Birdsong, Charles  

Mechanical Engineering

2.14/4.00

51 evaluations


ME 212


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
May 2003
Well lets start with how dry his personallity is!! It's like taking to some one who thinks they know everything and just gives you a complicated answer which makes no sense to confuse you even more. First of all he lives in SAN JOSE, nuff said he's crazy. So since he lives in san jose and teaches twice a week... he must have 2 days in which hes spends alot of time in his office .. Wrong.. He only has about 3 hours combined over the 2 days.. and if you have class during his office hours.. well, thats your fault. On the first day he said that there were no midterms only quizzes every other week, sounds great right.. well these quizzes are just called quizzes however they are just an excuse for a midterm everyother week, since they are 100 points and they take an hour. I would not recomend him if you want and good understanding of dynamics.


Junior
C
Required (Major)
Jun 2003
I'm not sure if this is the same Birdsong that I took from looking at the other evals because I thought he was one of the best ME teachers I've taken. He gives 5 quizzes throughout the quarter worth a total 50% of your grade. Homework is graded fairly easily and worth 2 quizes (20%) and the remaining 30% is for the final. Overall, I couldn't ask for a better grading system. His quizzes were not easy but definitely do-able. The final was very tough but that's not to be put on Birdsong since its a common final. I am highly impressed that this was only his second quarter here. I hope Poly keeps him around and I would highly recommend taking him.


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Jun 2003
Birdsong knows what he is talking about but lacks the experience to convey the information. The class grading was fair, as mentioned below, and he was GREAT with partial credit. I also felt that I understood the material quite well (if you don't then try harder). Homework was due once a week and while it was tough, it was also fair and not excessive. Understand the homework and you should do fine on the quizzes, or at least get a ton of partial credit. The final was difficult, as can be expected for a dynamics common final, and my class average was a 53%. He curved in the end though, because people definitely did better than they thought they would. He will tell you that he won't curve but he will; no worries. As for office hours, he plans on moving down here soon and will be more accessible. I only went once but from what I hear he is ok in office hours. He will improve with experience and someday will be a very good professor. I would recommend him.


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Jun 2003
Birdsong was a pretty decent instructor. I'd say the hardest part about this course is the common final exam. It is MUCH harder than the statics final exam. The average in our class was about 53%. Don't expect to pass the class if you have a mid range C or lower going into the final. I had an 86% going into the final. I got a 70% on the final and I ended up with a B in the class. I had a raw score(without the final being curved) of about 80%- so he didn't curve the final a great deal. Birdsong had 5 quizzes(each worth 10%), homework(20%) and the final(30%). He was very good with partial credit. If you knew what you were doing conceptually on problems, you got almost full credit. The homework grader wasn't a bitch either- I got perfects on all but one assignment. His lectures are a bit dry(derivations and such) but the problems he does in class help quite a bit. I think he was a decent instructor and I'd be willing to take him again.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Jul 2003
Professor Birdsong is hands down probably the best teacher you could take for dynamics. He is extremely organized and gives plenty of examples so that homework isn't impossible. As others have mentioned, his tests are extremely fair and he's more than generous when awarding points. I got a B in Statics and was therefore terrified about taking this class. However, because he's always able and willing to answer questions, I really didn't have too hard a time in this class. Bottom line is that I would highly recommend to anyone to take Birdsong for dynamics.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2007
Birdsong was a pretty good dynamics prof. He grades pretty hard the first couple quizes (sig figs), but after that it's not as bad. Dynamics is hard no matter what. Do the homework and you'll be fine. I'd recommend Birdsong.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2008
Charles Birdsong was very organized when it came to lecturing dynamics. He was definitely better than my statics professor (Ramesh Shah). His lecture notes were very helpful and the quizzes and final were very similar to homework. He grades based on 5 x 10% quizzes, 15% homework, 35% final. As you probably know, you have to put A LOT of time into this class. I recommend taking him for dynamics.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2011
Birdsong has to be one of the worst teachers at Cal Poly! His quizzes are like nothing you have seen in class or homework! He almost never finishes a single example in class or if he does it's only because he skipped explaining it, especially the hard parts. His lectures never prepare you for the homework, which takes a long time and is due every class period. He spends the majority of his time in lecture explaining what he's going to cover and showing pointless Youtube clips. DO NOT TAKE BIRDSONG!! ...unless you enjoy teaching yourself!


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Major)
Mar 2011
Dynamics is a hard course. Birdsong reused all of Professor Self's work, which was actually really helpful. The way he designed the class was that homework is due at each lecture and before going to lecture, you're required to take an online reading quiz as part of the homework, look over the lecture slides (recordings on PowerPoint that Prof. Self had made to show his students how to do problems), determine the givens and finds of a handout that usually had 2 in class problems that you would solve during class, and of course read the book for section to be covered that class. Each week Birdsong assigned a project for you and your group to do and although it's not necessarily hard, it does require a lot of time input. What's nice about them is that you use dynamics in real life situations. It's true that sometimes in class he doesn't have time to finish the in-class problems from his handouts and he just writes the formulas to use and the answer you should get. He's not an intimidating professor so I frequently came to office hours for help. He gives surveys during the course to see how his students are doing in the class. He actually decided to make the online quizzes optional since his students didn't like them, and he made the group projects due every two weeks rather than every week when his students voted that the projects seem pointless. I'm glad I took Birdsong because the final ended up being a lot easier than what people hyped it up to be. For classes like dynamics with a common final, I think you should take the professor that prepares you the most and Birdsong did a good job of that.


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Jun 2011
Birdsong uses an "active" learning strategy for his class. This means he expects you to have read the book when you show up to class and will have you solving problems for the majority of class time instead of him lecturing. It's different but I honestly thought I did well with that style of teaching. In general, his class did better than the other teacher's classes on the common final. He does expect a lot of work. I think that's the nature of ME212. Homework due every class, biweekly quizzes, and a project that spanned the whole quarter. As long as you stay on top of the workload it's totally doable.


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Aug 2011
Dynamics is a super hard class to begin with so when you think you are getting a good teacher because of the Polyratings and you actually get a terrible one, that doesn't help. Birdsong gave SO much work. We had to watch online examples, take online quizzes, read the book, do homework, take in class quizzes and do a project! The project was lame because he switched our groups after we had started working together so we had to work with totally different people that he assigned. We had 5 quizzes and he dropped the lowest one. I went in to office hours a few times but whenever i would ask a question he would just say to think about it and not point me in any direction to answer my question. He just seemed kind of cocky in office hours and in class just assumed that everyone knew what he was talking about already. In class he would click through the powerpoint slides super fast and not give too deep of an explanation for any of the concepts. He would give an introduction and then have us try to solve the problems on the worksheets we were supposed to print out. I did not feel prepared for the final AT ALL but thankfully there was a very good curve which fortunately helped me pass the class. I would not recommend Birdsong for Dynamics but it looks like none of the other people teaching are any better. Rossman is one teacher that doesn't do projects so that would help you out with the time commitment immensely.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2014
In all honesty, Charles Birdsong is the reason for my poorly targeted hatred for Dynamics. Looking back, it is not dynamics that is to blame, but Charles Birdsong himself. In fact, I quite enjoy my ME 326 Intermediate Dynamics class, which frankly makes me believe in the subject matter again. And then I realized, Birdsong doesn't really teach anything, he basically assigns homework problems and lectures about HIS TEACHING STYLE rather than about dynamics. So, thank you Birdsong, for teaching me how to teach things to myself. Please, take this $2500/quarter fee as a token of my great appreciation for all things dumb.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2015
I was very hesitant to take Birdsong for Dynamics because of his poor polyratings, but by the end of the quarter I am really glad I did. Birdsong is a nice guy who has confidence in his students, and says some awkward funny things out of the blue sometimes. His sections consistently show a 90+% pass rate on the common final (and he makes sure to mention this almost every class lol), while the other professors usually have a 75-80% pass rate. While it's true you basically teach yourself outside of class with his lecture videos, this is what you need to do to understand dynamics, and it is nice to just do examples during the class time. He assigns less homework than other professors, and knows which concepts to hammer home. His quizzes are hard, but he makes up for it with a fat curve. The group project was a little annoying, but didn't take too much time out of class and correlated well with the material. I would recommend Birdsong if you are willing to put in the work outside of class, and want to pass the common final.


Sophomore
F
Required (Major)
Mar 2015
Birdsong was the least effective teacher I have ever taken. He spent an unreasonable amount of class time talking about his teaching style rather than actually teaching. He never once worked out a practice problem on the board and rather expected students to come into class knowing how to work the problem. In office hours, he was pompous and useless. When I asked him about homework, he looked at the problem and said "I don't know..." and then looked through his ancient binder to find the homework. He then pointed me in a direction to use equations that had nothing to do with the problem. The times that I visited him in office hours actually resulted in lower homework grades. His only redeeming quality was going over concept questions. I will NEVER take this professor again and I strongly suggest you do the same! He does not do his job.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Apr 2015
I think Birdsong gets a lot of hate that he doesn't deserve. He does teach differently. Basically you have to watch a YouTube video or two before class and then he'll go over it and do practice problems in class. This worked really well for me. I could watch the videos when I felt like it and then I would already kind of understand the basics of what was happening when I came to class the next day. Birdsong repeatedly showed us the statistics of how he has the highest passing rate of any professor. It got a little annoying after a while, but I think he was just trying to show that his methods work if you buy into them. Birdsong does not give a lot of homework, but we did have 4 group projects. They probably averaged 3-4 hours each so not too bad. Birdsong believes that the underlying principles are what need to be best understood (makes sense to me). You won't learn in his class by repetition, but rather by understanding the basics before it gets way more complicated. A lot of people blame their professors for why they had a hard time in a class, but it's just because it's a really hard class....And I think it says something that he consistently has the highest pass rate.


Sophomore
F
Required (Support)
Jun 2015
This is the WORST professor you could have at Cal Poly for Dynamics. Don't do it!!!


Junior
F
Required (Major)
Jun 2015
I hate this arrogant man.


Sophomore
F
Required (Support)
Nov 2015
Don't do it.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2017
Avoid Birdsong for Dynamics. He uses a "flipped classroom" style of teaching which means you basically have to learn everything about Dynamics on your own. He expects you to come into class with an understanding of that day's topic after a bullshit LearnSmart module (which was mandatory and close to $100) and watching a couple of his YouTube videos. Now, you might honestly gain a better understanding of Dynamics conceptually taking Charles rather than other teachers, but the class itself is so difficult that it really isn't worth the plunge your GPA is going to take after taking him. We had 5 quizzes, one every other week, worth a total of 40% of your grade and these were hard as fuck. The class average for the quizzes (for the two sections that he taught) were 13, 13, 11, 12, 10 (out of 20). So basically out of around 70 kids, the average was a FAIL. He did make the average for each quiz a 75% so we were able to add a few point each quiz. However, the thing with averages is that when the scores are skewed, which I know for a fact they are because basically everyone that I talked to was getting either the average score or below, the mean is a terrible representation for an average. He said they were representative of the kind of questions we would see on the final, but I thought the final was much easier than the quizzes. One homework problem was due every class day, which you might think is nice, but the problems are so difficult that I would spend around 2 hours for each. My average quiz score was a 14.6/20 and I got a 100/150 on the final which were both average when you think about it so my C might have been justified. The thing is though, when I was studying for the final with other people, they were just as clueless (usually more), but they had As going into the final just because their teachers graded way easier. If you care more about learning the material (which will only be a slight amount compared to other teachers), than GPA, take Birdsong. Now about the class itself. Upperclassmen told me that Dynamics was going to be the hardest class you will have taken at Cal Poly when you take it and they were not lying. And just know that is has nothing to do with Statics. I got an A in Statics and a C in Dynamics, there is absolutely no correlation. It is basically PHYS 141 on steroids. You cover rectilinear kinematics, path and polar coordinates, circular and relative motion, particle work energy and impulse-momentum, and rigid body work energy and impulse-momentum. Every problem can be classified as kinematics, kinetics, work-energy, impulse momentum, but usually a combination of these. The hardest part about this class was honestly knowing how to even approach a problem. I spent over 10 hours a week easily outside of class studying and doing the homework for this class especially if you take Birdsong. Be prepared to put in a similar workload. What really helped me out was watching Yiheng Wang and structurefree on YouTube. They have good lectures and work out problems. So overall, Dynamics was definitely the hardest class I have taken to this point and my grade definitely showed that. That being said, I honestly don't think a C reflected my understanding of the material because by the end, I really do think I had a good overall grasp of the concepts and how to do the problems. Still, if I had to redo this quarter, I would have taken a different teacher. Good luck.


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Aug 2017
I took Birdsong for the 5 week accelerated version of dynamics and I enjoyed it a lot. Reading his reviews before hand I was a little worried, but I liked his "flipped" classroom approach very much. Basically you have to watch a short intro video then two youtube example problems of that exact topic then turn in one hw problem. In all it's about 2 hours of work per lecture which is pretty standard if you want to do well in dynamics. His quizzes were fair and the final was tough, but that's expected. He does curve every quiz to 75% for the class average so we had some pretty huge curves. Whenever I went into office hours he was more than happy to push me in the right direction. In lecture everyday we would get into groups of 4 and work through problems every class period. I thought this approach was pretty effective. I would definitely take him, he's light on hw and you can definitely learn dynamics on your own time. I wouldn't be turned away from his low evaluation, he is definitely not the worst like some people say, he also knows his shit inside and out when it comes to dynamics.

ME 236


Senior
N/A
Required (Major)
Mar 2009
This guy genuinely doesn't care if his students do well or not. He likes making Matlab assignments that take a ridiculous amount of time to do. Dynamics is hard enough for there to be a final Matlab project continue to the end of the quarter. Take someone else unless you like turning in a bunch of homework and lab projects that take forever.

ME 326


Senior
N/A
Required (Major)
Feb 2003
This is Dr. Birdsong's first quarter, so were all trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but its not really helping. He is not very clear on material and makes littel effort to help clarify difficulties. He is almost completely useless in office hours, if you can ever get in to see him past the huge lines. The lab portion should take you about 12 hours each, and there are four parts. Also, the first midterm could not be completed in the time alloted, the average was farily low, but no word on a curve yet.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
Prof. Birdsong took a very difficult course and made it real. There was a load of work to do for the course, but to tell you the truth, I learned more in this course than in five other courses I've taken recently. The coolest (and hardest) part of the course was that we actually simulated real problems. It's about time we start applying all this knowledge we've worked so hard to learn over the last 10 years!


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
Dr. Birdsong made it very clear that teaching was not his first priority. He was virtually no help in office hours and would often make no attempt to even explain the problems. I managed to do quite well in the class but I had to put in way more work than I felt was nessicary. Overall, I was turned off by his bad attitued that seemed to make it very clear that his students were not as important as his side projects.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
Birdsong did a good job getting the information across. It seemed he left the students hanging when it came to the simulation assignments though. Maybe a better Matlab book would have helped. He didn't give enough example problems to support the equations and lecture also either, so you'll have to use the book more than you would like. But he still did a great job of conveying all the information and responds to questions in detail. I would suggest him for intermediate dynamics.


Senior
A
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
This was the worst teacher I have had here at Cal Poly. He expects you to be a computer programming expert upon entering the class, which means you'll have to learn the Simulink program in Matlab on your own. But don't worry that will only take about 50 hours total throughout the quarter. I thought he had a large ego, because he always smiled when I went to his office hours to ask him questions about the homwork problems. Furthermore, he never wanted to tell me the answer to the problems, eventhough I had spent a lot of time working on them before coming to his office hours. I would definitely agree with the previous two negative comments about Birdsong (I have no idea what the others were talking about-they probably sit in front of their computers all night playing dungeons and dragons over the internet). My main problem with his teaching was that he overemphasized Simulink instead of teaching the fundamentals of Dynamics. If you enjoy sitting in front of a computer all day, and want to avoid learning Dynamics, then I would recommend Birdsong. If not, then definitely get a different professor. By the way, this is the first review I have made of a professor in my four years here, and I am not a slacker as seen by the grade I earned.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
This is not any easy class any way you look at it. Professor Birdsong did an okay job of teaching it for his first quarter teaching. Be aware, the tests are long, he will definately not help you do the homework, he expects you to know Matlab in and out. I wish less emphasis was placed on the computer program and instead more was placed on intermediate dynamics. Professor Birdsong never strayed from his notes and tended to lecture to the chalkboard at times. He is a smart person and I am sure with a little more experience he can become a better lecturer.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Apr 2003
Dr. Birdsong has a rather dry personality so he can be hard to talk to in office hours. He assigns a decent amount of homework that is relevant to the course. His tests are fair and very reasonable if you have been paying attention to example problems in class and doing your homework. The labs for the class were definitely the worst part, very time consuming and confusing. If you work with other students you should be able to figure them out though, and apparently the computer program you use will be useful in future ME classes. Overall, Birdsong's class was decent, not too exciting, but decent.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Dec 2003
There are a few problems with this course that I feel are worth mentioning on polyratings. For those of you who don't know, you will be taking a MATLAB portion to the course in which you have to simulate problems using the computer(usually 2 reports per quarter). This part of the course was horribly taught and horribly organized. You get one hour per week to work on the simulations with the instructor which is about enough time to get lost. Count on visiting office hours for the simulation quite a bit and use the class' knowledge to learn MATLAB simulations. I really think they need to make MATLAB a three hour lab- but that's just me. Birdsong is actually pretty damn good for lectures. I felt like they were both entertaining and also informative. Sometimes they get a little slow- but overall they were very good lectures. Birdsong's tests are also pretty reasonable. He dishes out partial credit if you know what your doing. Sometimes he didn't know the answer to a question in lecture - but he took the time the next day to relook it. He does lecture straight from notes and is a little less spontaneous than other professors. The final was really well written and did a good job of testing us on intermediate dynamics. The homework grader isn't bad either- you get half the credit for just attempting the problems. This is my second time having hime(first for 212) and I really think he will come around to be an even better professor in the future.


Senior
C
Required (Major)
Dec 2003
Birdsong's lectures are pretty clear, and I feel his tests are relatively fair, but the lab portion blows. It is worth 20% of your grade, and you end up spending hours and hours outside of class. The LEAST he could do is explain exactly what he wants and give the students some idea of how to do it. But he does not. Often, he will "clear up" some of the requirements less than a week before the assignment is due, meaning that if you tried to be a good student and do the work ahead of time, you might have to re-do it. This happened to me on the first sim, and I got screwed; I was well above average on the midterms, final, and homework, but I still received a C+ due to poor lab scores. I hear Klisch is pretty tough for this class, too, and chances are you will have either him or Birdsong here, so there's no real way around it. From what I've hear I would recommend Birdsong over Klisch (his labs seem easier, but the tests sound much tougher), but prepare to bend over for the lab portion of the class, and whatever you do, DON'T TRY TO DO IT EARLY!


Senior
F
Required (Major)
Apr 2004
This teacher sucks. Birdsong is not able to explain anything and does not give any clear instructions for the Matlab Lab. By the way. Do never tell him how much you hate this program or you gonna fail(it is 20% of the final grade). The homework is way too much I think, but the midterms and final are not too difficult, not too easy. I would never ever take him again. I am foreign exchange student and he never helped me with my problems, not in class, not in his office hour. I guess there are better teacher you should take.


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Mar 2005
Birdsong is alright. He doesn't do that many examples, but he grades pretty easily (lots of partial credit). My biggest beef with him, is that he doesn't post his homework solutions. He's not the best, but he's not the worst either.


Senior
C
Required (Major)
Mar 2006
Birdsong is not a very good professor. He does not give many examples, and the ones he does are VERY incomplete. His exams do not accurately represent what is covered through the class. For example, in this class 3D kinematics is the main topic. During the exam in which that topic was covered, it only made up 25% of the test with two random topics that were not covered substantially taking up 50% of that exam. Don't take him.


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
Feb 2009
Birdsong is a decent dynamics professor, but a horrible Matlab professor.


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
Mar 2009
I gotta say, Birdsong does a great job at teaching dynamics during the lecture. I felt I learned a lot, and he really wants us to get involved. Sure, it's a ridiculously hard subject and he expects a lot of us, but he does his best to convey the subject matter. Now that aside, the lab part of the class is just ridiculous. The labs take way too long, and he doesn't teach us much. Aside from a brief mess of code scribbled on the board, there's not much help. He definitely is helpful in office hours, but a bit condescending. Overall I'd say if you're willing to do the work, you'll definitely learn a lot from him.


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
Apr 2010
I\'m 3 weeks into the quarter, and I hate this man. He doesn\'t even attempt to explain MatLab. Fuck you, Charles Birdsong.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Apr 2011
I really liked Birdsong. For most of the quarter. I felt like he kinda dropped the ball part way through and stopped being as thorough and great at explaining things & seemed to loose a bit of his patience. Other people say he's sort of rude one on one. Overall, I learned a lot in his class and was glad that he kept bringing in visuals and had interesting assignments for us. He's not helpful in OH if you go in and try and get him to give you all the answers. People complain about that a lot and I think they're being babies. Every time I went in for help (which was fairly often), he was extremely helpful because I came in with very specific questions. I didn't hand him 10 pages of code and go "what's wrong?" If you go in and say "I think something's wrong with this part of the code because a, b, c... but I'm not sure... Do you have any suggestions?" He'll actually LOOK at your code and try and help you out. If you have conceptual questions and want to check your methods he's a little less helpful, he tries to lead you through it without just telling you and giving it away, which can be frustrating if you're super lost. His tests were fair, there's just not a whole lot of time to sit there and humm and errr about what to do. I suggest taking him if you want to learn a lot. I also suggest study groups and taking the class with friends. It helps a lot. We also spent looots of time on labs etc.

ME 422


5th Year Senior
C
Required (Major)
Jun 2004
Birdsong is an awful teacher. He can not lecture without his notes right in front of him. He has shut the door on myself and numerous others when trying to ask "quick" questions when he is in his office at an unscheduled office hour. He is the worst teacher i have had in the time i spent at Cal Poly. Get somebody else if you want to learn


5th Year Senior
C
Required (Major)
Jun 2005
Ya know, when it comes down to it, Chuck isn't all that bad, and controls isn't all that hard. Yah, I got a C+, but thats just because I didn't study very hard for the final like I should have. I've heard from plenty of people that he's not very helpful in office hours, but I never went myself so who knows. Just keep up with the homework, go to class and pay attention, and you'll do fine.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Aug 2005
I'm warning you, do NOT take this professor because he tends to make the topic harder than it really is!! He confuses the hell out of every student. There's too much hw , which he does not prepare you for! The exams are too difficult and beyond the scope of the class and his lectures. He is a bad teacher because he can not teach. He is helpful in office hours and is willing to answer all your questions, but the line to see him is very long b/c so many students need help since he confuses w/ his bad lectures. This class takes up all of your time. I wish I had a different teacher! Matlab is tough, he is not helpful with the labs either. they are long and tedious.


Senior
A
Elective
Sep 2005
controls isn't that hard and i thougth birdsong did a descent job teaching it. i found his lectures to be structured and easy to follow. just do all the homework (1-3 hours per class) and pay attention in class. and if you really want to do well in the class you can read the book for once because it's actually intelligible. the labs are long and can be difficult if you don't know what you're doing, which was most people. but its not like you have to get every part of every lab right to get full or most of the credit. As long as you can explain what went wrong intelligently, or even just bs because i don't think he reads half of the labs. just make them look long and neat and he will probably brush through most of it.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jul 2007
Controls is not for me. Birdsong makes the class way more involved than it should be and throws excessive, boring, and difficult work at the students. I don't think he understood at all how much time and effort the students had to waste on his class. I'm glad it's over and am disappointed that I spent so much time on a topic I have no interest in.


Junior
B
Required (Major)
May 2009
Birdsong was a great prof, definitely did a good job covering all the material. Controls is a pretty abstract course, and many times it seems too in depth to be at all meaningful, but birdsong did a great job of talking about the practical side of everything. Wiley Plus really sucks for homework, it can turn a half hour assignment into 3 hrs, but it feels great when you finally get around 5/10!!! (i wish i was joking). Take this guy, i'm not sure why some people don't like him, i think they just don't like the subject and would rather be doing HVAC (boring). and going to his office hours a couple times deff made me appreciate him a little more. His long hair really bugged me (down to the shoulders) but he finally chopped it. anyways, birdsong did a good job of teaching controls and i would definitely like to take a graduate level controls class by him someday. controls is the future for all mechanical systems so try to get the most out of this class!


Senior
F
Required (Major)
Jan 2010
Professor Birdsong did not give students the tools to learn the necessary material for this course. His lecture covered the basics and he expects his students to spend inordinate amounts of time outside of class learning the material on their own. Normally I would be fine with this method, but he doesn\'t use the same methods that are in the book so there are no chances to see extra examples unless you want to learn a different method. BUT, if you do that and take your homework to his office hours he will say \"that is not the method I went over in class. You should consult your notes.\" Very frustrating. Do not take this class with this professor unless you are willing to make it your #1 priority and spend 20 hours a week outside of class doing the labs and homework.


Senior
C
Required (Major)
Apr 2013
Average professor. Tests were fair, the final was hard. I got 4 A's this quarter and then a C in Controls so don't underestimate this class like I did. The lab takes a lot of time. I spend more time working on lab reports than studying for the tests and doing home work.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2013
I was really scared to take controls because lets face it, controls is hard. But I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the class. Sure, with Birdsong you are going to have an abundance of homework, but grow a pair of balls, you're a mechanical engineering senior, you should be used to that by now. His tests are very fair. If you've paid attention in class, done the HW and some studying, you should be fine. He could be kinda rude to the know it all kid in our class, but lets be honest, the whole rest of the class loved him even more for that... There's two midterms and a final. Preeety straight forward.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2014
I really enjoyed Controls. I think Birdsong contributed to it, but I had also previously taken Mechatronics so I had already created two digital PI controllers without totally understanding it, so I got the fun part first and then the theory. I think the ME dept should try to figure out a way to make this more common for other students. About Birdsong: he tries to simplify a very difficult subject and does a pretty good job. The midterms are kind of easy and he pretty clearly lets you know what you will be tested on. Homework takes FOREVER though. It was all helpful, but it just seemed like too much at times.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2014
Birdsong is a very average professor. I had him for ME 422 and ME 410 in separate quarters and he is pretty consistent with his expectations, quirks, and deficiencies through both. First off, his style of teaching is hit or miss - powerpoints with handouts and the occasional example. He is very organized in this regard, and the topics flow nicely and connect nicely. However, the powerpoints are pretty much worthless to review and often include microscopic pictures that you can't read. I recommend taking actual notes and not relying on the worksheets. The material wasn't too hard overall, but what kills with this class is the workload - large problem sets due weekly, confusing and long labs, and reading required for each class. The homework takes forever and is often repetitive/pointless, and requires the whole given/find/problem statement/reflection format, adding to the time required for really no reason. The lab manual is absolute trash, often hiding key information in large, rambling paragraphs. Birdsong isn't much help either, in lab nor in office hours. He just won't go above and beyond to help you understand something, and while his answers often answer your question, don't expect much more information unless you specifically ask for it. Tests are fairly straightforward so no tricks there. Overall, take him if you have to but expect a lot of work.


Senior
N/A
Required (Major)
Mar 2015
Charles is an interesting person. He gives off the vibe of an averagely cool smart guy who would be nice to get to know. In lab, however, he might as well not be there. He gives the required intro blabber for each lab and then kind of just disappears, which sucks because this lab is HARD. But then, when he comes back, he's extremely unhelpful when you have questions. He tries to not give you the answers directly (which is understandable), but by doing this he essentially tells you nothing and then walks away. You will spend a good 8 hours outside of lab a week trying to figure out what the hell is going on. That may or may not be Birdsong's fault.


5th Year Senior
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2016
Despite the low ratings, I personally liked Birdsong and enjoyed his 422 class. His midterms and final were mostly fair but the homework assignments could be rather time consuming and difficult.

BOT 837


Senior
B
Elective
Nov 2016
What the guy/gal below said. Amen. I too took this class and have long since graduated from Poly, but I was cruising Poly Ratings for a kick and thought that I should pipe in and let you know how much of a joke this prof is.