Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

CISS 301: Operating Systems For Business Computing

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  Course Description

This course is an introduction to computer operating systems functions and management. Topics include: memory, process, device, file and network function management, concurrent processes, security and ethics.

Prerequisite: CISS 170/176 and junior standing

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  McHoes and Flynn. (2018). Understanding Operating Systems (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

Upon completion of this course, the student will have a working knowledge of, and greater appreciation for, functions handled by operating systems.

Students should gain an understanding of memory, device and file management including topics such as memory paging and processor scheduling algorithms as well as the different implementations and challenges of each across various operating systems.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate basic knowledge of operating systems.
  2. Compare and contrast different operating systems.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discusions (14) 210 21%
Homework (5) 200 20%
Research Paper 110 11%
Quizzes (2) 80 8%
Exams (2) 400 40%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1-1 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 1-2 15
Homework 1 40 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2-1 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 2-2 15
Homework 2 40 Sunday
Quiz 1 40
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3-1 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 3-2 15
Homework 3 40 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4-1 15 Thursday/Sunday
Midterm Exam 200 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5-1 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 5-2 15
Homework 4 40 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6-1 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 6-2 15
Homework 5 40 Sunday
Quiz 2 40

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7-1 15 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 7-2 15
Research Paper 110 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8-1 15 Thursday/Saturday
Final Exam 200 Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


Each week you will participate in one or more online discussions. Your initial posts answering all discussion questions are due by 11:59 pm CT Thursdays. At least one response to a classmate or the instructor per discussion is  due by 11:59 pm CT Sundays, except for week 8 when they are due on Saturday.

Initial posts should demonstrate synthesis of readings and cite outside sources appropriately using a recognized citation style such as APA or MLA. Responses should be thoughtful, providing additional points of view, information, or critique.

Discussions are each worth 15 points and a grading rubric will be provided.


A total of 5 homework assignments are assigned; each is worth 40 points. Homework is due by 11:59 pm CT Sundays of the assigned week. Homework questions will come from the textbook; see each assignment's course Dropbox for the particular assignment details.

Your answers to the homework questions should be saved as a single Word (.doc or .docx) document and submitted to the appropriate Dropbox of the course. A minimum of 2 pages is expected (1-inch margins on all sides, double-spaced, 12-pt font). Provision of additional supporting materials or examples may be required to achieve the minimum length. Assignments will be graded on the basis of completeness, accuracy, clarity, and neatness.


There will be two short quizzes in the course to assess your understanding of the course material between exams. There will consist of 10 multiple-choice questions. You will have a single attempt at each and 30 minutes to complete them. Each is worth 40 points; they are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of the assigned week (week 2 and 6).

Research Paper

You are required to submit one 8-10 page research paper (page count does not include title or citation pages). It should be formatted in APA style and include a minimum of 5 cited sources. The paper is worth 110 points and due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of week 7.

Topics to select from are the standard and add-on security features/functions available from one of the following operating systems:

  • Linux (either as a whole or a specific Linux distribution)
  • Mac OS
  • Windows (either as a whole or a specific version from Windows 8.1 through Windows 10, including Enterprise edition)

Possible items to discuss include authentication and authorization, encryption, firewalls, patching/update systems, virtual machines as a means for environment silos, etc. 



The Midterm Exam covers material from weeks 1-4. It will assess your understanding of vocabulary and have some application problems as well. The Exam consists of 50 multiple-choice or true/false questions. You will have 2 hours to complete it, and a single attempt. It is worth 200 points.
The Exam must be proctored.



The Final Exam covers material from weeks 5-8. It will assess your understanding of vocabulary and have some application problems as well. The Exam consists of 50 multiple-choice or true/false questions. You will have 2 hours to complete it, and a single attempt. It is worth 200 points.

The Exam must be proctored.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.


Chapters 1-3

Discussion 1-1

Introduce yourself to your classmates. Please share more than just your name. Include your profession, degree, hobbies, interest in computers, and any other information that can help us get to know you.

What operating systems have you used? Which of these is your favorite and why (e.g. specific features you value/regularly use). 
Discussion 1-2
Gordon Moore predicted the dramatic increase in transistors per chip in 1965 and his prediction has held for decades. Some industry analysts insist that Moore’s Law has been a predictor of chip design, but others say it is a motivator for designers of new chips. In your opinion, who is correct? Explain your answer.
Homework 1

See this item's course Dropbox for instructions.


Chapters 4-5

Discussion 2-1
Read about processor scheduling on pages 117-130. Select two scheduling algorithms and identify two real-world scheduling tasks, not currently involving computers, which the algorithms could be applied to. Discuss why the algorithms are appropriate for these scheduling tasks.
Discussion 2-2

Regarding the role played by the victim in deadlock resolution, give an example of such a deadlock in real life and explain your answers to the following:

a) Describe how you might choose the victim to be removed, and the consequences, both positive and negative, of that removal.

b) Describe the fate of the victim and the chances of eventually completing its processing.
Homework 2

See this item's course Dropbox for instructions.

Quiz 1

This quiz covers chapters 1-5.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.

Chapters 6 and 7

Discussion 3-1

Give an example from real life of busy waiting, then describe  a solution (similar to WAIT and SIGNAL) that can be put into place to remove the busy waiting.

Discussion 3-2
Describe four examples of secondary storage media other than hard disks.  What usage scenarios would be ideal for each?
Homework 3

See this item's course Dropbox for instructions.


Chapter 8

Discussion 4-1
Describe at least one real world example showing benefit from “lossy” compression. How does “lossy” compression help in this example? What would be the impact if “lossy” compression were not used?
Midterm Exam

The midterm exam covers chapters 1-8 in your text.


Chapters 9-10

Discussion 5-1
If you are setting up a simple network for an office of 10 employees in an office building shared by other businesses, which of the network topologies discussed in this chapter would you use?  Explain the considerations that led you to this decision.
Discussion 5-2
Consider the discussion on circuit and packet switching in Chapter 9.  With regard to packet switching, would packet sizes have an impact on transmission time? Discuss whether or not this is true.  Specifically, compare the concept of the number of bits that constitute the data portion of the packet, and the number of bits that constitute the address portion of the packet.  Does your response apply in all cases, or are there certain scenarios that would be an exception?
Homework 4

See this item's course Dropbox for instructions.


Chapter 11 and Appendix B

Discussion 6-1

Password management software promises to keep passwords safe, while allowing fast and easy access for authorized users when they need to retrieve them.  Research at least one password management software package:

a) Describe in detail its security features.

b) List the vulnerabilities it faces in day-to-day use.
Discussion 6-2

Assume that you are tasked with writing a new password security policy for a hospital.

a) Explain the critical elements of the new policy if it is to be successful.

b) Explain how you would verify its effectiveness.
Homework 5

See this item's course Dropbox for instructions.

Quiz 2

This quiz covers chapters 9-11 and Appendix B.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.

Chapter 13

Discussion 7-1
Explain why you might want to change the permissions on certain files or directories that you have created. Provide examples of at least two such scenarios.
Discussion 7-2
UNIX treats all devices as files.  Explain why this was an innovative feature when it was first introduced, and how it adds flexibility to this operating system, including at least one example of a benefit resulting from this feature.
Research Paper

This is an 8-10 page research paper on the security systems of a current operating system. See this assignment's Dropbox in the course for instructions.


Chapters 14-15

Discussion 8-1
Using your own words, describe the essence of open-source software such as Linux, and how it differs from proprietary software.  In what situations (types of software) would you prefer one over the other and why?
Final Exam

The final exam covers chapters 9-11, and 13-15.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. Late homework assignments will not receive credit. You are encouraged to plan ahead as you may encounter technical problems that could result in not submitting the assignment on time. If you encounter a technical problem in submitting your assignment, you will need to overcome it within the time frame that the assignment is due.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.