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Autonomous agents, FFR125 (theory part), FFR125

Status: Avslutad
Öppen för svar: 2009-03-16 - 2009-03-20
Antal svar: 21
Procent av deltagarna som svarat: 70%
Kontaktperson: Mattias Wahde»
Utbildningsprogram som genomför enkäten: Chalmers


1. How do you rate the lectures?

Please write a comment.

21 svarande

Not good at all»1 4%
Not so good»2 9%
Neither good nor bad»4 19%
Good»12 57%
Very good»2 9%

Genomsnitt: 3.57 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- The lectures where to slow.» (Not good at all)
- The first half was extremely boring and repetitive. The parts about image processing, utilities, and SF-ASM were the most interesting. Mattias really do not need to be so exact. If he has said that there exists an exception he does not need to repeat that three times within a quarter. We understood the first time.» (Not so good)
- Focus on wrong things, some things that are is repeats and the things that are difficult goes over briefly» (Not so good)
- The lectures are well structured and pedagogic, but the tempo is so low that I actually save time by reading the(excellent) chapters that are available online.» (Neither good nor bad)
- Lectures: A lot of redundancy. Here, I would hope for the next course to spend more time on areas the students had not encountered so far or are more difficult, and get deeper into those, and less reproduction of already very well known or easy topics. » (Neither good nor bad)
- Wahde has a tendency to explain things over and over again, even if it was not difficult to understand the first time. He should try to not repeat himself, and by that save a lot of time.» (Good)
- Sometimes they"re to detailed going through stuff I thought we already should know.» (Good)
- It is difficult to cover so many different topics in as few lectures, but perhaps some parts could have been less quantitative and more qualitative.» (Good)
- I think lectures were done in a very fast fashion. » (Good)
- Enthusiastic and clear» (Very good)
- Sometimes things went a bit fast, but in general very good» (Very good)

2. To what extent have the lectures been of help for your learning?

21 svarande

Not at all»3 14%
Some extent»7 33%
Large extent»9 42%
Very large extent»2 9%

Genomsnitt: 2.47 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- As said above, they where way to slow => I stopped listening...» (Not at all)
- The lectures were not helpful because I only went to a few of them in the start of the course, before realizing that I could get the same information, with more details, in half the time in the course material.» (Not at all)
- I have not attended all lectures» (Some extent)

3. To what extent have the home problems been of help for your learning?

21 svarande

Small extent»0 0%
Some extent»5 23%
Large extent»8 38%
Very large extent»8 38%

Genomsnitt: 3.14 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- The simulation problems was a little bit interesting, but spending a day or two tweaking parameters and restarting GPRSim is not a good way to learn nor get excited about the subject.» (Some extent)
- Gave a deeper understanding of some of the areas covered in the lectures.» (Large extent)
- Some problems demanded very much time, while you didn"t learn so much. I think of those in GPRSim, where it was just a lot of trial and error..» (Large extent)
- Very good homeproblems which help a lot with understanding the topic. BUT: Homeproblems: They are defined that strictly, that one does exactly what is being asked. If you deviate, you get points distracted. This would be ok - if the teacher would stick to that and not SOMETIMES asking for something that was not clearly asked. » (Large extent)
- A little to strict on the check list for the home problems. Otherwise, home problems are the best way to learn these kind of things.» (Very large extent)
- The home problems have in general been good, but some cooperation with the other teachers on the CAS-program would be good so the cellular automata task no longer is given (almost the same) in two courses. One thing that really should be criticized is GPRSim. I and everyone else I have talked to spent most of the time on finding frustrating bugs. Not at all fun or educating. In the second home problem, I actually got so frustrated that I really thought of not handing it in at all...» (Very large extent)

4. What is your impression of the course literature?

Course literature: Lecture notes, slides, and scientific papers

21 svarande

Very poor»0 0%
Poor»1 4%
Average»4 19%
Good»6 28%
Very good»10 47%

Genomsnitt: 4.19 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- The course literature (lecture notes) is not as good as the book in Stochastic Optimizations algorithms, but the thing that takes this down to a low score is the none-existing GPRSim documentation. E.g., why is there no simple look up reference work for TUtilityFunction? In Matlab, C, Java or whatever you can just look at a short description for the class and see what each parameter does. Here you have to read an entire chapter and you still do not understand exactly how it works in the simulator. That simply is not acceptable!» (Poor)
- It would have been good to have everything from the beginning, but as everything didn"t exist from the start, it was ok to have it handed out in pieces.» (Good)
- Very good to get the chapters as pdf-files on the homepage! Those who want can print them and those who prefer to read on a computer can do that. Good that we did not have to buy any course books. Very good that the slides was available at least some hours after the lectures!» (Very good)
- The lectures notes cover the subjects very well.» (Very good)
- Very comprehensive, without being unnecessarily wordy.» (Very good)
- The lecture notes are top notch!» (Very good)

5. How well did the course administration, web page, communication etc. work?

21 svarande

Very badly»0 0%
Rather badly»0 0%
Rather well»10 47%
Very well»11 52%

Genomsnitt: 3.52 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- Wahde is good at updating the course homepage with new information! Keep it up!» (Rather well)
- I sometimes think there are too many rules about the file structure of the home problems. » (Rather well)
- Very good with an updated homepage all the time» (Rather well)
- Everything was clearly defined. Good!» (Very well)
Genomsnitt totalt för detta stycke: 3.38

Your own efforts

6. How many hours per week did you spend on this course?

Hours per week include time in lectures, reading the course literature, working with home problems etc.

21 svarande

At most 15 hours»4 19%
About 20 hours»10 47%
About 25 hours»4 19%
At least 30 hours»3 14%

Genomsnitt: 2.28 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- I might have spent more if the course would have been geared towards the more interesting subjects.» (At most 15 hours)
- Maybe a little to much, since this part of the course is supposed to be around 4 credits (that is supposed about 15 hours each week).» (About 20 hours)
- . » (About 20 hours)
- Very difficult estimate. No less with regards to the variation in time spent each week.» (About 25 hours)
- I spend a lot more on this 4,5hec course than on the others on 7.5phec. But it was partly because I found it very interesting.» (About 25 hours)
- Exercises were sometimes very time consuming.» (At least 30 hours)
- Exercises took a lot of time from us, it was rather improper since we had other courses as well!» (At least 30 hours)

7. How large part of the teaching offered did you attend?

21 svarande

Less than 20%»1 4%
20-40%»2 9%
41-60%»4 19%
61-80%»6 28%
More than 80%»8 38%

Genomsnitt: 3.85 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- See above comments.» (Less than 20%)
- I learn more effectively by reading than by listening.» (20-40%)
- One lecture collided with another course.» (41-60%)

8. If you were not active during some lectures, why?

Active = taking notes, paying attention to the lecturer etc.
Not active = web surfing, sleeping, text messaging, daydreaming etc.

- If I"m at a lecture I"m active.»
- I tried to be active as much as possible.»
- Some lectures were so fast that I couldn"t follow the subject.»
- Some of the lectures were a little slow»
- Dozed off a few times, but didn"t have much to do with the lectures.»
- Because they where to slow!»
- I would have been non active as the tempo is too low, but I generally prefer to be not present instead of not active, so that I can do other work.»
- Some lectures were completely on slides. It is easier to concentrate when you have to take notes.»
- -The talk did not catch me, too much repetition and talking around, not a lot of actual explication of more difficult contents. - The leads then to feeling that work on other projects seemed more effective. -I could have been tired.»
Genomsnitt totalt för detta stycke: 3.07

Study climate

9. How were the opportunities for asking questions and getting help during the course?

21 svarande

Very poor»0 0%
Rather poor»0 0%
Rather good»8 38%
Very good»9 42%
I did not seek help»4 19%

Genomsnitt: 3.8 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- Wahde can be somewhat harsh when asked some questions.» (Rather good)

10. How was the course workload?

21 svarande

Too low»0 0%
Low»0 0%
Adequate»11 52%
High»8 38%
Too high»2 9%

Genomsnitt: 3.57 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- But as said above, the home problems felt quite inefficient from a learning perspective. Time could be better spent.» (Adequate)
- The workload was fine, » (Adequate)
- As said before, this part was not supposed to be 7.5 credits, which means that it should not demand 20-25 hours of work each week. Maybe a little to much work with GPRSim, which is a really terrible program to work with and program for.» (High)
- It"s not actually that it"s to high. But it"s very unevenly spread over the weeks. But I spent just as much time on this course as on Information theory, which is a larger course as it"s just in one period.» (High)
- Felt kinda high considering the course is not full speed, with two lectures per week and the time spent on the home problems combined with the amount of info that had to be taken in» (High)
- It was very much to do for just 4.5 hec (first part of the course).» (Too high)
Genomsnitt totalt för detta stycke: 3.69

Course goals, level of difficulty, exam

11. How understandable are the course goals?

Note that a description of the course contents was given in the first lecture. You may wish to revisit the slides from that lecture.

20 svarande

Not at all understandable»0 0%
Somewhat understandable»6 30%
Completely understandable»14 70%

Genomsnitt: 2.7 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- didnt read them» (?)

12. Is the level of difficulty of the course reasonable, considering your background and the number of credits?

21 svarande

No, the level is too low»2 9%
Yes, the level is reasonable»18 85%
No, the level is too high»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 1.95

- The course could be made more interesting by not saying everything on the lectures but instead have mandatory sections in the lectures notes which everyone should read themselves. That way the boring parts in the beginning could be cut and more time spent on things that aren"t obvious when reading it in plain English.» (No, the level is too low)
- The material covers a lot but does not go into very much depth.» (Yes, the level is reasonable)
- Perhaps each individual topic could have been made more difficult if the spectrum of the courses covered had not been as comprehensive.» (Yes, the level is reasonable)
- Didn"t expect to put this amount of time on a 7.5 credits course given in half speed. Not that much problem caused by my background though, even if my math is a bit rusty» (No, the level is too high)

13. Did the exam reflect the contents of the course?

21 svarande

Not at all»0 0%
No»1 4%
To some extent»7 33%
Yes»11 52%
Yes, completely»2 9%

Genomsnitt: 3.66 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- Some things are pre-requirements for the course and not part of the course. I did not take this course to have to solve kinetic equations for rigid bodies again. That is mechanics course material! I definitely understand why that is important, but many other things also are. That is why we have different courses for different subjects. Or should you teach calculus and Matlab programming to?» (No)
- What happened to CA and SF-ASM? CA was at least in a home problem, but what about SF-ASM?» (To some extent)
- I think a lot of topics were missing on the exam, while much focus was given to the mechanics-parts.» (To some extent)

14. Did the examination as a whole assess whether you have reached the goals?

The course was examined in two parts:

Home problems (35p)
Exam (25p)

21 svarande

No, not at all»0 0%
Yes, to some extent»16 76%
Yes, definitely»5 23%

Genomsnitt: 2.23 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- The practical bits with experience of the difference between simulation and reality has not yet been covered.» (Yes, to some extent)
- Mostly the home problems.» (Yes, to some extent)
- It will be great if the grade only depends on the home problems.» (Yes, to some extent)
- Mostly the home problems.» (Yes, definitely)
Genomsnitt totalt för detta stycke: 2.87

Summarizing questions

15. What is your general impression of the course?

21 svarande

Very poor»0 0%
Poor»0 0%
Average»3 14%
Good»14 66%
Very Good»4 19%

Genomsnitt: 4.04 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- I"m really hoping that the second part will balance out the first part!» (Average)
- It is still a good course, but I had expected much more of it and I think it can be much better.» (Average)

16. Is there anything you think should be changed until next year?

- Wahde should be less strict with the deadlines for the home problem, unless he actually starts correcting the home problems at midnight. Sure, there should be a deadline, but many students actually study at night. A better way can be to deduct one point for each hour that the home problem is late. For now, a third of the possible points is deducted for being just a few minutes late. Make GPRSim more userfriendly, so students might enjoy working with the program. As for now, it"s just a pain in the ass to work with. Maybe change the course name to Autonomous Robots instead, since that is what the course is about. Wahde needs to remember that the full course is on 7.5 credits, and not just this part. Sometimes there was a little too much work load.»
- GPRSim is not very pedagogical (no error explanations, etc, etc), why not instead use a simple simulator in matlab, for example? The time used trying to get GPRSim working could be better spent on actual problems... Furthermore, regarding the deadlines: I have no problems with hard deadlines, but the time used should be the one on Mattias" computer (or Chalmers mail server), not whatever time is set on the student"s computer! Some students changed the time on their computers to get more time, which is very unfair! (in short, use "date received" rather than "date sent"!)»
- I started GPRSim several hundred times (at least 250 times). There really need to be a reload and restart button! If I want to inspect the sensor reading at a particular time I need to restart, load, open the info panel, check the sensor boxes, and then start again. It is more than an annoyance! Its a real fun-stopper.»
- Don"t have the last home problem due three days before the exam. Because of all the home problems due in that Friday, I only got two days to study. And if you use GPRSim again through in some kind of error handeling. I spent so much time looking for errors that I didn"t have enough time to program a good behaviour. »
- Less code in the lectures. Code examples and standards should be made available as reference material, not practiced in the lectures.»
- Why not just have a third home problem instead of the exam? I learned a lot more from the home problems.»
- Improve the documentation of GPRSim or skip it! That is not negotiable. And stop being so hard on everybody. I understand it is hard to have to correct home problems from many students, but all other teacher can do it without resorting to hard rules and coding standards. After all, you are paid for doing this...»
- better simulator!!! »
- The exam should cover different topics, and not repeat the home problems (that I my opinion has already been exmined).»
- »

17. Would you recommend this course to other students? Why?

- If they are interested in mobile robots, then yes! Absolutely!»
- Yes, because it provides a nice introduction to autonomous agents»
- No, not really.»
- Yes, if you are interested in autonomous agents, it gives an good introduction and good base to build from. »
- Yes. It gives a comprehensive insight into what autonomous agent is.»
- Yes. Nice to cover an area which shows how things one has learned can be used, both computational and mathematically.»
- Yes definitely, if I knew things would be improved. If I knew they would not then I would tell people to find a similar course somewhere else.»
- robots!»
- Yes. The topic is very interesting.»
- If they like to play with bots, for sure.»

18. Which areas do you think should be covered in more (or less) depth?

Topics covered: Autonomous robots, kinematics and dynamics, animal behavior, behavior-based robotics,
utility, behavior selection, artificial life, cellular automata, computational finance

- That depends on the course name. If it should be named Autonomous Agents, then there should not be six weeks of autonomous robots and one week of AI, CA and other stuff. There is actually nothing wrong with the course, it was great fun, but rename it to Autonomous Robots instead and have seven weeks of that!»
- More: utility and alternatives to utilities, artificial life, and computational finance. Less: kinematics and dynamics.»
- I like behaviour based robotics and would have like more of that. But to make everyone happy I think it was good as it was. It gave a good introduction to all parts of autonomous agents. »
- Autonomous robots behavior-based robotics utility behavior selection »
- The balance of covered topics worked fine.»
- behavior-based robotics,utility, behavior selection»
- Less computational finance (separate course).»
- Less computational finance.»
- Focus on Autonomous agents and skip the pre-requirements.»
- Drop kinematic/dynamics. All the people with physics background already know it, and for the rest of the class it takes too much time away from the robotic brain parts of the course while not really contributing anything to the rest of the course. All you need to know to steer a two wheeled robots(if you want it to move dynamically) are that one wheel should go faster if you want to turn, and I think most people can figure that out for themselves at this level of education.»
- More on autonomous robots and behavior based robotics. The computational finance felt a bit out of topic.»
- Image processing and field navigation using waypoints and localization.»
- Utility function could be introduced somewhat more clear, maybe with more examples. More cover of image processing. Less cellular automata (as already discussed for CAS students in 2-3 other courses) computational finance did not seem to be a very general introduction. either have it more general, or leave it out entirely. less dephth: GPRSIM. Replace with Manual.»

19. Additional comments

- If you really want to help making this course better, then it have the possibility to be one of the best courses...»
- Deadline of each home problem could be assigned one day before or after the lecture day, so students may not be absent the lecture for solving home problems.»
- The lecturer sometimes behaved rather badly. He had managed some rules to forbid going late to the lectures and sometimes he was very strict. Someone must remind him that this is a school, not the army!»
Genomsnitt totalt för detta stycke: 4.04

Genomsnitt totalt för alla frågor: 3.31
Beräknat jämförelseindex: 0.68

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