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TDDB29/TDDB44 Mid-term evaluation

by Christoph Kessler

The joined compiler courses TDDB29 and TDDB44 were mid-term evaluated with the muddy card method in lecture 8 (TDDB29) resp. lecture 6 (TDDB44) on wednesday 14/11/2007 13-15.
Approximately 40 students attended this lecture, and I received 35 cards.
Below, I summarize the feedback (where issues raised on more than 1 card are taken up) and then comment on the result and derive some conclusions.



  • Generally good (4)
  • Interesting subject (6)
  • Complex subject (2)
  • Heavy theory (2)


  • good course book (2)
  • good, detailed reading directions (1)
  • Well written lab compendium, clear instructions (2)
  • expensive lab compendium, should be on the web (1)


  • Lectures, lessons and labs somewhat out of sync (2)


  • Good/great (5)
  • Too theoretical, somewhat boring parsing theory (3)
  • Too many details, more abstraction needed (3)
  • Good that many examples are given (3)
  • Sometimes overexplanation of examples and basic concepts (2)
  • Could be explained better (1)
  • Need more examples (3)
  • Appropriate, high tempo in lecturing (1)
  • Too slow mainly for those who already have the formal languages and automata background (2)
  • Too fast for those who don't have it (1)
  • Too many details about formal languages and automata in lectures 2 and 3. (1)
  • Too much text / information on the slides (2)
    Slides could be newer and better (more color, more pictures, more animations)
  • Good that slides are available in advance online (2)
  • Slides should be updated before lectures (2)
  • Good variation between powerpoint, OH slides and whiteboard (1)
  • Somewhat unstructured lectures (sidetrack comments, change between media) (1)
  • Use powerpoint slides exclusively (instead of using powerpoint and old OH transparencies in parallel). (3)


  • very good (4)
  • not so useful if one attended the lectures (1)
  • bad connection to lectures / somewhat out of sync (2)
  • Could be explained better (1)


  • good, fun, challenging, interesting (7)
  • Hard (2) / much work, but OK (3)
  • Good and friendly lab assistants, react very quickly to questions (2)
  • Labs do not show up on ordinary schedule (3)


For the labs, everything seems to be fine.

The general topic is regarded as interesting by almost everybody, even if a few dislike having to go through the theoretical foundations. Many comments and suggestions address the lectures, mainly the speed/level of detail and explanation, and the slides. The suggestions are often pointing in opposite directions, which is probably due to the heterogeneous backgrounds in the two courses: Those who already have the background on formal languages and automata are somewhat bored, while the others would like to see even more examples. In general, I reduced the lecture speed somewhat in this year because I was asked by several participants of last year to do so.

The powerpoints are, on average, more appreciated than the plastic transparencies, and I am (already since last year) working on gradually replacing the material. However, development of animations etc. takes much time, and my time is very limited, so this work has to be done in several steps. The goal is to have everything updated and ported to powerpoint in 2-3 years, and use these together with the whiteboard.

I notice several comments about lectures, lessons and labs being out of sync, but it is not clear to me which parts this concerns and what should be modified for next time. Perhaps you can give me more hints in the next lecture break?

Thank you for the feedback!

-- Christoph Kessler, examiner and course leader TDDB29/TDDB44

Page responsible: Martin Sjölund
Last updated: 2007-11-15