[…T]he Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes.
Sen. Ted Stevens, Senate speech on network neutrality, 28 June 2006
This a course on computer networking. The course is divided into seven two-week sections. See the schedule for details.
The prerequisite for this class is Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science (CS 502). A good understanding of operating systems (CS 505) is also helpful.
The class meets in Howard Hall 209 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:25 pm to 9:15 pm. Classes start on Tuesday, 4 September. Tuesday, 6 November, is the last day for withdrawing from the class with a W. There is no class on Fall Break, Thursday, 11 October, or on Thanksgiving, Thursday, 22 November. Classes end on Thursday, 13 December.
There are three tests, one every two sections starting with section 2; see the schedule. Tests are given in class, and are open book with notes; calculators and computers are not necessary. The tests are cumulative, covering everything taught up to and including the class before the test. Tests should take no more than an hour to complete, and will be given in the first half of the class. Test answers will be made available off the schedule. There are no mid-term or final exams.
There are seven homework assignments, one per section starting with section 2. Homework problems will be available at the start of the section and are due at the end of the section (that is, by 9:15 of the last Thursday of the section).
The final grade is a straight, unweighted average of the test grades and the five highest homework grades; that is, the final grade comprises eight grades total — the lowest two homework grades are dropped — and each constituent grade constitutes one-eighth (0.125) of your final grade.
I use the usual grade ranges:
95 ≤ A 90 ≤ A- < 95 86.6 ≤ B+ < 90 83.3 ≤ B < 86.6 80 ≤ B- < 83.3 76.6 ≤ C+ < 80 73.3 ≤ C < 76.6 70 ≤ C- < 73.3 F < 70
All grades are kept with one digit of precision to the right of the decimal point and 0.05 rounded up. No grades are adjusted to a curve; that means that 89.9 is always B+, never an A-.The final grades.
Pop quizzes occur spontaneously and randomly. A pop quiz is no more than five minutes long, and is given as soon as class period starts. A pop-quiz grade ranges from 0 to 5 (inclusive on both ends) and is unappealable; see the pop-quiz rules for full details.
There are many computer networks textbooks, all more or less the same. This course has a textbook, but it doesn’t have an assigned textbook. Instead, pick a textbook or two you’re comfortable with. As a first cut, compare the book’s table of contents with the schedule to make sure the topics mentioned in the schedule appear in the table of contents. You can glean further advice from a small annotated bibliography of computer networks books.
Please do not interpret “There’s no assigned textbook for this course” to mean “Great! I don’t need a textbook.” Absorbing everything you need to know from lectures won’t be possible, not the least because there won’t be time to cover everything in lectures. Working it out over a textbook or two will give you the time and space to learn what you need to know. In addition, the tests are written assuming knowledge found in basic computer networks textbooks.
Mail relevant to the class will be stored in a
tinyurl.com/mucs514f12m ). If your message is of general interest to the class, I'll
store it, suitably stripped of identification and along with my answer, in the
tinyurl.com/mucs514f12h). I’ll make the class notes, assignments, and tests available off the schedule at
tinyurl.com/mucs514f12s); you should get in the habit of checking the schedule regularly.
vimeo.comon the mucs514 channel (rss feed). Screencasting is experimental, and lecture availability will most likely be unreliable.
identi.ca/mucs514, rss ) or twitter (
twitter.com/mucs514). The same messages appear on both services.
My attendance policy applies only to lecture attendance; it does not apply to other kinds of attendance which may be required for the course. Repeated failures to meet the attendance expectations set for tests, meetings, projects, labs or other forms of course work will have a bad influence on your grade.
First, the only complaint that matters is that something got marked wrong when it was actually right. When you come to complain, be prepared to present, in explicit detail, what it is you did and why you think it’s right.
Second, complaints about a particular test or assignment are only valid until the next test or assignment is due; after that point the book is permanently closed on all previous test or assignment grades.
A late assignment is penalized ten points a day for each day it’s late. I use a 24-hour clock running from midnight to midnight to measure days; note this means that an assignment handed in the day after it’s due is penalized ten points: five for the day it was due and five for the next day.
A make-up test must be scheduled to be taken by the date of the test following the missed test (or the final exam if you miss the last test). If a missed test is not made up by the time of the next test, you get a zero for the missed test.
There will be only one make up given per missed test. If more than one person misses the same test, those people will have to coordinate among themselves to pick a mutually agreeable date for the make up.