Syllabus - Fall 2013
ISKM 3110 - Introduction to UNIX/Linux

Excluding textbooks, the information on this syllabus is subject to change.  For the most up-to-date syllabus, check this site on the first day of classes. 

Program Information

This is a three-credit undergraduate level course and is open to BGS, BPS, and non-degree students; others with permission.    

The developer of this course is Jack Gineo.

Course and Instructor Information
Course Title:
Introduction to UNIX/Linux (ISKM 3110)
Format: Online via HuskyCT

Gary Ervin

E-mail: gary.ervin@uconn.edu (After the first day of classes, students registered in the course should send messages to the instructor via HuskyCT Messages.)

Availability: Unless otherwise noted, I will check into the course at least five days a week to monitor discussions and respond to HuskyCT Messages.  If I expect to be away due to illness, travel or family obligations, I will make every attempt to notify you in advance.

This course is open to  BGS, BPS, and non-degree students.  Other students requesting permission to register for this course can add their name to the wait list in Peoplesoft. 

Course Description

This course is intended for those wanting to understand what UNIX is and how to use it. You will gain a technical overview of UNIX by building your knowledge and understanding through hands-on experiences. The topics covered will include basic commands and system structures; system tools; output redirection; command line text editing, e-mail and system calls; file system basics; and, basic shell scripting. The course material is intended to prepare students for versatile use of any UNIX system and as a foundation for numerous UNIX certification programs.

This course is intended for juniors, seniors, and persons seeking platform or system skills experience. Special permission for other students will be handled on a case-by-case basis. ISKM 3100, Introduction to Information Technology, is a strongly recommended prerequisite. 

Course Materials

Students must have all required course materials before the first day of class.

These texts are available through a local or online bookstore. Please visit the linked eCampus Enrolled Students page for additional information on purchasing books.

Required Materials:

Muster, J. (2002). Introduction to Unix and Linux (1st ed.). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0072226951

Cottrell, L. M. & Creary, C. (2002). Introduction to Unix and Linux Lab Manual, Student Edition (1st ed.). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0072226943

Lamb, L., , Robbins, A., Hannah, E., Learning the vi and Vim Editors. 
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc.; 7th edition (July 2008)

Additional course readings and media are available within HuskyCT, through either an Internet link or Library Resources (Electronic Course Reserve/ECR).

Course Requirements and Grading
Class Discussion and Lab Assignments 30%
Midterm Exam 25%
Quizzes (approximately 4) 15%

Final Exam


The final course grading scale is as follows:


Letter Grade






































Due Dates

The Course Schedule in HuskyCT lists all due dates for the course.   All course deadlines are based on Eastern Standard Time; if you are in a different time zone, please adjust your submittal times accordingly.

Feedback and Grades

I will make every effort to provide feedback and grades in a timely manner. To keep track of your performance in the course, refer to My Grades in HuskyCT.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe how UNIX handles multi-user sessions.
  2. Use basic UNIX commands.
  3. Describe the UNIX file system.
  4. Use system commands to modify file ownership, groups, and permissions, and file location and manipulation.
  5. Use basic and advanced features of the vi editor.
  6. Use advanced system commands/tools (i.e.: tar, grep, find, lsof, etc.).
  7. Describe the UNIX mail environment.
  8. Print and redirect files.
  9. Use pipes and filters to simplify system administration.
  10. Define the different UNIX shell environments.
  11. Write and use simple UNIX shell scripts.
Course Outline

Module 1: Overview of UNIX/Linux

Historical Background
Operating System Architecture
System Commands (conceptual)
Operational Overview
Open Source History and Issues

Module 2: The UNIX File System

Directory Hierarchy
File System Navigation
File Types
Viewing Files
File Ownership
Managing Files

Module 3: Basic Commands

Introduce User Commands
Command-line Navigation
File Manipulation
File System Basics
Lab Assignment

Module 4: The Power of Input and Output

Standard Input
Standard Output
Standard Error

Module 5: The Unix Mail Environment

Remote Access
Mail protocols
Mail System Architecture
Mail System Customization
Command-line Mail Access (pine)
Mail Administration
Administrative Mail Uses
Mail Policies & Security

Module 6: Unix Processes

Background/Foreground Execution
Life Cycle
Process Information
System Impact
Job Control
Load Balancing
Mid-Term Exam

Module 7: The VI Editor

Reason to use VI
VI Basics
VI Options and Commands

Module 8: Advanced System Commands Overview

User Account Customization Archiving
Command History
Combining Commands
Partial Output Manipulation
Lab Assignment

Module 9: Shell Environments & Scripting Introduction

Overview of Shell Environments
Environment Differences
Environmental Variables
Shell Script Introduction
Lab Assignment

Module 10: Shell Scripting

Shell Script Anatomy
Shell Script Examples & Review
Lab Assignment

Module 11: Printing

Overview Print Queues
Print Job Management
Automating Redundant Print Jobs

Module 12: System Policies, Procedures & Security

The Importance of Documentation
Suggested Policies
Suggested Procedures
System and File Security
Final Exam

Student Responsibilities and Resources

As a member of the University of Connecticut student community, you are held to certain standards and academic policies. In addition, there are numerous resources available to help you succeed in your academic work. This section provides a brief overview to important standards, policies and resources.

Student Code

You are responsible for acting in accordance with the University of Connecticut's Student Code, available at http://www.community.uconn.edu/student_code.html. Review and become familiar with these expectations. In particular, make sure you have read the section that applies to you on Academic Integrity:

Cheating and plagiarism are taken very seriously at the University of Connecticut. As a student, it is your responsibility to avoid plagiarism. If you need more information about the subject of plagiarism, use the following resources:  

Netiquette and Communication

At all times, course communication with fellow students and the instructor are to be professional and courteous. It is expected that you proof read all your written communication, including discussion posts, assignment submissions, and mail messages. If you are new to online learning or need a netiquette refresher, please look at this guide titled, The Core Rules of Netiquette.

Adding or Dropping a Course

If you should decide to add or drop a course, there are official procedures* to follow:  

You must officially drop a course to avoid receiving an "F" on your permanent transcript. Simply discontinuing class or informing the instructor you want to drop does not constitute an official drop of the course. For more information, refer to the:

Academic Calendar

The University's Academic Calendar contains important semester dates.

Students with Disabilities

Students needing special accommodations should work with the University's Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD). You may contact CSD by calling (860) 486-2020 or by emailing csd@uconn.edu . If your request for accommodation is approved, CSD will send an accommodation letter directly to your instructor(s) so that special arrangements can be made. (Note: Student requests for accommodation must be filed each semester.)

The University of Connecticut's online course management system, HuskyCT, is a product of Blackboard, Inc. "Blackboard measures and evaluates accessibility levels using two sets of standards; Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act issued from the United States federal government and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)." (Retrieved December 1, 2008 from http://www.blackboard.com/company/accessibility.aspx).

Software and Platform Requirements

This course is completely facilitated online using the learning management platform, HuskyCT. If you have difficulty accessing HuskyCT, call the Digital Center (DLC) at (860) 486-1187, or visit its online help (including remote help) at http://dlc.uconn.edu.

Minimum Technical Skills

To be successful in this course, you will need the following technical skills:

  • Use electronic mail with attachments.
  • Save files in commonly used word processing program formats.
  • Copy and paste text, graphics or hyperlinks.
  • Work within two or more browser windows simultaneously.
  • Open and access PDF files.

Evaluation of the Course

Students will be provided an opportunity to evaluate instruction in this course using the University's standard procedures, which are administered by the Office of Institutional Research.

Updated: 08/13/2013 9:11 AM