COMP 175 - System Administration and Security - Fall 2021


Name Jeff Shafer
Office Anderson Hall 205
Phone (209) 946-2302
Email jshafer at pacific dot edu

Course Support

Zoom for Class Sessions See link on Canvas site (calendar or front page)
Canvas Site
Class Slack
Use class comp175 channel for all questions that would be helpful to your classmates. DM instructor otherwise.
Office Hours Schedule a 1:1 Zoom appointment at

Course Basics

Class Hours Tuesday, Thursday, 1:00-2:20pm in CTC 214
Prerequisites Junior Standing
Textbook None
Credits 3

Course Description

Students are introduced to an operating system from an administrator's standpoint. Topics include installation with the proper allocation of disk resources, maintaining the operating system and various subsystems, security issues that include server hardening, host firewalls and network security issues. Students also study account administration in a networked environment, change management and intrusion detection. Prerequisites: Completion of all fundamental skills and familiarity with console-based operating systems commands. Junior standing. (Fall, every year)

Course Learning Objectives

The vision for this course is: What foundational skills do I need, as a computer scientist or engineer, to install, configure, and secure specialized systems for future projects at Pacific and in my career?

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the computer system administration career and to give them a strong foundation of knowledge upon which to base further studies and training. The emphasis is on the configuration of core computer administration and network services in a secure fashion. Successful completion of this course will enable students to do the following:

  • Detail the tasks, roles, and responsibilities of a system administrator
  • Install and configure a UNIX system
  • Manage UNIX users, file systems and devices
  • Configure a UNIX system for networking
  • Use security mechanisms to protect the operating system and network services
  • Monitor and analyze system problems

University of the Pacific Core Competencies: This course reflects the following university-wide core competencies in the undergraduate program:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Oral Communication

Course Topics

The topics covered in this course include:

  • Virtualization
  • File Systems
  • Commands
  • Shells
  • Processes
  • Daemons
  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
  • Domain Name Service (DNS)
  • Event Logging
  • Network Time Protocol
  • Scripting
  • Firewalls

Assignments and Examinations

This course will be composed of the following elements:

  • Labs: 70%
  • Projects: 20%
  • Presentations: 10%

Attendance Policy

Regular class attendance is strongly encouraged.  Students who miss class meetings are responsible for keeping up with the class.  The course Canvas site will be used to assist in instruction. You are responsible for keeping up with projects, labs, lecture notes, announcements, and other materials that may be posted there.

Grading Policy

Grades for the course are assigned on the scale below:

Grade A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
Points > 93 93-90 < 90-87 < 87-83 < 83-80 < 80-77 < 77-73 < 73-70 < 70-67 < 67-60 60

Recording Policy

All live class presentations and discussions during this course may be recorded. As a student in this class, please note that your participation in live class discussions may therefore also be recorded. By participating in a live class discussion you are giving your consent to this recording. Access to these recordings will be limited to faculty and the students enrolled in the class and to assist enrolled students who cannot attend the live session.

Student Work

Please note that copies of student work may be retained by the instructor to assess how the learning objectives of the course are met. Further, the MOSS (Measure of Software Similarity) system may be used to compare student submissions in an automated fashion.

Honor Code

The Honor Code at the University of the Pacific calls upon each student to exhibit a high degree of maturity, responsibility, and personal integrity. Students are expected to:

  • Act honestly in all matters
  • Actively encourage academic integrity
  • Discourage any form of cheating or dishonesty by others
  • Inform the instructor and appropriate university administrator if she or he has a reasonable and good faith belief and substantial evidence that a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred.

Violations will be referred to and investigated by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If a student is found responsible, it will be documented as part of her or his permanent academic record. A student may receive a range of penalties, including failure of an assignment, failure of the course, suspension, or dismissal from the University. The Academic Honesty Policy is located in Tiger Lore and online at

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability who requires accommodations, please contact the Director of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) for information on how to obtain an Accommodations Request Letter.

3-Step Accommodation Process:

  1. Student meets with the SSD Director and provides documentation and completes registration forms.
  2. Student requests accommodation(s) each semester by completing the Request for Accommodations Form.
  3. Student arranges to meet with his/her professors to discuss the accommodation(s) and to sign the Accommodation Request Letter

To ensure timeliness of services, it is preferable that you obtain the accommodation letter(s) from the Office of SSD during the first week of class. After the instructor receives the accommodation letter, please schedule a meeting with the instructor during office hours or some other mutually convenient time to arrange the accommodation(s).

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is located in the McCaffrey Center, Rm. 137.
Phone: 209-946-3221

Nondiscrimination Policy

The University of the Pacific does not discriminate in the administration of any of its educational programs, admissions, scholarships, loans, athletics, or other University activities or programs on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, handicap, sexual orientation or preference, sex or age.