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School of Computer Science & Engineering
University of New South Wales

 Advanced Operating Systems 
 COMP9242 2013/S2 

Comments on myExperience Survey

Thanks for the great scores!

Free-form comments

We realise that the loss of the physical lab due to the pandemic was a significant factor. Such comments are valuable in that they help us to argue for going back to this once the pandemic is over. And it's great to see that students appreciate that we did what we could to help.

Comments on LiC Survey

I'm very pleased to see that all but one student did the survey (bribing with a t-shirt may have helped ;-) This certainly provides valuable feedback.

General comments

The results mostly speak for themselves. The course seems to be in good shape, overall satisfaction was very high. This is particularly pleasing as the pandemic forced us to do things differently in other years, and this came on top of changes we had already put in place, specifically migration to the new kernel model (MCS kernel, which is the future of seL4).

Q1: Quick eval

Nothing negative stands out here, which is great. Complaints about tutor consistency, which we had in some previous years, were non-existent. The team worked well. Also, we had no specific complaints about supplied resources, which is also great to see. And it is a testament to Curtis, who did a great job in making sure everything needed for the project worked.

Q2: Reasons for taking AOS

We really should have “reputation of the course in industry” as one of the standard answers.

Q7: Worst things

Found it hard to connect to other AOS students
The student writing this recognises that this is a result of the pandemic, and there was obviously not much we could do about this. But I take this as encouragement to keep fighting for a 24h AOS lab in future years!
sel4 documentation / course documentation needs updates
It would be nice if you could be specific here, the seL4 documentation is actively maintained, and if something is missing or wrong we really want to know about it!
Milestone due date on week-end is bad, not enough opportunity to get clarification from tutors.
I see your point (although I suspect others would prefer to keep the due date on the weekend). We can try to shift to Fri if the lecture remains Mon-Tue and we can get away with just 4 days for M0. Worth looking at.
Require understanding of caching, VMs in project
I cannot see how to do this without making the project even harder, and I don't think we want to go that way. You do need to understand caches (at least somewhat) for I/O though, that's why they are covered in the first place.
Tutors prepare material to present
We don't really have tutorials (neither do other electives), we have consults...
Pre-recorded lectures suck
Honestly, I think me teaching without immediate feedback from students would suck even more :-( I think you got more mature material this way, but that doesn't mean it was the right call. We should have asked this in Q18, though...
Curious to see how we'll do things next time, but experience from prior (non-pandemic) years was that the majority of students watch the recordings instead of attending the lecture.
Sorry about intimidating you with the incompetence remark. Keep in mind this was aimed at supposedly mature researchers publishing papers, they really should know better and there's no excuse for them. I never said anything demeaning about a student question. However, I'll try to remember to clarify the context of such remarks in the future. And thanks for your overall encouraging comments!

Q8: What could have been done better in the pandemic context?

Distribute kits
Students were actually evenly split about having kits vs remote access. I get both sides of the argument, and we'll revisit this next year. But I'm convinced that in the pandemic situation it was the best call, as mailing out kits would have likely led to some students receiving them late or not at all, especially the one student stuck in China.
Live lectures
See above

Q18: Fresh vs edited life recordings

As I already mentioned, we should have also asked about a life lecture, sorry.

Poor audio of my fresh recording
Not sure what happened there. I used the same laptop as last year in the life lecture, so that's not a problem. I also used a quality headset (which I use heavily for meetings during the pandemic, and people don't complain). I think the gain may have been a bit too high. Should a situation like this arise in the future (or I'd have to reuse this year's recording) I'll check more carefully.
Pointing with cursor in life recordings
I guess the problem is not pointing with the cursor but pointing at the screen in the lecture theatre. Yes that's a problem, as when doing a life lecture, I focus on the class, not the recording.
I tried to fix this in the most serious cases with over-imposing highlighting, but didn't have the time to do it everywhere. Take-away: In the future, use a pointer that gets recorded, even in a life 2f2 class...

Q19: Lectures on YouTube

Great to see that no-one objects to the material being freely available, and thanks for the encouragement for doing it with all lectures.

Obviously that's the call of the individual lectures, most of mine are now on YouTube. But the distinction is also about where I feel I know better than just about anyone else, vs where I'm somewhat less confident ;-)

Q22: MCS kernel

Main gripe here was that apparently some of the docs were referring to the old kernel. I hope you let someone know!

Q23: Take-home kits vs remote access

Interesting (and somewhat surprising) to see here that the opinions are quite balanced. As I stated above, this was the safest call for the pandemic, but we consider it a possible approach for the future as well. However, we'll definitely take the students' differing views into consideration for next time!

Q25: Internships

Sorry about not advertising the CSIRO summer internships, my only excuse is that I was really stressed at the time...

I believe the Faculty will be reinstating the ToR next year, so you should still get your chance. And it's good to see that many are interested!

Q26: Theses

Even more pleasing ot see that almost everyone is at least potentially intereste in a thesis or research project. Please talk to us!


Thanks for the feedback, and your participation in the course!


Last modified: 30 May 2021. [an error occurred while processing this directive]