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General Course Information.


General Course Goals.

I hope to accomplish several things in this course. Since this is the twentieth year we've done it, I think I have a pretty good idea of what we should try to discuss and how.

In general, there are two areas I want cover: the technical and the practical. In many cases, these are related, but not always. The technical amounts to the "how to" aspect of any class. We want to learn how things work and how to use them.

The practical is more ethereal. It's the sort of thing you can't or don't usually get in technical classes. Ideas about problem solving, professional growth and development on-the-job, all those things you need to know about if you're really going to do network administration as all or part of your job.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: This course does not have any exams. All the major course components are written, either individually or as a team. There is enough writing that Informatics Undergraduates fulfill their "Intensive Writing" requirement when they take this course. The course is designed this way because of all the feedback I have received from former students and/or recruiters who stress both teamwork and communication skills as top priorities for any potential interns or employees.


"Technical" Course Goals.

The technical goal of this course is very practical in nature. We want you to learn about networks. This includes (some) hardware, Networking Topologies, Networking Protocols, Network Operating Systems, and Desktop Operating Systems.

When you complete this course, you will have learned about or worked to some degree with: The OSI Model, Ethernet, 802.11, IPv4, IPv6 TCP/UDP, DNS, IP routing, and, if time permits, Linux, Windows 8/10, and Windows Server with ADS. You will probably not have a "working knowledge" of some of these systems (some more than others).

I will try to make this experience as practical as possible, using what I know about systems currently in place in both business and education, so that when you are done, you can honestly say you have some useful networking knowledge and experience.



I realize grading and evaluation is never an exciting topic to consider. However, it is important to have a structure in place at the start of the term so we all know what we will be working on and how it will impact our final evaluation. Here's what I have in mind at this point.

Attendance: The expectation in this course is 100% attendance. Be sure you understand that any absence, excused or otherwise, could negatively impact your final grade in this course.

Because I post the meeting outlines in advance, attendance is mandatory if you want to pass. If you skip these meetings on a regular basis, thinking you can get by on the posted outlines, you will fail. I know, it's happened many times over the years that I've been making the outlines available. Attendance will be taken in every meeting in the form of cards dropped off in class (you provide the cards), CAT exercises, or other "hardcopy" work submitted in class. Attendance will be counted separately from your Active Course Engagement score, but it is CRUCIAL that you understand if you are not in class, it is impossible for you to be properly and fully engaged in the course.

EFFECTIVE FALL 2019:The Health Center will no longer issue "notes" simply indicating you went there, so such notes will no longer be accepted for an "excused" medical absence. Offical medical notices clearly indicating a medical absence was required, signed by a physician, will STILL be accepted to excuse an absence. In light of this new policy, each student will have 2 absences to use during the 16-week (semester long) class period that can be used without explanation or documentation. All other absences will be noted in interpreted as laid out on this page.

Attendance will be worth 5% of your Final Grade. ADDITIONAL NOTE on absences: Please note that, while you can be excused from class with specific written confirmation due to a specific illness, interviews, or similar major events, that excuse applies only to your attendance. If any work is done and submitted during class (CAT, Quiz, etc.) that is not excused and cannot be made up. Because these exercises are a small part of the grade, and because you should not be absent, they are all considered "you need to be in class to complete them" type exercises. Be sure you are clear about this policy.
I will take attendance myself during labs. Again, your overall attendance average for all regular meetings (28 total) AND labs (13 or 14 total) will represent 5% of your final grade.

Individual and Team-based Homework: There will be a variety of detailed, written homework assignments throughout the course that will be graded and represent 25% of the course grade. You should expect each of these to take a good deal of time to complete if you intend to do a thorough job and you will be given at least a week to complete them. These "papers" can easily exceed 20 pages in length, depending on formatting.

Just In Time (JIT) and MINI assignments: These will usually be posted so that you will have 2-4 days to complete and submit them. These will be your most basic written exercises and we will provide feedback to help you be better prepared for the Homework and Final Project Assignments. You are expected to take the time needed to give them your full attention. Since these will be an important component in how the class progresses, they will represent 15% of your final grade.

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs): This will occur on a more or less regular basis and will take a variety of forms. Some possible formats include: A quick quiz, a short write-up of your "MUddiest point", a team or pair exercise on a current topic, etc. Since these will be unannounced and only offered during class, your attendance is crucial. Because they will provide a way to gauge our current status, they will represent 10% of your final grade.

ACTIVE Course Engagement: This is the one more or less subjective component of the final grade. As such, it will be based upon my observations throughout the duration of the course. Participation doesn't just mean who asks the most questions or makes the most comments, but who is clearly prepared and engaged with the material. One thoughtful question or very salient comment is worth more than hours of "babble." Many of the other course components are specifically designed to aid you in being prepared to participate. This also includes my evaluation of you as an active and reliable teammate throughout the semester. In other words, I will be evaluating your overall engagement in the course, both in and out of the classroom. Missed work, chronic absenteeism, failure to respond to or work with your team, lack of attention in class, tardiness, and any other information available will be used to make this evaluation. The rest is up to you. Because this is such a key part of the course structure, it will represent 10% of your final grade.

Final Project: The Final Team Project will consist of a variety of components. Some will be due at different points during the course, culminating with a complete, team Final Report to be submitted near the very end of the course. Overall, the entire Project process will 35% of your Final Grade. This will be broken down into 2 graded parts: team evaluation (including your evaluation of the team and the team's evaluation of you) 10%, and the Final (team) Report 25%. Being a reliable and active member of the team will be an absolutely crucial part of your success in this course.

IMPORTANT GRADING NOTE: If sufficient evidence is presented to indicate you have not been an active and engaged member of your team, ESPECIALLY IN THE PREPARATION OF THE FINAL PROJECT, I reserve the right to assign an Final Grade of "F," regardless of your performance or average on any other course work. "Bailing" on your team will not be tolerated.

Overall Grade: So, your overall grade will be based on the following:

Attendance: 5%

Individual and Team Homework: 25%

MINIs/JITs: 15%

CATs: 10%

ACTIVE Course Engagement: 10%

Team-based Final Project Self and Teammate Assessment: 10%

Team-based Final Project Report (and related) 25%

Grading Scale:We will begin with the standard 90-80-70-60 grading scale. +/- grades fall in the upper and lower 2.5% of each range, respectively. This scale could drop by the end of the term, but it will never rise. This mean if you earn a 90.00% average, you are guaranteed an A-.


Important Course Policies.

Be absolutely sure you understand the following course policies. It will be assumed that you have read and accept these policies before the end of the first week of class.

If you have never been in a CS course before, these policies may seem inflexible. However, they are not unlike the sort of guidelines found in other courses in the School of Informatics or the sort of contract stipulations you would find associated with a job in the "real world."

  1. Every student is expected to understand AND abide by the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, & Conduct. Being unaware of your responsibilities will not be accepted as an explanation for any behavior that violates this Code.

  2. You are solely responsible for your performance in this course. We are here to help you whenever possible, but all of your choices have logical consequences. Make sure you take interest in your scores and Final Grade before you earn them.

  3. No work will be accepted late, period. If I do not have an assignment in my possession before I leave the meeting hall the day it is due, it will be scored a 0 (zero). Similarly, if you miss the deadline on the Final Project, you should expect a score of 0 (zero) there as well, which would result in the loss of at least a full letter grade on your Final Grade.

  4. Following the Handin Instructions: Each Assignment will include instructions on how to handin things electronically. Failure to accurately follow the instructions will result in a penalty of 25-50% of the total score, depending on how much work has to be done to find and grade your work.

    HOWEVER, if your failure to follow the Handin instructions or any other instructions related to any project or assignment has an impact on the ability of other students to do their work or interferes with the instructors ability to discharge their responsibilities, the penalty will be more severe, including a possible score of 0 (zero).

  5. This is an Information Technology course, and we expect you to use the technology. What this means, specifically, is we expect you to have an IU Email account and we expect you to use it. We expect you to check email at least twice daily, under normal circumstances. Please note that IU policy stipulates all faculty, staff, and students are expected to check email at least once daily. We are merely extending that policy to "twice daily." If an announcement is made in class regarding a schedule change, etc., we would expect you to check email at every opportunity. Just be sure you understand that "I didn't check email" or "I didn't come to class that day" will not be acceptable reasons for not getting work done on time or failing to meet other course requirments.

  6. Emergencies: I realize emergencies will arise, but it is still your responsbility to notify me as quickly as possible should such an emergency occur. NOTE: I consider an emergency to be something like a death in the immediate family in the last 24 hours or severe personal injury requiring hospitalization. In all other circumstances, I think you should be able to contact me before any major course event. Such non-emergencies that will not be excused include (but are not limited to): failed alarm clocks, missed buses, non-emergency illnesses, non-emergency doctor visits, dead pets, non-functioning automobiles, not "getting back to town in time," and just failing to show up or submit any assignment at the scheduled time for any other reason. My email and voicemail numbers are clearly indicated on the course HomePage and I am in my office by 7:30am (or earlier) on Meeting days. I try not to be totally unreasonable in this regard, but if you come to me a week after missing an major Homework Assignment and claim you missed the deadline because of car trouble, I will not be sympathetic at all. Again, this policy is similar to those for other courses in the School of Informatics and Computing. [Similarly, if you missed a project deadline at work and didn't contact your Supervisor for week, would you expect her/him to be very sympathetic? If you had a major presentation to a client and failed to notify your Manager in advance that you could not attend, what would you expect the consequences to be?] Again, I am in my office on class days by 7:30am and can be reached via email and my voicemail, both of which are posted on the HomePage.

Finally ...

Don't let any of the above scare you away. I just wanted to be sure anyone enrolled in the course this semester or interested in this course in the future has a decent amount of information to make an informed decision.