Stephen Desalvo

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CLASSES

COMPTNG 10A
Introduction to Programming See Full Profile

Overall 5.0 Easiness 3.0 Workload 2.5 Clarity 5.0 Helpfulness 5.0

Most Helpful Review

Desalvo is an all around great professor. He goes out of his way to make lectures engaging for his students (he uses slides that he posts online, so you’re not screwed if you don’t show up to lecture. Also attendance is not mandatory). He assigns ten coding assignments across the quarter, each of which is due on Friday at 5 PM. There was one midterm and it consisted of only lecture material. Same deal with the final.

Highly recommend this class.

(Winter Quarter 2017)
COMPTNG 10B
Intermediate Programming See Full Profile

Overall 4.1 Easiness 3.0 Workload 3.1 Clarity 4.1 Helpfulness 4.7

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He sorta teaches the theory by teaching how to re-create the types of concepts in question. For example one assignment is something to do with creating your own custom linked list class. All the assignments are basically that, creating your own custom version of a built-in type. However we never get to really actually implement these classes, which is much more important from a practical standpoint than being able to re-code them and understand what's happening beneath the hood. If you can't drive a car it doesn't really matter whether or not you understand what's going on beneath the hood.

Also, this professor is sort of a bitter man. He constantly complains about unfairness in the professional industry and occasionally in the academic. Which on it's own I wouldn't mind, but he sort of takes it out on the students. I had a few incidents where I was graded unfairly, and he even admitted to it, but refused to change my grade because ...some story about how he once got short-changed in an academic journal. As if him getting short-changed justifies him being unfair towards me.

Furthermore, his tests are unfair and poorly written. If you interpret the question to be asking for a certain thing but he had in mind a different thing- even though the question is objectively ambiguous- say goodbye to a ton of freebee points.

Finally, he is constantly talking about interview preparation and industry applications, but I think he fails severely in these goals. No interviewer asks you to create a custom map class, or to define a class that uses bitwise operators (we spent like a month on binary and bitwise operations). They ask you to do something where the map class might just be the optimal thing to implement. Like I said before, you don't get enough of the actual implementation in this course.

In sum, I could see how people would like him, as he is quite enthusiastic and exposes us a lot of new things and concepts. It is difficult though, which would be worth it definitely, however I feel the subject matter is misguided and contradicts the goals he preaches. It is often non-applicable to interview and industry settings. Again, you might be able to tell the driving test person all about how a car works, but if you can't drive the car, you fail. I also feel that this professor has a large chip on his shoulder and replicates that unfair environment for his students, which is not right.. at all.

Also, his lecture slides are terrible.

(Fall Quarter 2016)
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COMPTNG 10C
Advanced Programming See Full Profile

Overall 4.3 Easiness 3.0 Workload 3.3 Clarity 4.4 Helpfulness 4.9

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Took him for 10B-10C. He's a good guy pretty funny. This class can be a lot of work, but if you can manage your time well you should be fine. It also depends whether you like programming or not. I liked it, so it wasn't bad.

(March 20, 2015)
MATH 170A
Probability Theory Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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MATH 170A
Probability Theory See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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COMPTNG 375
Teaching Apprentice Practicum Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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COMPTNG 375
Teaching Apprentice Practicum See Full Profile

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