In the coming odd semesters we are faced with a serious problem. The problem is more philosophical than implementational.

There are two papers in the elective list which has licked away our brains. Not that we are biased for any or we are less in manpower but the matter is more about our students. This batch is one of the best as I have encountered in terms of attention in the class, eagerness to learn and imagination. However that is one of our strengths and it also creates a kind of weakness not to let them down at any cost.

Advanced Operating System is a very good course and students from computer science branch should study it as it would expose them to higher understanding in to the behaviour of OS and its links with the Computer Architecture. The prescribed book Milankovic is a bit quirky though it can be learned in the class.

Information Systems Design is a course which is designed to prepare the students for software projects. You can think that both Software Engineering and Information Systems Design are the theories and Project Lab is the experimentation for these theories. This effectively makes ISD the most important course for any budding software engineer. However there is a twist to the story. There is a compulsory course Software Engineering already in the syllabus. SE and ISD share some parts of the theory but they are not the same wine in two bottles thing. They have many things which are not in common. ISD is mainly software project oriented where as SE shows much a bigger prospective. SE is very wide whereas ISD is very focused.

Having said this, Learning AOS will be getting in touch with an advanced set of OS underpinnings. Whereas ISD opens up a vista of commercial Software Designing practices for the student. AOS targets core computing whereas ISD targets the business software market. Both have their strengths. If SE and ISD were in different semesters possibly there would be no place for arguments but their presence in a single semester is what creates the dilemma.

It is no denying that SE and ISD are similar to a certain extent and share some chapters. So in a single semester there would be repetition of the same concepts for two courses. This effectively translates to easy exam preparation for students who can put a bit extra into SE and master ISD.

In the contra opinion, OS is my favourite subject so I personally would like to offer AOS to my students but my recent rendezvous with OS was not very satisfactory (I have already indicated in my previous post) so if students can’t offer sufficient time for courses then they will be in a real nasty problem. 7th semester will certainly have less time because of frequent campus-placement related activities. It is beyond doubt that we will surely finish the course in the class but if I have to teach only the chalk-board (when most students are absent) then this is pure wastage of AOS and a terrible nightmare for students for their 7th sem exams who has to tear out their hair at the last moment before exams.
Finally with a heavy heart we are offering the course twins, SE and ISD and dropping all our plans about offering AOS, as for every one student who can get into the AOS we can isolate two who will find it even more easier to digest ISD. Whatever we decide will be for the better for all our students, not a couple of brilliant exceptions. The debate will go on possibly till the end of the exams.

— Crack your brains with this issue post rants if you feel like —

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