School of Computer Science & Engineering
University of New South Wales
Advanced Operating Systems
Comments on myExperience Survey
Thanks for the great scores!
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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!
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!
Even more pleasing ot see that almost everyone is at least
potentially intereste in a thesis or research project. Please talk to
Thanks for the feedback, and your participation in the course!
30 May 2021.
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