He is hands down the best math teacher I have ever had. I took his Calculus II class. He explained everything very clearly and was very happy to take questions or explain further. He even would take time to go over and review stuff that we should know from previous classes. He is crazy smart, but acknowledges that this is hard stuff. He fully understands and is able to explain all of the concepts. He doesn't assume that people know things. TAKE HIS CLASS. The exams are fairly difficult. The homework is longish, but reasonable. He gives both WebAssign and book problems and you get to pick and choose which is very nice.
Professor Altug is one of the BEST professors I've had at Columbia. Do not take any other Calculus II class over his. Honestly. I sat in on many other Calculus classes which my friends thought were good, but his is by far the best. I took him for Calculus I and II and he was great. He gives amazing notes in class and explains everything very slowly and extremely well. His homework is very relevant, with a few somewhat tough questions at the end, but he gives you a lot of questions to choose from, and you have to submit approx. 15 each week. The homework takes around 2 hours maximum each week. His exams are extremely fair! He gives hints in some questions and some bonus questions too for extra points. He really really cares whether his students are learning and is extremely accommodating. He wasn't planning on using Webassign but some students wanted it so he gave them a choice to do some questions on Webassign and handwrite some, or handwrite all. (His class does not have Webassign compulsory, which is great!) You need to study about 8 hours for the midterms if you attend the classes and do all the homework. He always posts sample midterms that are very very similar to his midterm.
People are extremely biased on CULPA and you should not take everything these people say as granted. Altug is a great teacher and as long as you do most of the homeworks and try to understand them, as well as practice some questions from the textbook before tests you'll do great. He is very concerned about his students and his explanations are very clear. This class was great. As long as you aren't some slacker you'll think the same.
Just to let you guys know these culpa reviews are very Biased and should not be the main basis which you use to select your classes. Altug is a great teacher and makes it clear that you can let him know whether to slow down or speed up his teaching. He asks questions that help to make sure you are paying attention. As long as you practice some questions and attempt the homework making sure you understand it then you will do well. He is very lenient. He even gave a makeup for the midterm for those who wanted a better grade. His pace is perfect and explanations clear.
I took this class with him last Fall. I was a freshman and did not take calc in high school. This class is ridicouslously hard for somebody who has never taken calc before (there were a good amount of people in the class who had already taken calc in HS). He is not very great at explaining things in class (he's a lot better at explaining things in office hours). Every lecture would go from extremely easy examples and then all of a sudden extremely hard examples. The homework problems were significantly harder than the material that was actually covered in class. The curve was very generous but I really did not learn anything in the class. I believe he curved in my class so that the average was a C+ (55). I should have dropped it...but I stayed and ended up with a P.
He's a nice guy, and means well, but is not a particularly good math teacher. He teaches out of the textbook and does not clarify questions particularly well, as he will simply restate the definition or do more practice problems. That being said, my class was also incredibly shy and wouldn't ask questions, so though he didn't explain questions well, many people simply didn't ask questions and blamed him for not initially explaining topics well. Anyhow, he's a nice guy and if you take your time on the web assign and take practice midterms, an A is not that hard to get.
I don't know where to start... And neither does he. He goes through material like the morbidly obese goes through slices of cake (read: fast), and if you don't understand something and ask him to explain, he gives you this look like he's so surprised that you don't get it and then basically repeats what he said before verbatim. I'm generally good at picking up mathematical concepts, but his class made me feel like I was a sloth trudging through quicksand. So, I did what any person does if he/she pathetically doesn't understand the schoolwork -- I got a tutor, who graduated from Columbia with a major in physics (read: math-heavy major). My tutor? My homework made him frustrated too. MY MATH HOMEWORK FOR THIS CLASS CONFUSED A PHYSICS MAJOR WHO HAS WRITTEN MULTIPLE BOOKS ON STUDYING/ACING MATH AND SCIENCE. I couldn't find any reviews for Altug on this site when I signed up for this class, and I wish I had, so let me do all you prospective Calc I students a favor: DO NOT TAKE CALCULUS WITH ALTUG.