Dear Professor Chu Zhu:
I am a student in your CIS25 class. First I would like to say that I find the class extremely stimulating, and I am inspired to succeed in completing the course because of the profound level of understanding of operating systems I will gain from it. However, I have concerns that the course may be impossible to complete, unless the students forgo all other commitments and activities such as attending other classes, sleeping, etc. These concerns, which I share with other students, have been corroborated by our TAs, who have confirmed that the size of the projects for CIS25 and the short time available to do them are unprecedented.
I still clearly remember that you said it took you 20 hours to complete Assignment 2 of the project. When I asked, "Are you saying the (undergraduate) students should also be able to complete the project in 20 hours?" you gave a smile and a shrug and said, "Why not?"
I had hoped that you were joking, but now it appears that you were not. You implied that, in order to complete the project in 20 hours, I must perform at the level of a professor with a Ph.D. in Computer Science. But we students do not have Ph.D's , and with our limited knowledge and experience, I believe it will take us at least 60 hours to do the project.
Over half of the class is MIS major, with only 1 semester of C programming experience therefore to jump right into C++ seems quite unreasonable. Many CIS majors have not programmed in a while because sophomore year theoretical classes provide very little programming. Another problem we have encountered is that working in groups is much more difficult than one would imagine. We all have different classes and different majors (CIS and MIS) which makes it difficult for partners to meet and work together as required. Splitting the assignment up provides no solution either, because each of us needs to understand the entire assignment for the oral quiz. Therefore I believe it will be impossible to finish the project in less than 60 hours, bearing in mind that we are undergraduate students and almost all of us have little knowledge and no experience of the system we are using.
I personally have gone to the lab and worked on the assignment between 3 and 4 hours a day on average, including weekends, but there is still much to do. I must admit that this is not what I expected from Laney College, which is supposed to be a fine institution, so please give us more time or cut some assignments.
According to my favorite book, Becoming a critical thinker, the problem that exists between us arises from "conflicts in reality assumptions". Reality assumptions are beliefs about what is true and factual about the world they are based on the unique experience and education of each individual. As a highly successful graduate of Stanford University, you can no doubt do the assignment comfortably in 20 hours, however I think it is unreasonable to expect us to meet your excellent standards of academic achievement. After all, we are only undergraduate students with limited computer experience in a 2-year course at a community college. Having said that, I am sure the personal effort we make at Laney College is equal to that of the students at Berkeley or Stanford. Therefore may I respectfully request that you revisit the assignments slated for the remainder of the class and consider adjusting them to set a more achievable goal?