COMP 175 - System Administration and Security - Fall 2021


Name Jeff Shafer
Office Anderson Hall 227
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 In-person:  Tuesday 3-5pm (1st/3rd week of month), Thursday 10am-noon
Zoom meeting: Mon/Wed/Fri 12-6pm by appointment
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

This course provides an introduction to system administration of modern network servers and applications. Techniques to provide for data confidentiality, integrity, and availability are presented, both at the network security level and host security level, in order to resist common attacks and vulnerabilities. Topics include virtualization methods, resource provisioning in a cloud environment, command-line usage, installation and configuration of common network applications, containerized application deployment, password security and auditing, network configuration and firewalls, scripting, change management, and IT automation tools.

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

Late submission policy:

  • Assignments submitted less than 24 hours late will be accepted without penalty.
  • Assignments submitted from 1 to less than 7 days late will be accepted at a 10% penalty.
  • Assignments submitted 7 days late, or beyond, will not be accepted.

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 visit to contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) for information on how to request accommodations while at Pacific.

  • Students who have not previously registered for accommodations can request services by visiting and selecting New Students Apply Here. Once registered, students will be asked to provide documentation of their disability, and meet with the accommodation specialists to determine reasonable accommodations.
  • Students who have previously been approved for services with SSD can requests accommodation(s) letters each semester by selecting the Returning Students Login Here link located on

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is located in the McCaffrey Center, Second Floor.
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.

COVID-19 Pandemic

This course is being offer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. To keep us all healthy and safe, some additional rules are necessary.

  • Masks are required for everyone when in the classroom.
    • It is your responsibility to have a mask when you arrive for class.
  • Eating and drinking are prohibited in the classroom.
    • If you must have something to eat or drink during class, request permission to be excused and go outside to do it.
  • Respect each other and respect personal space.
    • Work together to ensure that this classroom is comfortable and safe.
    • While there are no social distancing rules in effect, please allow distance when possible. Be aware of others’ needs for personal space and adjust appropriately.
  • If you become ill or you are required to quarantine or isolate, stay home, and do not come to class.
    • You should inform the Dean of Students of your status. Her office will inform your instructors that you will need to be away from class. Contact her office at or 209.946.2365.
    • Contact the instructor by email and we can determine how you can continue to participate in the course.

You are also responsible for conducting yourselves according to university rules and policies related to the pandemic. Here are some links for review:

If there are significant changes in pandemic conditions, it may be necessary to change some of the policies or structure of this course. If this becomes necessary, a revised syllabus will be distributed through the course Canvas site. Check the Canvas site regularly for announcements.

If you observe any behavior or conditions that violate pandemic protocols or seem unsafe with regards to the pandemic, please report it to the Associate Dean at The Dean’s office will take appropriate actions to correct the situation.