professor
Mikhail Alyurov

Jan 2004

This class is horrible. Alyurov is a mean-spirited professor who seems to care more about proving his students wrong than helping them understand what is right. He is uncomfortable in one-on-one settings, and much prefers you to bring your questions somewhere else. His grading is completely arbitrary; I had absolutely no idea how I was doing until I got my grade. Avoid his class at all costs.

Nov 2003

Alyurov is really just a big softie. Sure, the first class was jarring, seeing a guy in suspenders shout menacingly in a strange language vaguely resembling English, but he's gotten much better. He's clearly not a natural teacher and just needed time to get acclimated. After the first week, the accent stopped being an issue and I noticed that Alyurov indeed was trying his best to get the concepts through my thick skull, albeit unsuccessfully. I could conveniently blame Alyurov for my failing his class, but other people pass his tests, so they're probably not all that hard. He even let us do the second midterm as a take-home after we already took the same exact test in class. My score went up over 150%. I only have two complaints: one, that he doesn't have handouts with examples to make it easier to follow what he writes on the board; and two, that he keeps the class too proof-based and theoretical.

Nov 2003

This class is totally useless. I'm not one of those students who goes to extremes either. It's totally true. The first thing you'll have to get over in this class is his incredibly horrible Russian accent, which makes him difficult to understand. On top of that, the majority of the class is spent on proofs that go on forever. Ultimately, one or two of these proofs will randomly turn up as a question on a midterm or final, adding to the egregious nature of this class. Oftentimes you will be able to do all the problems in the book, and will not be able to do well on the midterms. First midterm was easy, second midterm was horrendous. On top of this, he is an ambiguous grader, almost inferring that there will be no curve with statements like "if you get in the 70's you can be guaranteed a C, and MAYBE a little better." That's not usually how it's supposed to work. However, if you take this class, you may very well end up getting a C for having a 70ish average, even if the class average is still in the 40's. DON'T TAKE THIS CLASS. Do yourself a favor and choose a professor who enjoys teaching and tests on things pertaining to the material.

Oct 2003

Why they make this guy teach undergraduate mathematics is beyond me. It's boring for him and displeasurable for his students. Alyurov may or may not be a sadist (that's still open for debate,) but he is not a pleasant person to learn calculus from. He tries to be interactive but derides students when they don't understand a concept. Sample answer to a student query: "But I just showed you that on the board, right there." He repeat the much-beloved falsism of Columbia math professors that there are "many excellent examples in the book" like a litany. Much of the class is devoted to proofs that you are either given too little time to understand or do not even care about in the first place. If you can't get it in classroom you will be perfunctorily referred to the calculus help room. Numerous and tedious are his complaints about students unable to recall topics that "should have been covered in calculus I." So says he of Calculus I, but experience tells a different story. Eventually you too will wonder why you need to attend this class and recognize that the abuse isn't worth it. To add insult to injury, the exams are next to impossible, i.e. quite possible to get a 0.