Dec 2001

Not a bad class. Sklar tried very hard to be friendly (via silly humor and a penchant for telling stories about her drunken, class-skippin' days at Barnard) and was generally quite accessible. Class started off very slowly -- we were told what variables were five or six classes in (for those without programming experience, they're an absolutely essential part of programming), and by the time the first midterm came, there was essentially nothing to test us on. Things sped up later, and some things were glossed over quickly (searching, for instance). For the most part, though, Sklar's lectures (which are quite heavy on blackboard-scrawled code) were clear and straightforward. She posted lectures notes on the class web site, which was extremely useful, and also made attendance quite optional. Overall, a competently-taught class.

Dec 2001

Basically, I would say Sklar is a bit above a mediocre teacher....I wasn't bored in class often, (she actually showed bits of relevent comp sci videos every once in a while) but I wasn't enthralled either (remember, it is computer science)...... The class has increasingly difficult homeworks, but I found the tests nomt too bad at all.... very doable...... I would say I got a solid backing in the JAVA language after the class.... Its not a class designed to break you, (I think data structures is for that), so you dojn't end up with an incredible programming ability, but I would say more than enough...... If your interested in COMP SCI, this was a a solid class, definatley worth taking just to get your feet wet...

Nov 2001

Teaching is not bad. Puts her lecture notes online which is convenient for people who don't go to class. But as she said a few times, "the notes are no substitute for going to class" and so be prepared for some questions in exams on materials covered in lectures. First exam was extremely easy and about 50 people (that's one third of the class) got 98 or above. Second midterm was like 99 times harder and many people handed it almost empty exams. My feeling is that she felt she needed to distinguish between the good students and the very good ones, but she definitely overdid it. She doesn't seem very experienced in teaching and sometimes (just sometimes) forgets basic stuff (like converting a base 10 number to its binary equivalent). But overall she's fine and she tries to make classes interesting by showing random stuff such as video clips and cracking silly jokes. Personally she's the no-bullshit type, looks tough (every time when she comes into class and drops her apparently very heavy backpack onto the podium (bang!) i think, wow she's some lady). She is (I think) a less friendly than other _young female_ professors. In short, people who use excuses like "my grandma died" for late homework shouldn't be hopeful. Graduated from Barnard so knows Columbia well. Majored in CS and English, so is pretty literary and definitely not illiterate like some other CS professors. Overall not bad, above average. Would be pretty good if she made just a little effort to be nicer. (But to be fair perhaps that's hard when you're teaching a class of 150....)