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Algorithms, advanced course, Lp2 HT09, TDA251/DIT280

Status: Avslutad
Öppen för svar: 2009-12-08 - 2009-12-21
Antal svar: 23
Procent av deltagarna som svarat: 9%
Kontaktperson: Åsa Samdell»

Your own effort

1. How many hours per week did you spend on this course?

We mean total time, that is, it comprises the time you spent in class and the time you spent on your own work. Try to estimate the average time over the entire study period.

23 svarande

At most 15 hours/week»5 21%
Around 20 hours/week»7 30%
Around 25 hours/week»4 17%
Around 30 hours/week»6 26%
At least 35 hours/week»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 2.6

- Spent most of my time working on my submissions. Time you usually have to spend on preparing for an exam was in this course spread out on the assignments.» (At most 15 hours/week)
- A rather small amount of hours that I would describe as "active". but a considerable amount of time keeping the exam questions in the back of my head. The latter has been downgraded a bit in my assessment of time spent, since I quite likely could have done it much more efficiently had I wanted to.» (Around 20 hours/week)
- Hard but fun problems!» (Around 30 hours/week)

2. How large part of the teaching offered did you attend?

23 svarande

0%»0 0%
25%»3 13%
50%»3 13%
75%»11 47%
100%»6 26%

Genomsnitt: 3.86

- Due to personal learning style I prefer written material. The lectures I attended were of good quality (and the lecture notes are good as well).» (25%)
- Had overlapping schedule, and I only attended some lectures.» (25%)
- Stopped attending the exercise sessions because they were too difficult to follow.» (75%)
- Slightly lower as I only attended one exercise session.» (75%)
- I came to all the lectures, but I dropped exercise sessions after 2 or 3 try» (75%)
- Not the exercise sessions.» (75%)
- Attended almost all lectures and only two exercise sessions.» (75%)
- Really good lectures, took the same course last year but understood nothing, this time however i understood it all!» (100%)

Goals and goal fulfilment

The course syllabus states the course goals in terms of learning outcomes, i.e., knowledge, skills and attitudes to be acquired by the student during the course.

3. How understandable are the course goals?

23 svarande

I have not seen/read the goals»5 21%
The goals are difficult to understand»1 4%
The goals give some guidance, but could be clearer»4 17%
The goals clearly describe what I am supposed to learn»13 56%

Genomsnitt: 3.08

4. Are the goals reasonable considering your background and the number of credits?

Answer this this question and the succeeding one, only if you do know the course goals.

20 svarande

No, the goals are set too low»1 5%
Yes, the goals seem reasonable»18 90%
No, the goals are set too high»1 5%

Genomsnitt: 2

5. Did the examination assess whether you have reached the goals?

20 svarande

No, not at all»1 5%
To some extent»5 25%
Yes, definitely»13 65%
I don"t know/have not been examined yet»1 5%

Genomsnitt: 2.7

- I found this method of examination to be far superior to a normal exam. The questions asked were reasonably difficult and quite cleverly composed and ordered, by which I mean that most important areas were relevant to some question and therefore required a thorough understanding of all the material.» (Yes, definitely)
- Yes, between exercises and the final exam covering all that I didn"t get right on exams, I think the examination covers everything from the relevant chapters in the textbook.» (Yes, definitely)
- Though I always fail on oral exams, in this course it was probably the best solution.» (Yes, definitely)

Teaching and course administration

6. To what extent has the teaching been of help for your learning?

23 svarande

Small extent»1 4%
Some extent»6 26%
Large extent»8 34%
Great extent»8 34%

Genomsnitt: 3

- I mostly relied on the textbook, as I was unable to attend all lectures.» (Small extent)
- Due to personal learning style I did not attend many lectures, but the lecture notes were very good and provided a nice complement to the (very good) course literature.» (Some extent)
- Great lectures and not so good exercise sessions. The lectures are always complementary for me, as I learn most from the course book. Also, Peter"s lecture notes were very instructive.» (Some extent)

7. To what extent has the course literature and other material been of help for your learning?

23 svarande

Small extent»0 0%
Some extent»2 8%
Large extent»12 52%
Great extent»9 39%

Genomsnitt: 3.3

- Good book, very good lecture notes.» (Large extent)
- Perhaps one should have skipped all teaching and just focus on the course litterature and the exercises. Almost everything is in the course book.» (Great extent)
- The book is solid. I think it explains most concepts clearly. The per-lecture summaries provide an easy overview.» (Great extent)

8. What is your impression of the exercise sessions? Is the current format desirable or would another format work better (such as forming smaller groups)?

- I think it would work better in small groups.»
- My impression is that they are way too difficult to follow for some reason.»
- desirable»
- The problems was not clearly stated before we started to work on it, so everybody was lost in the first steps.»
- Smaller groups sounds like a great idea.»
- My impression is that it was too easy, but I came for only one session.»
- There were no exercices session»
- I worked on the exercises alone, and I feel that I got stuck several times. Having a group to discuss with would probably have helped. Maybe the course should encourage group studying, too?»
- I didn"t attend the exercise sessions.»
- I think the format is ok but the tutor is not. However, a better format could be to have more interaction, e.g. have students present solutions and give bonus points for such, or similar. The main issue is the tutor here though. I think that"s very obvious considering that there were around 5-10 students at an arbitrary exercise session.»
- The exercise sessions was very similar to the lectures. It might be better if the exercise sessions could focus on the students solving a set of recommended problems (not the weekly assignments!) with a teacher present to help if necessary. The oral exam could then be focused to also cover the material from these problems.»
- I think exercise sessions doing great.»
- I only attended one exercise session, though it was good and pedagogic, it was not something that suited me. But I don"t think smaller groups would have gotten me more interested.»
- I did not attend any of the exercise sessions, since I had labs in a different course at the same time as the exercises.»

9. How well did the course administration, web page, handouts etc work?

23 svarande

Very badly»1 4%
Rather badly»0 0%
Rather well»10 43%
Very well»12 52%

Genomsnitt: 3.43

- Could have been digital handins.» (Rather well)
- It feels like it would be easier for everyone if the weekly assignments could be digitally submitted via the fire system for instance.» (Rather well)
- Only drawback was the rather confusing ordering of the news/announcements (i.e not necessarily newest on top).» (Very well)
- I really liked to have a personal feedback on every problem set» (Very well)
- Excellent.» (Very well)

Study climate

10. How were the opportunities for asking questions and getting help?

23 svarande

Very poor»1 4%
Rather poor»2 8%
Rather good»4 17%
Very good»5 21%
I did not seek help»11 47%

Genomsnitt: 4

- It was almost impossible because you get the exercises on wednesday and start working on them on maybe friday. The next time to ask is on the tuesday lecture, but that"s the deadline.» (Rather poor)
- Not so easy to get in touch with someone to ask questions. Though I never asked for consultation.» (Rather poor)
- I asked for some consultation and it is great that this chance is given.» (Very good)

11. How well has cooperation between you and your fellow students worked?

23 svarande

Very poorly»1 4%
Rather poorly»3 13%
Rather well»6 26%
Very well»8 34%
I did not seek cooperation»5 21%

Genomsnitt: 3.56

- This course works great because you are not dependent on others.» (I did not seek cooperation)
- I discussed some exercises with a fellow student but a little bit but that"s it when it comes to cooperation.» (I did not seek cooperation)

12. How was the course workload?

23 svarande

Too low»0 0%
Low»2 8%
Adequate»12 52%
High»8 34%
Too high»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 3.34

- It was a fun course so from that perspective it would have been nice to have more of it, but it would probably risk being at the expense of other courses.» (Adequate)
- but the difficulty of the exercises was very contrasted, usually there was one hard exercise, and two really easy. I think it should be more balanced (but keep the hard ones !)» (Adequate)
- Higher grade -> more workload (high)» (Adequate)
- It"s as high as one can expect from a Masters course, I"m usually disappointed if the course is too ease or takes 4-8 hours/week» (High)
- High compared to a lot of other courses, but I"m not complaining.» (High)

13. How was the total workload this study period?

23 svarande

Too low»0 0%
Low»0 0%
Adequate»11 47%
High»7 30%
Too high»5 21%

Genomsnitt: 3.73

- but I had to take 150% of the normal load to reach an adequate level :?» (Adequate)
- The total load was good, but unfortunately for me I had nothing but double-booked lectures. I feel I could have learnt more from the lectures, had I been able to attend more often.» (Adequate)
- Three new courses.» (High)
- I took the Computational Physics course also.» (Too high)

Summarizing questions

14. What is your general impression of the course?

23 svarande

Poor»1 4%
Fair»0 0%
Adequate»2 8%
Good»11 47%
Excellent»9 39%

Genomsnitt: 4.17

- The course feels like a few in-depth studies of certain concepts.» (Good)
- Very interesting topics and great lectures.» (Excellent)
- Peter is a very good instructor always with relevant remarks about everything and also he does everything in sufficient detail. All topics were presented in an interesting way, the examination was nice, and I don"t have much to complain about except for the exercise sessions.» (Excellent)
- Really liked the lectures given by Peter. He has a way of making the subjects more fun and interesting.» (Excellent)

15. What should definitely be preserved to next year?

- The examination.»
- Peter. Peters summaries of the lectures.»
- The exam format.»
- the evaluation system»
- Lectures and exercises are good.»
- Peter»
- I think the hand-in exercises were a good examination form. I would be hard to come up with good answers in short time (regular exam), not being given time to think.»
- I really enjoyed the mandatory "homework" exercises. Although the workload was higher I learned a lot more in this course than in for example the first Algorithm course.»
- Peter!»
- The compulsory weekly assignments. Feels like a better and more thorough way to test the students" skills than a written exam, since one has to study in constant tempo throughout the whole course, and because of that give every part of the course equal focus.»
- Most of the content of the course, such as network flow problems, approximation algorithms, randomized algorithms and fpt problems.»

16. What should definitely be changed to next year?

- The exercise sessions. Perhaps make them more into opportunities for questions.»
- exercise sessions»
- Having sessions for smaller groups to discuss the problems/solutions.»
- The exercise sessions.»
- Clearer comments, such that its clear if a exercise needs to be redone. Finally also comments when we have redone an exercise.»
- The exercise sessions, see the text about it from paragraph 8.»
- That the course clashed with Cryptography, which should have a quite large common audience.»
- Maybe fewer exercises, 17 was quite much. However there was not that much focus on the exam. I think 14 or 15 exercises would be sufficient.»

17. Additional comments

- Another course in algorithms would have been nice, we have only scraped on the surface on several interesting problems that would be fun to know more about!»
- I think _many_ students taking the course would have serious problems implementing many of the discussed algorithms. However, I know that this is not a goal with the course, but I think it would be very instructive if there was more information about implementation as well. I, for example, implemented many of my solutions to the exercises to see that they behaved as intended and also to get a better understanding. This makes the algorithms more concrete and not only something we theorize about. An idea could be to have extra notes ("extras for interested students") or something encouraging students to implement their solutions (which of course should not be part of the examination) along with some hints of how to handle some relevant difficulties, e.g. what structures to use, how to enumerate permutations etc.»
- Interesting course, good topics covered, great lectures! The last lecture material could maybe be removed or integrated in some earlier lecture, and replaced with a summary of the whole course.»

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