Koofers

Professor Ratings & Grade Distribution Data for Godmar Back

Godmar Back
Professor (2004 – 2015)
Virginia Tech (VT)
Computer Science
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4.2143****
Overall rating
Rated by 14 students
2.95
Avg GPA
across 7 classes
Fall 2015 Schedule
Add to schedule MW 4:00pm-5:15pm
All Classes
CS 1114
CS 3204
CS 3214
CS 4984
CS 5204
CS 5565
CS 6304
ECE 5565

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Most Helpful Favorable Professor Review
Most Helpful Critical Professor Review
5*****
CS 3214 - Computer Systems
Back has an amazing depth and breadth of knowledge of computer science topics. What a smart guy. MAN-CRUSH!
Pros: Back is really smart, a true god among nerds.
Cons: If you aren't prepared to work hard, GOOD LUCK.
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on 12/25/10
Helpful Rating?
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0 Helpful
3***
CS 1114 - Intro to Software Design
Professor Back certainly is an expert in the field and knows his stuff. Ironically in a way, being so knowledgeable was somewhat of an impediment for a lot of students in CS 1114 also called "Intro to Software Engineering. Apparently th...
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Pros: Very reachable and available.
Cons: Hard to understand, often presents simple topics at an advanced level, has a strong accent. Impossible exams. Expects too much out of students just starting to learn programming.
Professor rated by: University Course Series Student on 6/9/10
Helpful Rating?
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+3 Helpful

Student Ratings 1 - 14 of 14

 
CS 1114
Intro to Software Design
3***
Pros: Very reachable and available.
Cons: Hard to understand, often presents simple topics at an advanced level, has a strong accent. Impossible exams. Expects too much out of students just starting to learn programming.
Professor Back certainly is an expert in the field and knows his stuff. Ironically in a way, being so knowledgeable was somewhat of an impediment for a lot of students in CS 1114 also called "Intro to Software Engineering. Apparently this was his first time teaching CS 1114 and boy what an experience. I came in this course expecting it to be a "refresher" since I had over a year of C++ experience but little java experience and could have substituted credit but decided to take it anyway. This course is no where near the "intro" it says, I'd say intermediate or Java II is more accurate at least in Back's class. The best thing about professor Back is that he is very reachable. If you send him an e-mail, it's not uncommon you'll get a response less than 30 minutes later. This was very helpful when troubleshooting programming projects. He has a strong accent and is often hard to understand. Since he is so knowledgeable, he often talks about course topics at a much higher level than most students can understand unless you have several years of programming experience. If you are a beginner at programming, you will find it very difficult in this course and it's not uncommon for students to repeat it. Often he will ask if you have any questions which is a good thing. However our class rarely did or just didn't have any at the time and he'd get very perturbed every time. One time he even went off on a tangent about asking questions and us wasting our time and his time ect. I think he felt the class wasn't that devoted or something because the course got significantly harder very soon. The course started out very interesting and promising but quickly declined after the first test (which was the easiest). About 11 students out of 40 or 50 dropped and the class average was in the 50's for all the tests and the final. Luckily tests are only worth 12% each except the final. This past semester we did a facebook project which was very interesting but unfortunately little of it involved xhtml or CSS but instead it was in a language called ZK or zhtml which is unheard of for many and not widely used. Why we used it was because it allowed pure Java code to be used as a back end on the server. It had many bugs and was hard to troubleshoot. Perhaps it will get better in the future or cease to exist. The TA's were generally very helpful and they helped me learn java a lot in the class. Without them I probably would not have passed. The tests would have an average of 10 questions asking higher level, confusing and abstract concepts based on course topics. At least 2 of the questions were over material barely mentioned at all and were known to only students with prior programming knowledge. If you have prior programming experience from High School or are very "knowledgeable", professor Back can be your best friend, however if you are a beginner, then you'll find it is difficult to learn from professor Back and a lot of it is trial and error. I ended up with a C in the course even though it was suppose to be a "refresher" About 5% of the class had an A, about 20% a B, about 40% were C's and the rest were D's and F's which is fairly balanced. But a lot of the students having difficulty were freshman with no prior background. So if you end up with professor Back, be prepared to work hard and be glad to get a C on his exams. He even said he doesn't believe in "koofers" and believes in challenging his students on exams, more like over challenging. Perhaps that's just his style, either way good luck.
Professor rated by: University Course Series Student on June 9, 2010
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 2974
Independent Study
5*****
If you can take programming team for 2104 credit, then do it. I can guarantee 100% that you will thank yourself later.
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on December 19, 2016
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 3214
Computer Systems
5*****
Pros: He's ridiculously smart

He knows exactly what he's talking about and more
Cons: He expects a lot out of students

The course is really challenging - not so much him
You will learn a lot. Everything he talks about might not be interesting/important to you but he has a lot to say
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on March 22, 2011
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 3204
Operating Systems
4****
Professor Back knows his stuff. He sometimes has trouble communicating it to us mere computer science mortals, but he is always available to help you in his office.
Professor rated by: Electrical & Computer Engineer Student on October 23, 2008
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 3214
Computer Systems
4****
Pros: Very Knowledgeable,

Understands the subject matter in great depth, Has a great plan for the class and sticks to it.
Cons: Very Hard Exams
Prof. Back is one of the most knowledgeable CS professors Virginia Tech has. He is very passionate about the Systems coursework and practically designed the course by himself. The key to this class is to do the projects and start early. They are not easy, but doable. Also if the TAs are too busy at office hours go see Dr. Back in his hours he is a great help. All that being said nothing will adequately prepare you for the difficulty of his exams, they are ridiculously hard.
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on April 18, 2018
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 3214
Computer Systems
5*****
Pros: Back is really smart, a true god among nerds.
Cons: If you aren't prepared to work hard, GOOD LUCK.
Back has an amazing depth and breadth of knowledge of computer science topics. What a smart guy. MAN-CRUSH!
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on December 25, 2010
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 5204
Operating Systems
5*****
Pros: Makes sure you learn the material, no BS, spends a lot of his time to help students. Extremely high learning curve
Cons: Slight accent, but easy to get used to

I looked at past course offerings for this class and dreaded it, but Dr. Back made this class not only enjoyable, but one of the best classes I ever took at this university. The projects used in this class were the PintOS projects (used in past offerings of CS3204, also widely used by CS courses throughout the country). Doing these projects taught me a lot more about OS than reading papers and watching presentations. If you have difficulties he will actually take time to look at your code and help you. He is also very active on the forum boards and through email, and he will always answer satisfactorily. If you enjoy OS, definitely take this class! This class will soak up a lot of your time, but is worth every second.
Professor rated by: Engineering Student on December 20, 2015
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 5565
Network Arch and Protocols
4****
Pros: Relates material to real-world applications, very knowledgeable.
Cons: A bit on the "unfriendly" side--no abundance of respect for his students.
My experience taking a class from Dr. Back had its ups and downs. The coursework was stimulating and not too easy. He covered a massive amount of material, and the exams contained some relatively obscure stuff. Most (well over half) of the class got A's and A-'s.
Professor rated by: Electrical & Computer Engineer Student on May 17, 2012
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 3204
Operating Systems
5*****
Difficult class, but he's a very knowledgeable professor.
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on January 21, 2009
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 1114
Intro to Software Design
4****
Professor rated by: Mechanical Engineering Student on March 26, 2010
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 1114
Intro to Software Design
1*
Cons: He doesn't care about his students and has trouble communicating concepts
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on April 30, 2010
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 3204
Operating Systems
5*****
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on October 21, 2009
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 3204
Operating Systems
4****
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on February 8, 2009
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
CS 3204
Operating Systems
5*****
Professor rated by: Computer Science Student on January 23, 2009
Helpful Rating?
YES
NO
 
 
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