Survey ID1228
TitleCOMP3231/3891/9201/9283 07s1
DescriptionCourse survey for Operating Systems
Fill Ratio75% (79/106)
# Filled79
# Suspended1
# Not Filled26
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Please provide us with as much constructive feedback as you can. We do read these surveys and act on the information you provide. Thanks for your input.
1. Quick Evaluation
1. Give a high rating if you have a good opinion of something (e.g. interesting, useful, well-structured, etc.). Give a low rating if you have a bad opinion of something (e.g. too slow, confusing, disorganised, etc.)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Excellent Satisfactory Poor N/F
Lecturer: Kevin Elphinstone 53 (67%) 23 (29%) (8%) (0%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
General OS lectures 29 (37%) 46 (58%) (8%) (1%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
Consultations 21 (27%) 25 (32%) 33 (42%) (1%) (0%) -1 (-1%)
Your tutor 40 (51%) 30 (38%) 10 (13%) (3%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
Tutorials 29 (37%) 42 (53%) (10%) (3%) (0%) -2 (-3%)
Asst1: The Library 21 (27%) 35 (44%) 18 (23%) (9%) (1%) -3 (-4%)
Asst2: Syscalls 18 (23%) 36 (46%) 23 (29%) (5%) (1%) -3 (-4%)
Asst3: Virtual Memory 18 (23%) 33 (42%) 22 (28%) (10%) (1%) -3 (-4%)
Textbook 18 (23%) 27 (34%) 32 (41%) (3%) (1%) -1 (-1%)
OS/161 In general 18 (23%) 37 (47%) 21 (27%) (5%) (3%) -3 (-4%)
C Language 22 (28%) 38 (48%) 17 (22%) (4%) (3%) -3 (-4%)
Computing resources 14 (18%) 43 (54%) 25 (32%) (0%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
Course web page 27 (34%) 39 (49%) 16 (20%) (0%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
Message Board 42 (53%) 27 (34%) 13 (16%) (0%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
Help with technical questions 33 (42%) 27 (34%) 22 (28%) (0%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
Lecture slides 32 (41%) 34 (43%) 14 (18%) (3%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
Operating Systems overall 29 (37%) 42 (53%) 10 (13%) (1%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
2. General
2. Please rate which of the following factors influenced your decision to enrol in this course
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Major Minor No N/F
Interest in operating systems as a field of study 35 (44%) 36 (46%) (11%) -1 (-1%)
Chance to get hands dirty with low-level code 23 (29%) 31 (39%) 26 (33%) -1 (-1%)
Jobs propects for OS hackers (9%) 41 (52%) 32 (41%) -1 (-1%)
Would llike to do OS research (11%) 32 (41%) 37 (47%) 1 (1%)
Course is core for me 42 (53%) (8%) 34 (43%) -3 (-4%)
Friends told me it was good 12 (15%) 23 (29%) 46 (58%) -2 (-3%)
Chance to do challenging programming assignments 29 (37%) 29 (37%) 23 (29%) -2 (-3%)
3. Any other factor that influenced your decision?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (26 comments)
4. Would you recommend this course to another student such as yourself?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Yes 73 (92%) chart
No (11%) chart
N/F -3 (-4%)
5. Please provide feedback on the kind of material covered
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Too much OK Too little N/F
High-level OS issus (3%) 19 (24%) 58 (73%) (1%) (3%) -3 (-4%)
Low-level (implementation) issues (4%) 15 (19%) 51 (65%) (11%) (4%) -2 (-3%)
Unix/Linux (3%) (11%) 54 (68%) 17 (22%) (0%) -3 (-4%)
Windows NT (1%) (5%) 33 (42%) 32 (41%) 12 (15%) -3 (-4%)
OS/161 Internals (5%) 11 (14%) 56 (71%) (10%) (3%) -2 (-3%)
Other Systems (1%) (4%) 47 (59%) 21 (27%) 10 (13%) -3 (-4%)
6. What were the best things about this course?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (58 comments)
7. What were the worst things about this course?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (52 comments)
8. How does the workload in this course compare to workloads in other ...
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Similar Much
COMP courses (1%) (3%) (11%) 41 (52%) 28 (35%) -2 (-3%)
INFS courses (3%) (3%) 13 (16%) 19 (24%) 32 (41%) 11 (14%)
Courses in general (1%) (4%) (9%) 34 (43%) 36 (46%) -2 (-3%)
9. Did you get the impression that the staff (lecturer, tutors, consultants) tried their best to answer your questions and help you? Please tick N/A if you did not attend lecture, consults, tutes)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Neutral Strongly
Lectures 44 (56%) 30 (38%) (5%) (3%) (0%) (3%) -3 (-4%)
Tutorials 48 (61%) 25 (32%) (3%) (1%) (1%) (6%) -3 (-4%)
Consultations 28 (35%) 13 (16%) (10%) (3%) (1%) 29 (37%) -2 (-3%)
10. How does the quality/value of this course compare to other....
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
the best
Average Among
the worst
Year 3 COMP courses 43 (54%) 28 (35%) (11%) (1%) (1%) -3 (-4%)
COMP courses in general 36 (46%) 35 (44%) (10%) (0%) (3%) -2 (-3%)
Courses in general 43 (54%) 22 (28%) 15 (19%) (0%) (3%) -3 (-4%)
11. Do you think it would be better if the course used Java-based assignments?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Yes 18 (23%) chart
No 64 (81%) chart
N/F -3 (-4%)
12. Would it be preferable if more of the pre-requisite courses used C?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Yes 56 (71%) chart
No 26 (33%) chart
N/F -3 (-4%)
13. What background knowledge do you think you were missing that would have helped you in this course? Is COMP2011/9024 and COMP2121/9032 (the official pre-requisites) a suitable preparation?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (51 comments)
3. Content/Syllabus
14. What topics caused you the most difficulty? You can select more than one item
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
System calls 21 (27%)
Processes (6%)
Threads 14 (18%)
Low-level implementations issues 37 (47%)
Synchonisation and concurrency 19 (24%)
Deadlock 13 (16%)
Memory Management and Virtual Memory 41 (52%)
File Systems 23 (29%)
I/O Management 23 (29%)
Scheduling (8%)
Multiprocessor Systems 22 (28%)
Security (6%)
15. Which material do you think you will be most useful to you in the future?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (58 comments)
16. What material related to operating systems, but not currently in the course, would you like to have seen covered?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (36 comments)
17. Which of the current topics would you like to see scaled back or excluded?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (38 comments)
4. Lectures
18. Is the current mode of lecture delivery, using computer-projected slides, effective?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Yes 79 (100%) chart
No (1%) chart
N/F -1 (-1%)
19. Was the subject material (lecture notes, information on the subject web page, textbook, tutorials, manuals, etc.) sufficient to follow the course?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Always 20 (25%) chart
Most of the time 50 (63%) chart
Sometimes (10%) chart
Rarely (1%) chart
Never (1%) chart
N/F -1 (-1%)
20. Did the explanations in the lecture help you to understand the subject material? (please choose N/A if you generally did not attend lectures)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Always 18 (23%) chart
Most of the time 50 (63%) chart
Sometimes (11%) chart
Rarely (0%) chart
Never (0%) chart
N/A (4%) chart
N/F -1 (-1%)
21. If you have not been attending lectures, what factors influenced your decision not to attend?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (27 comments)
22. Any suggestions for improving lectures?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (38 comments)
23. If you used other textbooks other than Tannenbaum (e.g. Silberschatz, Stallings), how do you think they compare to each other? Which gives the best explanations, which has the best structure, etc....
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (13 comments)
5. Tutorials
24. The aim of the tutorials is to help you understand the subject material better. Please convey how they performed in this role
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Strongly Agree Neutral Strongly Disagree N/A N/F
The tutorials helped me understand the material 39 (49%) 30 (38%) (4%) (1%) (0%) (8%) 0 (0%)
The questions were appropriately timed 17 (22%) 37 (47%) 15 (19%) (6%) (0%) (6%) 0 (0%)
The questions were of appropriate difficulty 15 (19%) 36 (46%) 22 (28%) (1%) (0%) (6%) 0 (0%)
The questions should have increased difficulty (4%) (11%) 44 (56%) 11 (14%) (9%) (6%) 0 (0%)
The number of questions was appropriate 10 (13%) 37 (47%) 23 (29%) (4%) (0%) (6%) 1 (1%)
The number of questions should be expanded (8%) 15 (19%) 28 (35%) 22 (28%) (4%) (6%) 0 (0%)
I always prepared for the tutorials (11%) 18 (23%) 18 (23%) 17 (22%) (11%) (10%) 0 (0%)
Preparation beforehand improved my understanding of the material 25 (32%) 17 (22%) 17 (22%) (8%) (1%) 13 (16%) 0 (0%)
Class participation is important for understanding the material 30 (38%) 20 (25%) 17 (22%) (5%) (4%) (6%) 0 (0%)
25. Please rate how effective your tutor was. Check N/A if you did not deal with the particular tutor.
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Excellent OK Poor N/A N/F
Tutor A 13 (16%) (11%) (5%) (0%) (0%) 40 (51%) 13 (16%)
Tutor B 10 (13%) (6%) (4%) (0%) (1%) 46 (58%) 14 (18%)
Tutor C 25 (32%) (8%) (3%) (0%) (3%) 36 (46%) 8 (10%)
26. Any suggestions for improving tutorials?

Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (27 comments)
6. Assignments
27. Please rate the level of difficulty of the assignments
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Too easy Just right Too difficult N/F
Asst1: Library (1%) 11 (14%) 49 (62%) 11 (14%) (9%) 0 (0%)
Asst2: Syscalls (0%) (0%) 32 (41%) 33 (42%) 14 (18%) 0 (0%)
Asst3: Virtual Memory (0%) (3%) 21 (27%) 27 (34%) 29 (37%) 0 (0%)
28. How well was each assignment specified (taking into account a significant part of the assignments is understanding the environment you solution must work within)?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Very clearly OK Confusing N/F
Asst1: Library 14 (18%) 24 (30%) 26 (33%) (11%) (8%) 0 (0%)
Asst2: Syscalls (8%) 19 (24%) 32 (41%) 13 (16%) (11%) 0 (0%)
Asst3: Virtual Memory (5%) 14 (18%) 30 (38%) 21 (27%) 10 (13%) 0 (0%)
29. Did the supporting material (manuals, notes, comments in code) provide sufficient information for solving the assignment?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Very much Somewhat Not at all N/F
Asst1: Library 12 (15%) 26 (33%) 30 (38%) (10%) (4%) 0 (0%)
Asst2: Syscalls (6%) 16 (20%) 46 (58%) (10%) (5%) 0 (0%)
Asst3: Virtual Memory (8%) 22 (28%) 26 (33%) 19 (24%) (8%) 0 (0%)
30. Rate which factors (if applicable to you) contributed to the assignments being difficult in your eyes
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Major Minor No N/A N/F
Topics are conceptually difficult (9%) 19 (24%) 31 (39%) (8%) 14 (18%) (0%) 2 (3%)
Implementation is difficult 21 (27%) 29 (37%) 18 (23%) (8%) (4%) (0%) 2 (3%)
Lack of familiarity with C 17 (22%) 13 (16%) 26 (33%) (9%) 14 (18%) (0%) 2 (3%)
Lack of experience with a large code base 32 (41%) 12 (15%) 17 (22%) (8%) 11 (14%) (0%) 1 (1%)
Lack of experience debugging C 24 (30%) 18 (23%) 18 (23%) (8%) 10 (13%) (0%) 3 (4%)
Lack of previous low-level programming 21 (27%) 20 (25%) 20 (25%) (11%) (10%) (0%) 1 (1%)
31. The aim of the assignment work was for you to develop practical skills with the concepts covered in lectures.
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Not really Somewhat Very much N/F
Did the assignment work help with this? (5%) (3%) 22 (28%) 25 (32%) 26 (33%) 0 (0%)
32. Do you have any specific comments about OS/161
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (25 comments)
33. Please indicate whether you (dis)agree with the following statements about the use of Darcs to manage the assignment code base.
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Strongly Agree Neutral Strongly Disagree N/A N/F
Darcs greatly helps in developing a collaborative assignment solution (11%) 17 (22%) 26 (33%) (10%) 11 (14%) (10%) 0 (0%)
Darcs is relatively simple to learn to use (10%) 24 (30%) 25 (32%) (9%) 10 (13%) (6%) 0 (0%)
Darcs just gets in the way and should be not be used 12 (15%) 11 (14%) 24 (30%) 16 (20%) 10 (13%) (8%) 0 (0%)
Darcs is reliable with no real hiccups in use (4%) 12 (15%) 31 (39%) 16 (20%) 10 (13%) (9%) 0 (0%)
Darcs was useful to transport code between UNSW and home (8%) 13 (16%) 21 (27%) 12 (15%) 13 (16%) 14 (18%) 0 (0%)
34. Please indicate whether you (dis)agree with the following statements regarding group assignment work.
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Strongly Agree Neutral Strongly Disagree N/F
Group work is a better than working as an individual 31 (39%) 22 (28%) 20 (25%) (5%) (3%) 0 (0%)
Groups reduce the assignment workload 28 (35%) 19 (24%) 16 (20%) 11 (14%) (6%) 0 (0%)
Groups should be optional, but every submission is marked the same 20 (25%) 16 (20%) 34 (43%) (9%) (3%) 0 (0%)
Groups are unfair as inevitably one member does all the work 18 (23%) 18 (23%) 31 (39%) (10%) (5%) 0 (0%)
Larger groups would be better 13 (16%) 10 (13%) 16 (20%) 24 (30%) 15 (19%) 1 (1%)
Having a partner to help understand the assignment really helps 27 (34%) 29 (37%) 21 (27%) (1%) (1%) 0 (0%)
35. What do you think of the advanced assignments?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Great Idea! 20 (25%) chart
10 (13%) chart
Don't care 37 (47%) chart
(8%) chart
Abolish! (6%) chart
N/F 1 (1%)
36. Any suggestions for improving the assignments?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (36 comments)
7. COMP3891/9283 Extended Operating Systems
Skip this section if you did not do COMP3891/9283 Extended Operating Systems.
37. How would you rate extended OS as a whole?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Excellent (4%) chart
(6%) chart
Average (4%) chart
(0%) chart
Poor (0%) chart
N/A (8%) chart
N/F 62 (78%)
38. What were the strong points of COMP3891/9283?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (7 comments)
39. What were the weak points of COMP3891/9283?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (4 comments)
40. Any suggestions for improving COMP3891/9283 Extended OS?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (3 comments)
8. Exam
41. Answer the following questions to convey your opinion of the final exam
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree N/F
The exam overall was too hard (8%) 14 (18%) 36 (46%) 21 (27%) (1%) 1 (1%)
The exam overall was too short - i.e. it should be 3 hours 10 (13%) 12 (15%) 24 (30%) 26 (33%) (8%) 1 (1%)
The exam should contain more True/False questions (5%) (11%) 24 (30%) 33 (42%) (10%) 1 (1%)
The exam gave me the oppurtunity to demonstrate my understanding of operating systems (8%) 51 (65%) 17 (22%) (4%) (1%) 1 (1%)
I think my exam result will be representative of my operating systems knowledge (6%) 35 (44%) 23 (29%) 11 (14%) (5%) 1 (1%)
The final assessment should be weight ed more towards the exam (10%) 16 (20%) 27 (34%) 20 (25%) (9%) 1 (1%)
42. Do you have any particular comments you would like to make about the exam?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (32 comments)
9. Miscellaneous
43. What do you think of the message board?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
  Great idea OK Abolish N/A N/F
The message board in general 50 (63%) 16 (20%) 12 (15%) (0%) (0%) (1%) 0 (0%)
44. Should we give feedback and answer questions via the message board instead of using email to class account?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Definitely 39 (49%) chart
13 (16%) chart
Indiferent 14 (18%) chart
(5%) chart
No way (11%) chart
N/F 0 (0%)
45. We always look for evidence of cheating in assigments and try or best to catch and penalise cheaters. Please tell us what you think about the treatment of cheaters in the course.
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Too soft (5%) chart
(6%) chart
Just right 65 (82%) chart
(1%) chart
Too harsh (4%) chart
N/F 1 (1%)
46. Any other comments/suggestions that might help us to improve the course in the future?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (16 comments)
47. What do you think your final result will be for the course?
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
HD (10%) chart
DN 21 (27%) chart
CR 17 (22%) chart
PS 18 (23%) chart
FL (4%) chart
No Idea 12 (15%) chart
N/F 0 (0%)
10. 12 Week Semester
48. In 2008, UNSW is moving to a 12-week session from the existing 14 week session. What would you like to see changed in the current operating systems course in order to be able to run it in the shorter 12 week session?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (55 comments)

Back to Summary
Security is the most likely target for scaling back next year.
3. Any other factor that influenced your decision?
1: Challange
2: Course material seemed helpful for writing a gameboy emulator.
3: I spend a lot of time at work playing with linux systems
4: Interest in understanding how an OS works
5: Interesting subject
6: My project invloved driver programming, so i decided to take the course and have some learning of the OS.
7: N/A
8: NO
9: No
10: No
11: No
12: OS is useful
13: OS sounded fun
14: Want to understand computers from ground up, ie: from physics to chip architechure to OS and beyond
15: Wide scope
16: Yes, I have to do the course, compulsory
17: challenging course, good lecturer
18: core
19: no
20: no
21: no
22: none
23: none
24: nope
25: nup
26: obtain units of credit
6. What were the best things about this course?
1: + Lecturer, + Lecturer Interaction, + Lecture Notes, + Tutorial, and + Sample Questions + Exam.
2: - Assignments are challenging - Lecturer and tutor both explain the material clearly - Lecture notes and tutorials are well prepared
3: -Good content actually explains how things work -good lecturer, explains concepts well
4: Assignment and Tutorial
5: Assignments (1st and 3rd especially), OS161 (fun to poke around), tutorials (XXX was really good), nfd.
6: Challenging assignments, excellent lectures, willingness to discuss related issues, active forums.
7: Hands on with an OS.
8: Have chance to see the low level of OS, that is COOL.
9: Having to touched the internals of os161
10: I learned a lot of os stuff which is fun to know how the computer works
11: Interesting and challenging assignments. Good explanations of concepts in lecture notes.
12: It is well organized.
13: Learn a lot things about computer system, in particular, concurrency and security.
14: Learned the most doing the assignments. The difficulty of the assignments was actually manageable once you finally got the hang of how to approach them in general. The tuts complemented the assignments quite well
15: Learning the depth of OS.
16: Lecturer and Tutor.
17: Lecturer and tutors were great
18: Lectures and lecture slides were clear and well prepared. Message board response was amazing.
19: Lectures were great, course material delievered clearly, tutorials and tutors were excellent. Consultations were great as well as the lecturer.
20: Lectures were quite well done
21: OS concepts give a broader view of OS in general.
22: The assignments and going through source code of a real operating system
23: The assignments are really helpful for understudenting these concept.
24: The assignments were genuinely challenging which i enjoyed
25: The assignments, even though very challenging it helped me understand the core stuff of the project.
26: The assignments. Really enjoyed the difficulty of them and getting some more hands on experience in C, especially far more advance C then before. The lectures were great, very interesting, well spoken and strcutured.
27: The assignments. The opportunity to "get my hands dirty" really assisted in understanding the underlying concepts (particularly with VM).
28: The lectures were interesting
29: The lectures were interesting and the tutes clarified the ideas from the lectures.
30: The lectures were well presented and I also thoroughly enjoyed and learnt a lot from tutorials because of the participation encouraged by my tutor.
31: The lecures
32: The really best thing should be the lecturer, I have to say that Kevin make me interested more in OS subject, his way to explain things is so clear. He explain slowly when the material is hard and faster when the material is esay. Tutorial is ok. Assignment is reasonable good.
33: The tutorials. I had an excellent tutor.
34: Tutorial participation marks.
35: Tutorials and assignments
36: Tutorials.
37: Very systematic and comprehensive. The flow of the lecture followed the flow of argument for and against certain technologies, making it easier to understand their relevance. The lecturer seemed to take any measure possible to explain concepts clearly, which I found appealing. He also seemed to have a good idea of what he considered to be important (or less important), so that he could balance the emphasis on each topic appropriately without time unduly wasted. All in all this made the lectures a very educationally effective and motivating experience.
38: Was a very challenging course and covered a lot of interesting topics. Very good course!
39: Wealth of interesting information.
40: assignments
41: challenging assignments. good overview of OS which is helpful.
42: diving into code to find answers to useful questions
43: easy exam
44: from knowing little about os to get a general picture of it and understand sth in real world
45: good assignment
46: good assignments, interesting material, taught well.
47: improve teamwork skill
48: interesting topics
49: lecture
50: lecture slides and tutorials A++
51: lecturer and course admin are very good. and especially I like kevin's voice. Maybe I should get into radio :)
52: lectures
53: lectures on OS issues
54: message board provides very quick answers to questions
55: the challenging programming assignments
56: the lectures and notes were fascinating
57: the material is interesting
58: understand the detail of OS
7. What were the worst things about this course?
1: - Some materials are a bit hard
2: - Too many assignments, and - Too much coding.
3: 2nd assignment - it wasn't too bad, just the least interesting of the three.
4: Assignments
5: Assignments are too hard.
6: Assignments, some more explicit guidance would have helped.
7: Didnt really know what we did wrong for some of the assignments (i.e. the virtual memory one)
8: Difficulty
9: Drew too many "rectangles" without really specifying what they represent and how they fit into the big picture(ie the whole system). Eg. when drawing virtual and physical memory and especially stacks...and how they fit into the big picture of the memory in a system
10: Extended lectures were sometimes not held. Assignments took a while to get marked.
11: Final exam paper questions, nearly no question from security or I/O why we have to read a lot. This is just no good
12: Getting stuck in the assignments. Spending a lot of time on the assignment and not knowing what is wrong.
13: I can't really think of any! Maybe the lecturer going too fast sometimes was a bit of a problem, especially during the two hour lectures where it's hard enough to stay awake.
14: I have to say it is the marking scheme for assignment. The problem is there is too much marks for code style and performance mark from the marker, and also each marker have different standard of marking. I found out that my tutor is harder to give mark to student than another tutor. When I compare my mark with my friend, I always get higer auto-mark, but lower mark in total even his coding style is similar to mine, but the mark was too much different (more than 5 marks for each assignment, so totally about 10-15 marks different for 3 assignment... It is quite a lot). My suggestion is: 1. Less weight on performance mark from marker OR 2. Let's each marker mark each whole assignment OR 3. Do a scale for performance mark in order to make all marks from each marker get the same scale
15: I would like to say it is also the programming assignment if I can not think out of it in a proper way.
16: Insufficient time given for completion of very difficult assignments - only because other COMP subjects have assignments at the same time.
17: Its too hard
18: Lectures got very tedious at times. (see answer to Q22)
19: Less intense assignments.
20: Many complex issues and the assignments were a bit of a challenge.
21: No attendance marks. Sometimes, you don't know the answer, you tried in the tuts and you might not get a mark. Also, group assignments, usually 1 person does most of the assignment and the other person bludges.
22: None.
23: Not enough assignments. :-) keeping the assigns small and constant i feel teaches more than a few large ones
24: The Assignments were too hard. And exam multiple choice was also too hard...the negative marks made it very nerve wrecking :)
25: The amount of stuff have to remember.
26: The assignments - it required a lot of understanding and a lot of time to work on, which meant less time was spent on other subjects.
27: The assignments are challenging and very hard to debug.
28: The assignments... but mostly because I put in too little effort.
29: The difficulty of asssignments
30: The long assignments.
31: The provided testing cases for the assignments were too general. If a solution pass the sample output answer from the specs 100% then it shouldn't loose 30% of the marks because additional testing were conducted during the actual marking ,some of the issues were not obvious so the student isn't even given a chance to debug their code them because he/she assume their solution is correct if it has the same sample outputs from the specs. So either provide the full testing cases from the start or cut down to only obvious ones.
32: Tough assigments, but still good learning.
33: Using 'darcs' as version control software. imo it is too buggy for seriously use like assignments. My group lost at least 6 marks for assignemnt3 only because we had a darcs problem (cant do darcs push) on submission night and spent 3 hours to fix it. Finally we did fix it problem (with darcs push) , we were too happy to remember to properly test the .patches file. And when the marking came out , we realized there were a 'darcs record' problem , the result of that was our final patch was not recorded at all.
34: Well, it did require somewhat more effort than other courses, particularly in the assignments. I do not think that is a bad thing, and I was certainly warned about it beforehand.
35: When you got stuck in an assignment you don't know what to do... hard to get help. Assignments were very vague as to what we need to do.
36: assignments percentage
37: boring lectures especially later topics, esp:security.
38: got stuck when c-programming
39: hard assignments and harmonic scaling
40: hmm consultation hours werent enough
41: marking problems
42: people who didn't know low-level C (but Java perhaps) were stuffed.
43: programming assingment especially asst2 and 3 were very hard
44: some boring sections, like filesystems.
45: take too long to understand the code and function provided and how do they relate to practical issues.
46: the assignment is not explained clear enought in the lecture
47: the assignments
48: the lecturer went through the topics too fast
49: there was a slight gap between theory and implementation of os161. I would like perhaps a little more direction to start off on assignments.
50: too many assignments. harmonic mean. no scaling. final exam still did not cover every topic or a board range of topics
51: too many programming assignments
52: unreliable partner

Regarding missed extended lectures (2 of), my apologies, it is very difficult to get somebody to cover the advanced material when I was unavailable.

Regarding assignment difficulty - it is trade-off between exposing student to semi-realistic examples - or token problems. My feeling is that the extra work involved with realistic assignments is worthwhile - even if it hurts a little at the time. I am looking at ways of reducing the load and/or adding labs to shepherd students next year.

13. What background knowledge do you think you were missing that would have helped you in this course? Is COMP2011/9024 and COMP2121/9032 (the official pre-requisites) a suitable preparation?
1: 2011 used java. A course which involved C would have been better as a prequisite. Compu1021 was clearly not enough.
2: 2121 helped but not really necessary.
3: A much stronger background with C programming.
4: Bitwise operators?
5: C C and more C. Too much C knowledge was assumed.
6: C skills. I only did one course that required C, thanks to the 1011 haskell course.
7: COMP2011 is helpful while COMP2121 is not.
8: COMP2011/9024 and COMP2121/9032 are suitable
9: COMP2121 should encourage the use of C. Surely teaching people how to write useful, portable embedded applications in C is a better skill than writing pages of assembly that does nothing.
10: Comp2011 in C is a good preparation for C skills need in OS. I was missing Hash tables. Non of the comp courses that i have down have ever covered hash tables. I know in previous years those course have, but not when i have done them.
11: Comp3211
12: Could have had more C practises
13: Deeper understanding in C would have helped. Yes, they are a suitable preparation.
14: Familiarity with C is essential. Being able to read ASM code did not seem a huge factor since general purpose register machines were mentioned in earlier courses.
15: Had never covered macros (e.g. # and ## operators in #defines, it took me so long to discover what they did because it's impossible to google for '#' and '#define' at the same time. Also function tables I didn't know anything of. COMP2011 could probably go into a bit more depth with tricky C syntax.
16: I found my previous courses a suitable preparation for what I faced in COMP3231.
17: I have not enough knowledge on hardware, e.g. registers and their use I did not do comp2121 because I did something else before this course started to offer, maybe this is why I don't have enough knowledge on hardware
18: I think it is enough. Most of the material you can pick up on the go in the course itself so I didn't find it such a problem. It is not so much as the c programming rather than the concepts.
19: I think my background on asm language is not enough to catch up with this course. Yes of course the comp9024 and comp 9032 are good preparation of this course
20: I think the pre-req were sufficient.
21: I was a PG student from EE&T, but still had quite a good background of c language programming.
22: Just dealing with large amounts of C code. Not so much understanding the code, previous courses had covered that well enough generally. But just getting a development enviornment established to work with lots of C. Defielntly don't change to Java at all. I like Java but enough courses use it already I always like it when courses don't so I can pick up a new language or improve my knowledge of it since I know Java pretty well even before starting my degree. What I mean by large scale c, is that since Java is the language I have the most experience with, I familiar with all the tools I need to help me manage large code bases (e.g Eclipse, Ant, JUnit... e.c.t). C on the other hand my previous experiences have been assignments of 1000 lines perhaps max and just a few source files I compile by hand. Picking up the new tools to handle it took time (as well as just finding the right ones, ended up using Vim with cscope and ctags). Also, Learning to GDB took a fair while, Im far more used to using a graphical debugger (as in the eclipse debugger). I can't see any way these skills could be added to as a pre-requisites, but maybe 1 lecture or even just some information on the course web page could be provided to tools to help manage lots of C code. e.g suggest a complete sort of development enviornment. So for me that would be vim, ctags, cscope, gdb, gcc, general unix tools. Knowing about ctags and cscope from day 1 would have helped.
23: Macro in C
24: Maybe better understanding of computer hardware would have helped. Yes they are suitable preparation, especially comp2121.
25: Need advanced C knowledge, especially how the compiler compiles code (for the stack based transitions to and from assembler and C code
26: No background knowledge missing, but more guidance or time (ie. starting earlier) with assignments would've helped.
27: No.
28: None really. There were a couple of steep learning curves but I've forgotten what they were. Just the short amount of pain they involved.
29: None.
30: Probably is C, since my last time for C is comp 1B, 2-3 years a go. So for OS, it like I have to do quite hard for for C in order to finish assignment. Sometimes I feel I have problem with assignment because of C, not the algorithm of assignment itself.
31: Should have been another course in 2nd year that requires using C language. Before this course starts, its been a long while without using C. The official pre-reqs are fine. Also it would be good if several consultations/tutorials were held for teaching the basic use of gcc as it wasn't really covered in Comp 1B. Although there is tutorial page provided, it would have been better to see someone teach it.
32: The current prerequisites are enough.
33: The general understanding of C, only did one semester on C.
34: The pre-requisites are enough for this subject
35: They are a suitable preparation.
36: Understanding of MIPS 3000 and assembler code.
37: Well, I completed those pre-reqs (or their equivalent) several years ago, and I didn't know C before starting this course, and I think I went fairly well. As I said before, the opportunity to get your hands dirty quickly with the assignments served, for me, as suitable preparation in itself.
38: Yes
39: Yes
40: Yes, they are a suitable pre-req.
41: Yes. None needed.
42: c language
43: definitely C cant remmeber much of it since i am studing part time by the time i get to third year, first year C class have been forgotten
44: for me , those were enough and I did cs4001(OO) together with os , I feel it helped with some topic such as synchroniztion at the very beginning
45: missing os/161 knowledge
46: more practicals
47: my C skills are a bit below par even though I have done it b4.
48: none
49: not bad
50: the knowledge of C programming , since most students haven't touched it for 2 years plus.
51: yes, they are, and it doesn't require too much.
15. Which material do you think you will be most useful to you in the future?
1: All the concurrency and multiprocessing things.
2: Almost all materials covered are useful
3: Assignments
4: Everything would come in handy someday
5: File Systems
6: File Systems and Memory Management
7: I'd say all of them - they cover so many broad topics, they're all useful.
8: In Depth knowledge of OS.
9: Knowledge of virtual memory systems, understanding paging, and multithreading,
10: Most of them.
11: Most of what was covered
12: Multiprocessor System
13: Multiprocessor System
14: Multiprocessor Systems
15: Multiprocessor Systems
16: Multiprocessor Systems
17: Multiprocessor system
18: Security
19: Security.
20: Sync and concurrency
21: Synchonisation and concurrency, deadlock
22: Synchronisation and concurrency
23: Synchronisation and concurrency
24: Synchronisation and multiprogramming
25: Synchronisation, concurrency, deadlock - though I believe most of the material will turn out useful
26: Synchronisation, deadlock, memory management
27: Syscalls/Processes/Threads/FS/Scheduling
28: System Calls
29: The hands on practical experience in C coding.
30: Threads
31: Threads, File Systems, System Calls, IO Management, Security, Multiprocessor Systems
32: Threads, processes, multiprocessor systems, scheduling, hell everything is gonna be useful
33: VM
34: VM, System calls, scheduling, io management, threads, processes
35: all
36: all of above
37: all of them useful
38: deeper knowledge of computers
39: have lecture nots at least a week piror so we can prepare
40: hopefully all
41: i/o management
42: i/o management, synchronisation and concurrency
43: just the concepts in general
44: lecture podcasts
45: memory management and file systems
46: mm,vm, file sys,processes,threads,sync.
47: nothing really stood out in particular
48: processes, threads and concurreny
49: security
50: security and virtual memory
51: synchonisation and concurrency
52: system calls
53: text book
54: textbook
55: threads
56: threads and sync
57: understanding concurrency, so that i can write multithreaded application code.
58: virtual memory, security, threads
16. What material related to operating systems, but not currently in the course, would you like to have seen covered?
1: -
2: -
3: 64bit OS.
4: A bit on writing drivers
5: A device driver for something. Writing code for massively parallel architectures, like the newer graphics cards.
6: Assigment based on Linux, not OS161 Linux is too complex to do real work with - it is even harder to debug, algorithms more complex, commenting targeted towards experts etc... :(
7: Bootloaders, BIOS. Microkernel/Server approach Vs Monolithic Kernels in more detail. How current OS's are progressing in regard to this or other approaches (e.g what the future holds).
8: Can't think of any - it's already jammed packed!
9: Can't think of any.
10: Don't know
11: Dont know
12: Graphical User Interface
13: I don't know
14: I have no idea, since I am not really interested in OS
15: If possible more about networking. But for a introductory course the material is well balanced.
16: N/A
17: N/A
18: N/A
19: Nil - I found the course to be a very thorough introduction to all major OS issues.
20: None
21: Not sure, I though it was pretty good. A bit more Linux/Unix examples maybe???
22: current developments in kernels, minix 3, L4 etc.
23: dont know
24: mmmmmmm not much there is too much contains in it already, probably a lil more embeded systems
25: more on interoperability between segments
26: more on security and hacking
27: mutimedia and more examples on popular OSes
28: n/a
29: no
30: no idea
31: none - what there is now is a good variety.
32: not sure
33: not sure
34: talk more about other os like mac os or even os in handphone or PDA
35: virtualisation
36: windows more
17. Which of the current topics would you like to see scaled back or excluded?
1: -
2: -
3: File systems
4: I/O management
5: IO Management
6: Maybe scale back file systems
7: N/A
8: N/A
9: None
10: None
11: None
12: None.
13: None.
14: Security
15: Security (I liked it but there is already a course on it, which I've done)
16: Security was a little... boring. By then I was used to low-level topics!
17: Some part of Security
18: Synchronisation and Concurrency.
19: Sys-calls
20: all of it seems relevant
21: all the above i have problems with
22: asst2 and asst3 hope to get clearer explaination on what to do
23: filesystems is a bit boring
24: i dont know
25: i think they are all equally important
26: low level implementation issues
27: multi processor
28: multiprocessor
29: multiprocessor systems
30: multiprocessor systems
31: no
32: none
33: none
34: none
35: none - I feel like there is sufficient information on all areas and cutting back will not explain all the concepts thoroughly
36: security
37: security
38: security, its already covered in another course.
21. If you have not been attending lectures, what factors influenced your decision not to attend?
1: -
2: -
3: I attended all I could, about 50%. Would have liked to make all lectures but outside factors such as medical, work, family, etc made it hard. I was away for over 2 weeks for medical reasons
4: I attended every lecture
5: I have assignments for other subjects.
6: I have attended all lectures.
7: I just missed 1, busy doing project... :(
8: I overloaded this session (which, in retrospect, was a rather silly decision!). I just didn't have the time.
9: I skipped the few after the paper ball was thrown around. I am extremely shy. I did return though.
10: Living almost 2hours away. Missing one train meant I'd arrive an hour later, which can mean I turn up just as the lecture ends on Wednesday...
11: Material is too heavy. Lecturer enthused life in it, but lecture is stil too draining.
12: Material usually covered too slowly in lectures, I get bored, prefer to teach myself. I'm just don't like learning from lectures.
13: My job.
14: N/A
15: N/A
16: N/A
17: Not so much missed whole lectures, but constantly missed 30 minutes of it due the fact I have no other free time to have lunch
18: Other subjects =P
19: Small lecture room.
20: assignments and labs for other subjects
21: i always attend
22: i missed 1hr each week because of timetable clash, but otherwise it was good.
23: i missed one class cause i am sick i wish i could have went it was the double. and another class because i had presentation for comp arch and also thesis presentation.
24: i went to lectures!
25: sometimes boring
26: too many assignment
27: wake up too late

Too fast, too slow - can't please everybody.

22. Any suggestions for improving lectures?
1: -
2: -
3: Bigger lecture room. The rest is great.
4: Briefly discuss new developments in each area as they're taught, so we have an idea of things to look up if we're interested.
5: Go just a bit slower. The material explanation is wonderful but I find it hard to keep up sometimes.
6: It've already good enough for me.
7: Kevin should speak slowly than what he do now.
8: Kevin speaks fast. May not able to follow sometimes. Lecture notes post up on web too late, should be 1 or 2 days before lecture.
9: Lectures were useful with the lecture slides which provide a good summary. I wouldn't change anything.
10: Lighter reads as slides.
11: More examples of code in Lectures
12: More handouts.
13: More practical contends to show the real implementation.
14: More practical? Demonstrate there and then how certain concepts work on windows/linux/sys161
15: N/A
16: N/A
17: N/A
18: No - lecture notes were brilliant to work off, particularly for studying for the final.
19: Nope. Make sure you keep adding things that are not examinable but interesting such as references to people you know working at blah blah who are making blah blah etc. It is interesting and gives ppl motivation
20: One issue I had was tieing all the sepperate things together. So we learnt about memory allocators, and later we learnt about VM. I was never sure how they worked together so much. Also I was quite confused at the start of assignment 3 as to how memory was allocated in an OS from boot to running processes. So how the OS got its memory itself, since the VM isnt up yet... e.c.t Would be nice to do sort of a high levelish overview where we look at an OS life cycle from computer boot to shutdown. So look at BIOS process, boot loader...
21: Probably more demos on Unix/Linux
22: Provide recorded lectures.
23: Sometimes i couldnt print out the lectures slides before attending the lecture. Having both infront of me is how i learn the best, otherwise i seem to turn off after a while =(
24: The 1 hr lecture is not a good decision. There should be just one 3 hour lecture in a week. Dividing the lecture was not the good idea.
25: The lecture notes are fine while you're there however a lot of the slides are purely diagrams, hard to revise off of.
26: We need more description about the assignment, such as the description about the activities of the functions to help us do it in a proper way. I found when I was doing my assignment, I usually follow the right path, this make me waste so much time.
27: Would be good if we could get a bit of an overview on where a particular lecture topic fits in with the rest of the OS before too much low level detail is given. (Sometimes Kevin gave too many details too early on in the lecture while some of us hadn't even caught on to what he's talking about yet) E.g. When he was doing the RAID lecture. He started talking about Raid0 raid1 and we understood the concepts fine, but weren't too sure why he was talking about RAID in the first place (like: What's it got to do with OS??). =)
28: bit more C related material maybe include revision
29: explain more about os161 and its practical use
30: have more breaks
31: kevin could do some demostration on coding tricks and going through some code like he did in EOS lecture
32: less content on the lecture slides, more content on the boards and delivered vocally
33: make it more interesting
34: maybe show some more coding in terminal might help
35: more detail of how provided functions work
36: no
37: not really.. maybe just ask more questions to keep people from sleeping :)
38: split the 2 hour lecture.
23. If you used other textbooks other than Tannenbaum (e.g. Silberschatz, Stallings), how do you think they compare to each other? Which gives the best explanations, which has the best structure, etc....
1: -
2: Didn't use a different book
3: Different books seem to have strong and weak points. For introductory course Tannenbaum is good.
4: N/A
5: N/A
6: N/A
7: N/A - only used Tannnbaum
8: Text book was never used. I don't like that idea. Students should be incouraged to read text book. I just bought the text book and never touched it becuase i thought everything is in slides.... :(
9: Used no other textbooks.
10: did not have a text
11: none
12: tannenbaum was fine
13: this textbook is good but just wonder if there were more later version
26. Any suggestions for improving tutorials?

1: -
2: -
3: Better explanations, especially in how it relates to exams and assignments
4: Decrease number of tute questions, but make each question more involved in the topic, e.g. each question involves more concepts and details.
5: Fewer questions in some cases.
6: Forcing people to interact probably won't get the best out of students. Having good, encouraging tutors will. Although the tutor is there to help us, if s/he can't get students to participate at least let students separate into groups to discuss topics. Supervise as required!
7: I heard that one of the tutor bring the labtop to show what the system call functions and internal of os161 in the tut. hope that every tutor will be the same
8: Let XXX run all of them, he's one of the best tutors I've had.
9: Maybe cover some more OS161 code. Tutorials were very good at covering high level theory but not much code.
10: More linux kernel code demo
11: More time.
12: My tutorials were fine but for the other ones, there should be less emphasis on participation and more on just going through the questions, otherwise students become nervous and tend not to show up.
13: N/A
14: None
15: Our tutor almost demanded participation of us by picking on us and while it was a bit scary at first, I found that it really kept me awake and up to date cause I had to prepare myself.
16: XXX is the best
17: XXX should teach all of the tutorials.
18: The tutor has a demoralising demeanour if you give a blunt or wrong answer. They should try to be a bit more supportive.
19: The tutorial questions were generally uploaded pretty late for my class, so i didn't get sufficient time to review them. This made it a bit difficult to prepare for them fully and participate.
20: already good.
21: could maybe have some code to explain assts etc a little more
22: good job
23: XXX did a good job, XXX was a bit harsh at marking assignments.
24: longer tutorials so we can do more questions
25: make is longer
26: n/a
27: no
32. Do you have any specific comments about OS/161
1: -
2: -
3: Always hoped kevin could give a lecture on what does each file do in os161 folder
4: I attended the course becuase i wanted to study linux. But yea its useful to go through OS161 and then dive into Linux.
5: I think i found it a bit difficult because i wanted to understand it in entirety so i knew what i was doing but it was hard. It was different to what i was expecting.
6: I wish there was more explanation regarding the different features of the code or perhaps that is only because of my lack of knowledge regarding C.
7: It was hard to know how efficient to make our code when there were inefficient parts of OS/161
8: N/A
9: N/A
10: N/A
11: Nope
12: Pretty ok.
13: Seems pretty neat, presents each subsystem cleanly to the student, with useful abstractions in place.
14: Slightly confusing to navigate at first, especially if you don't know how to use 'grep' or 'find'.
15: Some comments in os/161 are not clear.
16: The OS concepts to sys161 translations were not as direct as i hoped.
17: Tough to understand thoroughly.
18: confusing
19: hard
20: i realise that part of the assignments involved understanding the code already in place, however a pdf manual or something giving some details of the processes called and what they do at a higher level would have made it easier to start
21: its crap and outdated. there are otherways of making us develop practical skills in os other than assignments and os/161 we also spent more time trying to get darcs working than actually doing assignments themselves we needd to learn svn.. something practical and commerical at the same time, there are more chances of us encountering svn than darcs, so why are we learning it? Hmmm, OS/161 is actually the most recent teaching OS out there. Real OSes are too complex to start with. I made the point at the start of the course - it is not about system admin. Regarding darcs - exposure to different tools and ways of managing code broadens your knowledge.
22: no
23: no
24: nope
25: separation into code for arch/mips was probably more confusing than useful
36. Any suggestions for improving the assignments?
1: -
2: -
3: Add peer review to it. My partner contributed about 30% in assignments 1 & 2 and none at all in 3, yet gets the same amount of marks as me. Definately not fair, since the idea is to develop skills and work together. His lack of participation affects my final mark. This was a random partner and it's rather difficult to ask "Are you going to contribute your weight?" at the onset - they're not going to say "No".
4: As I mention about the marking schem earlier
5: Assignment spec is not clear sometimes and no answers for the questions in the spec.
6: Assignments should be individual.
7: I am not sure. For someone who it was very difficult for, I'd say make them easier, but how that can be managed, I do not know.
8: I had to do all the work... but not enough time, since i also did 2 other Comp subjects.
9: I suggest not having 'break' between assignment i.e release assignment one after the other , this will allow more time for each assignment, so that we could have more time to attend the adv. part
10: I think the assignments themselves were fine but the timing could be improved. I found that especially with the last assignment if it was due earlier (released earlier), I could have done a better job because it was due at the same time as all other assignments from other subjects.
11: Individual Assignments.
12: Make group bigger, maybe 3 per group
13: Make the specifications a bit more clear.
14: Maybe having a little bit more information on the required output for more tests, as we got docked marks for the last assignment, but we could do everything people on the forum could do, so we had no idea what we did wrong.
15: Maybe some (optional) friendly competition (such as seeing whose code is fastest).
16: More guidance so we don't spend 2 weeks trying to figure out where to start. It would be fine if we didn't have other subjects to worry about.
17: More time.
18: Now that you've mentioned it, a Java OS would be interesting.
19: Personally, I find SVN easier to use - just as a suggestion.
20: Please Make them easier or ABOLISH!
21: Replace the system calls assignment with something related to multiprocessors; everything seems to be going multiprocessor, so it would be a useful skill for the future.
22: a little more guide into them
23: it should have a undisclosed survey saying how much effort each partner spend on the assignment to be fair.
24: it should have a undisclosed survey saying how much effort each partner spend on the assignment to be fair.
25: it should have a undisclosed survey saying how much effort each partner spend on the assignment to be fair.
26: it should have a undisclosed survey saying how much effort each partner spend on the assignment to be fair.
27: maybe i should have tried harder
28: maybe making them just slightly less difficult
29: maybe more explaination on how os/161 program internal is will help and show on the terminal will help too
30: no
31: no more darcs please!! and the assignments schedual are hard to fit in with assignments from other computing subjects some of the deadlines between subjects were concurrent and it was difficult to keep out of a deadlocking situation.
32: not really know
33: perhaps one more. especially since Assignment 0 was a joke
34: provide better test cases, so when submitting the assignment can be reasonably certain that it'll pass the tests. New code in the real world goes through iterations. why is there a performance component to the marker's section as well as the automated tests?
35: some of the requirements, especially for vm, wasnt all that clear.
36: when releasing the assignment, you shouldn't release it on midnight or close too , since students who want to do 48 hrs complete already lost their hours and don't expect someone will be awake and wait for the lecturer to release that late night

The course outline states groups need to contribute equally, and are assumed to do so unless YOU state otherwise.

groups size in an issue - we actually used to do assignments as individuals, the switch to pair had a dramatic effect on level of student support needed via consultations - student in pairs could work it out together with each others help - instead of getting stumped. Educationally, a much better result. As a side issue, we don't really have the man power to mark individual assignments - they are very time consuming to mark at the level to detail we strive to look at.

38. What were the strong points of COMP3891/9283?
1: Didn't do it.
2: Interesting extended lectures
3: Interesting extra information and technologies.
4: Lectures were good when they were on
5: Topics learned are quite useful for most computing degrees.
6: learn extra stuff about os is great
7: the extra discussions with the researchers was perhaps the best tutorial i can remember.
39. What were the weak points of COMP3891/9283?
1: Didn't do it.
2: I am not very familiar about the assessment system, but here is my suggestion: Since ext. students dont have normal tutorials , dont have 'free' tutorial participation mark, and are expected to attemped the adv. part of assignments. I think ext. students's final result needs to be scaled up as a reward of doing more work than others.
3: Lectures weren't always on
4: lack of any real incentive to do the subject over the other one in terms of difficulty
40. Any suggestions for improving COMP3891/9283 Extended OS?
1: Didn't do it.
2: More extended lectures
3: as above
42. Do you have any particular comments you would like to make about the exam?
1: -
2: A couple of T/F questions were slightly ambiguous (or I just didn't understand what they were asking)
3: Don't put it in the morning
4: I felt that the exam concentrated on a small section of the entire course and is not indicative of my OS knowledge.
5: I guess exam should be purely true/false or multiple choice. At this level having to write things is not good.
6: I hope I did well :-)
7: I think the exam is not cover the main part of course, it just covered some small part. It's better to make it 3 hours with more questions to cover more material
8: I would prefer if there was no multiple choice section at all. Sometimes there are factors which affect the way a question is approached, but are not given in the question, and multiple choice does not give me the ability to explain my reasoning, or make assumptions and list them.
9: Maybe provide more in each short answer type question what we are to write/discuss about. As they all worth a substaintial amount of marks, but they could be answered with different levels of details.
10: Really Tough!
11: Should cover more topics.
12: Should explain what is needed in the answer more.
13: Surprisingly, I enjoyed it.
14: Thanks for the sample paper and questions. That is a great help.
15: The exam was fair, testing things we learnt with no surprises.
16: Was rather straight forward and the materials made available prior to the exam were extremely helpful.
17: a lot of content not even refered to
18: assignments should play a bigger part as more time is spend in it.
19: assignments should play a bigger part as more time is spend in it.
20: assignments should play a bigger part as more time is spend in it.
21: assignments should play a bigger part as more time is spend in it.
22: didn't cover eenough of the topics... get rid of the negative marking, your setting marking standards by decades if you have that.. have more multiple choices. then give more multiple choice questions. the sample exam does not relect the actual exam which is unique in my experiences of CSE and unsw
23: hope that the true/false question were not negative marking
24: i should have studied and it would have been better
25: i thought some of the true/false questions could have been more definitely defined. I walked away from some of those questions thinking that alot of them were simply opinions.
26: no
27: none
28: removing negaitive marking and making the true/false questions multiple choice
29: the distribution of topics on the exam question are extremely poorly done, according to the material on I/O and security.
30: too many questions are come from the sample, so people can get high mark even they didn't realy understand the topic if they remember the question beforehead
31: too much emphasis on coding, could have emphasised more on topics understanding. we spent enough times on coding with the assignments already. that was really unexpected.
32: tutorial question answers help a lot!

Regarding the exam coverage - it is very hard to cover everything evenly. The true/false section actually does this, and gives a pretty reasonable bell curve mark distribution with an average around 13/24. I think this is appropriate as it is the more difficult part of the exam.

46. Any other comments/suggestions that might help us to improve the course in the future?
1: -
2: - Perhaps the first assignment should be individual and very hard. This is to encourage students to drop the course if they are having difficulty before they become a burden for a group partner. - Lecture recordings will help with assignment preparation and exam study, it will only help students gain better understanding of the material by listening to them again. It's like watching a movie where you pick up on things you didn't pick up on the first time.
3: Add peer marking / review for assignments to make it fairer for students who contribute more for their assignments. I know it's hard when it's 1 student's word vs. another, but I think it's clear when you talk to them about the code, concepts etc who really did the work.
4: All suggestions have been stated above , and I wanna see CSE make os complusory to everyone :D
5: Just use cse forum rather than seperate message board
6: Less intense assignments.
7: More feedback on assignments, I got marks but few comments. Do not even consider java. Java is a high level language, with some nice OO, and horrible everything else. It is so obviously inappropriate for low level work. No bitfields, no pointers, no unsigned numbers, no access to anything low level which is absolutely critical for programming operating systems.
8: No
9: No idea bout the cheating bit really, dont know whether there were any in the first place, let alone their punishment.
10: The lecture/tutorial/content side is fine, which doesn't require improvements. I'd suggest Kevin continue to teach the course because he really is very confident and he knows his theory.
11: do everything possible to improve lecture attendance rate - really make the point hard at the beginning - "if you don't attend most days and don't know OS, quit now because you WILL fail"
12: hope that assignment can be made more understandable.
13: i have no idea
14: i suggest a midsession instead of 4 assignments. considering many ppl that have to do OS as core, they will have Comp Arch at the same time which is almost 3 major assignments as well + midsession. so maybe the assignments can be decreased to 2 assignments and have a midsession i believe thats fairer to individuals who are not C hackers.
15: no
16: not really
48. In 2008, UNSW is moving to a 12-week session from the existing 14 week session. What would you like to see changed in the current operating systems course in order to be able to run it in the shorter 12 week session?
1: -
2: Carefully consideration to the amount of time allowed for assignments. This might mean cutting down some of the requirements, or releasing them earlier. This is because I believe the amount of time we got was just right.
3: Definitely do not remove the comprehensive low-level coverage. I'd suggest shortening the later topics.
4: For the short 12 week session, the assignments will become a little heavy workload. In order to let the student learn much things from them, I think the tutor can give more hints to let the student follow the right way, and save time.
5: Forced to choose, I'd say security since it can be taught elsewhere.
6: Hmm...maybe cover 1 less topic. Something like security should be dropped as it is quite straightforward
7: How on earth do you fit OS into 12 weeks??? Maybe less on the security section? It was interesting but a bit hand-wavy.
8: I believe the material is not that much, 12 weeks is OK.
9: I don't care, because I'll graduate this session.
10: I think the second assignment should be removed. Also, the sections about security could be lessened.
11: Just cut out RAID or securrity.
12: Less assignments, more weighting on final exam. As such, change the structure of the course a bit. In terms of preparation of exam: Tutorials > Lectures > Assignments
13: Less intense assignments.
14: Make some topics optional and provide them as recordings. They may/may not be assessible.
15: Maybe less assignments' workload
16: Maybe less details on I/O management.
17: Maybe shorter assignments with the same level of complexity.
18: More lectures in a week and maybe introduce labs to using OS161 rather than assignments.
19: No changes. The course as it is well balanced and good for students interested in the subject.
20: No idea. It's quite jam packed, but all relevant, esp. multiprocessors in this day and age, but you also need fundamental topics. Good luck trying to trim it down Kevin! Very good lecturer and very nicely delivered course!
21: None
22: Nothing, sounds really difficult. Wouldnt want to change the content or the delivery time. Definately wouldnt want to drop any of the assignments. Good luck figuring it out =D
23: One less assignment would help.
24: Reduce the introduction to the course part
25: Remove sections on security and RAID. I believe security is covered in detail in another course? And RAID seems a little irrelevant compared to the relevance of the rest of the topics covered.
26: Remove some lecture materials and 1 assignment
27: Run out of timetable lectures :) Somehow get 14 week sessions back. Seriously though, maybe drop the introductory and final lectures.
28: Skip or shorten some parts such as secure and multiprocess
29: TAKE OUT A LOT OF THE MATERIAL! Make the assignemnts easier.
30: The 12 week session will be horribly detrimental to EVERYTHING. The only positive thing is that I only need to put up with it for 1 year. For OS I think that the material on security could be compressed by a week, you could give a lot less time for assignment 0, and I guess save time by giving fewer examples of "Bad Things".
31: cut virtual memory assignment and section of the course
32: dnt give the memory assignment.. its too hard... i couldnt even understand it to do it :(
33: easier assignment, longer exam
34: get rid of some of the "side" subjects like RAID
35: i feel RAID and security are related, but not core to the course and so could be ommitted.
36: less assignments
37: less assignments?
38: less topics
39: make assignments less lengthy, combine all scheduling topics into one
40: mmm, yes
41: nothing just all faster, start faster thats all
42: one less assignment
43: one less assignment if the assignment is still the same people will die considering people will be having other course too. For other part i think all still be great
44: reduce content - maybe remove the securty lectures
45: reduce filesystems & security. they're the less interesting sections.
46: scrap asst0.
47: security topic should not be covered in detail. week 1 and week 2 can be combined into 1 lecture.
48: shorter version of assignments , else not many students will finish it on time
49: smaller assignments
50: sure
51: yes definately
52: yes definately
53: yes definately
54: yes definately
55: yes less bloody assignments!!!!! and kill off harmonic mean.. this is the only subject with it and with no scaling also some materials needs to be cut and changed in order to fit into 12 weeks.

Yes, I think the move to 12 weeks is detrimental too.

My current vision for next year is likely to be a reduction in lecture material - yes, RAID and security are likely candidates. Also, a reduction in the number of assignment - probably just 2 (no freebie assignment 0 anymore), but I'm still thinking about it.

Regarding darcs - the balance for and against is pretty even. I'm tempted to switch to svn next year (and make it optional). 12 weeks does not give one very long to overcome to learning curve of the tools involved.

A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO RESPONDED. Your input is valued greatly.

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