SNHU CS-230 Operating Platforms is vague, confusing, and enough to make you dislike operating systems. I see myself as a passionate learner who enjoys deconstructing problems to better understand the topic, but I couldn’t do that with CS-230 because the assignments were always open for interpretation.
I spent the majority of my time aligning my understanding of the assignments with my instructor’s. On one assignment, the prompt was to write a software design document and part of it was to write an executive summary and identify the design constraints.
- Executive Summary: Write a summary to introduce the software design problem and present a solution. Be sure to provide the client with any critical information they must know in order to proceed with the process you are proposing.
- Design Constraints: Identify the design constraints for developing the game application in a web-based distributed environment and explain the implications of the design constraints on application development. (Project One Guidelines and Rubric, para. 10-11)
Before identifying the design constraints, I needed to know the software requirements, which I thought were to expand the client’s Android-based game to “multiple platforms” using a distributed environment as it was noted on more than one occasion. I identified the wrong constraints because I listed more requirements than necessary. According to the professor, I was only supposed to identify customer requirements, which wasn’t stated or implied anywhere on the instructions.
The following are the customer requirements according to reading instructions:
- Each game will have more than one participating team.
- Each team will comprise multiple players.
- Each team and game will have unique names.
- The game will only have one instance in memory (Accomplished by using the Singleton design pattern)
Most of my classmates fell victim to the same ambiguity that I did, which is why the instructor was understanding enough to let us resubmit the assignment.
The executive summary was also just as confusing—the reading material instructed us to help the client understand the design proposal, the instructor wanted a short response without “extra” details, and online articles suggested a thorough executive summary that contradicted the assignment prompt and the professor.
The interesting part was that I passed my assignment to several tutors on tutorme.com and everyone interpreted the instructions differently. To makes things worse, the instructor said that he will not review assignments—only specific questions are allowed. That made it hard to understand the professor’s expectations and left most of us guessing or trying to answer the prompts from multiple angles.
Eventually, I abandoned sending the professor emails and started have weekly 30-min phone meetings to discuss his expectations. Not every learning module was this vague, but most were, and it was extremely inconvenient.
Some Reading Resources Were Unrelated to The Assignments
The books we used for this course are (1) Hands-On Design Patterns with Java by the Gang of Four and (2) Operating System Concepts By Abraham Silberschatz, Peter Baer Galvin, & Greg Gagne.
Operating Systems Concept was a little easier to digest than Hands-On Design Patterns with Java. But the amount of reading was ridiculous, considering that it was not beneficial to read these books without understanding the concepts they teach.
Understanding the design of specific operating systems was hard to gauge without using YouTube to get a visual understanding of the design abstractions. Some Modules had unrelated reading resources, such as the assignment being about the client-server architecture and the reading material was about access matrix. What gives?
By the third Module, I’ve learned to filter out unrelated reading resources and focus on the ones I thought were related to the assignment at hand. I did this because some reading materials were many pages long. It was not possible to absorb any of that information in such a short period, considering that I was previously unfamiliar with most of the concepts discussed in these two books.
Despite the struggles with this poorly structured course, I got an A, and you can, too.
Honestly, I feel that my professor gave me a break on at least one occasion. Although he didn’t like to review assignments, he had to be lenient in some way.