I used survey monkey for this year's survey. Here is a PDF
of the results.
Thanks again for all your feedback, it is much appreciated.
Here are my overall observations:
- I had feared that Trimesters would destroy the essence of the course -
challenging practical application of theory in the assignments. I'm very
very happy the course ran without major hiccups mostly intact, with
generally quite positive feedback. Phewww.
I tried the following changes, which seemed to
mostly work. Though some further tuning is required and students did
not really get started until week 2.
- I'm releasing a the warmup before
semester starts so students set up their environments prior to
- The warmup has more wiki-based
guidance on getting set up
- I'm providing more guidance on using
your own machine (which is more efficient than remote CSE usage.)
- The warmup is less exploratory and
more focused on simply learning to build and submit and
- It's due earlier in the semester
- I'm changing the order of the
lectures to move concurrency earlier so in course so the
assignment can be started earlier.
- The first substantial assignment is
done as an individual so can be started ASAP.
- I've remove some of the components
of the later assignments, and aimed to remove common pitfalls that
were good for learning, but potentially time consuming to get out
- The reduced number of tutorials were noted.
Part of the feedback was inability to cover
all the questions - this was true in 12 (and 14) week semesters. The aim
is to select based on demand/interest/need. I'll provide more guidance in
- Piazza is generally viewed positively (suspect is is partially due to
my responsiveness), though its web UI is becoming dated. The apps
are clunky, but I'm okay with that, you don't have to use the apps.
The etiquette guide seems to have reduced the
noise a little this year, I'll point it out more explicitly.
I've contacted piazza with some suggestion on
search improvements. They seem to be responsive and have made some changes
to improve the search functionality.
I'll provide some guidance on reducing
- The switch to GIT was a success. I'll retain it and gitlab going
forward. It is a little concerning that some students avoid it when
collaborating. I'll provide some more encouragement to learn it, it is
really the dominant industry revision control system, so worth learning
independent of the course.
- Lecture attendance is dropping to unsustainable levels - lecturing
< 30 students in Clancy auditorium is like talking to myself. It also
means I don't get good feedback from a wide range of the cohort with so
few in the room (part of the reason I went too slow in 2019, despite
removing the material from the course, and aiming for only 9 weeks in
10). I'll do business as usual in 2020 to get another year's experience
with trimesters before changing anything major regarding lecture
It seems my videos are still positively
viewed and are sufficient for most with roughly an even split between
"lecture to fast" and "lecture to slow". I guess the downside is that I
lose these students from the auditorium.
I'll see if Camtasia can be tweaked to have
keyboard shortcuts which seems to be the most common feedback. I'll
provide some guidance on downloading mp4s and the table of contents which
some students seems to have missed being available.
The benefit of my videos over echo360 is
reducing, so I'll keep doing them in 2020. I may make echo360 available in
- GDB was commented on, I plan to provide a more systematic intro to
debugging for the course as an optional side module.
- ASST1 was probably too easy. ASST3 remains challenging, despite
reducing the scope compared to previous years. I don't plan to change
much for 2020.
It's a little concerning that about 20% of
the cohort skipped the assignment prep tutorials.
The early bonus from past years to motivate
starting early did not work as fairly under the tighter timelines (though
they were not that much tighter). I'll look at how best to improve the
VScode was a surprising winner among editor
choices, it positively dominated. It makes more sense to provide some more
guidance on its use.
I'll switch to HTTPS for gitlab access to
avoid UNSW firewall issues.