eCAFE - Course and Faculty Evaluation, University of Hawaii

eCAFE: Course and Faculty Evaluations


Instructor: Sven Vahsen

Available Survey Results

PHYS480, Fall 2013
PHYS274, Spring 2013
PHYS274, Fall 2012
PHYS274, Spring 2012
PHYS274, Fall 2011
PHYS170, Spring 2011

Sven Vahsen: PHYS480, Fall 2013

Campus: University of Hawaii at Manoa Department: Physics & Astronomy
Course: PHYS 480 - Quantum Mechanics Crn (Section): 72571 (001)    
1. Class Level (pick one) - please note that by answering this question you could potentially jeopardize your anonymity
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Freshman   Sophomore   Junior   Senior   Grad   Other  
4.4 6 0.89 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (67%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%)
2. Course - please note that by answering this question you could potentially jeopardize your anonymity
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Elective   Required  
2.0 6 0.0 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 5 (83%)
3. The instructor demonstrated knowledge of course content.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.83 6 0.41 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%) 5 (83%)
4. The instructor fulfilled the goals of the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.83 6 0.41 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%) 5 (83%)
5. The instructor communicated effectively.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.83 6 0.41 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%) 5 (83%)
6. I gained a good understanding of concepts/principles in this field.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.17 6 0.75 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%) 3 (50%) 2 (33%)
7. This course was helpful in developing new skills.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.5 6 0.55 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 3 (50%) 3 (50%)
8. I felt that this course challenged me intellectually.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.67 6 0.82 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%) 0 (0%) 5 (83%)
9. I have become more competent in this subject area during this course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.33 6 0.52 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (67%) 2 (33%)
10. The instructor stresses important points in lectures/discussions.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.83 6 0.41 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%) 5 (83%)
11. The course materials (texts, handouts) make a valuable contribution to the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.33 6 0.82 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%) 2 (33%) 3 (50%)
12. The course was a valuable contribution to my education.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.83 6 0.41 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (17%) 5 (83%)
13. Other comments:
Way way too much homework. Usually ~8 problems were assigned and each had 4 parts and each part asked for computation of 2 different quantities. Just too much! too little time on all exams. In my opinion, each exam must be long enough such that students finish 10 minutes before the end to review the problems. This would also give the students the chance to make one or two stupid mistakes and still have time to correct them. On our exams we did not have time to make mistakes. I hardly think that a bad grade in this class represent lack of of understanding of the subject.
Dr. Vahsen is a great teacher. Hands down. He is patient and goes through the course at a reasonable pace such that I do not feel overwhelmed. Quantum mechanics is a difficult subject to comprehend, but through Dr. Vahsen's lectures and the weekly assigned homework, I feel I've developed a better understanding in the subject. I look forward to learning from Dr. Vahsen in PHYS 481.
Current text examples are easy to follow and pose no problem when I try to study and understand it. However more examples for each type of problem would be helpful.
Sven is one of the better professors that I've had at this institution. He deserves a raise!
The amount of effort and enthusiasm that you put in the course really shows. I really enjoy professors that put an effort into teaching.

Sven Vahsen: PHYS274, Spring 2013     Back to top

Campus: University of Hawaii at Manoa Department: Physics & Astronomy
Course: PHYS 274 - General Physics III Crn (Section): 82210 (001)    
1. Class Level (pick one) - please note that by answering this question you could potentially jeopardize your anonymity
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Freshman   Sophomore   Junior   Senior   Grad   Other  
2.63 16 0.96 Freq(%) 1 (6%) 8 (50%) 3 (19%) 4 (25%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
2. Course - please note that by answering this question you could potentially jeopardize your anonymity
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Elective   Required  
1.75 16 0.45 Freq(%) 4 (25%) 12 (75%)
3. The instructor demonstrated knowledge of course content.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.88 16 0.34 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (13%) 14 (88%)
4. The instructor fulfilled the goals of the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.75 16 0.45 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (25%) 12 (75%)
5. The instructor communicated effectively.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.73 16 0.46 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (25%) 11 (69%)
6. I gained a good understanding of concepts/principles in this field.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.31 16 0.7 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (13%) 7 (44%) 7 (44%)
7. This course was helpful in developing new skills.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.19 16 0.83 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (25%) 5 (31%) 7 (44%)
8. I felt that this course challenged me intellectually.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.25 16 0.86 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (25%) 4 (25%) 8 (50%)
9. I have become more competent in this subject area during this course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.38 16 0.62 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (6%) 8 (50%) 7 (44%)
10. The instructor stresses important points in lectures/discussions.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.63 16 0.72 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (13%) 2 (13%) 12 (75%)
11. The course materials (texts, handouts) make a valuable contribution to the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.44 16 0.63 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (6%) 7 (44%) 8 (50%)
12. The course was a valuable contribution to my education.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.31 16 0.87 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (6%) 1 (6%) 6 (38%) 8 (50%)
13. Other comments:
Great professor. Explains everything in detail and made sure material were understood. Homework was on par with the lectures and material in class. Was open for office hours at students request.
none
My favorite Physics course. Would highly recommend to other students.
Sven showed very admirable teaching qualities and was very helpful and available outside of class. He was very accommodating to me when I asked to see him outside of his office hours. I definitely feel like I learned quite a bit, but I felt the exams were far too easy to really gauge my true level of understanding. Also, with the exception of a few problems and assignments, homework problems were mostly just plugging numbers into equations. This did not require a deep or thorough understanding of the material. In that regard, I think the standards of this class should be significantly raised. Overall though, I enjoyed this class very much and would certainly take another class with Prof. Vahsen. Thanks!
Outstanding course with a wonderful, intelligent, and articulate teacher!
Professor Vahsen is funny. Just needs to write clearer.
great professor

Sven Vahsen: PHYS274, Fall 2012     Back to top

Campus: University of Hawaii at Manoa Department: Physics & Astronomy
Course: PHYS 274 - General Physics III Crn (Section): 72701 (001)    
1. Class Level (pick one) - please note that by answering this question you could potentially jeopardize your anonymity
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Freshman   Sophomore   Junior   Senior   Grad   Other  
3.11 19 0.32 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 17 (89%) 2 (11%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
2. Course - please note that by answering this question you could potentially jeopardize your anonymity
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Elective   Required  
1.89 19 0.32 Freq(%) 2 (11%) 17 (89%)
3. The instructor demonstrated knowledge of course content.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.89 19 0.32 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (11%) 17 (89%)
4. The instructor fulfilled the goals of the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.74 19 0.45 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 5 (26%) 14 (74%)
5. The instructor communicated effectively.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.58 19 0.61 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (5%) 6 (32%) 12 (63%)
6. I gained a good understanding of concepts/principles in this field.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.26 19 0.73 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 3 (16%) 8 (42%) 8 (42%)
7. This course was helpful in developing new skills.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.32 19 0.75 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 3 (16%) 7 (37%) 9 (47%)
8. I felt that this course challenged me intellectually.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.68 19 0.67 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (11%) 2 (11%) 15 (79%)
9. I have become more competent in this subject area during this course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.42 19 0.77 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 3 (16%) 5 (26%) 11 (58%)
10. The instructor stresses important points in lectures/discussions.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.68 19 0.48 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 6 (32%) 13 (68%)
11. The course materials (texts, handouts) make a valuable contribution to the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.33 19 0.59 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (5%) 10 (53%) 7 (37%)
12. The course was a valuable contribution to my education.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.32 19 0.75 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 3 (16%) 7 (37%) 9 (47%)
13. Other comments:
He definitely cares that we all try to understand the concepts. He is also very welcoming and explains concepts really well.
Really tough course and concepts but Professor Vahsen finds ways to make it as easy as possible. Always willing to and encourages questions to be asked during lectures. Does his best to help everyone pass the class
Professor Vahsen is an excellent teacher. He's very passionate about physics and taught the course material very well. I enjoyed being in this class the most this semester, despite the high difficulty. He's definitely the best instructor I've had at UHM thusfar.
Professor Vahsen had a very enjoyable class. I initially intended to major in physics a couple years back, but lost focus in the first couple courses and will be graduating as an ME next semester. Professor Vahsen's course reminded me why I enjoyed Physics and what fascinated me about it in the first place. As the semester has progressed, I have been excitedly relaying all the concepts and ideas I've learned to my friends and family who, though they do not have the rigorous "STEM" background as I would call it, are none the less interested in the subject matter. It has been fun to find ways of conceptually explaining the principles in ordinary terms and showing them the many fascinating details of relativity, quantum mechanics, particle physics, and mysteries of the universe:) It is easy to see that Professor Vahsen enjoys his field and can relay that passion to his students.
I want the professor to maybe consider docking a percentage of a grade if students miss a lot of class.
I enjoyed the course
awesome course. would take it again just to learn more from vahsen.
Vahsen is an excellent professor who is very enthusiastic about Physics. The course was quite challenging as with all physics courses, but Vahsen made the material very interesting to learn.
Great knowledge of what he teaches Could write more clearly on the board Very enthusiastic about what he teaches Second half of class was harder, second midterm was much harder but this was addressed appropriately in class It was somewhat hard to remember all the equations and their variations. Equations sheet for exams would have been helpful to me.

Sven Vahsen: PHYS274, Spring 2012     Back to top

Campus: University of Hawaii at Manoa Department: Physics & Astronomy
Course: PHYS 274 - General Physics III Crn (Section): 82406 (001)    
1. The instructor demonstrated knowledge of course content.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.5 34 0.56 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (3%) 15 (44%) 18 (53%)
2. The instructor fulfilled the goals of the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.41 34 0.66 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 3 (9%) 14 (41%) 17 (50%)
3. The instructor communicated effectively.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.44 34 0.82 Freq(%) 1 (3%) 0 (0%) 1 (3%) 13 (38%) 19 (56%)
4. I gained a good understanding of concepts/principles in this field.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.15 34 0.86 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 2 (6%) 4 (12%) 15 (44%) 13 (38%)
5. This course was helpful in developing new skills.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
3.94 34 0.92 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 2 (6%) 9 (26%) 12 (35%) 11 (32%)
6. I felt that this course challenged me intellectually.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.35 34 0.65 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 3 (9%) 16 (47%) 15 (44%)
7. I have become more competent in this subject area during this course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.12 33 0.82 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (3%) 6 (18%) 14 (42%) 12 (36%)
8. The instructor stresses important points in lectures/discussions.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.27 33 0.63 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 3 (9%) 18 (55%) 12 (36%)
9. The course materials (texts, handouts) make a valuable contribution to the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.06 32 0.88 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 2 (6%) 5 (16%) 14 (44%) 11 (34%)
10. The course was a valuable contribution to my education.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.0 33 0.87 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (3%) 9 (27%) 12 (36%) 11 (33%)
11. Other comments:
This class was awesome. It was challenging, rewarding, and more interesting than the previous physics courses I've taken so far.
Answers questions and is honest when given a question he can't answer in a couple sentences. Would recommend people to take his class.
Way too long to return test.
Great class. There were many interesting topics in this course, from special relativity to the origins of the universe.
In Vahsen's previous section he allowed notes, but this semester he did not allow notes for exams. He made up some reason saying that it is hard to grade a student's performance against another when each prepare personal notes. This made this class ultimately harder when not every person is taking it for a Physics major.
The mastering physics software is ridiculously expensive for the amount it is used and the limited amount of resources it provides. I don't know why there is so little support available in the software. I know the chemistry dept requires purchase of mastering chem UH version which is much less robust than the regular version, and I think it's outrageous. If software is required it should be utilized and it should provide good value, ie lots of resources, activities, explanations, demonstrations and enrichment materials. Sven Vahsen is a fantastic instructor, I hope to have the opportunity to study with him again.
I am really enjoy the class.
Dr. Vahsen clearly cares about teaching this course well. He spoke clearly and at a reasonable volume. However, I believe that he is too easliy influenced by what others say. For example, he changed the course based on one review on ratemyprofessors.com which said the course was too easy. Because of this, I suspect, he got rid of the crib sheet for exams. Although he has an understandable reason for doing so, I witnessed academic dishonestly becoming more prominent. All the feedback wasn't bad, though. Because of last semester's feedback, I was able to easliy read his handwriting (which I hear was a problem last semester). I would recommend this course to another student. I would not say this course is easy. I would also tell them to guard their exams.
I felt that the idea of no crib sheets while taking exams was not a good idea. I found out after the first midterm that I had a lot of trouble solving the questions simply because I forgot certain equations. It was frustrating because I felt that I understood the material, but I became flustered when I forgot the equations. There was no way for me to understand all the proofs needed, so I ended up just memorizing the equations for the second midterm. I spent most of my time just memorizing without actually understanding and truly learning the material and I did almost just as well as the first midterm. It just goes to show that the exams do not test the students on the material of the concepts, but tests who is better at remembering the equations.
There seems to be a dissonance between lecture material and homework exercises and tests. A lot of time is spent during lecture explaining theory but hardly any time going over example problems or exercises, or homeworks. This makes it very difficult to properly gauge our proficiency in the material. Students may understand the principles and concepts in the lectures, but fail to properly apply them in solving problems due to lack of guided practice.
Professor Vahsen clearly understands, and truly loves, the subject matter covered during this class. He made modern physics very interesting, and gave us plenty of real-life applications to show us that there is use for what we are learning. I do however believe that students should be allowed a "cheat sheet" because otherwise it's testing our ability to memorize equations and not necessarily learning concepts. Perhaps next semester, instead of 1 sheet front and back, students could use a 3x5 notecard front and back? It's a much smaller area and allows students to learn concepts and tests their ability to do physics, rather than an ability to memorize equations. The textbook, I found to be very useful and informative. Although it does not go into as much depth as I would have preferred, it's very convenient that the text book is the same as for phys. 170 and phys. 272. This way I only had to buy 1 textbook for three classes. Mastering physics is also not extraordinarily useful, sometimes you do the problem right and input it correctly, but because you didn't use the correct notation or the computer mis-read your answer you will get points deducted.d
The textbook was generally ok but I found that some problems were difficult to do because there wasn't examples of it in the book. I found the tests were pretty difficult due to the many formulas we had to memorize with some being very similar to another.
Did not like the fact that equations were not allowed during midterms- to me, the point of having the equations is to use them effectively and not actually to memorize them. Memorizing the procedure and the function of the equation is important, but not memorizing the equations. In reality, a person would use these equations after trying to find them.
...ever since chapter 40 i think is when i started having trouble...i feel like after we had that sub for a week i kinda got lost and a little bit of a snow ball effect on not understanding has taken place for the last 3 chapters
Tests were very fair, accurately reflected how much time I devoted to the class. But don't take what people say on "rate my professor" So seriously.

Sven Vahsen: PHYS274, Fall 2011     Back to top

Campus: University of Hawaii at Manoa Department: Physics & Astronomy
Course: PHYS 274 - General Physics III Crn (Section): 72983 (001)    
1. The instructor demonstrated knowledge of course content.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.7 20 0.57 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (5%) 4 (20%) 15 (75%)
2. The instructor fulfilled the goals of the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.7 20 0.47 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
3. The instructor communicated effectively.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.4 20 0.75 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (5%) 0 (0%) 9 (45%) 10 (50%)
4. I gained a good understanding of concepts/principles in this field.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.25 20 0.91 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (5%) 3 (15%) 6 (30%) 10 (50%)
5. This course was helpful in developing new skills.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.15 20 0.93 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 7 (35%) 3 (15%) 10 (50%)
6. I felt that this course challenged me intellectually.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.15 20 0.88 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (5%) 3 (15%) 8 (40%) 8 (40%)
7. I have become more competent in this subject area during this course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.3 20 0.86 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (5%) 2 (10%) 7 (35%) 10 (50%)
8. The instructor stresses important points in lectures/discussions.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.65 20 0.59 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (5%) 5 (25%) 14 (70%)
9. The course materials (texts, handouts) make a valuable contribution to the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.35 20 0.99 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 2 (10%) 1 (5%) 5 (25%) 12 (60%)
10. The course was a valuable contribution to my education.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.3 20 0.86 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 5 (25%) 4 (20%) 11 (55%)
11. Other comments:
Interesting course, more interesting professor. His spelling is weird which makes it kind of hard to understand what he is writing on the board (Suggeshons, LOL). He really needs to be careful though, diffraction and interference are different and he got the two mixed up in one of his lectures, causing me to get incredibly confused on the homework! It was after this blunder I stopped going to class except to turn in homework and for the exams, I didn't want to get confused again, fortunately you can teach yourself completely off the book without much trouble since physics 274 is that easy, it's nothing compared to physics 170 and 272.
Good Professor who was always tried to make the material understandable for everyone :)
Prof Vahsen is a fantastic instructor! He has the rare combination of expert understanding with an awareness of what it is like to not (yet) have that understanding. His explanations are thorough, lucid and honest and he makes a very challenging class interesting and fun. Vahsen is kind and pleasant to be around. He is rigorous, but also fair. He is generous with his time and very accessible. This course was always as advertised and described. While heavy, the workload was assigned at a regular, predictable, and therefore manageable pace. Sven Vahsen is one of the best instructors I have ever had. Thank you Prof. Vahsen, I hope I have a chance to take other classes with you in the future.
Great golf accent too.
Dr. Vahsen is a great prof, i would recommend him to on coming student and i would take another course from him if he taught it. His teaching style is very organized, answers questions of student even if the questions were ridiculous. I like how he gives a complete analysis of the class cores, e.g., plotted scatter chart and bar graph and with mean/median scores and diviation.
Writing is difficult to read on the board
Sven is an IDEAL teacher, a professor who actually teaches!! Could work on clarity of writing on chalk board, otherwise PERFECT!
Great teacher! His tests are pretty good assessments and are reasonable for the duration of class time given (50 minutes). The homework assignments were relevant, and Professor Vahsen did a great job explaining new concepts. S'all good.

Sven Vahsen: PHYS170, Spring 2011     Back to top

Campus: University of Hawaii at Manoa Department: Physics & Astronomy
Course: PHYS 170 - General Physics I Crn (Section): 82580 (001)    
1. The instructor demonstrated knowledge of course content.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.63 46 0.57 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (4%) 13 (28%) 31 (67%)
2. The instructor fulfilled the goals of the course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.48 46 0.59 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (4%) 20 (43%) 24 (52%)
3. The instructor communicated effectively.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.07 46 1.0 Freq(%) 1 (2%) 2 (4%) 9 (20%) 15 (33%) 19 (41%)
4. I gained a good understanding of concepts/principles in this field.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
3.98 46 0.95 Freq(%) 1 (2%) 1 (2%) 12 (26%) 16 (35%) 16 (35%)
5. I try to relate what I learn in this course to my own experience.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.07 46 0.74 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (2%) 8 (17%) 24 (52%) 13 (28%)
6. This course was helpful in developing new skills.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.02 46 0.68 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 1 (2%) 7 (15%) 28 (61%) 10 (22%)
7. I performed up to my potential in this course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
3.59 46 1.24 Freq(%) 2 (4%) 10 (22%) 6 (13%) 15 (33%) 13 (28%)
8. I felt that this course challenged me intellectually.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.54 46 0.66 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (9%) 13 (28%) 29 (63%)
9. I have become more competent in this subject area during this course.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
3.98 46 0.98 Freq(%) 2 (4%) 1 (2%) 7 (15%) 22 (48%) 14 (30%)
10. The course made me think hard and carefully.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.46 46 0.59 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (4%) 21 (46%) 23 (50%)
11. The instructor stresses important points in lectures/discussions.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.28 46 0.83 Freq(%) 1 (2%) 1 (2%) 2 (4%) 22 (48%) 20 (43%)
12. The instructor defined new terms, concepts, and principles.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.53 45 0.55 Freq(%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (2%) 19 (42%) 25 (56%)
13. The instructor stimulated me to think about the subject matter.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.24 46 0.77 Freq(%) 1 (2%) 0 (0%) 3 (7%) 25 (54%) 17 (37%)
14. The instructor presented the origins of ideas and concepts.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.22 46 0.79 Freq(%) 1 (2%) 0 (0%) 4 (9%) 24 (52%) 17 (37%)
15. The course was a valuable contribution to my education.
Mean N-Size Std Dev   Strongly Disagree   Disagree   Neutral   Agree   Strongly Agree  
4.35 46 0.79 Freq(%) 1 (2%) 0 (0%) 3 (7%) 20 (43%) 22 (48%)
16. Other comments:
Not applicable
This class was pretty tough. Vahsen was a really good teacher. He knew what he was doing! May I suggest, though, that he should do alot more examples. Examples in class really helped. He likes to get to know the students, which is great because we feel as though we are talking to a friend and not just some stranger. He gives great reviews for the finals. Although they are pretty tricky sometimes, I beleive they are just about the right difficulty for students. Vahsen is a great teacher!
I had a difficult time in this class. I am usually a great student and do very well in most of my classes but I had a hard time learning the subject matter. I attended every class but had a hard time learning how to apply equations and concepts to different situations. It almost seemed like you needed to know the concepts of physics previously to do well in the course. Overall, the professor tried hard and was thoughtful when helping students. He has a lot of potential to be a great teacher down the road after he tweaks his approach. In the future he should include more examples and go over very difficult concepts more slowly.
The only problem is that i felt like the midterm problems were different and difficult. They were hardly similar to the familiar HW problems or mastering physics or even the examples done in class. The midterm problems are like challenge problems and they are difficult for me in comparison to the HW.
None
really great guy, and always available for help.
Pretty good prof, I thought. Especially for being new. The beginning was a little rough, and you could tell he was still getting used to it but it got better eventually. Really nice guy, helpful if you go to office hours. Lectures were really useful, could do most of the homework using just my notes and without having to refer to the book. However, lectures did get boring at times. Comes with the course material. Would strongly recommend finding ways to make it more interesting or interactive with the students. Makes jokes, tell stories, keep the students from falling asleep. Highly, highly recommend doing demonstrations to show concepts. The toy he brought it to talk about center of mass and rolling without slipping really helps with the concept as well as makes it much more interesting. Should do demos all the time. Doesn't take a whole lot of class time, but really helps with the concepts. Just a thought, it might be cool to have extra credit projects that rely on what we're learning to do. Like designing a rocket and calculating it's trajectory when shot. Or something like that. Would add a bit of spice to the class, and help those that might not be doing so good on the tests and homework. Overall, pretty good prof but with a few changes could be a great prof.
Good lecturer, always checked to make sure class understood before moving on, found written lectures (rather than powerpoints) to be more engaging, coursework was somewhat difficult because focus was on concepts rather than calculations, but overall a good class to take
Although the information presented in the class was very informative, it could get overly complicated at times. I'm not sure how the other students learn, but I LOVE overly simple explanations of complicated concepts.
If there are any way you can reduce the lesson plan then that's would be great. I mean, 20 chapter, 5 per Exam is too much.
Overall he course was very good, but there is just too much information to pack into one semester. Definitely needs to be a two semester course. A 20 chapter book in 16 weeks, too much.
A lot of the professors in this field stress the "conceptual aspect" of the material. Although, while that is true, the way the material is presented in class doesn't help with achieving that goal. Instead of just teaching definitions and equations, I think the course would really benefit more with examples and problems actually being done and shown during class.
Professor Vahsen made physics interesting
Fun class :)
I don't think I've had a teacher that has shown so much care for the students' grades and success in the class.
The midterms were pretty brutal I will admit. His lectures were good, dry at times, but I do feel that I learned a lot. Thank you.
The professor was understanding of his students and gave opportunities for them to succeed.The iclicker was rarely used and should not be a factor in grades. I attended about 80% of the classes but was only present for 1 of the iclicker days and fear that this may cause my grade to be affected.
No other comments.
Vahsen is a good professor who focused on the important concepts and equations in each chapter. He's likeable and approachable. I don't think using powerpoint is a good idea for Physics, even though he only rarely did this, when he did I found it hard to focus and like I didn't get much out of attending lecture. The amount of homework each week was appropriate and helped me learn. The tests were doable and I feel like fairly tested my knowledge. I would recommend him to my friends.
Overall a pretty good professor. Here are some of my suggestions: 1. Try to be more engaging. This will allow the class to be more fun 2. Examples and Explain. More examples that are like the homework that will be assigned and explain the example/content more clearly 3. Don't stray. You have a tendency to talk about things that do not pertain to the subject (you got better at this around the end of the semester) Great Job, and thank you!!
Overall he was a good professer. During his lectures he did a lot of work on the board while facing the board. He needs to improve on his lecturing skill but i think it is something that will come with time. He did good for his first time teaching a course.
I will say that some of the homework assignment were rather.... extensive? I did not like the fact that he would randomly assign a home work assignment and a due date one day and then do the same thing another day before the first homework assignment was even due. I understand however that this is proffesor Vahsens first semester ever teaching PHYS 170 so I understand that this is a first for him too (looking at which problems to do for homework and assigning them) I feel now that professor Vahsen has all of his homework assignment in order it will definitely be easier and more organized for his next PHYS 170 class. Other than the homework inorganization I feel that he is a very good teacher as well as a very nice guy.
Very nice and patient teacher. I know the class is only 50 minutes but I wish he would do more problems. Professors want students to understand the concepts rather than just memorizing the probelms, but the truth is that that's the best way that students learn.
I learned quite a lot.
The textbook that I am currently using is an excellent source. I don't think there should be any further changes or switching this book with a newer, shorter physics textbook. Although, this book is wordy, it gives useful information of how to attack challenging problems.
Professor Vahsen was a very nice and approachable guy. He's always willing to help a student out during his office hours when needed. He really does want you to succeed in his class. He tries to not go fast and actually spend more time on the material if the class doesn't understand it. I really enjoyed having him as my professor. However, the two things I didn't like about his class was the fact that he had very long exams (7-8 problems). I'm not able to complete that much problems in 50 minutes. He also had times where he assigned homework 4 days before it was due and it's 10-11 problems a homework. It would've been nice if he would let us know the next set of problems the day we turned in our previous homework. Other then that, he's a great guy and even though I may not pass this class this semester, I recommend him to other students.