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* COVID-19 Quarter*
I feel like this guy gets a bad rap from a lot of students, but compared to some of the other professors in the department Pau is pretty tolerable. CS118 isn't coding heavy or math heavy, it felt kind of like CS111 if we only did half the chapters. Extensions were given on both coding projects, and the final exam had a 48hr window which is extremely generous in my opinion (with extra credit questions!). If you talk to Pau / listen to lecture, it's clear he really wants to help students learn and is very open to answering questions in/out of class.
Pau follows the PPT slides provided by the book authors 100%, so if you read the book you will pretty much cover everything you should know, aside maybe from variations due to different editions.
The homework sets (4 total) are doable since we have weeks to complete them and Google + textbook + TAs at your disposal. Project 1 was hilariously easy, especially when compared to CS111's socket programming assignment. Project 2 is a LOT more involved, but he gave us a manageable watered down version due to COVID and we were allowed to have 1 partner to help out.
Now, onto the exams. Man are they wild. The man chose to do a rapid test format for the midterm (40 minutes long?), and it included 5 math questions relating to packet delays, bandwidth allocation, etc. Point being, math questions were NOT AT ALL stressed in class or in the book, and some questions required equations that never appeared in class (but were tucked away in the book). Average was ~60% for the midterm, not too surprising. His exams are probably why people dislike him, but if you read the book you would've seen the equations and been able to answer enough of the math to survive.
Overall, I learned a good amount from the class (primarily from reading an easy-to-grasp textbook), and don't think Pau is a "must avoid" professor. He doesn't offer much additional insight into networking as some others might but he drops random interesting nuggets here and there, and is definitely out to help.
LOVE Professor Pau. I didn't interact with him a single time, but watching his lectures on 1.5x were so much fun. He is a funny dude, and incredibly smart, and his lectures are super easy to understand (it helps that he uses these very well-established and easy-to-read slides).
Some number of "homeworks"
Homeworks: really long term quizzes on CCLE. Mostly were multiple choice, easy to look up, and the grading policy was very lenient (could submit multiple times and check answers with classmates).
Projects: simple concepts and clear documentation/responses on Piazza, but BOY did we have to code. The second one was a group-optional project, I did it by myself, and I was working on it for at least 30+ hours. Both of the projects were really fun, though, and I felt like I was doing real coding.
Midterm was much harder than the final for some reason. He also reused midterm questions on the final so we could view the correct answers on the Midterm, because it was still viewable on CCLE. Midterm was tough because of the *time crunch* and because some of the questions involved math that wasn't immediately obvious, as opposed to the multiple choices that were just sort of testing surface knowledge.
Would definitely recommend Prof Pau!
Professor Giovanni isn't the most engaging professor in the computer science department, and he uses the textbook slides to teach. Compared to previous quarters, we definitely covered less material in less depth as well. The midterm was brutal because there were 30 questions given in 30 minutes with the math questions taking quite a long time. We had two projects, project 1 being a much easier version of the TCP project from CS111, and project 2, a router project with much more of the implementation already completed for us than previous quarters (since we didn't cover enough material in time). The four homeworks were fairly straight forward though (took about 1 to 2 hours each), and the TAs did their best to answer questions.
Because of the backlash of the midterm, Pau made the final super easy. Most of the questions were taken straight from the midterm, and there was extra credit. On top of all that he gave 2 min per question, and since we had already seen most of the questions, there was way more time than we needed. He also tried to be nicer by curving the class up.
Overall, the class wasn't the most well put together, but I still learned a decent amount. Pau was also very receptive to any question and gave fairly detailed and comprehensive answers. As a comparison, it felt like I did 10x less work for this class than for CS 111.
Total garbage. Lectures are done over textbook-provided slides. Exams have incomprehensible prompts: no units, no rounding, even Italian words. There are two types of questions: conceptual and calculation. The answers/formulas for both can be found directly on the slides, but some of the calculation problems have assumptions you just cannot predict. The raw average on the midterm turned out to be ~61%. The final is *extremely similar*, and there the average turned out to be ~97%.
The TA-controlled aspects of the class were fine. Four homeworks and two projects, whose content actually made sense. That being said, they won't prepare you at all for the exams.
To summarize: DO NOT TAKE. I think at least half the class ended up getting an A or higher (alternate grading, curving, extra credit), but it is not worth the bs you need to put up with throughout the quarter. I also have no idea how the exams translate into an offline setting, where it may not be open-note.
the midterm was way too fast pace and do not accurately represent students understanding of the material at all. we were given 1 minute for calculations that require looking up an equation we never used before in the textbook, understanding the equation, and plugging in a whole lot of numbers to calculate it.
nevertheless, because of the difficulty of the midterm, the prof made the final very very easy. so, i guess it balances out so most ppl were able to make up for their poor performance on the midterm.
the professor's lectures were very very mediocre, but it would be nice to have more concrete examples of lecture materials versus just going over the general concepts, and expecting students to be able to do concrete examples on the hw on their own.
the hw and projects were nice and reinforces the material. overall, take this class with giovanni at ur own risk, his assessments are unpredictable. but if ur lucky, you will be able to get a decent grade without too much work.
Course: CS 114
He is worse. His Italian accent make him even worse. He doesn't teach anything at all. His lecture is worthless. You probably don't show up unless there is a quiz. You probably learn everything from reading material. He is late, slow, and unorganized in course material and course progress.