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TDDB68 Concurrent programming and Operating Systems

Mid-term evaluation 30/1/2013


The course was mid-term-evaluated before the break in the 6th lecture on wednesday 30/1/2013 (10-12) with the Muddy-card method. 59 students attended the lecture, and I received 57 cards.

Below, I summarize the main concerns. Conclusions are given at the end.

Summary

6 cards were generally positive resp. mentioned no negative experiences nor improvement suggestions at all.

Topic

  • interesting course / subject / contents (16)
  • feels relevant for work life (3)
  • Need more initial training on C programming / a C course is missing in the D curriculum (11)

Course literature

  • Good book (1)
  • Good that slides are available on the course web page (5)

Lectures

  • good lectures (25)
  • too slow (2)
  • too fast (1) / talk more slowly (2)
  • sometimes trailing off (2)
  • sometimes going off-topic (1)
  • good that lectures are in English (1)
  • would prefer lectures in Swedish (1)
  • good example in critical section lecture (2)
  • good that lectures focus on abstract concepts / are system independent (3)
  • want more (Pintos-related) examples in the lectures (3)
  • show more code examples (3)
  • seem not so well synchronized with / correlated to the labs (5)

Lesson(s)

  • Good (3)
  • Not good (7)
  • Erik used no microphone, could hardly be heard (14)
  • English not so good (4)
  • Use a better pen and write larger (2)
  • Should be more structured: Too much focus on details before introducing the general idea of the lab (1)
  • Did not contain more information than what is given on the lab homepage (1)
  • More lessons about the labs could help [to get started] (2)

Labs

  • good labs, having fun (8)
  • Labs are difficult/challenging/timeconsuming but fun (6)
  • meaningful/relevant/educational lab assignments, learn a lot (4)
  • like Pintos (2)
  • hard without a proper course in C programming (12)
  • Much reading, having to search and discover Pintos by ourselves is too hard, would prefer complete explanation (1)
  • Steep learning curve to get started / took some time to understand what to do in Lab1 (5)
  • Better documentation/introduction about Pintos itself could help (4)
  • Helpful lab assistants (2)
  • Competent and helpful lab assistant (name given) (3)
  • Lab assistant could not help me (by telling me what to do next (1) / with debugging my code (1))
  • Lab information should separate preparatory questions and actual work-to-be-done (1)
  • Too hard in relation to the credits compared to other courses (1)

Conclusions

By and large, the course seems to run pretty well.

Lectures: The lectures are mostly well appreciated and the tempo is appropriate for a clear majority of participants.
The lectures are indeed somewhat "ahead of time" compared to the labs, but this is hardly avoidable because I need to have gone through synchronization before Lesson 1 and memory management before Lesson 2, and the tight block schedule and shortage of lab rooms does not give us more flexibility here.
The connection to Pintos should be done via the lessons, in order to keep the lectures system-neutral and streamlined.
Please tell us immediately if the microphone is not working properly and/or the voice is too low.

Lessons: The first lesson got criticized a lot mostly because of the missing microphone. Erik will use a microphone in the second lesson.

C: The complaints about a missing C course are much more numerous this year after the course has been moved by the D programme's steering committee from year 3 to year 2 so that TDDB68 now happens to be the first one in a series of courses where C is used as lab language.
There is a small C programming moment in year 1 for the D programme, but apparently that is insufficient. We try at our best to introduce the difficult features of C in the extra lecture and have Lab0 to self-test your C programming abilities - with still one week left to the actual beginning of the labs for self-studies. We can't do much more about that within the course's limited time resources given, I'm sorry.
I will try again and propose creating a new introductory C course in the first year to the D steering committee. Please ask your student representatives in the committee to support this motion.

Labs: As mentioned in the first lecture and lesson, for most of you the Pintos lab series is the first time that you are exposed to a larger software project with a larger codebase, which needs to be overviewn and understood before you can add own code. It is normal that this takes some time in the beginning. You will experience such situations more often in your future professional life.
Our experience shows that, once students got used to C and Pintos, the labs have an appropriate level of difficulty.

Christoph Kessler, course leader TDDB68

Page responsible: Christoph W Kessler
Last updated: 2013-02-04