[CSE]  Advanced Operating Systems 
COMP9242 2013/S2 
UNSW
CRICOS Provider
Number: 00098G

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On-Line Survey 2007

Survey ID1257
TitleCOMP9242 07
DescriptionCourse Evaluation Survey for COMP9242 Advanced Operating Systems. Version for Session 2, 2007.
AnonymousYes
Fill Ratio69% (9/13)
# Filled9
# Suspended1
# Not Filled3
(required) indicates required field
Your comments will help us to assess and improve our courses, not only for future generations, but for your further study in CS&E. We really look at the results and appreciate your feedback! Several changes to the course over the years were a direct result of student feedback.


Note: Please do not enter "no comment" or something similar into comment boxes. If you don't have anything to say, just leave the box empty.
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.) (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Excellent Satisfactory Poor
Gernot Heiser 7(78%) 2(22%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Kevin Elphinstone 8(89%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Guest lecturer Stefan Petters 2(22%) 4(44%) 3(33%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Tutors/demonstrators 3(33%) 5(56%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Course web pages 1(11%) 6(67%) 2(22%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Exam 3(33%) 2(22%) 3(33%) 1(11%) 0(0%)
Reference material 1(11%) 2(22%) 5(56%) 1(11%) 0(0%)
Computing resources 2(22%) 5(56%) 2(22%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
COMP9242 overall 7(78%) 2(22%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
2. General
2. Which factors most influenced your decision to enrol in this course? (required)
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
Interest in operating systems as an area of study 9(100%) chart
Chance to build a system 7(78%) chart
Chance to get fingers really dirty 7(78%) chart
Would like to do some systems research 6(67%) chart
Looking for a challenge 6(67%) chart
Looking for an easy course 0(0%) chart
Friends told me it was good 3(33%) chart
3. Other factors not mentioned above?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (1 comments)
4. Would you recommend this course to another student such as yourself? (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Yes 9(100%) chart
No 0(0%) chart
5. The course is heavy on design and implementation issues. It also tries to remain close to present research issues. What do you think about this? (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Too
much
Just
right
Too
little
Theory/general principles 0(0%) 0(0%) 8(89%) 1(11%) 0(0%)
OS design and implementation 0(0%) 2(22%) 6(67%) 1(11%) 0(0%)
Current research issues 0(0%) 0(0%) 6(67%) 3(33%) 0(0%)
6. What were the best things about this course?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (7 comments)
7. What were the worst things about this course?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (7 comments)
8. How does the workload in this course compare to workloads in other ... (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Much
Lighter
Similar Much
Heavier
COMP courses at this level 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 2(22%) 6(67%)
COMP courses in general 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 1(11%) 7(78%)
Courses in general 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 1(11%) 7(78%)
9. How does the overall quality/value of this course compare to other ... (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Among
the best
Average Among
the worst
COMP courses at this level 6(67%) 2(22%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
COMP courses in general 7(78%) 1(11%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
courses in general 7(78%) 2(22%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
10. What background knowledge do you think you were missing that would have helped you in this course? Is distinction in COMP3231/9201 a suitable preparation? Is it too harsh?
Question type : Short-answer
Answer at the bottom page (8 comments)
3. Content/Syllabus
11. Please rate the relevance/appropriateness of the lecture topics. (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Very
relevant
Average Inappropriate N/A
L4 general and L4 API 3(33%) 5(56%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Caching & TLBs 3(33%) 6(67%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Microkernels in general 3(33%) 5(56%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Virtual machines 3(33%) 4(44%) 2(22%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Microkernel construction 2(22%) 6(67%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Power management 2(22%) 3(33%) 3(33%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Computer security 2(22%) 3(33%) 3(33%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Real-time systems 2(22%) 6(67%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Papers in Week 10 2(22%) 3(33%) 3(33%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 1(11%)
Papers in Week 13 2(22%) 3(33%) 2(22%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 2(22%)
Local OS R&D 2(22%) 6(67%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 1(11%)
12. Please tell us how interesting you found the lecture topics. (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Very
interesting
Ok Boooooring!
L4 general and L4 API 4(44%) 4(44%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Caching & TLBs 6(67%) 3(33%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Microkernels in general 6(67%) 2(22%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Virtual machines 3(33%) 3(33%) 2(22%) 1(11%) 0(0%)
Microkernel construction 4(44%) 4(44%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Power management 2(22%) 3(33%) 2(22%) 2(22%) 0(0%)
Computer security 1(11%) 3(33%) 0(0%) 3(33%) 2(22%)
Real-time systems 1(11%) 7(78%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Papers in Week 10 4(44%) 3(33%) 2(22%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Papers in Week 13 4(44%) 2(22%) 3(33%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Local OS R&D 5(56%) 3(33%) 1(11%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
13. Which material do you think will be most useful to you in the future? (required)
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (9 comments)
14. Which material, not currently in this course, would you liked to have seen covered?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (4 comments)
15. Which of the current topics would you like to see scaled back or excluded?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (6 comments)
4. Lectures
16. What factors caused you to attend lectures? (required)
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
I had enough spare time 2(22%) chart
The lectures were too good to miss 5(56%) chart
Given the pace and lack of a textbook, I could not afford to miss the lectures 7(78%) chart
It was as good a place as any to take a nap 0(0%) chart
I wanted to be seen to be there 0(0%) chart
None, I skipped most 0(0%) chart
17. What were the reasons for skipping lectures? (required)
Question type : Multiple answer -- Check Box
Overall workload in this and other courses 4(44%) chart
Lecture notes and references cover the material adequately 0(0%) chart
Lectures are boring 0(0%) chart
There was not enough material to justify attending lectures 0(0%) chart
First half of the course was more interesting than second half 0(0%) chart
None, I attended (almost) all 5(56%) chart
18. Any suggestions for improving lectures?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (5 comments)
5. Project
19. What was the level of difficulty various parts of the project? (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Too easy Just right Too hard
Milestone 0 0(0%) 1(11%) 8(89%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Milestone 1 0(0%) 2(22%) 7(78%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Milestone 2 0(0%) 0(0%) 9(100%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Milestone 3 0(0%) 1(11%) 7(78%) 1(11%) 0(0%)
Milestone 4 0(0%) 1(11%) 3(33%) 5(56%) 0(0%)
Milestone 5 0(0%) 1(11%) 8(89%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Milestone 6 0(0%) 0(0%) 6(67%) 3(33%) 0(0%)
Milestone 7 0(0%) 0(0%) 6(67%) 3(33%) 0(0%)
Milestone 8 0(0%) 1(11%) 5(56%) 3(33%) 0(0%)
System documentation 0(0%) 2(22%) 7(78%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Project overall 0(0%) 0(0%) 7(78%) 2(22%) 0(0%)
20. How well was the project specified? (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Very clear Ok Confusing
Milestone 0 0(0%) 4(44%) 4(44%) 0(0%) 1(11%)
Milestone 1 1(11%) 5(56%) 2(22%) 1(11%) 0(0%)
Milestone 2 1(11%) 5(56%) 1(11%) 2(22%) 0(0%)
Milestone 3 0(0%) 5(56%) 4(44%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Milestone 4 0(0%) 4(44%) 5(56%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Milestone 5 1(11%) 5(56%) 1(11%) 2(22%) 0(0%)
Milestone 6 1(11%) 5(56%) 3(33%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Milestone 7 1(11%) 4(44%) 4(44%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Milestone 8 1(11%) 3(33%) 5(56%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
System documentation 1(11%) 4(44%) 3(33%) 1(11%) 0(0%)
Project overall 1(11%) 3(33%) 5(56%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
21. What was the quality of... (required)
Question type : Single answer -- Radio Button
Excellent Ok Poor
Documentation/reference material 1(11%) 0(0%) 2(22%) 4(44%) 2(22%)
Supplied code 0(0%) 4(44%) 5(56%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Hardware platform 2(22%) 4(44%) 3(33%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
Consultation time help/support 4(44%) 5(56%) 0(0%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
On-line help/support 2(22%) 4(44%) 3(33%) 0(0%) 0(0%)
22. Any suggestions for improving the project?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (6 comments)
6. Anything Else
23. Any other comments/suggestions that might help us to improve the course in the future?
Question type : Long-answer
Answer at the bottom page (4 comments)

3. Other factors not mentioned above?
1: AI is overrated
6. What were the best things about this course?
1: - to build a whole OS - low-level programming
2: 1) Getting to build SOS and understand the issues with OS development. 2) Exposure to current trends and developments in OS.
3: Great project, that was v. challenging and (just) achievable
4: Teamwork aspect. Sense of accomplishment. I learnt more about design, implementation and gained more practical skill from this course than any other.
5: The challenging project was by far the best aspect. However, everything was good.
6: The opportunity to build a proper system and see it develop and the challenge of figuring out how to do it and putting it all together.
7: great lab work
7. What were the worst things about this course?
1: - missing/incomplete documentation - oud lab computers
2: 1) Nothing to be considered as worse except that the manuals could have been current.
3: If I were forced to state a negative I would have to say the heavy workload. However, I knew this going into it, and I do feel that a student with less time to devote to the course could also get along just fine. I do think that it should be a 12 uoc course, but that is not a huge deal to me.
4: Lectures on security. This is probably important in the real world for some reason... but there is alot of boring nomenclature, and not much theory or implementation detail. I didn't like the exam method. I doubt the exam mark will reflect the effort put into this course, which is annoying considering the relative weight of it. The time requirement is rediculous for 6uoc, 12uoc would be more accurate.
5: Not a lot of feedback about the project, considering it took so much work!
6: The reference material (L4 Manual, etc.) tended to be less than wonderful with missing sections and such. The exam after slogging through the really hard project was a bit off putting - would be nice if it was worth a lot less.
7: spending too much time on the projects, lack of time to learn other subjects:)
10. What background knowledge do you think you were missing that would have helped you in this course? Is distinction in COMP3231/9201 a suitable preparation? Is it too harsh?
1: A D or HD is probably needed in order to be able to do the course. I hadn't done any hardware courses (except digitial systems in 2nd year) and didn't have any problems even with the low level driver work.
2: DN in OS is appropriate
3: I don't think a distinction in COMP9201 should be a requirement. Interest in the subject and wilingness to put extra effort is sufficient. Any one who is enrolling is already aware of this.
4: I think it's suitable.
5: I think this prerequist is good for most students, but still should give chance to those students who are really interested in this course.
6: No. that sounds about right
7: None. I feel a distinction in COMP3231/9201 is absolutely necessary and not at all too harsh - this is a course for those truly interested in OS's, and a DN or higher in an introductory course is a suitable indicator of that interest.
8: Yes, distinction in COMP3231 is suitable
13. Which material do you think will be most useful to you in the future? (required)
1: - Caching & TLBs - VMs - Microkernels
2: All the material covered will be useful in the future with my plan to do further studies on OS.
3: Caching, microkernels, and VMs.
4: Threading, Microkernel comparrisons, caching,
5: Virtual machines
6: With working at OK, all the microkernel work as well as the general OS subjects (caching, security, RT, etc.)
7: caching & TLBs Papers in Week 10 Papers in Week 13
8: most of it except security
9: the general 0S stuff, esp memory management
14. Which material, not currently in this course, would you liked to have seen covered?
1: A bit more detail in how other systems (i.e. Linux) do things and why it is bad (or good).
2: How are monolithic OSes built? (e.g. Linux)
3: None that I can think of.
4: more multiprocessor stuff.
15. Which of the current topics would you like to see scaled back or excluded?
1: If I were forced to choose I'd say security.
2: Power management (at least as it was presented) seemed rather dry and uninteresting - and didn't really play any part in the project.
3: Security (mostly because I already knew most of the stuff)
4: The general stuff on security - we\'ve do it again in every single course!
5: Virtual machines seems too much for me, I just felt it was quite hard to understand, especially the difference between processor's architecture.
6: security
18. Any suggestions for improving lectures?
1: - start on time - enough breaks (every hour)
2: Cover more papers on current research topics.
3: Perhaps a bit more a focus on research papers, even if its just a recommended paper each week to read and spend 20 mins discussing. I found I didn't look at the recommended papers at all until the exam, but when I did get around to reading them I was keenly interested and wished I had started earlier. My fault, though a bit more focus on them would have been good.
4: Remind students that staying at Uni on Thurs and pulling an all nighter till Friday morning isn't conductive to making lectures :P (The reason I missed one...)
5: everyone is mentally recovering from finishing the assignment an hour earlier. After a break I find it easier to settle into class again, so maybe 2 breaks?
22. Any suggestions for improving the project?
1: If letting the best group of every project to introduce their design, it will help us to compare with others and learn more from the project.
2: Newer manuals without things like "Example of IPC code: ADD EXAMPLES HERE" in them would be nice ;)
3: None. Don't change a thing! Anything that could potentially be improved would just make it easier, and the level of difficulty was just right.
4: The current project is good enough to cover all the required topics. If possible it would be good to get to do some virtualisation task.
5: bit more details on the assessment criteria early on, we found ourselves losing marks for unforseen reasons.
6: up-to-date L4 reference manual complete L4 user manual
23. Any other comments/suggestions that might help us to improve the course in the future?
1: Great course, would do again! It really isn't 6uoc though. It should be listed at 12 (realistically it is probably a 18...).
2: It would be good to talk about current research on the subject by looking at more research papers during lectures.
3: No, sorry. Best course I've ever done.
4: being 12uoc. particularly with shorter sessions next year. then it would be easy to schedule time for it, without compromising your life, sleep, and other coursework. i actually became quite unhealthy towards the end of session.



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Last modified: 03 Aug 2008.