CS A442: Communications and Networking

Course Syllabus, Fall 2001 Textbook

Course Description: The objective of this course is to introduce students to the fundamentals of communications and data networking.  The course will study networking from the physical network layer, up to the data link, network, and application layers.  Topics include characteristics of transmission media, multiplexing, error detection and correction, data security, communication protocols, packet switching, analysis of various network architectures, with an emphasis on the TCP/IP network protocol and the higher level layers over the lower level layers.  While most of the material is conceptual, there will also be some hands-on laboratory exercises.

Upon completing the course students will understand:

Homework Assignments:   There will be approximately 5 problem assignments throughout the course, although this is subject to change.  If you wish, you may turn in assignments by email instead of hardcopy.  There will also be some lab assignments.

Lab technicians: Be careful not to abuse the goodwill of the lab technicians. Their jobs are to help you by making sure that you have the resources that enable you to do your work. They are NOT obligated to train you in using the hardware or software. If you need help in understanding a particular application please confer with me or your fellow students.  This may change in the future if we get resources for lab assistants.

Questions: If you have any questions, feel free to come in to my office.  In general, I have an open door policy -- if I am available in my office, you are welcome to come by.  An even better way to reach me is through email.  I check my email frequently and you should receive a response quickly.  Email is preferred over telephone and you will probably receive a faster response since I don't check voicemail very frequently.  You can also contact me online via ICQ #21291820, AOL-IM: kenrickmo, or MSN Messenger: kenrickmo@hotmail.com.  I'm often up late and will be glad to answer questions if I'm available! 

Exams: Including the final, there will be three exams. If you must miss an exam, notification must be made in advance.  Exams will consist of problems to work through. Typically you will either have to design or analyze a network configuration, or provide short answers.  Each exam will be cumulative since the course material builds upon previously covered material!  This means you must keep up in the class, or you will quickly find yourself lost. 

Grading:  Exams will be graded and returned to you. If no one objects, grades will be posted according to randomly-assigned ID numbers on the web site throughout the semester.

Grading breakdown:

Homeworks:  40%   (all homeworks are worth an equal amount)
Exam 1:         17%
Exam 2:         17%
Final:             26%

The grade scale is shown in the table below.  The grading curve may be lowered if necessary but it will not be raised.  This means that if you received an 89% then you will at least get a B+, but may receive a higher grade based on the curve.

An incomplete grade will only be given for a valid excuse (e.g. medical, death in the family). An incomplete grade does not let you take the class over again, your final grade will be assigned based on work submitted in class and work that remains to be submitted.

Cheating: Students are expected to uphold the UAA standard of conduct relating to academic dishonesty outlined in the UAA catalog and student handbook.  Cheating is not tolerated and constitutes grounds for dismissal.  For this class, it is permissible and encouraged to assist classmates in general discussions of computing technologies. You may also discuss homework problems, but it is not permissible to copy another's work (or portions of it) and represent it as your own.