professor
Catherine O'Neil

Mar 2007

Not only is she a fair grader on the exams, but she weighs homeworks relatively heavily in comparison to the tests, which works to your advantage. WebWorks may be difficult at times, but her problems are generally easy. She is very open to question in class and will never hesitate to help with any problems after class. In addition, she will listen to the class consensus when it comes to moving assignment deadlines if absolutely necessary. I had taken AP Calculus BC in high school and did not need to take this class, but Professor O'Neil made it all the more worthwhile. I would highly recommend her as a teacher. She does not grade the homeworks, so if you have a problem with the grading, take it up with the TAs.

Mar 2007

I chose her based on her reviews and the fact that nothing better seemed available. Having taken only AB and recieved a 5, I took Calc II. I found the pace of the course to be quite quick. The one good (or bad) thing about the class is the weight that hw recieves (~45-50%). My hw's were greatly assisted by the fact that I had a complete answer key from a friend. At the end of the course, I had an 85, which scaled to an A-. I was not pleased with her overall teaching. She was disorganized and would get lost in her own explanations (resulting in explitives). When a student asked a question, the answer would sometimes be "Ummmmm" or "What?" I have a list of priceless quotes that kept me amused in class. Overall, this is a safe bet, but nothing exceptional.

Mar 2007

Professor O'Neil is very nice and you can tell she's really excited about math. I like that she welcomes other student's suggestions on other ways to do problems. However, her class wasn't as stimulating nor as fantastic as some of the other reviewers had said. She went through the material very quickly, taking what was supposed to be an hour and fifteen minute class and packing everything into an hour. There were times where it seemed like she knew her stuff, it was just that she didn't know how to explain it well. It made understanding certain concepts especially hard. She's also not very accessible. If you can't make it to the two hour, once a week time slot, she probably won't schedule another appointment to meet with you.

Jan 2007

Great teacher, great class. My biggest complaint is that they haven't offered this class in the past. Prof Oneil is cool and down to earth. There were only 20 students in this class and it was very interactive. A wonderful and unique learning opportunity in a college level math class. This class really was an intro to higher math. We did an overall introduction to proof and then an introduction to a number of different topics including number theory and analysis. She said it is meant to prepare us to take Modern Algebra.

Dec 2006

I looked foward to going to class on tuesdays and thursday's because of Prof. Oneill's calc II class. Calc II is not an easy topic but the class was run in a light enjoyable manner. In terms of clarity of the subject, Prof Oneill was a little disorganized in her subject and spent more time on proofs than on actual problems but overall she is a grerat person and a fun professor.I attended office hours almost every week and it she explained topics slower and more clear. She counts homework and webworks for 50% of the grade which allows a student to get a good grade even if they perform badly on tests. But her test are not that difficult because she only puts on problems done in class or ones that she can solve without spending time to figure out. Although the homework problems are more difficult, she often has difficulties solving them herself and therefore will not put anything of the sort on a test. Overall, I enjoyed this class very much and I am extremely fond of Prof. Oneill. Take her class!!!!!!

Dec 2006

Professor O'Neil is very smart but cannot teach a class. she is very confusing and if you have not taken an advanced high school calc class before you really should not take this class because you will be really lost. she barely explains anything that is not already in the book. homework counts for a lot and you have to do it correctly, and don't forget to staple it or the really mean TAs will take off points. her tests are easy and don't count for much of your grade. webworks is just about the worst part of this course, START WEBWORKS EARLY! NOT AT 11:30 PM the night before its due. trust me. (she's a nice lady though, don't get me wrong.)

Dec 2006

I took Professor O’Neil’s class because of her generous allotment of points; 40% for Homework, %15 for Webworks and no timed exams (which are also worth 15% each). This seemed like an ideal setting, but quickly turned into a nightmare. Our Webwork assignments were consistently behind the current material covered; therefore the time spent on WW did not reinforce what we were currently learning, but instead wasted our time. The program is very sensitive which can be frustrating. You can literally enter the right answer, but it may not accept it due to syntax error. WW was just one negative of her class. Professor O’Neil herself seemed unprofessional to me and offended me many times by her continuous use of extremely foul language. She was unorganized. Her notes were all over the place, and our understanding was compromised by her inability to read her own notes and explain proofs. She was constantly corrected by very bright students – I hate to think where we would have been with out them! Despite her disorganization, she covered material extremely fast and relied on the pace of students who had taken AP calc and for which the class was merely a refresher. She seemed lazy. She repeatedly left problems unfinished or skipped steps – even in the answer key for our midterms. She also made mistakes often. She did not take responsibility for her actions, and was very inflexible. One example of this was regarding WW. For one assignment, the instructions stated that only certain numbers counted for credit, ie the remainder of the set was practice; however the score incorporated the problems left blank. When asked regarding this, she inquired the people at WW, and returned to us with the comment “Yeah, I don’t know what happened to WW, but those do count.” When asked if she would make an allowance, she said “Sorry, that will be the one you drop.” This did not happen to me personally as I did all of the problems, but other students were penalized for following directions set forth. To me, this is unacceptable. She left at home or lost her notes for the final exam review and did not furnish us with a practice final, when she had given us practice midterms prior. I know this is not a requirement, however due to the fact that she was unprepared for the final review, one would think she would make an effort to ensure that we succeeded. Other negatives: She was not willing to meet with students outside of class and when asked for help, said to either come early to class or directed her students to the Math Help room. She did not seem to have control of her TA’s and when asked to correct the situation (they claimed they didn’t have office hours when we needed them to help us & never returned homework in time for exams), said that there was nothing she could do. She did not hide her distaste for certain students who asked repeated questions and made other students seem ignorant when they asked a simple or obvious question. Having said all of the above, Professor O’Neil is yielding when pushed. She did give extra points on homework when asked and was willing to offer suggestions on homework problems if you were able to come early to class. Her main flaw is that she is not forthcoming in her willingness to help students. Unfortunately, this comes across as a bad attitude and makes a bad impression on her ability as a professor. She may seem to be the best teacher in the world to Freshmen whose only experience were rigid Math professors, but to others she is the worst instructor one could possibly have. Professor O’Neil is a bright woman and may be very proficient in her own ability and understanding of Calculus and Higher Math, however she is not a good professor/teacher and does not reflect well on the caliber of instruction that Columbia University offers.

Nov 2006

She is a pretty cool person, and at first it may seem that she is a good teacher. Now, I myself did well in previous calculus classes, but as soon as I got here everything got out of hand. She goes ridiculously fast, and if you don't do follow along closely you could get lost, and thats it. You have to do the homework, they make up 40% of the grade. Midterms are relatively easy, if you know the work, but if like me you have a little trouble grasping the material, you have to study and review the review sheet she hands out carefully. Shes a cool cat, but shes probably not that greatest teacher of Calculus II that there is in all of Columbia and Barnard.

Nov 2006

Please take this advice to heart: RUN!! Catherine O'Neil is not the best calc teacher at Columbia. She may speak English, but she seems lazy and unorganized to me. She has to rely on us to correct her mistakes and would teach us something wrong if we didn't already know Calculus. Her workload is unreal - sure, she may count homeworks for most of the grade, but she assigns webworks which is the biggest waste of time. Don't take her class if you want to learn Calculus.

Nov 2006

Cathy O'Neil is awesome!!! PICK HER FOR CALC II!!! She will make you laugh even if the double webworks make you cry. She is probably the most animated math professor in the whole department. Her class is actually interesting. She knows who you are so you feel compelled to show up and pay attention. She will bake you cookies, yell at disgusting problems, and encourage people to solve the problems. Her husband subs for her and her kids are really cute. You will definitely walk out liking Calc II- and tell all your friends to take this course. Cool facts: Cathy is so cool she actually reads her culpa reviews...she even knows that she can write one herself....hmmm... Cathy is normal: "This problem took 2 law in order episodes to work out." All in all- enjoy.

Jul 2006

Professor O'Neil is one of the best, smartest, nicest, most all-around wonderful professors in the whole college. I started hating math in first grade and continued hating it with a passion (and barely understanding it) right up until I took her class. Don't ask me how, but she somehow manages to take the "boring" and the "difficult" right out of the accursed subject! She's prepared, organized, and full of enthusiasm. If you're having trouble in the class, go to her office hours. No matter how stupid you think your question is she'll sit with you and explain it until you understand. Note: This is NOT an easy class. She goes very quickly and assigns a lot of homework. The majority of your grade will be based on the homework, so make sure you do a good job (although if you want to learn the math, doing the homework is rather advisable anyway.) If you can take her class, count yourself lucky to have such a good teacher!

Apr 2006

great professor. THE BEST FRIGGIN MATH PROFESSOR AT COLUMBIA/BARNARD! she speaks english and it's understandable! i highly recommend her as a professor. she really seems to care about her students and whether they understand the material or not. the material is hard but she explains it pretty well. i suck at math but she made it a lot more enjoyable. very approachable and helpful.

Dec 2005

One of the best teachers ever. Cathy is organized, enthused, and just cool. Her lecture style is very fast--she writes everything she says on the board, so you basically copy it down and try to make sense of it later. Number Theory is an extremely abstract topic, but Cathy does a good job of motivating everything we do. Very accessible after class and during office hours.