Updated: 2017-05-28 00:20 EDT

1 Course DescriptionIndexup to index

From the Course Outline:

Students learn the basic concepts and features of the GNU/Linux operating system and utilities, the world’s most well-known Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) project and the underlying technology supporting Google, Facebook and Android smart phones. Students examine the power of the GNU/Linux command line and the basics of shell scripting and task automation are studied. Students perform file system searches, full-text searches, and data-mine system log files to generate analyses of network attacks and intrusion attempts. Students also customize their shell programming environment to simplify repetitive tasks and support system administration functions.

Read All The Words in the Syllabus

Read All The Words in the Syllabus

1.1 CST Laptop Machine RequirementsIndexup to index

This is a Mobile Program Course – you must have with you in classes and labs a portable (e.g. “laptop”) machine capable of connecting to the Internet. Bring your machine to all your labs and classes so that you can participate in exercises.

For first-term CST8207 alone your machine requirements are minimal. You only need simple text-based Internet access for the course; most any machine built in the last 20 years can do that.

Read the section “What if my laptop breaks” in the FAQ for Students link before you need it: Mobile Learning Support.

2 Course Home PageIndexup to index

The Course Home Page is located off-campus, on the public Internet. You can link to it indirectly via the Algonquin Blackboard system or quickly and directly via either link below:

Make sure you find the page for this term, not previous terms! Bookmark both the .com and the .org page locations.

Read the Course Home Page carefully and note the important dates. Write down in your notebook on paper the location of the Alternate Web Notes. (You won’t be able to load this page if the site is down!)

3 Course Documents on BlackboardIndexup to index

4 Finding Course Documents on the InternetIndexup to index

5 Course Textbook and ReadingsIndexup to index

There is no required textbook for this course. We have selected some recommended (not required) textbooks for this course; the titles and purchase information are given in the Course Outline. The recommended textbooks are a reliable, comprehensive sources of accurate GNU/Linux information. Motivated students may choose instead to discover and use free Internet resources instead of a purchased textbook. Web-based class notes will be provided on-line.

You are expected to follow the course outline and keep up-to-date with the reading in the web notes even when specific reading assignments are not provided in class. Ideally, to optimize your understanding of the lecture material, corresponding material should be read prior to the class in which it is covered.

Note that just printing the class notes on paper is no substitute for actually reading and understanding them. Also, none of the web hyperlinks work in the printed copy, and in many cases the printed copy is missing text that is wider than the printed page. Print less and read more!

6 Course HandoutsIndexup to index

7 Course Hardware and SoftwareIndexup to index

This course requires no specialized hardware or software. You only need simple text-based Internet access for the course; most any machine built in the last 20 years can do that. Most work is done by remote login to a central Linux server; almost nothing is stored on your own device.

8 Laboratory WorkIndexup to index

An assignment isn’t like a job. It’s a completely artificial setup. But so is an elliptical trainer. No one criticizes gym equipment because it doesn’t mirror real-world situations. – Prabhakar Ragde, University of Waterloo

Labs and assignments are hands-on opportunities to experiment with the theoretical material that you have learned through reading and lectures. Laboratory assignments will be closely integrated with the theoretical material.

Assignments typically require you to do things without telling you how to do them. The “how” is covered in the class notes and reviewed in the lectures.

Starting work on an assignment just before the due date limits your ability to get help with the assignment. Start your assignments early and use your in-class lab time to get the help you need.

Your are expected to perform initial reading, analysis, and design before your scheduled lab period, to take advantage of the limited lab time. You will not have enough time to do all the reading and the lab work in the same lab period. Most lab work will require additional time outside of scheduled lab hours – check the number of homework hours assigned to each of your courses.

Your ability to successfully complete the assigned exercises will directly correlate with your level of success on tests and the final exam. Much of the Test and Exam material will be based on the skills developed doing the lab work.

Knowing the specific answers to assignment questions is not as important as knowing how to generate the answers. You need to know how things work!

9 Classroom is a Work EnvironmentIndexup to index

Generally, the use of mobile computing devices in the classroom is limited to note taking, accessing course materials, and performing a variety of independent or collaborative exercises assigned by the professor. Unless approved by the professor before the class starts, the use of mobile computing devices for personal surfing of the web, downloading of non-course related material, use of messaging software, or gaming is not to take place. – Algonquin College Directive AA32

Tell your professor if you find yourself being distracted by people in front of you who are browsing the web or watching movies during class time. They will be asked to move.

9.1 Limiting use of devices in classIndexup to index

Your professor may propose limiting the use of open devices in lectures due to unavoidable distraction problems for yourself and other students. Read Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away.

In the comment section of a re-posting of the above article, Why a leading professor of new media just banned technology use in class, you will read this:

I usually end up choosing to use my laptop – and I almost always regret it. I sit through a whole class and realize I have taken two notes and that I know nothing about what we just spent hours learning; and as I look around, nearly every person is as lost as I am. It’s not that we don’t want to listen or pay attention, it’s that we can’t.

Is your device furthering your education or hindering it? Turn it off!

10 Course Marking SchemeIndexup to index

Tests and exams will be based largely on modified assignment questions. A majority of the material for each test will come from material covered in the immediately preceding weeks, but material is cumulative and many questions (especially on the final exam) will be based on material covered earlier in the course.

Midterm and Exam dates will be posted on the Course Home Page. Put these dates in your own personal calendar and agenda!

For full mark credit, read and understand the Test Instructions for important directions on how to enter your answers on the mark-sense forms. Your professor will not answer questions about the test instructions during the test; ask your questions before you arrive in the classroom.

The following marking scheme is from the Course Outline:

Assignments and Homework – 30%
Assignments are made available weekly. Each is available online and you will submit your finished work electronically through Blackboard. Assignments that are not submitted by their due dates may not be marked.
Two Mid-Term Tests – 10% + 15% = 25%
Each Mid-Term Test is cumulative, with some emphasis on material covered after the previous Midterm Test. For full mark credit, read the Test Instructions for important directions on how to enter your answers on the mark-sense forms.
Quizzes – 5%
Some quizzes are based on previous lecture and assignment material. Some are taken from the practice question pools for the tests and exams.
Final Exam – 40%
The Final Exam is cumulative, with some emphasis on material covered after the last Midterm Test. For full mark credit, read the Test Instructions for important directions on how to enter your answers on the mark-sense forms.

For full mark credit, read and understand the Test Instructions for important directions on how to enter your answers on the mark-sense forms. Your professor will not answer questions about the test instructions during the test; ask your questions before you arrive in the classroom.

11 Instructor Contact Info and TimetableIndexup to index

Use EMail not Social Media

Use EMail not Social Media

11.1 Social Media and UsIndexup to index

I will not be Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter or whatever social media friends with you until after you leave Algonquin College, and even then only if we are actually, you know, friends.

After you graduate you can connect with me on LinkedIn to stay in touch.

12 Attendance, Attention, and Success FactorsIndexup to index

As noted in the Course Outline, this course contributes to your CST program by helping you achieve the following provincial Vocational Learning Outcome (#10):

VLO 10 Conform to workplace expectations found in information technology (IT) environments.

Workplace expectations include the ability to to keep commitments (hand in assignments on time) and show up for work (attend classes and labs).

Regular attendance is critical to course success (and to job success). If you know the material and don’t need to come to classes, ask for a Prior Learning Assessment. If you paid to be here, please be here.

12.1 Focus your AttentionIndexup to index

If you are in class, shut your laptop, turn off your phone, and pay attention to your lecturer. The person at the front of the room cannot compete with the entire Internet and your personal phonebook for your attention – he doesn’t have the budget.

If you’re bored or falling asleep, take notes. The whole point of lectures is to help you learn and remember the course material so that you don’t sound like an idiot at your job interview. Focus!

12.2 Lecture AttendanceIndexup to index

Lecture Attendance is recommended but not mandatory. Lecture attendance may be recorded. In a laptop/mobile course, I often ask you to log in to the Course Linux Server as a way of indicating your lecture attendance.

Not everything that happens in lecture is found in the course notes. You do need to contact fellow students to find out what content you missed in the lecture. Your instructor will not have time to give you a personal make-up lecture after missing a class; talk to your fellow students.

You don’t need to notify your instructor if you miss a lecture; please don’t send email about missed lectures.

12.3 Lab AttendanceIndexup to index

Lab Attendance is recorded but not mandatory. If you fail to show up for a lab period, I will record you as “Absent” and I will then have to EMail you to ask you why you missed your lab period and whether you are still in the course. If you don’t respond to my email, I will then have to give your name to the Department Chair as a “missing student” and they will have to track you down to find out what is happening.

If you EMail me first, before your lab period, to tell me you won’t be in the lab, you won’t be listed as “Absent”. You don’t need to give a reason why; you don’t need any documentation or note; just let me know you won’t be in the lab before the lab period starts.

You don’t have to attend lab periods, but you do have to tell me ahead of time if you are missing a lab period.

If an employer calls me up and asks me about your reliability, your unexplained lab absences will count against me giving you a job recommendation as a reliable person. If you want a recommendation from me, keep me informed by EMail ahead of missing a lab period.

To avoid being marked absent, send me email before you miss a lab period.

13 How I See My JobIndexup to index

Read my notes on The roles of professor and student in modern education:

I am not able to provide you with individual instruction because you didn’t attend lectures, didn’t read the class notes, or didn’t do the assignments. I will always send you back to the notes and assignments if you haven’t read them. After you have read them, I would love to discuss the material with you!

14 Take Notes in ClassIndexup to index

You will need to take notes in class. Not everything I say ends up in these online files. Passing the information through your brain onto paper or into a computer helps you remember it, even if you never read the notes later. The whole point of lectures is to help you learn and remember the course material so that you don’t sound like an idiot at your job interview.

If you have a question about course content, the first thing I will ask is to see your notes, to see what you wrote down about the topic. Often the answer is there!

Take Notes in Class

Take Notes in Class

15 Plan your WorkloadIndexup to index

The overall term workload usually overwhelms students who try to leave everything to the last minute. You need to put in approximately an extra hour per day, per course, to keep up. There aren’t enough hours in a day to catch up in mid-term.

Assignments are made available weekly, but many assignments may have the same due dates. Start working on the assignment when it is released, not the day before the due date.

16 Read All The WordsIndexup to index

Who has time to read?

Who has time to read?

When you are given an assignment, read all the words. Read all the words of a question, including the hints, before you answer a question. Read all the words before you ask anyone for help. Years of students have passed before you; the answers to most of the questions you might ask are already written in the assignment. Read all the words.

Please do not ask your instructor to respond to questions whose answers are obviously given in the course materials, e.g. “When is this assignment due?” or “When is the midterm test?”.

Attention Span HappleTea Web Comic

17 Redirect or Forward your Algonquin EMailIndexup to index

EMail is a critical part of course delivery for this course. You must have a working Algonquin EMail address for this course. You must read EMail sent to your Algonquin EMail regularly (at least daily) during the school term.

17.1 Basic EMail EtiquetteIndexup to index

Your use of EMail demonstrates your skill as a communicator and aligns with Vocational Learning Outcome (#10):

VLO 10 Conform to workplace expectations found in information technology (IT) environments.

Learn to use EMail correctly:

  1. Send using the correct From: address – your College email address. (Do not use GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo or other personal accounts.)
  2. Make the Subject: of each message match the message body. (Don’t hijack one subject to reply about some other subject.)
  3. Don’t quote material that is not relevant to the message body. (Edit your message down to the minimum needed to communicate.)
  4. Do not top-post messages unless you are simply forwarding the message.

18 Right the First TimeIndexup to index

This is not a practice semester

This is not a practice semester

Assignments are only marked once, on the due date. You don’t get a second chance after the due date. In the real world, if you don’t get it right the first time, your business (or your employer’s business) suffers. You try not to make the same mistakes again, but you can’t take back the fact that you made them in the first place. Do your best the first time.

Almost all assignments will allow you to submit the assignment as many times as you like before the due date. Only the most recent submission before the due date is marked. Previous submissions are not marked.

If you’re short on time, you can submit a partially-completed assignment now and complete and re-submit it later if you have time. A partial assignment is better than no assignment.

A few bonus assignments are given during the term that let you make up for having missed an assignment deadline.

19 Late and Missed Assignments; Submit on TimeIndexup to index

If your boss asks you to deliver to him a product before he walks into a client meeting, having the product ready after the meeting is not useful. Assignments submitted after the due date are given the same consideration.

You may submit an assignment late; it may or may not be evaluated for partial marks. Late or missed assignments and tests are penalized, usually resulting in a mark of zero.

College Policy AA21: Deferred Evaluation lists the for grounds for requesting a deferred evaluation:

“There is no provision for granting extra time for assignments due to work commitments.” – Andrew Pridham, Academic Chair, ICT

If your work interferes with your schooling, either reduce your course load or reduce your work load.

I give students extensions for assignments or tests delayed due to illness or accident. Contact me before the due date to get an extension. It is usually too late to ask for an extension after the due date has passed. You can read the details in Policy AA21: Deferred Evaluation.

In this course (but not other courses) missed assignments and/or tests do not need to be completed; they are simply worth zero and do not need to be submitted. (Other courses treat missed assignments differently; pay attention.)

Not every assignment is due on the same weekday or at the same time; pay attention and record each due date in your weekly calendars. The due date for each assignment is given in the assignment. Due dates for assignments and tests are also posted on Blackboard and on the course web pages.

20 Missed Classes, Labs, and TestsIndexup to index

Contact me before you miss a test or lab period due to accident or illness.

College Policy AA21: Deferred Evaluation lists the for grounds for requesting a deferred evaluation.

From Claude Brulé, Vice-President Academic, memo of October 21, 2013:

College Academic Council has endorsed the following policy statement on student absences and this is supported by Deans Council:

Addressing student absence from class requires a common sense approach, assumes honesty, and allows faculty to exercise judgment while keeping student success foremost in mind.

  1. The student is asked to contact the course professor before the class takes place to indicate that he/she is ill. If the student does not make the attempt, then they may be subject to whatever penalty is outlined in the course outline.
  2. For prolonged illness, or where more than one assessment is missed, the course professor can request the student to provide a doctor’s note in order to help accommodate the situation.

Frivolous cases of abuse are to be avoided, yet not make the environment such that students who are clearly not well feel the need to still come to class for assessments for fear of negative consequences on their academic progress.

As always, faculty retain the responsibility and right to manage their classes in a way that ensures students demonstrate the learning outcomes of each respective course.

Contact me before you miss a test or lab period due to accident or illness.

21 Plagiarism and Working TogetherIndexup to index

You must develop your own answers to assignments. You go into your job interview alone, not with your study group.

No unauthorized copying! Restricted group work! Restricted working together!

Group work and Working together is not permitted except in assignments specifically labelled by the instructor as group assignments. Share your ideas, never your answers.

Do not help other students do their assignments by giving them answers. When you do the work for another student, your mark goes up (because you practice the commands twice) and their mark goes down (because they did nothing and can’t remember anything on the tests and exams).

Make sure you are not helping another student to fail the course!

To really help other students, tell them where in the course notes they can find out how to do something. Don’t give them the answer so that they never read the course notes.

For the modern student, plagiarism isn’t all it used to be. In fact, many don’t see it as an issue in the least. According to the New York Times, technology has fostered a laissez-faire attitude towards the practice. Many students plagiarize – and many don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. More Students Misunderstand The Fundamentals Of Plagiarism

Copying-and-pasting an answer from someone else is not solving a problem. Do your own thinking and type your own answers. No copying-and-pasting. Assignments containing cut-and-paste answers from other people will be subject to plagiarism charges.

Even where using another person’s material is permitted (from other students, books, the Internet, or even from the blackboard or posted course notes), copying material from other sources and submitting it without proper credit to the author is an academic offence called plagiarism. You must credit the source of material that you did not write yourself, no matter from where it comes!

Students working together without authorization or submitting work containing cut-and-paste or plagiarized material will be charged with academic fraud under Algonquin Academic Regulations. Read the plagiarism document for details.

See also: Algonquin College Directives and Algonquin College Policy AA20 – Plagiarism

You may not copy material from any other person without clearing the copying with your instructor and identifying the source, in writing or by EMail, first. If your submission resembles that of another person, anywhere in the class or anywhere on the Internet, I am required to inquire whether you are the actual author. Copying-and-pasting from someone else is not solving a problem. Do your own thinking and write your own answers. No copying-and-pasting.

If I authorize copying, and only if, you must attribute the source of copied material that you use that isn’t yours. Most coursework does not permit copying, group work, or working together on a common answer. Do your own work unless the assignment permits group work.

You earn marks for the new material that you write, not material that comes from other people and other sources (e.g. from me, your friends, or from the Internet). Copying-and-pasting from an existing answer is not solving a problem. Do your own thinking and write your own answers. No copying-and-pasting.

A fun tutorial on how to use the Internet to find answers and avoid plagiarism is here: http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/detective/

See also: More Students Misunderstand The Fundamentals Of Plagiarism, Universities need to tell students the rules about plagiarism, Internet plagiarism rising in schools

A warning not to give your your answers, from a previous student:

From: xxxxxxxx@algonquinlive.com
Subject: RE: CST8207 lab plagiarism
We were talking on facebook and he was having trouble with lab 7 and 8. I tried explaining them to him but was unsuccessful. I offered to put lab 8 on Dropbox as a reference, which I completely forgot about as it’s not something I normally do. When I confronted him he said he didn’t have time to complete the work himself and handed in my answers.

Both students received zero and were charged with academic fraud (plagiarism). Share your ideas, not your answers! Don’t help other students fail the course!

22 Install LibreOffice or OpenOffice into WindowsIndexup to index

When you have your Windows base system Installed (in your Desktop Operating Systems course), go to the private Algonquin URL http://cstech/ on campus (it only works on campus) and find and download LibreOffice (or OpenOffice) for Windows and install it on your base Windows system, so that Windows can read and print the Open Office documents used in this course.

To find the office software on the local Algonquin http://cstech/ web site, click on any room in the left side-bar and look under Drivers and Downloads.

23 Turn off Smart Quotes for Linux workIndexup to index

From Nathalie Casar:

To avoid quote-character errors when coping from Microsoft Word to other programs you need to disable Microsoft “smart quotes”.

Enter Microsoft Word > File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options > AutoFormat and uncheck “Straight quotes with smart quotes”.

Now you should be able to copy over or submit plain text documents without having non-ASCII characters in them.

24 Your Security and the USA Patriot ActIndexup to index

You have already agreed to this (from http://www3.algonquincollege.com/its/files/2012/10/Revised-Terms-of-Use.pdf?file=2012/10/Revised-Terms-of-Use.pdf):


In other words, anything you disclose to the College – before, during, or after registration – may be sent to the Government of the United States. This includes all your College EMail, which is hosted by USA corporation Microsoft.

25 Put Your Name On All Your StuffIndexup to index

Students often leave behind laptops, power cables, and hard drives.

Put your name and contact information on all your books and hardware, including your external hard disks and power supplies. The name has to be clear enough that the office can contact you to give you back your hardware when you leave it behind somewhere.

Your instructor may have some masking tape that you can use to write on.

26 AODA AccommodationIndexup to index

From the College AODA training materials (PDF):

Professors may make a general announcement at the beginning of each semester to:

For more information on arranging academic accommodations for students with disabilities, contact Toni Connolly at connolt@algonquincollege.com or 613.727.4723 ext. 5509.

Students with College-documented disabilities and Individual Student Plans should arrange private office appointments with their instructor in this course to present and discuss their individual accommodation plans. Most specific accommodation arrangements require at least one week advance notice, sometimes more.

27 Religious Observance AccommodationIndexup to index

“For a deferral request related to religious observance, a minimum of 10 working days prior notification must be provided to the professor.” – Policy AA21: Deferred Evaluation

Extensions to due dates for religious observance must be be arranged well before the affected dates. You can read the details in Policy AA21: Deferred Evaluation. As the policy says, extensions are not granted after the dates have passed.

28 Blackboard never loses AssignmentsIndexup to index

To date, Blackboard has never lost a submitted assignment, but many students have failed to complete the submission process and have tried to claim that they submitted the assignment but Blackboard lost it.

Nobody has ever proved that Blackboard has lost an assignment.

Follow all the directions when you submit an assignment and keep a screen capture of the submitted assignment page as proof that you submitted it.

Without the screen capture as proof of submission, missing assignments are presumed not submitted and are worth zero.

29 Term Start ChecklistIndexup to index

You must find the answers to these questions if you don’t know them yet:

  1. Are you registered in exactly one lecture and one lab section?
  2. Do you know how to read your Algonquin Live EMail?
  3. Have you forwarded your Algonquin EMail address to your personal account?
  4. Do you know how to log in to ACSIS?
  5. Do you know how to log in to Blackboard?
    • Can you find the CST8207 Blackboard Page?
  6. Can you find the EXTERNAL (public Internet) Home Page for CST8207?
    • Record two web URLs for this EXTERNAL Home Page, so you can find it.
  7. Have you turned on Show File Extensions in Windows?
    • Failure to do this may make your Blackboard assignment uploads invalid.
  8. Do you know where and how to submit your assignments on Blackboard?
  9. Do you know what a Plain Text file is, and how to create one?
    • what program(s) create plain text files in Windows? in Mac OSX?
  10. Do you have a regular backup plan for your mobile device?
    • What happens if the disk fails in the middle of term? Will you lose all your assignments and have to start over?
  11. Can you follow the directions to log in to the Course Linux Server (CLS)?
    • You will need to get your server password from your instructor, first.
  12. Can you do a File Transfer between the CLS and your local machine?

See your instructor for help with any of the above items, or with anything else here at Algonquin College.

30 Appendix: Blackboard BugsIndexup to index

These are known bugs in some versions of Blackboard. They may or may not have been fixed this term:

  1. If you submit an assignment to Blackboard before the due date, and then the due date of the assignment is extended, Blackboard will incorrectly claim that the assignment is late. Ignore the message; it is a bug in Blackboard; it can’t be fixed. As long as you submitted the assignment before the final due date, it isn’t late and your uploaded mark will confirm this. Do not submit a second copy of the assignment.

  2. The To Do box fails to show upcoming assignments. It always says “nothing due”. Use the Calendar or the My Grades links to see what is due and when.

| Ian! D. Allen  -  idallen@idallen.ca  -  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
| Home Page: http://idallen.com/   Contact Improv: http://contactimprov.ca/
| College professor (Free/Libre GNU+Linux) at: http://teaching.idallen.com/
| Defend digital freedom:  http://eff.org/  and have fun:  http://fools.ca/

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