module specification

CS5051 - An Introduction to Networks and Operating Systems (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title An Introduction to Networks and Operating Systems
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   CW a case study and a technical report 2000 words + artefacts online submission
In-Course Test 40%   1.5 hour Class test
Running in 2018/19 No instances running in the year

Module summary


Prior learning requirements

Successful completion of level 4 or equivalent

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with fundamentals of modern operating systems and computer networks and to develop students’ general knowledge, transferable skills, etc for future employability. By taking this module the students will gain a basic understanding of key issues in relation to networking structures, systems and services. This module is also aimed to provide students with a general understanding of the operation, functions and inter-relation of the major software components of an operating system, an understanding of the hardware-software interface and its control by the operating system, and the knowledge of the user-system interface.


• communication fundamentals: frequency, amplitude, bandwidth, modulation, transmission media, etc
• network fundamentals: topologies, protocols, standards, reference model, switching, access, security, compression, encryption, etc
• local area networks, wide area networks, mobile communications and wireless technology
• internet technologies
• role and functions of operating systems
• 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

Learning and teaching

Students will develop general understanding and practical 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. demonstrate a general understanding of computer networks
LO2. understand main features of network systems
LO3. describe existing electronic-based services
LO4. demonstrate an understanding of the control of computers, computer systems resources, and interactions

Assessment strategy

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

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

The formative exam (1.5 hour class test) will be used to assess students’ deeper understanding of the concepts mainly in relation to [LO1-4]. 


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
• Shelly, G.B., Cahman, T.J., and Serwatka, J.A. (2004), Business Data Communications, Published by: Thomson Course Technology, ISBN 0-7895-6806-3
• 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