module specification

CS5001 - Networks and Operating Systems (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Networks and Operating Systems
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   CW1 - a case study and a technical report (2000 words + artefacts) - online submission
Coursework 30%   CW2 - the UNIX command line used record and Shell program - online submission
Unseen Examination 40%   Formative Exam (2 hours)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Morning

Module summary

This module introduces fundamental concepts of modern operating systems and computer networks. It discusses in-depth the key issues in networking structures, systems and services, etc.; and provides knowledge of operating systems on topics such as operation, function and inter-relation of the major software components. This module enables students to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and skills through lectures, tutorials, workshop exercises, and self-learning/research activities.

Prior learning requirements

Successful completion of level 4

Module aims

This module is aimed at providing students with fundamental concepts of modern operating systems and computer networks. It develops students’ knowledge and transferable skills for future employability. By taking this module the students will gain an understanding of key issues in relation to networking structures, systems, and services. This module also aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the operation, function and inter-relation of the major software components of an operating system and the understanding of the hardware-software interface and its control by the operating system, and the insight knowledge of user-system interface.


• communication fundamentals: frequency, amplitude, bandwidth, modulation, transmission media, etc
• network fundamentals: topologies, protocols, standards, OSI 7 Layer and TCP/IP protocols, switching, access, security, compression, encryption, etc
• local area networks and wide area networks
• mobile communications and wireless technology
• communications systems and services
• multimedia communications
• internet technologies and security
• functions of operating systems
• main features of shells
• main UNIX shells: the Bourne and Korn Shells
• file management: types of the files, creation, removing and manipulation of files
• implementation of the UNIX file system
• process management: process primitives and how they are used by the shell, Shell pipelines and redirection, manipulation of processes, Implementation of UNIX processes
• memory management: basic memory management and virtual memory
• input and output control: principles of I/O software and layers, network interface, etc
• protection and security in operating systems
• introduction to network operating systems and distributed systems
• future trends: emerging technologies and applications

Learning and teaching

Students will develop theoretical understanding and practically investigative skills based on weekly lectures, tutorials and supervised workshops.  The workshops, in particular, are designed to support students in gaining practical experience in computer networks and operating systems.

Appropriate blended learning approaches and technologies, such as, the University’s VLE, network design/simulation tools and UNIX shell programming, will be used to facilitate and support student learning, in particular, to:

  • deliver content;
  • encourage active learning;
  • provide formative and summative assessments, and prompt feedback; 
  • enhance student engagement and learning experience.

Students will be expected and encouraged to produce reflective commentaries on the learning activities and tasks that they carry out to complete their work.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

LO1. appreciate the basic concepts of computer networks and distributed systems
LO2. demonstrate an understanding of organisational features of network systems
LO3. describe and critically evaluate existing electronic-based services
LO4. understand main processes behind the control of computers, computer systems resources, and interactions
LO5.  demonstrate the insight understanding of basic commands of a popular operating system
LO6. develop a small program (shell script) to control computer system resources

Assessment strategy

Coursework 1 is designed to enhance learning either by offering a case study in relation to the network design/implementation supported by a network simulator, or research/investigation on network architecture/models. It requires a technical report (2000 words + artefacts) if based on the case study, or a research report, related to technique issues with computer networks. It’s aimed at developing students’ knowledge, confidence and problem solving strategies [LO1-3].

Coursework 2 is designed for students to master UNIX commands and solve particular problems and control computer system resources by writing a small UNIX script (Shell program). Students will produce a recorded document to show their understanding and the ability to use effectively the command lines for the construction and documentation of computer applications, with particular emphasis on understanding the whole process involved in the effective application of computers to solve practical problems [LO5] [LO6].

Formative assessment and feedback opportunities will be provided to develop student understanding of the subject throughout the workshops.

The formative exam will be used to assess students’ deeper understanding of the concepts mainly in relation to [LO1-4]. 

Learning Manager Meetings: in order to pass this module, students must attend at least two meetings with their Learning Manager (one in Autumn and one in Spring) in order to reflect upon, discuss and plan their approach to learning and organisation of their study.


The main learning resource is the complex of lecture notes, tutorial questions, workshop tasks, supporting software packages, and other teaching materials available as a Web site accessed through university’s Web site.

The key texts:

  • Kurose, J.F. and Ross, K.W. (2005), Computer Networking, a top-down approach featuring the internet. 3/e, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-321-26976-4
  • Stallings, W. (2004), Computer Networking with Internet Protocols and Technology, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-191155-4
  • Tanenbaum (2008), A.S. Modern Operating Systems. 3/e. Prentice Hall International, ISBN-10: 0138134596 | ISBN-13: 9780138134594
  • Ruth A. Watson(2004), Introduction to Operating Systems and Networks, Prentice Hall,  ISBN-10: 0131118943 |ISBN-13:  9780131118942

Other books:

  • Sobell, M. G. A Practical Guide to the UNIX System. Third Edition. The Benjamin/ Cummings Publishing Company, Inc. 1995 (or a later edition). ISBN: 0-8053-565-1
  • Halsall, F. (2005), Computer Networking and the Internet. Fifth Edition, Published by: Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-321-26358-8
  • Regan, P. (2004). Wide Area Networks, Published by: Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-046578-X
  • Regan, P. (2004). Local Area Networks, Published by: Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-046577-1