Informal Student Feedback 1999
The following is a verbatim transcript of anonymous feedback from studens
enrolled in COMP9242 in Session 2 of 1999. The survey was held during
the Week 14 lecture. There is a total of 10
replies (of 18 students enrolled). Student input is in red, my comments are in blue. Every top-level bullet point represents one
student's comment (according to the handwriting).
End of verbatim transcript. If you have more comments to make, please do.
- Difficult but very interesting course. Learned a lot. Too much
- Very time consuming, but worthwhile if you want to get your hands
dirty in OS.
Should provide more consultation for project design issues (can
learn more about advantages and disadvantages).
I thought we had provided plenty of
Here's what one of the tutors
- Is it possible to `integrate' the project and lectures a little
more - clearly not to the point of spoon feeding - but so that
lectures such as the 64-bit page tables coincide with that particular
phase of the project?
I appreciate what you are saying. It's
difficult to do without making the whole structure of the lectures
fairly random. For example, the PT stuff used to be at the very end
and I moved it forward as much as I thought I could (but still too
late for the projects). There were a few other things which were out
of logical order in hindsight.
I'll keep working on it.
- Lots of work, but worthwhile.
- Please move the MIPS box on the table, pressing reset is hard.
You're right, that was an oversight of mine
when the lab was last set up. I have already given instructions that
next year the two computers will be swapped around.
- Not enough focus on the low-level `hard' bits of an OS... in our
project we are just coding to another API (L4's) In particular, thread
scheduling, esp for multiprocessor systems. I mean practical
considerations, like how and where you actually go lock things. Looking
at the L4 source at the end is nice 'tho boring :-)
Overall, good subject - this is a minor gripe.
Thanks for these comments, I'll try to see
what can be done about it. One thing I might be doing is to look
closely as L4 source fragments throughout the course, rather than all
in one shot. I'll work on it.
- Additional facilities would be nice:
. coffee machine
As far as the "library" goes, all the recent stuff is available
on-line. And for the older stuff I think it doesn't do too much harm
if you guys occasionally walk the long way to the main library.
As far as coffee goes, with the move to the new building we'd be
keen to see the Union area between ME and our new building to cater
for what our students want. However, we don't control the
Union, so we'll have to see where we can go...
- The documentation could be a bit better. There are some
undocumented "features" and in other places the documentation is
misleading. At times the lectures also get a bit sidetracked.
Tell me what's wrong with the dox and I'll
As far as lectures go, do you really want me to go full
power all the time?
- Stable/more bug-free kernel
Easier said than done. The kernel used to be
very stable but seemed to have developed a bit-rot problem :-)
Looks like a simple recompilation exposed a bug that has always been
there. No protection against that (and don't think anyone is
developing OSes in a more stable environment).
Still, this is the worst session so far for kernel problems, and
it is a worry. The good news is that pretty much all problems could be
traced back to a single bug which is now fixed. And there are now
plenty people who know the kernel well, so chances are that the same
sort of problems won't happen again.
- Too much lecture time on L4 system calls. We have the reference
manual and can ask the lab demonstrators. For any other problems, I'd
prefer we spent the lecture time on more interesting issues.
Fair point. I think the dox are now good
enough so I can indeed reduce the amount of time spent on the L4
It was great fun teaching this, all students were highly motivated and
eager to learn. Many thanks for participating, and also thanks for your