Mingmin Shen

Jul 2008

Excellent instructor. A lot of students find Calc II hard, and it is hard. However, I thought Mingmin did a great job at explaining clearly and with simple words very complicated when you get to the Power Series... ;/ Anyway, I highly recommend Mingmin, in case he is teaching when you need to take math. he is a grad student, but I find him way more understandable than any prof so far!

May 2008

Mingmin Shen has one redeeming virtue -- his diagrams are awesome, very neat and easy to read. This doesn't do much in the face of all the other issues, though. His teaching style could best be summarized as confused and rushed. He writes at a frantic pace, forcing students to focus on writing down the copious notes rather than understanding the principles. He doesn't use the standard notation from the book at all, which can lead to some confusion. Expect to spend a lot of time cuddled up to your text book trying to put his lectures into some sort of intelligible framework. The fact that he uses examples in class that are pulled directly of the book actually aid in this translation. Speaking of the text book, all of the homework he assigns are even numbered questions that don't appear in the solutions manual. If you were hoping to compare your work with the solution manual, maybe see where you went wrong, forget about it. Homework is not so much a learning experience as it is a series of mini take-home tests. If this is the only calc class you're going to take, save yourself the money and just get the main book. Overall I wouldn't recommend Mingmin if you have other options. While I agree with some posters that he seems like a nice guy, that trait does not make him a good teacher.

Feb 2008

I disagree with the previous reviewer. I think he/she does not have experience with taking math classes at Columbia, so he/she does not know the extent to what some other math instructors suck! I find Mingmin a very good instructor. He tries really hard to make things as easy and clear as possible. Unfortunately, Calculus is not an easy subject, so you really need to put a lot of effort into it (i mean if you are bad at math). Advise: go to his office hours! He has the talent of making you get it!! And best... you don't feel stupid when you ask questions. Ok! having said that, if you haven't taken Calculus, I would strongly recommend Mingmin... or else pay the prize with professors that perhaps don't have an accent, but really really suck at teaching!

Nov 2007

He clearly is a very intelligent man, however, his heavy Chinese accent and lack of teaching skills (since he is a grad math student) make this class difficult. He doesn't explain things thoroughly enough and if you're not a math person I highly discourage taking his class. If you've taken a Calc class before and are for some reason in this class, then you probably will be fine because your already know the info. Otherwise, the class is very challenging, much as I like Mingmin as a person.