The following are the goals that I have set for teaching this class -- they represent what I'd like you all to get out of the class. When the semester is over, go over this list, and see how well these goals were met. If you feel like it, send me email with comments -- it's more useful after the semester than in the middle of it, I think.
This means that you know what an operating system is, where it fits into most computer systems, and what interface an operating system is likely to present to users.
Programming operating systems is much different from programming other applications. At the end of this class, you should have a feel for what such low level programming entails, and how it differs from other types of programming.
The decisions that are made during the design of an operating system affect the performance of the system. At the end of this class, you will understand how each aspect of the operating system affects performance, and how design tradeoffs often lead to performance tradeoffs.