Every class includes an evaluation of the students by the instructor and an evaluation of the instructor and the course by the students. This page presents summaries of these two evaluations to help students understand what to expect when taking this course. In particular, the feedback and comments provided by your peers could be useful towards making a more informed decision if in doubt as to whether to take or not this class. Data from ECE 440 - Fall'14'15'16 and '17 follow.

Past grade distributions


The stated grading policy for the class is that everyone that wants an A, gets an A. Of course, wanting an A means that you do your work and learn. It can be observed from the ECE 440 - Fall'14'15'16 and '17 grade distributions tabulated below that, consistent with stated policy, a majority of students got As in the class. I can confidently say that those grades are not a consequence of lax grading, but testament to the fact that students at the University of Rochester are hard working, smart, and well qualified.

Fall'14

Fall'15

Fall'16

Fall'17

For additional details on the University of Rochester's graduate student grading scheme, please check this page.

Numeric evaluations of the instructor and course


The first part of the optional evaluation done by students includes a group of numeric ratings according to the following scale: "Not at all" (1), "A little" (2), "Somewhat" (3), "Quite a bit" (4), and "A lot" (5). Numeric student evaluations for the Fall'14'15'16 and '17 courses follow, and ratings for future courses will be added in due time. Not all 22 students that took ECE 440 during the Fall'14 semester completed the evaluation, and those students that did complete it in some cases did not answer all questions. The same is true for those 26 students that took ECE 440 in Fall'15, those 47 students took the class in Fall'16, or those 30 students registered in Fall'17.

Fall'14

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Mean
Teaching skills            
Instructor explained and emphasized important points clearly 0 0 1 2 15 4.78
Instructor used examples that helped understanding the material 0 0 3 1 14 4.61
Instructor noticed when students did not understand and adjusted 0 1 2 4 11 4.39
Rapport with students            
Instructor demonstrated sincere respect for students 0 0 1 1 16 4.83
Instructor was willing to listen to student questions and/or opinions 0 0 1 1 16 4.83
Instructor made himself/herself available for extra help 0 0 1 1 15 4.82
Quality of exams/assignments            
Exams/assignments covered important aspects of the course 0 0 1 0 16 4.88
Assignments were helpful in understanding the material 0 0 1 0 16 4.88
Exams/assignments were clearly worded 0 0 1 0 16 4.88
Organization            
Lectures/class discussions were well organized or well managed 0 0 2 1 14 4.71
Instructor tended to be well-prepared for class 0 0 1 0 16 4.88
Classes tended to stay appropriately on topic 0 0 1 0 16 4.88
Stronger interest            
I have a stronger interest in the subject because of the instructor 0 0 3 4 10 4.41
Overall instructor rating            
What overall rating would you give this instructor? 0 0 0 5 12 4.71
Value            
I feel the class was valuable 0 0 2 2 13 4.65
Overall course rating            
What overall rating would you give this course? 0 0 0 6 11 4.65

Fall'15

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Mean
Teaching skills            
Instructor explained and emphasized important points clearly 0 0 0 4 17 4.81
Instructor used examples that helped understanding the material 0 0 0 3 18 4.86
Instructor noticed when students did not understand and adjusted 0 0 1 6 14 4.62
Rapport with students            
Instructor demonstrated sincere respect for students 0 0 0 1 20 4.95
Instructor was willing to listen to student questions and/or opinions 0 0 0 1 20 4.95
Instructor made himself/herself available for extra help 0 0 0 2 19 4.91
Quality of exams/assignments            
Exams/assignments covered important aspects of the course 0 0 1 4 16 4.71
Assignments were helpful in understanding the material 0 0 0 5 16 4.76
Exams/assignments were clearly worded 0 0 0 4 17 4.81
Organization            
Lectures/class discussions were well organized or well managed 0 0 0 3 18 4.86
Instructor tended to be well-prepared for class 0 0 0 2 19 4.91
Classes tended to stay appropriately on topic 0 0 1 3 17 4.76
Stronger interest            
I have a stronger interest in the subject because of the instructor 0 0 3 7 11 4.38
Overall instructor rating            
What overall rating would you give this instructor? 0 0 0 6 15 4.71
Value            
I feel the class was valuable 0 0 0 5 16 4.76
Overall course rating            
What overall rating would you give this course? 0 0 0 6 15 4.71

Fall'16

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Mean
Teaching skills            
Instructor explained and emphasized important points clearly 0 0 1 9 19 4.60
Instructor used examples that helped understanding the material 0 0 2 8 19 4.60
Instructor noticed when students did not understand and adjusted 0 1 3 8 17 4.40
Rapport with students            
Instructor demonstrated sincere respect for students 0 0 0 5 24 4.80
Instructor was willing to listen to student questions and/or opinions 0 0 1 6 22 4.70
Instructor made himself/herself available for extra help 0 1 1 5 22 4.70
Quality of exams/assignments            
Exams/assignments covered important aspects of the course 0 0 0 3 26 4.90
Assignments were helpful in understanding the material 0 0 2 2 25 4.80
Exams/assignments were clearly worded 0 1 0 6 21 4.70
Organization            
Lectures/class discussions were well organized or well managed 0 0 1 8 20 4.70
Instructor tended to be well-prepared for class 0 0 0 1 28 5.00
Classes tended to stay appropriately on topic 0 0 0 8 21 4.70
Stronger interest            
I have a stronger interest in the subject because of the instructor 1 0 1 14 13 4.30
Overall instructor rating            
What overall rating would you give this instructor? 0 0 0 9 20 4.70
Value            
I feel the class was valuable 0 1 1 11 16 4.40
Overall course rating            
What overall rating would you give this course? 0 0 1 12 16 4.50

Fall'17

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Mean
Teaching skills            
Instructor explained and emphasized important points clearly 0 0 0 5 24 4.83
Instructor used examples that helped understanding the material 0 0 0 3 26 4.90
Instructor noticed when students did not understand and adjusted 0 0 2 5 22 4.69
Rapport with students            
Instructor demonstrated sincere respect for students 0 0 0 2 27 4.93
Instructor was willing to listen to student questions and/or opinions 0 0 0 3 26 4.90
Instructor made himself/herself available for extra help 0 0 0 4 25 4.86
Quality of exams/assignments            
Exams/assignments covered important aspects of the course 0 0 1 3 25 4.83
Assignments were helpful in understanding the material 0 0 1 4 24 4.79
Exams/assignments were clearly worded 0 0 2 8 19 4.59
Organization            
Lectures/class discussions were well organized or well managed 0 0 1 4 24 4.79
Instructor tended to be well-prepared for class 0 0 0 2 27 4.93
Classes tended to stay appropriately on topic 0 0 0 3 26 4.90
Stronger interest            
I have a stronger interest in the subject because of the instructor 0 0 4 4 21 4.59
Overall instructor rating            
What overall rating would you give this instructor? 0 0 0 5 24 4.83
Value            
I feel the class was valuable 0 0 1 7 21 4.69
Overall course rating            
What overall rating would you give this course? 0 0 1 6 22 4.72

Student comments and feedback


Comments below are attached to the numeric evaluations received at the end of the semester, and categorized as in the evaluation questionnaire. These comments have not been edited, selected, or censored.

Teaching skills

  • This teacher is such an angel. There is a student who cannot adjust to grad student life, and poor Prof. Mateos patiently puts up with him. Seriously, I feel bad for him and the TA.
  • May be he didn't try to give much clarifications (unless asked) because he had to cover a lot of materials. So that was fine. However, he should practice to maintain eye contact with the students while delivering the lecture. Currently, he always talks while looking looking down towards the floor -- which is a bit irritating. Please look towards the students' eyes and distribute the eye-contact evenly over all the students.
  • More examples would have been helpful - the derivations were certainly important, but it was difficult to see applications.
  • very good.
  • Sometimes talk a little fast.
  • No comments, professor Mateos did so good!
  • Dr. Mateos Buckstein is perhaps one of the best lecturers I've ever had. He is very good at explaining difficult material and consistently checks to make sure the class is keeping up with him. TAs: The TA for this course was also excellent at explaining difficult concepts. Nahal was great in helping me to keep up with the material in the class.
  • Good!
  • Professor is very nice and explains everything in detail. It is very clear.
  • He is charismatic, passionate, hardworking and amazing!
  • nice
  • more practice questions without submitting after class
  • The professor is obviously extremely familiar with the material, teaching it clearly and with seemingly great ease.
  • It was apparent that he spent time time for this class.
  • Given the difficulty of this course, it was taught well. The powerpoint slides were very useful. I even printed them out in case I need to reference it at a future time.
  • The slides were helpful but very dense to sift through. The language in the slides were very clear, but I didn't understand the color coding...
  • Prof Gonzalo is quite adept at emphasizing important points and providing informative examples. I was able to learn the subject material based on lectures alone.

Rapport with students

  • very good.
  • Great office hours with detailed explanations on the questions from students.
  • Dr. Mateos Buckstein made himself available to students every week for office hours. Furthermore, he was very responsive to my emails.
  • professor is very nice! when you left behind others so much a lot, he will not blame you even though you ask yourself why i just cannot understand again and again, and think yourself too bad, he will encourage you not to treat you as a bad student. And that's the encouragement which told you that, you are not the one to blame, just do it!
  • He never got irritated at questions, and had the patience to explain the concepts over and over and over again.
  • nice
  • it is fine
  • He was available whenever I had questions or needed help.
  • Professor Gonzalo was a good lecturer. His slides could get lengthy and confusing at times, but they are great tools to reference later. They were very helpful for the homework problems.
  • Prof. Gonzalo always encouraged students to ask questions during class. He always answered the questions thoroughly.
  • Prof. Gonzalo constantly asked if students fully understood the lecture. He always re-explained any portion of the lecture respectfully.

Quality of exams/assignments

  • The assignments were very long, but I feel like I mastered the material after getting through them. Sometimes the wording of the problems was unclear, not because of an English issue but because of the nature of the course. Perhaps give hints sometimes. Also, sometimes you asked questions that you essentially answered. (Example: 2(a) of HW10 asks why we can do something but your answer key uses the same words as in the prompt... What was I supposed to say?!)
  • Assignments were awesome - hands down!! Although they consumed a lot of time (and sometimes a little stressful with other courses and research works), they really taught some fundamental concepts and clarified a lot of confusions. Thanks a lot for designing those assignments.
  • very good.
  • It is very helpful to post the detailed answer of each assignment online after due date so students can really learn something if they want to. And the small project in each assignment is also well designed.
  • The assignments and exams covered a lot of important material. The last problem of each homework was a miniature project, which was nice because I feel these were the most beneficial of the assignments. However, I would suggest trimming the questions that came before that by half allowing the students more time to focus on the projects.
  • Some of the HWs do have some difficulties, but if you really worked by yourself, tried your best to understand it, although it pains so much sometimes, and just want to cry when you were doing that cause you don't know how to do it, but never give up, you will find, you can did it!
  • I feel like the assignments should have had lesser of theory and more of MATLAB programming.
  • The assignments are the best ones I've ever had. They made us think, but were not beyond our abilities, and we learnt a LOT. The exams were fair. I totally loved the evaluation system!
  • nice
  • great
  • The assignments were designed to make student understand the material not for just giving some homework. This was a huge plus for the instructor.
  • The homework and exam questions are worded well, but take at least a half hour to understand. This can be very frustrating at times.
  • Assignments were very, very long and quite difficult. Sometimes I would have to spend around 15 to 20 hours of work for one single homework assignment.
  • Too many homeworks. The problem is not with the course itself, but the fact that Data Science students have to take 4 courses & then there's no time left for actually learning anything from the course. Also, only matlab submissions made the homework even more time consuming. Something that I could do in R/Python (Core for data science ) took me a lot more to learn in Matlab. Again, its not the course's problem but the fact that 4 courses makes it difficult to spend time on actually learning anything. You have to compromise at every step - and that's not ideal.
  • Sometimes the questions were hard to understand because of the complexity.
  • The assignments are very well written and useful but they are SO LONG! Would it be possible for the homeworks to be shorter? I think students would benefit more from shorter homeworks, since they would be less daunting and students wouldn't feel as overwhelmed going into them.
  • The homework was hard, but I learned so much from it. In comparison, the exams were very straightforward, which I think is the best way to handle assignments and tests in a class.
  • There seem to be a lot of assignments which are really lengthy. But you get to understand the concepts really well.
  • The exams and assignments not only drew on information from lecture, but pointed out important aspects of the subject. Because of this, the assignments always had purpose and were very rewarding to solve.

Organization

  • Content-wise this course was awesome. His slides were great. Homeworks are extremely good (and challenging) to understand the study materials.
  • The instructor was very thoroughly prepared for class.
  • The instructor was always prepared.
  • The material is well-organized as you will find some links among different chapters based on a simple model like random walk.
  • Everything was very organized, and the tremendous hard work behind the lectures was very obvious, and so was the passion.
  • nice
  • impressive
  • The course was extremely well organized.
  • I really liked the examples used in the homework and lectures. This is a very interesting course that trickles into all engineering fields.
  • Extremely well organized and well managed class. Awesome job :)
  • Prof. Gonzalo always had informative, well prepared power points.
  • The instructor was always well prepared for the class. However, he always spoke too fast which could stem from his passion for the course.
  • There is not much else to add here. Prof. Gonzalo was always well prepared for every lecture.

What are the major strengths of this instructor?

  • Sooooooooooo kind, thoughtful, organized. I really like the posted lectures. They are usually very clear.
  • Knowledge, Content design.
  • VERY willing to work with students, VERY prepared for every class
  • teaching.
  • The course is organized well and the instructor is very serious and responsible.
  • He really cares about student success. He is very organized. It is refreshing to see a tenure-track professor who is so dedicated to teaching.
  • Dr. Mateos Buckstein is a great lecturer and clearly knows his material well. He is very good at explaining difficult concepts and is able to adapt the pace of the class if need be. Also, he is very accepting if extra time is needed on the assignments.
  • Very clear when explain every knowledge point. Very nice and patient to students.
  • Nice personality and well-prepared for class.
  • Including many details while teaching.
  • He works hard, and expects students to work hard. The lectures were great, the homework problems were absolutely fantastic, and it was a pleasure taking his class.
  • very clear
  • he can clarify the problems
  • He is an expert, but he is also able to convey the concepts very clearly.
  • Always willing to provide help. Assignments are intended to make student learn the material with real life applications.
  • Professor Mateos is very easy to follow, but the material is very dense. I found myself getting lost at various points in the lecture, but this was not a cause of the professor.
  • The instructor is very knowledgeable in the material
  • He is very knowledgeable about the material. Puts a lot of effort into the class.
  • Explain things step by step in detail
  • He's always well-prepared.
  • Flexibility and he is always willing to help
  • Very organized, intelligent professor. Explains material very thoroughly.
  • Professor MB is very organized, kind, and willing to help students. It was a pleasure to be in his class.
  • The homework assignments are very comprehensive and well worded. Prof. Gonzalo clearly cares a lot about helping students learn the material.
  • Professor is really excited about the class, and we can easily feel his passion. He teaches concepts explicitly and comprehensively.
  • He was always punctual and eager to teach.
  • Nice patient.
  • Passionate. Explain everything in detail. Very clear power point. Helpful in every aspect.
  • Probably the most organized class and professor I've ever had. Every class is very well planned out and flows together pretty well, and information about all aspects about the course is very easy to get a hold of.
  • Very clear and precise notes.
  • Prof. Gonzalo's major strength was inspiring interest in the subject. He did this by openly answering any questions, using real world applications, and ensuring that most, if not all, assignments provided insight into the subject.
  • lots of practices.
  • He is really enthusiastic about teaching. And his materials helped me a lot to learn this course.
  • Communication.

Please share any suggestions for improvement

  • You tend to not make eye contact when you lecture. I'm not sure if you are scared of us or if that is a cultural thing or what. Not a big deal. We still love you (platonically).
  • More examples of applications of what is being learned.
  • If possible please include at least 1 example about every topic. But problems in homework helped.
  • There are no real suggestions for improvement, he is a great instructor.
  • maybe more about some basic knowledge review will helps someone who's background is not so good a lot!
  • Professor explained it very well, but at times the subject became too theoretical. Would be good to relate the subject matter in class to real world examples.
  • Sharing more examples in class about how to use the theories.
  • I can't think of any!
  • I hope we can talk more complex things in detail. Instead of go over all things. Professor can talke little about what is easy, and emphsis on difficult topics
  • more concrete examples
  • Even though the lecture slides were pretty explanatory, I would suggest a bit more visual material or animations in the slides. This way attract student's attention more.
  • I think it would be beneficial to allocate a larger portion of the lecture to examples similar to the homework. I had to look up 50% of the material outside of class.
  • I have never encountered a professor who speaks as fast as professor Mateos. Even when explaining very, very difficult topics (which is the entire class) he does not slow down.
  • It's nice to give a lot of A but it also make us less wiling to put a lot of efforts in this class.
  • Some lectures could be a little bit slower
  • Just hope Professor can speak a little bit slower.
  • I think that this class could really benefit from there being a series of video tutorials available online for students. These tutorials could be example problems or important concepts that the professor wants to highlight from class. There is a lot of material covered in this class in a very short amount of time, and I think videos could allow students to review the material again at their own pace (and they would have the option to replay parts!).
  • Trying to talk slowly in class might be better.
  • Please speak a little bit slower.
  • no.
  • Maybe speak a little bit fast in lecture.
  • Prof. Gonzalo often speaks quite rapidly. I would suggest strongly urging students to read the lecture slides before class at the beginning of the semester.
  • It would be better if this course focuses on random processes more than probability review.
  • None.

What are the major strengths of this course?

  • Some difficult concepts in the last chapter.
  • Contents, assignments.
  • This is a very valuable course that any student who is interested in signal processing or machine learning should take. The concepts presented in this course are applicable to many problems we will run into in our careers.
  • A lot of practice to help students understand the topics given in the class.
  • Practical and useful for most engineering students. The atmosphere is well-balanced.
  • The course focus on the random process in engineering area.
  • The base of the probability.
  • Leaves students with a good foundation for modeling systems with random processes.
  • The homework problems, surely.
  • nice assignment
  • important in signal processing
  • The professor made this course great. He has been a wonderful instructor.
  • It is applicable numerous of fields.
  • This course can be applied to anything! I really enjoyed Markov Chains.
  • If a student does very well in this course, he/she will have a solid understanding of random processes
  • Very comprehensive course and really enjoyable.
  • Very good lecture note, it makes us possible to review or preview offline clear and cover a lot of material
  • The homeworks which help to understand the material covered in class
  • This course has a great structure to it, and all of the materials are online if one needs to catch up. TAs are also frequently available.
  • I have enjoyed this course overall and I really learned a lot in this course.
  • The teaching materials are explicit and understandable, such as ppt and practice midterms.
  • The homework really helps you learn the material.
  • The major strength of the course is meaningful examples rather than "back of the book" problems.
  • homework is very helpful.
  • Tons of foundational topics.

Please share any suggestions for improvement

  • The major concern with this course is that the subject matter had changed significantly. According to other members of my research group, this course did not previously include a treatment of Markov chains. These are not as useful to members of my imaging research group and would have affected my decision to take the course. In the future it would be useful to know about such a large change in curriculum.
  • The only recommendation I have for this class would be to cut down on the homework a little. The mini projects are great and shouldn't be removed, but the problems ahead of time do take a lot of time to solve.
  • Tough it is our responsibility to review previous lectures before class, it may be helpful to add some warm-up to bridge the gap of memory.
  • I can't think of any!
  • Talk about difficult quesitons in detail
  • Keep the heavy emphasis on Markovian Mathematics!
  • The homework is very hard! Also, the professor talks very fast.
  • Maybe go harder?
  • Very good course!! Maybe can focus more on Matlab application. Homework is very difficult but helpful.
  • The only suggestion I have is to provide optional supplementary reading on the various topics covered.
  • None.