Texas A&M University-Commerce

Department of Secondary and Higher Education

ETEC 544 - Computer Operating Systems for Educators



Course Description

This course examines similarities and differences between computer operating systems often used in educational settings.  Experiences with DOS, Windows, UNIX, and the Macintosh operating systems will be provided.  Emphasis will be on hardware, software, and training issues related to these systems and to the networking of computer resources.


Term:  Spring 2005 Credits: 3 hours
Section: 001 Format: Traditional/Web Enhanced
Day: Monday Time: 4:30pm – 7:10pm
Location: Sowers Education South #125  (ETEC Advanced Lab)    
Instructor: Dr. Jason Lee Davis
Office: Young Education North – Room 114
Phone: 903-886-5598 FAX: 903-886-5603
E-mail: Jason.Davis@tamuc.edu
URL: http://faculty.tamuc.edu/jdavis/
Courseware URL:       http://online.tamuc.edu/
Office hours: See website for current instructor schedule.  Other times by appointment.

One graduate ETEC course or permission of instructor.


    required:    NONE
    optional:    Gorman, M.S. & Stubbs, S.T. (2001).  Introduction of Operating Systems:  A Survey Course.  Thompson Learning/Course Technology.


Course Goals and Objectives

            Upon completion to this course, the learner should be able to…


1.       demonstrate an understanding of computer hardware components:  motherboard, CPU, RAM, expansion bus, I/O devices, etc.

2.       demonstrate an understanding of memory storage devices:  hard drive, tape, portable (floppy, ZIP, Pen, CF, SM, etc), optical (CD-RW, DVD-RW), etc.

3.       demonstrate an understanding of computer networking:  topologies, infrastructure, cabling, network operating systems (NOS), etc.

4.       demonstrate knowledge and skills involved in computer and network troubleshooting.

5.       recognize, describe, compare, and use different operating systems on a variety of computer platforms including DOS, Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX variants.

6.       recognize, describe, compare, and use common computer interfaces and ports:  parallel, serial, USB, IDE, SCSI/SCSI-2, IEEE1394 (FireWire), infrared, etc.

7.       demonstrate an understanding of issues related to system security, viruses, privacy, and compatibility.

8.       demonstrate an understanding of device drivers.

9.       connect, configure, and use common peripheral devices:  printers, scanners, etc.

10.   demonstrate an understanding of file structure and its relationship to physical memory.

11.   utilize File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to move files between computers over a network.

12.   utilize telnet applications to gain command line and application access on remote computers over a network.

13.   use various utility programs specific to different operating systems.


Requirements and Assignments

Article Reviews – 15%:  Students are required to identify and review three (3) journal articles directly related to the stated goals and objectives of the course.  The student will select three different objectives, from those listed above, as topics for the articles for review.  Reviews should be comprehensive, in your own words, and must demonstrate appropriate writing skills.  The source of the article reviewed MUST be cited completely and the objective addressed must be identified.  Do not post the original article.  Reviews must be posted in the identified Discussion/Groups section in the online courseware for group discussion by the day/time indicated.  Credit will be based on inclusion of required information as well as quality of review and personal analysis.

Follow-up Discussions/Responses – 10%:  Each student is required to participate in self-directed, on-line discussion groups focusing on the article reviews.  On-line discussions will be organized in groups for each of the three rounds of reviews.  One student in each group must submit a follow-up, reflection report to the instructor in each of the three rounds of reviews.  Each group member must submit at least one report during the semester.  The follow-up must address the specific articles reviewed AND a identify topics brought out in the group’s on-line discussion regarding that round of articles.  Discussions may include articles reviewed by members of any group.  Discussion logs will be examined by the instructor to verify full and active participation by all group members.  Credit will be based on quality and thoughtfulness of contributions and responses, both in on-line discussions and postings, and on reflection report submissions. 

Participation – 25%:  All students must be active participants in class activities.  All students must contribute to discussions on article reviews.  Students may not use computers for non-class activities while class is in session.  The use of computers for playing games, chatting, e-mail, or working on assignments or discussions in other on-line courses is prohibited and will result in a reduction in participation credit.  Students must be in attendance to earn participation credit.  An occasional quiz may also be administered with the score contributing to participation credit.

Tech Notes – 25%:  Students will participate in a number of activities designed to build skills and understanding related to the stated course objectives.  Each student will author a one page reflection on each daily activity.  Tech Notes are informal writings and may appear in a variety of formats consisting of diagrams, procedure lists, step-by-step directions, etc.  This will document the day’s activities and serve as the student’s opportunity to make notes regarding the activity for future reference.  The Tech Notes should be compiled in electronic format as the semester progresses and should be e-mailed directly to the instructor as a single file (Word document preferred) on the last day of the semester.  Credit will be based on thoroughness and organization.

Daily Assignments - 15%:  Following each physical class meeting, each student will post one question, with the corresponding answer, to the designated location within the courseware environment.  The Q/A is to be taken from the class lecture/activities.  Also, for each physical meeting, each student is to post an assessment of the session's content in terms of possibilities for on-line delivery of the lesson.  The assessment should identify whether or not you believe the content could effectively be delivered in an on-line format and how the material/activities could be organized and conducted to facilitate such delivery if possible.  (Why or Why not?  How?)  Daily assignments are to be posted within two days following the class meeting.  On-line discussion weeks are exempt.

Final Exam – 10%:  All students must take the final course exam.  The exam will be administered in the on-line courseware environment.


Assignments MUST be completed and submitted by due date.  Full credit cannot be earned by late or incomplete assignments.  10 points will be deducted for each class day an assignment is late.  Late materials may be rejected at the discretion of the instructor.


Evaluation and Grading





Article Reviews:




Follow-up Discussions/Responses:



Participation: 25%


Tech Notes: 25%


Daily Assignments: 15%


59% or less
Final Exam: 10%    


Class Schedule

A tentative class schedule will be maintained on the class’ public website, accessible via the instructors’ homepage.  It is advised that the refresh/reload button is clicked upon each visit to a class page to ensure that the most recent version of the page is displayed.  The schedule is subject to change throughout the semester to accommodate and adjust for the progress of the class, unforeseen events, etc.  Check for modifications frequently.  This is the student’s responsibility.


Regular class attendance is very important.  Class participation requires that students be present.  Class discussions and activities that take place during class cannot be made up.  If you do miss a class, it is your responsibility to notify the instructor in advance, to contact class members to find out what occurred in that class and to make up that work.  For computer work, it is your responsibility to check for compatibility if you wish to use computers other than those provided in the lab.  If you have any questions, contact your instructor.  No make-up work will be given.


Accommodations for Disabilities

Students requesting accommodations for disabilities must go through the Academic Support Committee.  For more information, please contact Disability Resources & Services, Halladay Student Services Bldg., Room 303D, Frank Perez 903-886-5835 or Phyllis Fink 903-886-5150


Student Conduct

All students enrolled at the University shall follow the tenets of common decency and acceptable behavior conductive to a positive learning environment  (see Student’s Guide Handbook, Policies and Procedures, Conduct).


The classroom is NOT the place to make and receive personal phone calls.  This distractive activity is extremely disrespectful of the instructor and other students and is disruptive to the classroom environment.  Cell phones may not be used during class and should be turned OFF upon entering the classroom.  Emergency exceptions must be approved by the instructor prior to the beginning of class.  Violation will result in significant loss of participation credit.


Scholarly Expectations

All works submitted for credit must be original works created by the scholar uniquely for the class.  Plagiarism:  Using works created by others without proper citation is not tolerated and may result in expulsion from the course and the graduate program.  Auto-plagiarism:  It is considered inappropriate and unethical, particularly at the graduate level, to make duplicate submissions of a single work for credit in multiple classes, unless specifically requested by the instructor.  Work submitted at the Graduate level is expected to demonstrate higher order thinking skills and be of significantly higher quality than work produced at the undergraduate level.  Writings must exhibit correct form, style, and grammar and demonstrate the student’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively in the English language. (Also see Student’s Guide Handbook, Policies and Procedures.)


Additional References


Bourne, S. R. (1983) The UNIX system.  Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.


Boyce, J., Tidrow, R., et al. (1996) Inside Windows 95 Deluxe Edition. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Publishing.


Capron, H. L. (2000) Computers: Tools for an information age.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.


Glass, G., & Ables, K. (1999) UNIX for programmers and users.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.


Gorman, M. S. & Stubbs, S. T. (2001) Introduction to operating systems: A survey course.  Thompson Learning/Course Technologies.


Lin, F. (1993) The DOS 6 coursebook.  El Granada, CA:  Scott/Jones Inc., pub.


McMullen, J. (1995) The complete idiot’s guide to UNIX.  Indianapolis, IN:  Prentice Hall Macmillan.


Nemeth, E., Snyder, G., Seebass, S., & Hein, T. R.  (1995) UNIX system administration handbook.  (2nd ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall PTR.


Phillips, H. L. (2001) Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional for power users:  New perspective series.  Cambridge, MA:  Thompson Learning.


Schumer, L. & Negus, C. (1995) Special edition using UNIX.  (2nd ed.) Indianapolis, IN:  Que Corp.


Shelly, G. B., Cashman, T. J., Vermaat, M. E., & Walker, T. J. (2000) Discovering Computers 2001:  Concepts for a connected world.  Cambridge, MA:  Thompson Learning.


Topham, D. (1990) The first book of UNIX.  Carmel, IN:  Howard W. Sams & Co., pub.


Rev. 1/21/2005