Rutgers University Student Instructional Rating Survey
Spring 2012
(Online Survey)

 16:640:640:01   67433       Zeilberger Doron  
         ENROLL=   16       RESP=  11 (68%)     STRONGLY                    STRONGLY  # OF     MEAN    MEAN  MEAN   MEAN       
                                                DISAGREE        NEUTRAL       AGREE     NO      OF      OF    OF     OF      
PART A: UNIVERSITY-WIDE QUESTIONS:                   1      2      3      4     5   RESPONSES SECTION COURSE DEPT   LEVEL   

  1. The instructor was prepared for class and     
     presented the material in an organized manner   0      0      0      3     8       0      4.73    4.73  4.64   4.67
  2. The instructor responded effectively to       
     student comments and questions                  0      0      0      1    10       0      4.91    4.91  4.62   4.87
  3. The instructor generated interest in the      
     course material                                 0      0      0      1    10       0      4.91    4.91  4.61   4.87
  4. The instructor had a positive attitude toward 
     assisting all students in understanding       
     course material                                 0      0      0      1    10       0      4.91    4.91  4.70   4.87
  5. The instructor assigned grades fairly           0      0      0      1     9       1      4.90    4.90  4.83   4.92
  6. The instructional methods encouraged student  
     learning                                        0      0      0      2     9       0      4.82    4.82  4.56   4.80
  7. I learned a great deal in this course           0      0      0      2     9       0      4.82    4.82  4.61   4.80
  8. I had a strong prior interest in the subject  
     matter and wanted to take this course           0      0      0      1     9       1      4.90    4.90  4.38   4.93
                                                   POOR                     EXCELLENT
  9. I rate the teaching effectiveness of the      
     instructor as                                   0      0      0      2     9       0      4.82    4.82  4.63   4.80
 10. I rate the overall quality of the course as     0      0      0      1    10       0      4.91    4.91  4.57   4.87

What do you like best about this course?:

I like the fact that course is engaging and very relevant to research in mathemetics in a variety of fields

C-finite ansatz and holonomic stuff.

I liked how the professor showed how to generalize the generation of sequences that I didn't know were previously related.

There are two things I like about this course: 1st - clearly Prof. Zeilberger is quite an inspirational teacher. 2nd - the format - sitting in front of a computer, doing math, in "real-time" is a different format from the usual classroom setting, and these kind of different formats complement the usual formats and enhance the overall learning process. I think the Experimental Math class is something that is quite special and something the department can be quite proud of.

The content definitely reflected Dr. Z's research interests.

We get to do real math, instead of abstract nonsense that no one outside of a tiny subsubfield cares about.

If you were teaching this course, what would you do differently?:

I would use sage a free math software instead of maple

I think I would have liked more reading material to explain more applications of the programs, because at times I felt that I was just writing the program for its own sake.

I have mixed feelings on the large amount of homework. On the one hand, without homework, the methods and concepts won't really sink in, and the homework really helped me learn the material. On the other hand, we do live in a finite world, with a finite amount of time to attend to many conflicting demands. I'd suggest explicitly labeling more the the parts of the homework assignment "optional" or "challenge".

Not much.

I would give out project suggestions much earlier so as to give people more time to work on the project. I realize it is not expected to be in a perfectly polished state by the end of the semester; nevertheless, especially for those students who will be leaving at the end of the year I think it would be better to have more time to work on the project while still enrolled in the class.

In what ways, if any, has this course or the instructor encouraged your intellectual growth and progress?:

Yes it has it provided me with fundamental research insight and prompted the writting of the two research papers: Computational Tutorial on Groebner Basis. Combinatorial constructions for siefting primes.

I like how the final projects are really just research papers that can lead to publication.

I learned how to couple using a computer to prove or confirm ideas, and then attempt to prove them rigorously.

In two ways, one expected and one unexpected: I came in to the class expecting to learn how to use Maple to do math. This expectation was certainly fulfilled, and I have already been able to apply these new skills to my thesis research. That has been really great! But what I did not expect was to develop an appreciation for combinatorics, which up to now I had little interest in. Now I'd say I have "some" interest, which is more that a "little".

Dr. Z creates a lot of freedom to explore on our own. It seems like just about every homework assignment could be extended in some way into a research project.

Other comments or suggestions::

In think it would be great if the computer lab installed the free and open source sagemath software so that students could use it to write their experimental math projects.

Wouldn't it be neat to do a computational number theory course along the same lines as this class? Maybe all the subject areas (e.g. topology, etc.) occasionally need a computational "Topics" class. It would be very practical.

The "completely trivial papers" contest was an interesting idea; however, I did not think it would be advisable to be known for calling someone's paper trivial at such an early stage in my career. What if that person ends up on, say, my tenure committee? In fact, I have spoken to people who react negatively to the entire idea of calling other people's papers trivial, so even if I had not called that person's paper trivial in particular, those people might think it was "inappropriate professional conduct" or some such nonsense. It just seemed too risky to participate.