How I Use The Book

I am currently (academic year 2002/2003) using the book with a final year group of Software Engineers. I meet with these students for 1 hour, three times per week (with classes running for approx. 30 weeks). These 'lectures/tutorials' take place in a computer laboratory that is dedicated to these students for the entire academic session. Each student has their own PC, which is (by default) configured to run Windows. The first thing I get them to do is shrink their Windows partition, and install a Linux of their choice (RedHat, Mandrake, and SuSe are favourites). The course module is entitled 'Networks and Operating Systems'.

After a tutorial on Perl, which covers the material from Chapter 1 of the book in addition to a few sessions on Perl's regular expression, pattern-matching technology, I pretty much work through the material in the order of the book. The students follow along on-screen with the PDF files, and run (work with) the programs during the lecture. This is how I've taught this module for the last three years, and I find it works really well. (Obviously, I didn't have the book during this time, as I was developing the material and putting the book together). The students seem to prefer this approach over the more traditional classroom-based lecture approach, as things tend to be very 'hands-on'. The assumption (of course) is that the students have access to a copy of the book while we work through the material. Continuous assessment is drawn from the Exercises at the end of each chapter.

I also intend to use the book with a group of second year B.Sc. in Computer Networking students. I see this group for 4 hours per week (3 lectures and 1 laboratory), again for 30 weeks, and their course is entitled 'Networking and Internetworking'. In addition to taking the time to teach this group Perl (primarily to support their Lab work), I also work through the 3rd Edition of Douglas S. Comer's 'Computer Networks and Internets'. Next year, I intend to dedicate the first half of the year to Comer's text (with 4 hours traditional lecture per week). In the second half of the year (once they have had their theoretical grounding), I intend to switch to my book and spend 1 hour per week lecturing and 3 hours per week in a Computer Laboratory. I only intend to cover Chapters 1-4 with this class, as Chapters 5 and 6 are more relevant to the final year of their degree programme.

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