CEN-2939 — Networking Capstone — Unix/Linux Option — Syllabus

CEN-2939 Course syllabus
  Resources  (examples and links)   Instructions for Project  


Last Updated for: Spring 2020

Course policies
Time & Place: Ref. No. 41804:  Orientation by appointment

You must meet with your instructor before the end of the orientation period ending Wednesday January 22 2020.

Instructor: Name:  Wayne Pollock
E-mail:  Internet:
Office & Phone:  DTEC–404, 253–7213
View my Office Hours.
Skype ID:  wpollock@hccfl.edu    
Homepage URL:  https://wpollock.com/
Text: none

HCC bookstore on-line

Description: (This course is 3 credit hours long.)  “The capstone course is designed for the student to demonstrate his/her knowledge and skills applicable to the degree core competencies and outcomes.  The course is designed as a project-based experience.  The student's project requirements will be designed in concern with his/her area of curriculum emphasis.”

Students not attending the mandatory orientation meeting by the end of the second week of the term will be withdrawn from the course as a “No Show”, unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor.

Objectives: “Upon successful completion of the course the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate proficiency in the execution of network administrative tasks.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in performing troubleshooting and maintenance activities.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in performing documentation and technical reference activities.”
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.  (The student should be ready to graduate.  You must have successfully completed at least 45 hours of college credit, and been approved as eligible to take this course by the dean's office.  Contact the program manager, your instructor, or the dean, for details on enrollment.)  Students enrolled in a degree or college credit certificate program must complete all prerequisites.
Facilities: All assignments can be performed on any computer that includes the appropriate operating system (OS) environment and utilities, for the OS chosen for each student's project.  These include the HCC open computer lab on Dale Mabry, room DTEC 462.  (This will be discussed during the orientation session.)

If desired, students may request an account on YborStudent.hccfl.edu (a Linux server), which can be accessed from on or off campus using any SSH capable terminal emulator such as PuTTY.  (Your user ID and password will be provided by your instructor, along with instructions on how to use this.)  From off-campus, you can practice using any Unix/Linux system available (or install Linux at home).  Using a virtual machine is recommended.

Your student account on YborStudent.hccfl.edu will be deleted soon after the term ends.  Be sure to make copies of all your files if you wish to keep them!

Students may need USB flash drives to save projects or submit them from HCC.

In order to use computers on campus, you will need your HCC student ID and password.  These can be obtained from HawkNet

You can use HawkNet (WebAdvisor) to obtain your final grade for the course.  You must use your assigned Hawkmail (Hawkmail365) email address or Canvas Mail if you wish to discuss your grades via email.  (Note, it may be possible to setup your Hawkmail account to forward all received emails to some outside email account; but you still must send mail from Hawkmail to discuss grades.)

Most college systems use a single sign-on user ID, known as HCC “NetID”.  Visit netid.hccfl.edu to register and to update your credentials.  (Your initial password is your uppercase first name initial, lowercase last name initial, and your seven digit student ID number.)  Note, the quickest way to resolve login issues is the HCC Live Web Portal (hcclive.hccfl.edu).

The college provides wireless network connections for students and guests on Dale Mabry campus.  For students, select the network “HCC_Wireless” from the list of available networks.  Follow the on-screen steps by entering your HCC email address and network password.  For HCC guests: Select “HCC_Guest” from available networks.  Follow the on-screen steps to complete registration.  This network will be available between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM.  These are the only official HCC networks; don't use others that may appear.

Hawk Alert text messaging service allows you to receive important information regarding campus closures or emergencies.  You may also sign up for financial aid notifications and registration and payment deadlines.  This is a free service, although some fees may be applied by your cellular service provider or plan for text messages.  For more information, visit https://www.hccfl.edu/support-services/hawk-alert.

HCC's Student Assistance Program (SAP) offers resources tailored to student life, providing you with the right tools to help you through some of life's toughest challenges.  The college has contracted Baycare Health Management to provide free, professional, confidential counseling by telephone and in person.  A wide range of topics may be addressed through this program, including mental health counseling, budgeting, and financial concerns.  Please call 800-878-5470 or send email to baycaresap@baycare.org for further information.

HCC DM Open Lab
Computers are located in the computer science department open lab in DTEC–462.  Lab hours are:

Dale Mabry campus open lab hours
Monday – Thursday8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM
Grading: The purpose of this course is to evaluate a student's ability to understand and perform the Unix/Linux system administration.  At least two measures will be used, such as projects, assessment tests, case studies, or an HCC approved industry certification.  The grading will depend on the selected assessment methods, and will be discussed during orientation.

It is expected that at least 70% of students will successfully pass each assessment with at least 70% or higher, ore the equivalent for an approved industry certification (if raw scores are made available to your instructor).  (See Project below for more details.)

  • During the orientation meeting(s) with the student, one or more projects will be selected by the student and approved by your instructor.  This may take several meetings.  In general, the student can suggest their own projects.
  • Other than the initial orientation meeting, there are no set meeting times for this course.  At least one meeting is required to review each deliverable, at a time arranged by the student.
  • The student will submit deliverables (such as progress reports, or system journals) by email prior to the deliverables review meeting.  You should submit using the email address as discussed below in submitting assignments.
  • Students can go to the open computer lab anytime they are open to work or to submit assignments.  Be sure you should leave yourself sufficient time to complete your work.  (So don't show up at 9:50 PM when the lab closes at 10:00 PM!)
  • Attendance is required for the orientation meeting(s), except with the permission of the instructor.
  • You must communicate with your instructor via email, at least twice a month to verify your continued enrollment in this class.  Students receiving federal financial aid may have to return some or all funds if they fail to follow this policy!
  • You must follow the academic honesty policy and the student code of conduct for HCC.  A second cheating offense will result in an “F” for the course, and your name will be turned over to the dean for further handling.  I take these matters very seriously.  You have been warned!
  • Communications Policy:  I will respond to your emails within 48 hours or two business days.  HCC policy is that grades can only be discussed in person or via email only if you use your assigned HCC HawkNet (Campus Cruiser) email account.
  • If you are having difficulty with some aspect of your project please feel free to ask me about it (well before the due date).  You can send emails of questions and/or your work-in-progress, to receive feedback and suggestions.
  • All discussions and agreements reached between a student and their instruction must be documented in emails.  It is up to the student to ensure this happens.
  • No appointment is necessary to see me during my scheduled, on-campus office hours.  You can just “walk-in”.  You can make appointments for other times as long as I'm available. 
  • Occasionally my office hours will be canceled on short (or no) notice, for example if the dean calls me for a meeting.  Before driving out to campus just for my office hours, you can contact me the night before to make sure I still plan to be there.
  • Late Policies:  Late assignments (projects or exams) generally will not be accepted.  An assignment is late if not turned in by the due date and time agreed to with the student's project schedule.  Don't wait until the last minute to submit an assignment or project; if a problem arises, you may miss the due date.

    Late assignments will be accepted late only if you obtain the instructor's permission prior to the due date of the assignment, or for a documented serious medical reason.  All late assignments are subject to a late penalty of at least one letter grade (10%) regardless of the reason for the delay.

    Work later than one week will receive a more severe late penalty; very late assignments without adequate excuses will receive a grade of F (0).  However if you have a very good reason your instructor may waive any or all of the late penalty.  (Examples of good reasons include extended illness that prevents working, being out of town for work, or military service.  Remember documentation will be required.)

  • The dangers of the flu or another contagious disease require some changes to normal policies.  HCC has implemented the recommendations for institutions of higher learning of the CDC.  (See www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/ for guidance from the CDC.)  You won't need documentation if you miss class due to the flu.  (But if you think you have the flu, you should see a doctor as soon as you can.)  In the unlikely event of a school closure due to the flu, some plan to make up the missed work will be made.

    If you think you have the flu, stay home.  Do not come to HCC until 48 hours after your fever has broken as you are still infectious.  Also, people are infectious to others for a day or so before they have any symptoms.  Flu is spread by touching doorknobs, computer keyboards, railings on stairs, etc., that were touched by someone with the flu.  Avoid shaking hands; use the “fist shake” (touching of fists) if you must use a physical greeting.  The most effective way to avoid catching the flu is to wash your hands frequently, especially after touching something that was touched by others.  Avoid unnecessary touching of eyes, nose and mouth.  While not as good as properly washing hands, hand sanitizers have been installed throughout the campus; use them often.

Project: The goal of the capstone project is to demonstrate fluency with the tools and professional practices in your field, an ability to independently plan and carry out a non-trivial piece of work, and an ability to present your work in written and oral formats.  The capstone project is expected to require at least 80 hours of effort over 6 to 8 weeks.  (The project should be completable within one term, by a single student working about 10-12 hours per week on this course.)

The student is expected to pick their own project, which must be approved by the instructor.  If a student selects a topic that requires a substantial technology-related learning curve, (such as learning a new language or operating system, etc.), then that portion of the effort is over and above the effort expected for the capstone project itself.  The project can take many forms, depending on your interests.  It must be educational, have a research component, and relate to your major.  It should also have a clear focus and well-defined success criteria.  You should analyze a problem, research known solutions and products that address the problem, develop a design and a plan, choose some interesting or challenging portion of the problem to implement.  Examples include:

  • Provisioning a server, such as a web, DNS, and database system, using Ubuntu, Debian, FreeBSD, or some operating system other than Red Hat based.
  • Setting up a load-balancing cluster of web servers on a cloud such as AWS.
  • Implementing your own cloud (using, say, OpenStack), with a couple of servers provisioned.
  • Volunteer as a system administrator for some open source project, and complete some real project (or a portion of a large project).

In addition to projects, you can choose other types of assessments, including obtaining some HCC approved industry certification, such as Linux+.  (You will need to obtain this during the term, or within a month prior to the start of the term.)

You need to have two assessments for the capstone.

Project Evaluation: Each project will be evaluated separately, and each will contribute to your overall grade.  Other evaluation criteria include completing deliverables on time, and a quality presentation of each deliverable.  It is expected that students already know what is expected for each deliverable (such as a readable system journal), but if unsure you should speak with your instructor early enough to be able to succeed.
Submitting Assignments: Non-text deliverables should be PDF files when possible.  Make sure your instructor approves alternative formats (such as Visio files) before submitting.  Your plain text files should be included by copy and paste, or as a zip archive.

All assignments (except when noted) should be submitted by email to pollock@acm.org.  Please use a subject such as “Capstone Project” so I can tell which emails are submitted work.  Email your projects as “zip” attachments, as noted below.  Make sure you use my Yahoo.com email account, since HCC's mail server will not accept email with certain types of attachments.  Note: If you use Microsoft Outlook Express or a similar email program, please be aware that this program has a “feature” that automatically converts slash-slash (“//”) comments in your email to “FILE://”.  Make sure your source files are correct before you send the email!  If possible, use the “text” and not the “HTML” mode of your email program.

The HCC email server automatically accepts and silently discards email with certain types of attachments.  If you must send email to my non-Yahoo.com email account please avoid using any attachments, but especially “zip” files.  To send email with a “.zip” attachment you must first rename the file extension to “.zap” and then send the renamed file as an attachment.  However this method isn't always reliable.

To avoid having your submitted work rejected as “spam”, you can use Hawkmail365 to send email to professors.  (This doesn't always work either!  If you are having difficulties with this email address, use Canvas email instead.)

If you have an email problem, you may turn in a printout instead.  Be sure your name is clearly written on the top of any pages turned in.  Please staple multiple pages together (at the upper left).

Always keep a backup copy of your submitted projects, until you are certain they have been received and graded correctly.

You can send questions to , as long as your email doesn't include any zip attachments.  Please use the subject “Programming Capstone Project Question” so I can tell which emails are questions about the project (and not submissions).

Academic Calendar
HCC Academic Calendar:
Classes Begin: Monday  1/13/2020
Add-Drop Ends: Friday   1/17/2020
Orientation Period Ends:  Wednesday   1/22/2020
Last Day to Withdraw:  Saturday  3/28/2020
Classes End: Monday  5/11/2020 
Grades Available:  Wednesday  5/13/2020  (from HawkNet)
HCC is closed on: Monday  1/20/2020 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day),
Monday  2/17/2020 (Presidents' Day),
Monday–Sunday  3/16/2020–3/22/2020 (Mid-Term Break),
Tuesday  3/31/2020 (All College Day)
Friday–Sunday  4/10/2020–4/12/2020 (Spring Day),

Consequences of Dropping or Withdrawing

Dropping or withdrawing may have an impact on financial aid, veteran’s benefits, or international student visa status.  Students are encouraged to consult with a financial aid, the VA certifying official, or the international student advisor, as appropriate, prior to dropping or withdrawing from class.

Requests For Accommodations

If, to participate in this course, you require an accommodation due to a physical disability or learning impairment, you must contact the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities, Dale Mabry campus: Student Services Building (DSTU) Room 102, voice phone: (813) 259–6035,  FAX: (813) 253–7336.

HCC has a religious observance policy that accommodates the religious observance, practices, and beliefs of students.  Should students need to miss class or postpone examinations and assignments due to religious observances, they must notify their instructor at least one week prior to a religious observance.


Quotes on learning
Quotes:         Tell me and I'll listen.
Show me and I'll understand.
Involve me and I'll learn.
    — Lakota Indian saying
        Learning is not a spectator sport!     — Chickering & Gamson



Class Resources
Soft Skills Discusses certifications, job interviewing tips, and required non-technical skills needed to find and keep a job     Code of Ethics The System Administrators' Code of Ethics
LPI certifications LPIC-1 is also known as Linux+, an approved industry entry-level certification for our program  (Non-entry-level jobs will want level 2)     Red Hat Certifications Red Hat has three levels, RHCSA, RHCE, and RHCA  (These include a hands-on component)
CLA SuSE Certified Linux Administrator  (Not as popular as Red Hat or Linux+)        

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