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Southern Polytechnic State University
Information Technology Department
IT 3123 — Hardware and Software Concepts — Fall, 2012
Course Syllabus

Instructor: Bob Brown (678) 915-7505  e-mail: bbrown at spsu dot edu

Office hours: (J-382) Monday and Wednesday 12:20 – 1:20; Tuesday 1:00 – 4:00. Also (briefly!) after every class and by appointment. I will try to respond to email within 24 hours during the work week if you include "IT 3123" in the subject.

Required Text: Englander, Irv The Architecture of Computer Hardware, Systems Software, and Networking: An Information Technology Approach, Fourth Edition. John Wiley and Sons, 2009; ISBN-13: 978-0-471-71542-9. Note: The fourth edition contains new material that we will cover; only the fourth edition will do for this class.

Course calendar:
Date Topic Reading Due Today
Aug 15 Introductions, Overview Chapter 1
Aug 20 Concepts and Systems Architecture Chapter 2
Aug 22 Number Systems Chapter 3
Aug 27 Data Formats Chapter 4 Assignment 1
Aug 29 Integer and Floating Point Numbers Chapter 5
Sep 3 No meeting — Labor Day Holiday  
Sep 5 Digital Logic Supplement  
Sep 10 The Little Man Computer  Chapter 6 Assignment 2
Sep 12 CPU and Memory I Chapter 7  
Sep 17 CPU and Memory II Chapter 8  
Sep 19 Review   Assignment 3
Sep 24 Exam 1  
Sep 26 Input-Output Chapter 9  
Oct 1 Computer Peripherals Chapter 10 Assignment 4
Oct 3 Modern Computer Systems Chapter 11 Assignment 4
  Oct 4 is the last day to withdraw with a grade of W.
Oct 8 Overview of Networks and Data Communications 12.0-12.3  
Oct 10 Network Protocols and Topologies 12.4-12.6 Assignment 5
Oct 15 Local and Wide Area Networks Chapter 13 Assignment 5
Oct 17 Communication Channels Chapter 14  
Oct 22 Overview of Operating Systems Chapter 15 
Oct 24 User's View of Operating Systems Chapter 16 Assignment 6
Oct 29 File Management Chapter 17  
Oct 31 Review    
Nov 5 Exam 2    
Nov 7 The Internal Operating System 18.0-18.6, 18.8-18.11   
Nov 12 Virtual Memory 18.7  
Nov 14 Programming Tools Supplement Assignment 7
Nov 19 Operating System Examples Supplement 18  
Nov 21 No meeting — Thanksgiving Holiday    
Nov 26 Limits of Computing   Assignment 8
Nov 28 About Computer Security    
Dec 3 Review for Final
TBD Final Examination

Course outcomes: Students who complete this course successfully will be able to:

  1. Identify, use and translate basic number systems, explain basic types of data formats, and describe fundamental digital logic and its relationship to binary numbers.
  2. Explain a basic instruction set and how it works, and describe the fetch-decode-execute instruction cycle.
  3. Describe and use the components of a CPU, input/output hardware and peripherals and how they work, and hierarchy of storage.
  4. Describe the functions of an operating system and be able to compare various types of operating systems, including file management, and memory management.
  5. Differentiate between high-level, low-level and machine computer languages.

Academic conduct: Collaboration with your classmates in studying and understanding the material is part of the collegiate experience, and is strongly encouraged. Collaboration on written assignments is permitted and encouraged, but each student must turn in work written in his or her own words. Copying another's work will be considered cheating; all students involved will receive a grade of zero, a reduction in the course grade, and possibly other penalties including failure of the course and dismissal from the University. Unless you are specifically advised otherwise by the instructor, any work submitted for credit must be completely the work of the individual student.

Collaboration or cheating on examinations will result in a grade of zero, a reduction in the course grade, and possibly other penalties including failure of the course and dismissal from the University. Plagiarism, fabrication, or other academic misconduct will result in a grade of zero, a reduction in the course grade, and possibly other penalties, including failure of the course and dismissal from the University.

SPSU has an Honor Code and a procedure for handling cases when academic misconduct is alleged. All students should be aware of them. Information about the Honor Code and the misconduct procedure may be found at http://www.spsu.edu/honorcode/.

Unsatisfactory grades earned because of academic misconduct cannot be removed from your grade point average by repeating the course and will prevent you from earning Latin honors on your diploma. However, you may be required to repeat the course in order to graduate.

It is very important that you understand the concepts of academic integrity. If any of the above is not clear, or if you are not certain what some of the terms mean, please ask me. A misunderstanding in this area could end your academic career.

Assignments and labs:  Assignments will be posted about a week before they are due. Lab assignments, if any, will be handed out at the beginning of class on the lab days.

Grading plan:  40%  Assignments
30%  Examinations (two at 15% each)
5%  Participation
25%  Final Exam

In general, I will use the following scale to assign course letter grades. However, I reserve the right to make adjustments (either up or down) for borderline cases.

Grading Scale:  90 and above: A. 80-89.9: B. 70-79.9: C. 60-69.9: D. Below 60: F.

Extra Credit: Projects or exercises for additional credit are not available in this or any of my courses. If I offered such an opportunity to one of you, I'd have to offer it to everyone, and then it wouldn't be "extra" any more. I do generally include a couple of optional questions on exams. Those will help raise the grades of students who are prepared for the exams.

Midterm Grades: I will post midterm grades to the BANNER system before the last day to withdraw with a grade of W. Midterm grades are of the form S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory). If your work to that date would earn a grade of C or better, I will record your midterm grade as S. Otherwise, I will record a grade of U.

Class attendance policy: Attendance and participation in class are expected. A significant percentage of your course grade is based on class participation. If you are absent or tardy more than a very few times, your participation grade will be reduced substantially. You should be aware that information not in the book will be presented in class and you will be held responsible for it on examinations. You are responsible for announcements, assignments, and syllabus revisions made in class. If you must miss a class, please arrange to borrow another student's notes. Often you'll get better notes if you make such arrangements in advance.

Historically, students with good attendance records have done significantly better in my classes than students with poor records.

Preparation: You will be expected to have read this syllabus, the reading assignments for the first two class periods, and the Standards of Academic Conduct handout by the beginning of the second class meeting. After that, you are expected to have read each section by the date it is first scheduled to be discussed. I recommend that you read each chapter before it is discussed and jot down questions about anything that is not clear. If your questions are not answered during the lecture, ask them in class. Then re-read each chapter, jotting down important points. Use these notes to study for the examinations.

Submission of work for this course: All work for this course will be submitted using Desire2Learn. Only work submitted through the Desire2Learn "Dropbox" tool will be accepted. No email. No paper. No excuses! You are responsible for allowing enough time to check your upload. "Technical difficulties" will not be accepted as an excuse for missing work.

Be sure you complete the D2L upload process; you will get an auto-generated confirming email. "It didn't work" will not be accepted as an excuse. Be careful what you upload. "I uploaded the wrong document" will not be accepted as an excuse.

You must prepare your work in a form that can be opened with Microsoft Word 2007. One way of doing that is with Libre Office, which is a free and open-source software product. (If you have access to MS Word, just use it; you don't have to download and learn Libre Office.)

Every submission must have your name and the assignment number on the first page. At least in some cases I'm going to be downloading these assignments. If you haven't told me who you are, I can't record your grade!

Handwritten work: In a few cases, such as diagrams or "long" arithmetic, where typing your work would be a burden, I will accept handwritten work. Each assignment will indicate if handwritten work is acceptable, and for what parts. If you choose to hand-write a part of your work, you must scan the handwritten part and paste it into your electronic document at the proper place. (Scanners are available in the CSE lab.) Do not submit multiple documents for one assignment, nor submit assignments with the parts out of order. Those won't be graded.

Due dates: Assignments are due at 11:59 PM on the date shown in the syllabus or course calendar. Late assignments will not be graded and will be recorded as zeroes. As university students, I expect you will manage your time well enough to be able to complete your assignments on time in spite of both usual and unanticipated events. However, I do recognize that sometimes, no matter how well one plans, outside events interfere with one's plans. Therefore, each student will have five "late days" that may be used to submit late assignments without penalty. You may submit one assignment five days late, five assignments one day late each, or any other combination that adds up to five. I encourage you plan well so that your late days will be available in case of a true emergency because, when you have used up your late days, there will be no other exceptions for any reason whatsoever.

To use your "late days" you must notify me by email (and include IT 3123 in the subject) of your intention to use your late days and the assignment for which they will be used before the due date and time of the assignment. (In emergencies, I will accept a telephone call to me or my SPSU voice mail as notification.) The "clock" starts when the assignment is due and stops when you upload your assignment to Desire2Learn. Please note that if you notify me of your intention to use your late days, but never complete the assignment, the "clock" runs until all of your late days have been used up. It is very important that you complete an assignment for which you are using late days as quickly as you possibly can.

Assignment Grades: There are two possible grading plans for each assignment. If you make an honest attempt at every part of the assignment (as determined by me), I will assign a grade of S (equivalent to 100%) or a grade of U (equivalent to zero.) If you have earned a grade f U, I will make notes on your work and you will have one week from the time I return your work to revise it and turn in those parts needing revision. I'll check your revisions and, if everything is correct, your grade will change to S (100%.) If not, your grade of U will stand. This is a bargain in which I agree to grade some of your work twice to help you demonstrate your mastery of the material. That potential grade of U is your incentive to do as good a job as you can both the first time and with the revisions.

If you do not make an honest attempt at every part of an assignment (as determined by me), or you put "One grade only" at the top of your work, I'll grade what you turn in and we'll be done.

If you have questions about any part of an assignment, ask me well before the due date. "I don't understand," does not count as an honest attempt.

Examinations will be based in part on the contents of the assignments.

Examinations: Examinations will consist mainly of short-answer questions. You must take the exams on the dates in the syllabus unless you have made arrangements with me well in advance of the exam. Makeup examinations will not be given unless you make prior arrangements with me. You must take the final exam on the date set by the Registrar; no exceptions will be permitted. The final examination will be comprehensive.

Final examination dates:  The dates of final examinations are set by the Registrar after the beginning of the term. Do not schedule travel until you know the dates of your final exams!

Students with disabilities: Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the counselor working with disabilities at (678) 915-7244 as soon as possible the better to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

How to Succeed in this Class:  Here are five things you can do that will greatly improve your chances of making a satisfactory grade in this class:

What I expect of You

Note that the first five of these expectations are expectations that you will be courteous to your classmates.

What You May Expect of Me

Administrivia: Form of address: Call me Dr. Brown or Bob, whichever is more comfortable for you. (I am fairly formal in class, and will address you by courtesy title and last name.)
Contact information: If I need to communicate with you by email during the term, I will use your official SPSU email address. It is your responsibility to check that address frequently. To communicate with me, use Internet mail and the address at the top of this document.
Class format: There will be no scheduled breaks. Questions will be taken at the beginning of class, during the lecture, and near the end of the class.
Appointments: I will be available after class until all questions have been answered and any other concerns have been discussed, or my next class begins, and at other times during my office hours (see the first page of this syllabus) and by appointment.
Decorum: If you have something to say in class, please address yourself to me. Keep beepers, phones, watches, etc. quiet in class; you will be asked to leave the class if you or your "gear" cause disruption. You will be highly embarrassed if you get kicked out of class because your cell phone rings; don't let it happen!
If you must leave the classroom while class is in session, please take your belongings with you. You may not return to the classroom while class is in progress.
Belongings left in the classroom:  If you leave belongings in the classroom and I notice them, I'll take them to my office.
Social Networks: Please do not ask me to join your social network on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. until after you have graduated, and then only if you earned grades of B or better in each of my classes.

Last updated: 2014-10-02 7:17