Course Syllabus

Welcome! This Syllabus for CS312, System Administration, describes the materials, objectives, and the course policies that I expect us all to adhere to. For everything else, please refer to our course Home Page. It is required that you understand and know the information contained both on this Syllabus and our Home Page.


Benjamin Brewster
Office: KEC 2113

Subject Matter

We will be learning about the following topics:

  • Computers: hardware assembly and troubleshooting, operating system installation, booting, shutting down, user management, permissions, software troubleshooting, log files, backup methodologies, maintenance requirements and methods, registries and system files, and security.
  • Networks: hardware, planning, installation, WANs & LANS, the Internet, troubleshooting, and security.
  • Servers: hardware, user management, resource management, permissions, command and control, domains and groups, file systems, sharing files, system virtualization, remote management.
  • Projects: Planning, estimates, client interaction and expectations, service level agreements, records management.

We also have a set of measurable student learning outcomes. By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Build a functioning general-purpose computer from scratch.
  • Demonstrate how to plan, install, and troubleshoot a Local Area Network, connecting it to a Wide Area Network.
  • Demonstrate how to manage a server for the purposes of providing specific services to a collection of users and devices, including manipulation of user accounts, resource management, and security.
  • Demonstrate how to maintain a collection of devices using remote management tools in both centralized locations and across de-centralized organizations.
  • Describe how to plan major and minor tasks and time so that services are stable and effective, and meet a Service Level Agreement.
  • Produce written documentation of system problems, solutions, processes, and procedures.
  • Create programs and demonstrate facility in programs and tools that automate system administration tasks.
  • Participate effectively in a team environment.

Course Materials

The course material is presented in a series of in-person lectures which usually include hands-on components to do while you're in-lecture, and a weekly Lab.

There are no required books or extra fees associated with this course, though you are required to bring a functioning laptop (Win10, macOS, or Linux) to each lecture and lab.


There are both Homework assignments and Labs in this class. The Homework assignments will have you writing up short answers, a few paragraphs, a few command lines, drawing a couple diagrams, and submitting some screenshots. I recommend you use Word or some other editor to produce the assignment, or just do it all by hand and scan it. Turning these in will be accomplished by converting what you produce into .pdf files, then submitting them to Canvas.

When you submit the programming assignments to Canvas, don't be alarmed that Canvas renames the files. This is just normal Canvas behavior. We have to rename them anyway, so don't worry about it.

I highly recommend that you read the Homework assignment for each week when it becomes available. Start the assignments immediately - they are not particuarly challenging, but you'll want to have them in mind as you attend class and the labs. When submitting assignments, please be aware that neither the Instructor nor the TA(s) are alerted to comments added to the text boxes in Canvas that are alongside your assignment submissions, and they may not be seen. No notifications (email or otherwise) are sent out when these comments are added, so we aren't aware that you have added content! If you need to make a meta-comment about a submission, please include it in the file you submit itself, or email the person directly who will be grading it (see the Home Page for grading responsibilities).


Here is some information about testing in this course:

  • There are no mid-term exams in this course.
  • Our Final Exam is an online Quiz here in Canvas. As with all of our assignments, you will not use ANY form of proctor for this test.
  • Since the Final is online only, you can take it from anywhere you want!
  • The Final is entirely multiple choice.
  • In terms of materials you can have with you, the Final is open book, open notes, open compiler, open server, but NOT open group (i.e. you have to take it by yourself).
  • The Final should take (far) under two hours.
  • You'll be able to take the Final during a portion of Finals Week: in fact, you can already see the precise availability dates on the Assignments page here in Canvas. You can take it any time in between the listed end points.
  • There is no particular study guide for the Final. The topics covered are everything in all of the lectures and homework.
  • To review, I recommend reading through all of the lecture slides, Homework assignments, and Labs.
  • There is a Syllabus Quiz due shortly after the class begins.


The TAs will be using a written key file to compare your answer with. The amount of points to be awarded or taken away by these additional tests is at the discretion of the grader. Some questions allow partial credit, some do not.

Any crashes, hangs, errors, infinite loops, etc. not covered in the assignment can still cause your submission to lose points. The amount lost depends on the severity, how much it affects the rest of what you do, and how it is recovered from, if at all, all based on the discretion of the grader.

If you have grading questions about the homework, you MUST contact the TAs, as they do ALL of the grading (except for the final, which is graded automatically by Canvas). You can see the contact information for our TAs on our Home Page.

If you believe a grade returned to you is incorrect, please submit proof to the TA within 48 hours of the grade being received by you. Your proof must consist of screenshots (not a copy/paste of the text) that clearly show it working. Your screenshots must show the places where the grading has been done incorrect, if any, and this grading must be done on the submission that you have made (i.e. redownload it yourself from Canvas to make these screenshots). If you don't provide proof, or if you ask for a regrade past 48 hours of the grade being given, a regrade won't be done.

We do not use any sort of proctoring for any assignment or test in this class.

All assignments must be submitted on Canvas, according to the posted due date and time, or they will be subject to penalties. All assignments that are submitted late by less than 24 hours will have 10% deducted from their grade (e.g. your program submitted at 12:01pm, if it was due at 12:00pm, will be worth 90% of its graded value). Assignments submitted late equal to or more than 24 hours, but less than 48 hours, will have 25% deducted from their grade. Assignments may not be submitted late past 48 hours, and will be worth 0 points. These late penalties are off of the total possible, not the amount you earn. For example, 10% off a 100-point assingment is 10 points off, regardless of the points actually earned.

Note that Canvas has three types of dates in relation to Assignments: the "available" date, "due" date, and "available until" date. The due date is the date that the Assignment must be turned in by for full credit. The other "available" dates allow me to control when the Assignment can be accessed, which helps keep all of the students in the same place at the same time. The "available until" date is used to prevent submissions of Assignments past 48 hours; it is NOT the due date: it is after the due date.

The Final Exam and Syllabus Quiz cannot be submitted late.

To get an extension on an assignment, you'll need to have a major event occur in your life that will prevent you from timely completing your work, and you must then notify our the Instructor before hand, if possible. Extensions of these kinds are generally reserved for issues you can't control, such as medical reasons or family emergencies. Merely being busy does not count! If you cannot notify the Instructor before the event occurs (sudden severe sickness, for example), then you must make contact as soon as possible to get an extension. We're fairly easy going about these, but you need to be upfront and immediate: don't wait!

There won't be a curve applied to the grading of this course, nor is there any rounding or weighting of assignments and/or the final. The points you see in the assignments are the points available, including in the table below. The grading scale is as follows, and will be adhered to strictly (I have already taken into account some pretty generous rounding), so please don't ask for "just a few more points":

91.5 ≤ A  100
89.5 ≤ A- < 91.5
87.5 ≤ B+ < 89.5
81.5 ≤ B < 87.5
79.5 ≤ B- < 81.5
77.5 ≤ C+ < 79.5
71.5 ≤ C < 77.5
69.5 ≤ C- < 71.5
67.5 ≤ D+ < 69.5
61.5 ≤ D < 67.5
59.5 ≤ D- < 61.5
≤ F < 59.5

Note that when you take the final, you won't be able to see how you did on the individual questions and answers, nor will they be given afterwards. It'll simply give you a point grade, and that's it.

Academic Honesty

You must follow these rules and regulations while working on assignments at OSU and for this course.

I have no problems with you working together to solve problems, work through coding bugs, etc. I do require that final assignment and test answers be your own work. Turning in work that has a substantial amount of someone else's work will be worth zero points. Cite ALL the resources that you use for help (web links, book page numbers, classmates, etc.), as you will be doing lots of reading about what other people have done.


Really, this is a fun course. I do my best to be entertaining, and not overly boring. You'll find me easy to communicate with, and actively involved! If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong!

OSU Accessibility Statement

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, believe you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due