Fall 2023 Syllabus

CIS 527 - Enterprise Systems Administration

CC 510 - Computer Systems Administration

Previous Versions

This syllabus covers both courses. They are taught using the same content.

Instructor Contact Information

  • Instructor: Russell Feldhausen (russfeld AT ksu DOT edu)
    I use he/him pronouns. Feel free to share your own pronouns with me, and I’ll do my best to use them!
  • Office: DUE 2213, but I mostly work remotely from Kansas City, MO
  • Phone: (785) 292-3121 (Call/Text)
  • Website: https://russfeld.me
  • Virtual Office Hours: By appointment via Zoom . Schedule a meeting at https://calendly.com/russfeld

Teaching Assistant

  • Matt Schwartz (matt00 AT ksu DOT edu) - Office Hours by appointment via Calendly

Preferred Methods of Communication:

  • Email: Email is the official method of communication for this course. Any emails sent to the instructor regarding this course should be answered within one class day. Please use the official course email address: cis527-help@ksuemailprod.onmicrosoft.com
  • Ed Discussion: For short questions and discussions of course content and assignments, Ed Discussion is preferred since questions can be asked once and answered for all students. Students are encouraged to post questions there and use that space for discussion, and the instructor will strive to answer questions there as well.
  • Phone/Text: Emergencies only! I will do my best to respond as quickly as I can.


  • CIS 527: CIS 300.
  • CC 510: CC 310 or CIS 300.

Students may enroll in CIS or CC courses only if they have earned a grade of C or better for each prerequisite to those courses.

Course Description

Computer information systems form the backbone of many large organizations, and many students will be called upon in their careers to help create, manage and maintain these large systems. This course will give students knowledge and experience working with enterprise level computer systems including workstation management, file servers, web servers, networking devices, configuration management, monitoring, and more. We will mainly focus on the GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows server software, and much of the learning will take place in hands-on lab activities working directly with these systems. In addition, students will be responsible for developing some technical documentation and communicating information about their systems in a variety of ways. Finally, throughout the course students will be exposed to a variety of information directly from system administrators across campus.

Student Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, a successful student will be able to:

  • Understand the major components of an enterprise level computer network and server system
  • Design and implement a simple enterprise level server system and network, as well as provision workstations on that network quickly and easily
  • Communicate information about enterprise systems clearly and effectively to users of all skill levels and interests
  • Develop ways to increase efficiency by automating tasks whenever possible using scripting and configuration management tools
  • Understand and describe security risks in any enterprise system and any ways that they can be mitigated
  • Show how to monitor enterprise systems for problems and use that information to locate and fix any issues within the system
  • Work with cloud technologies and describe how they can be integrated into an enterprise information technology setup

Major Course Topics

  • Configuration Management using Puppet
  • Creating Secure Workstations (CIS 225 overview/review)
  • Setting up an Enterprise Directory Service & Single Sign On
  • Enterprise File Sharing
  • Web & Application Servers
  • Core Networking Services (DHCP, DNS, ICMP, etc.)
  • System Monitoring & Maintenance
  • Backup Strategies
  • The Cloud & DevOps

Course Structure

This course is being taught 100% online and mostly asynchronous. There may be some bumps in the road. Students will work at their own pace through several modules, with due dates for completion of each module given. Material will be provided in the form of recorded videos, links to online resources, and discussion prompts. Each module will include a hands-on lab assignment, which will be graded interactively by the instructor or TAs. Assignments may also include written portions or presentations, which will be submitted online.

The course will also include a final project and presentation. More information about this can be found in the final project module on Canvas.

The Work

There is no shortcut to becoming a great programmer or system administrator. Only by doing the work will you develop the skills and knowledge to make you a successful system administrator. This course is built around that principle, and gives you ample opportunity to do the work, with as much support as we can offer.

Lectures & Quizzes: Each module will include many lectures and quizzes. The goal is to introduce you to a new topic and provide ample background information, then check for your understanding of the core concepts through the quiz. Many lectures include links to additional resources that you are welcome to review if you want to dig deeper into a particular topic. Those additional resources may also be useful when completing the lab assignments.

Lab Assignments: Throughout the semester you will be building a non-trivial system architecture iteratively; every week a new lab assignment will be due. Each lab builds upon the prior lab’s infrastructure, so it is critical that you complete each lab in a timely manner! This process also reflects the way system administration is done in the real world - breaking large projects into more readily achievable milestones helps manage the development process.

Following along that real-world theme, labs will mostly be graded on whether they achieve the goals as described in the lab assignment. You can think of each lab assignment as a directive given to you by your supervisor - if you meet those requirements, you are successful; however, if your system fails to meet those requirements, then it is not useful at all, even if it is partially complete. In practice, you may earn some partial credit for attempting a portion of a lab, but the majority of points will require full functionality.

Final Project: At the end of this course, you will design and evaluate a final project of your choosing to demonstrate your ability. This project can link back to your interest or other fields, and will serve as a capstone project for this course.


In theory, each student begins the course with an A. As you submit work, you can either maintain your A (for good work) or chip away at it (for less adequate or incomplete work). In practice, each student starts with 0 points in the gradebook and works upward toward a final point total earned out of the possible number of points. In this course, each assignment constitutes a portion of the final grade, as detailed below:

  • 70% - Lab Assignments* (7 labs, 10% each lab)
  • 10% - Quizzes (15 quizzes, 0.66% each)
  • 10% - Discussions (5 discussions, 2% each)
  • 10% - Final Project

All group work will include a REQUIRED peer evaluation component which can adjust that portion of the individual’s grade up to 50%. If a student should fail to contribute to a group assignment at all, their grade for that assignment will be reduced to a zero. Failure to complete the peer evaluation will result in a 10% grade deduction for that assignment.

Letter grades will be assigned following the standard scale:

  • 90% - 100% → A
  • 80% - 89.99% → B
  • 70% - 79.99% → C
  • 60% - 69.99% → D
  • 00% - 59.99% → F

Submission, Regrading, and Early Grading Policy

As a rule, submissions in this course will not be graded until after they are due, even if submitted early. Students may resubmit assignments many times before the due date, and only the latest submission will be graded. For assignments submitted via GitHub release tag, only the tagged release that was submitted to Canvas will be graded, even if additional commits have been made. Students must create a new tagged release and resubmit that tag to have it graded for that assignment.

Once an assignment is graded, students are not allowed to resubmit the assignment for regrading or additional credit without special permission from the instructor to do so. In essence, students are expected to ensure their work is complete and meets the requirements before submission, not after feedback is given by the instructor during grading. However, students should use that feedback to improve future assignments and milestones.

For the project milestones, it is solely at the discretion of the instructor whether issues noted in the feedback for a milestone will result in grade deductions in a later milestones if they remain unresolved, though the instructor will strive to give students ample time to resolve issues before any additional grade deductions are made.

Likewise, students may ask questions of the instructor while working on the assignment and receive help, but the instructor will not perform a full code review nor give grading-level feedback until after the assignment is submitted and the due date has passed. Again, students are expected to be able to make their own judgments on the quality and completion of an assignment before submission.

That said, a student may email the instructor to request early grading on an assignment before the due date, in order to move ahead more quickly. The instructor’s receipt of that email will effectively mean that the assignment for that student is due immediately, and all limitations above will apply as if the assignment’s due date has now passed.

Collaboration Policy

In this course, all work submitted by a student should be created solely by the student without any outside assistance beyond the instructor and TA/GTAs. Students may seek outside help or tutoring regarding concepts presented in the course, but should not share or receive any answers, source code, program structure, or any other materials related to the course. Learning to debug problems is a vital skill, and students should strive to ask good questions and perform their own research instead of just sharing broken source code when asking for assistance.

That said, the field of system administration requires the use of lots of online documentation and reference materials, and the point of the class is to learn how to effectively use those resources instead of “reinventing the wheel from scratch” in each assignment. Whenever content in an assignment is taken from an outside source, this should be noted somewhere in the assignment.

Late Work


While my original intent was to have this course completely asynchronous and self-paced, I’ve found that students prefer having more strict deadlines than more flexibility, and many times they will perform better in the course when deadlines are enforced. Therefore, deadlines will be strictly enforced this semester. Read this late work policy very carefully! If you are unsure how to interpret it, please contact the instructors via email. Not understanding the policy does not mean that it won’t apply to you!

Due to the asynchronous nature of this course, staying on task and keeping up with deadlines is very important. Therefore, all course work must be submitted, and all interactively graded materials must be graded with the instructor or TA, on or before the posted due date to receive full credit. For labs, it is not simply enough to contact the instructor/TA asking to schedule a grading time before the due date; the grading itself must be completed before the due date in order to be considered “on time”.

Any work submitted and graded after the due date is subject to a deduction of 10% of the total points possible on the assignment for each class day that the assignment is late. For example, if an assignment is due on a Friday and is submitted the following Tuesday, it will be subject to a reduction of 20% of the total points possible, or 10% for each class day it was late (Monday and Tuesday in this example). Grading done on non-class days will be considered to have been submitted on the next available class day. Deductions for non-class days will still be automatically entered by Canvas - contact the instructor to have these deductions removed.

These deductions will only be applied to grades above 50% of the total points on the assignment. So, if you scored higher than 50%, your grade will be reduced by the late penalty down to a minimum grade of 50%. If you scored lower than 50% on the assignment, no deductions will be applied.

Also, note that several labs in this class require successful completion of previous labs. If you are behind and choose to skip a lab assignment to catch up, you may still have to make up some or all of that work in order to complete a later lab. You may contact the instructor to discuss options for obtaining model solutions to previous labs if needed.

All course work must be submitted, and all interactively graded materials must be graded with the instructor, on or before the last day of the semester in which the student is enrolled in the course in order for it to be graded on time. No late work will be accepted after that date.

If you have extenuating circumstances, please discuss them with the instructor as soon as they arise so other arrangements can be made. If you know you have upcoming events that will prevent you from completing work in this course, you should contact the instructor ASAP and plan on working ahead before your event instead of catching up afterwards. If you find that you are getting behind in the class, you are encouraged to speak to the instructor for options to catch up quickly.

Incomplete Policy

Students should strive to complete this course in its entirety before the end of the semester in which they are enrolled. However, since retaking the course would be costly and repetitive for students, we would like to give students a chance to succeed with a little help rather than immediately fail students who are struggling.

If you are unable to complete the course in a timely manner, please contact the instructor to discuss an incomplete grade. Incomplete grades are given solely at the instructor’s discretion. See the official K-State Grading Policy for more information. In general, poor time management alone is not a sufficient reason for an incomplete grade.

Unless otherwise noted in writing on a signed Incomplete Agreement Form , the following stipulations apply to any incomplete grades given in this course:

  1. Students will be given 6 calendar weeks from the end of the enrolled semester’s finals week to complete the course
  2. Students understand that access to instructor and TA assistance may be limited after the end of an academic semester due to holidays and other obligations
  3. If a student fails to resolve an incomplete grade after 6 weeks, they will be assigned an ‘F’ in the course. In addition, they will be dropped from any other courses which require the failed course as a prerequisite or corequisite.
  4. For CC courses only:
    1. Students may receive at most two incompletes in Computational Core courses throughout their time in the program.
    2. Any modules in a future CC course which depend on incomplete work will not be accessible until the previous course is finished
      1. For example, if a student is given an incomplete in CC 210, then all modules in CC 310 will be inaccessible until CC 210 is complete

To participate in this course, students must have access to a modern web browser and broadband internet connection. All course materials will be provided via Canvas. Modules may also contain links to external resources for additional information, such as programming language documentation.

The online textbook for this course can be found at https://textbooks.cs.ksu.edu/cis527/ . All relevant pages from the textbook are also embedded into the appropriate Canvas modules.

Students in this course are expected to have access to a computer with virtual machine software (VMware, Virtual Box, Parallels, or other) installed and running. The computer should be capable of running multiple VMs simultaneously, which usually means having 8GB of RAM and a moderately powerful processor. Contact the instructor if you have questions or concerns.

All K-State Computer Science students have access to free software from Microsoft and VMWare. More information can be found on the K-State CS Support Website .

Since this class covers such a wide range of material, no single textbook will suffice. Therefore, students who would like a textbook should refer to resources available through the K-State Library and other online resources. The O’Riley For Higher Education digital library contains an entire catalog of books published on that platform, and it is a great resource for this course.

We will also use several online resources as needed.

This book contains useful information for anyone thinking about pursuing a career in system administration or information technology in general:

“The Practice of System and Network Administration” by Thomas Limoncelli, Christina Hogan and Strata Chalup.
ISBN 0321492668 - eBook Editions Available - Amazon Link

Subject to Change

The details in this syllabus are not set in stone. Due to the flexible nature of this class, adjustments may need to be made as the semester progresses, though they will be kept to a minimum. If any changes occur, the changes will be posted on the K-State Canvas page for this course and emailed to all students.

Standard Syllabus Statements


The statements below are standard syllabus statements from K-State and our program. The latest versions are available online here .

Academic Honesty

Kansas State University has an Honor and Integrity System based on personal integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance that, in academic matters, one’s work is performed honestly and without unauthorized assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by registration, acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor and Integrity System. The policies and procedures of the Honor and Integrity System apply to all full and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses on-campus, off-campus, and via distance learning. A component vital to the Honor and Integrity System is the inclusion of the Honor Pledge which applies to all assignments, examinations, or other course work undertaken by students. The Honor Pledge is implied, whether or not it is stated: “On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work.” A grade of XF can result from a breach of academic honesty. The F indicates failure in the course; the X indicates the reason is an Honor Pledge violation.

For this course, a violation of the Honor Pledge will result in sanctions such as a 0 on the assignment or an XF in the course, depending on severity. Actively seeking unauthorized aid, such as posting lab assignments on sites such as Chegg or StackOverflow, or asking another person to complete your work, even if unsuccessful, will result in an immediate XF in the course.

This course assumes that all your course work will be done by you. Use of AI text and code generators such as ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot in any submission for this course is strictly forbidden unless explicitly allowed by your instructor. Any unauthorized use of these tools without proper attribution is a violation of the K-State Honor Pledge .

We reserve the right to use various platforms that can perform automatic plagiarism detection by tracking changes made to files and comparing submitted projects against other students’ submissions and known solutions. That information may be used to determine if plagiarism has taken place.

Students with Disabilities

At K-State it is important that every student has access to course content and the means to demonstrate course mastery. Students with disabilities may benefit from services including accommodations provided by the Student Access Center. Disabilities can include physical, learning, executive functions, and mental health. You may register at the Student Access Center or to learn more contact:

Students already registered with the Student Access Center please request your Letters of Accommodation early in the semester to provide adequate time to arrange your approved academic accommodations. Once SAC approves your Letter of Accommodation it will be e-mailed to you, and your instructor(s) for this course. Please follow up with your instructor to discuss how best to implement the approved accommodations.

Expectations for Conduct

All student activities in the University, including this course, are governed by the Student Judicial Conduct Code as outlined in the Student Governing Association By Laws , Article V, Section 3, number 2. Students who engage in behavior that disrupts the learning environment may be asked to leave the class.

Mutual Respect and Inclusion in K-State Teaching & Learning Spaces

At K-State, faculty and staff are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and supportive learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. K-State courses, labs, and other virtual and physical learning spaces promote equitable opportunity to learn, participate, contribute, and succeed, regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, nationality, genetic information, ancestry, disability, socioeconomic status, military or veteran status, immigration status, Indigenous identity, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, religion, culture, as well as other social identities.

Faculty and staff are committed to promoting equity and believe the success of an inclusive learning environment relies on the participation, support, and understanding of all students. Students are encouraged to share their views and lived experiences as they relate to the course or their course experience, while recognizing they are doing so in a learning environment in which all are expected to engage with respect to honor the rights, safety, and dignity of others in keeping with the K-State Principles of Community .

If you feel uncomfortable because of comments or behavior encountered in this class, you may bring it to the attention of your instructor, advisors, and/or mentors. If you have questions about how to proceed with a confidential process to resolve concerns, please contact the Student Ombudsperson Office . Violations of the student code of conduct can be reported using the Code of Conduct Reporting Form . You can also report discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment , if needed.



This is our personal policy and not a required syllabus statement from K-State. It has been adapted from this statement from K-State Global Campus, and theRecurse Center Manual . We have adapted their ideas to fit this course.

Online communication is inherently different than in-person communication. When speaking in person, many times we can take advantage of the context and body language of the person speaking to better understand what the speaker means, not just what is said. This information is not present when communicating online, so we must be much more careful about what we say and how we say it in order to get our meaning across.

Here are a few general rules to help us all communicate online in this course, especially while using tools such as Canvas or Discord:

  • Use a clear and meaningful subject line to announce your topic. Subject lines such as “Question” or “Problem” are not helpful. Subjects such as “Logic Question in Project 5, Part 1 in Java” or “Unexpected Exception when Opening Text File in Python” give plenty of information about your topic.
  • Use only one topic per message. If you have multiple topics, post multiple messages so each one can be discussed independently.
  • Be thorough, concise, and to the point. Ideally, each message should be a page or less.
  • Include exact error messages, code snippets, or screenshots, as well as any previous steps taken to fix the problem. It is much easier to solve a problem when the exact error message or screenshot is provided. If we know what you’ve tried so far, we can get to the root cause of the issue more quickly.
  • Consider carefully what you write before you post it. Once a message is posted, it becomes part of the permanent record of the course and can easily be found by others.
  • If you are lost, don’t know an answer, or don’t understand something, speak up! Email and Canvas both allow you to send a message privately to the instructors, so other students won’t see that you asked a question. Don’t be afraid to ask questions anytime, as you can choose to do so without any fear of being identified by your fellow students.
  • Class discussions are confidential. Do not share information from the course with anyone outside of the course without explicit permission.
  • Do not quote entire message chains; only include the relevant parts. When replying to a previous message, only quote the relevant lines in your response.
  • Do not use all caps. It makes it look like you are shouting. Use appropriate text markup (bold, italics, etc.) to highlight a point if needed.
  • No feigning surprise. If someone asks a question, saying things like “I can’t believe you don’t know that!” are not helpful, and only serve to make that person feel bad.
  • No “well-actually’s.” If someone makes a statement that is not entirely correct, resist the urge to offer a “well, actually…” correction, especially if it is not relevant to the discussion. If you can help solve their problem, feel free to provide correct information, but don’t post a correction just for the sake of being correct.
  • Do not correct someone’s grammar or spelling. Again, it is not helpful, and only serves to make that person feel bad. If there is a genuine mistake that may affect the meaning of the post, please contact the person privately or let the instructors know privately so it can be resolved.
  • Avoid subtle -isms and microaggressions. Avoid comments that could make others feel uncomfortable based on their personal identity. See the syllabus section on Diversity and Inclusion above for more information on this topic. If a comment makes you uncomfortable, please contact the instructor.
  • Avoid sarcasm, flaming, advertisements, lingo, trolling, doxxing, and other bad online habits. They have no place in an academic environment. Tasteful humor is fine, but sarcasm can be misunderstood.

As a participant in course discussions, you should also strive to honor the diversity of your classmates by adhering to the K-State Principles of Community .

Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment

Kansas State University is committed to maintaining academic, housing, and work environments that are free of discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment. Instructors support the University’s commitment by creating a safe learning environment during this course, free of conduct that would interfere with your academic opportunities. Instructors also have a duty to report any behavior they become aware of that potentially violates the University’s policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment, as outlined by PPM 3010 .

If a student is subjected to discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment, they are encouraged to make a non-confidential report to the University’s Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) using the online reporting form . Incident disclosure is not required to receive resources at K-State. Reports that include domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, should be considered for reporting by the complainant to the Kansas State University Police Department or the Riley County Police Department . Reports made to law enforcement are separate from reports made to OIE. A complainant can choose to report to one or both entities. Confidential support and advocacy can be found with the K-State Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education (CARE) . Confidential mental health services can be found with Lafene Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) . Academic support can be found with the Office of Student Life (OSL) . OSL is a non-confidential resource. OIE also provides a comprehensive list of resources on their website. If you have questions about non-confidential and confidential resources, please contact OIE at equity@ksu.edu or (785) 532–6220.

Academic Freedom Statement

Kansas State University is a community of students, faculty, and staff who work together to discover new knowledge, create new ideas, and share the results of their scholarly inquiry with the wider public. Although new ideas or research results may be controversial or challenge established views, the health and growth of any society requires frank intellectual exchange. Academic freedom protects this type of free exchange and is thus essential to any university’s mission.

Moreover, academic freedom supports collaborative work in the pursuit of truth and the dissemination of knowledge in an environment of inquiry, respectful debate, and professionalism. Academic freedom is not limited to the classroom or to scientific and scholarly research, but extends to the life of the university as well as to larger social and political questions. It is the right and responsibility of the university community to engage with such issues.

Campus Safety

Kansas State University is committed to providing a safe teaching and learning environment for student and faculty members. In order to enhance your safety in the unlikely case of a campus emergency make sure that you know where and how to quickly exit your classroom and how to follow any emergency directives. Current Campus Emergency Information is available at the University’s Advisory webpage.

Student Resources

K-State has many resources to help contribute to student success. These resources include accommodations for academics, paying for college, student life, health and safety, and others. Check out the Student Guide to Help and Resources: One Stop Shop for more information.

Student Academic Creations

Student academic creations are subject to Kansas State University and Kansas Board of Regents Intellectual Property Policies. For courses in which students will be creating intellectual property, the K-State policy can be found at University Handbook, Appendix R: Intellectual Property Policy and Institutional Procedures (part I.E.) . These policies address ownership and use of student academic creations.

Mental Health

Your mental health and good relationships are vital to your overall well-being. Symptoms of mental health issues may include excessive sadness or worry, thoughts of death or self-harm, inability to concentrate, lack of motivation, or substance abuse. Although problems can occur anytime for anyone, you should pay extra attention to your mental health if you are feeling academic or financial stress, discrimination, or have experienced a traumatic event, such as loss of a friend or family member, sexual assault or other physical or emotional abuse.

If you are struggling with these issues, do not wait to seek assistance.

For Kansas State Salina Campus:

For Global Campus/K-State Online:

  • K-State Online students have free access to mental health counseling with My SSP - 24/7 support via chat and phone.
  • The Office of Student Life can direct you to additional resources.

University Excused Absences

K-State has a University Excused Absence policy (Section F62) . Class absence(s) will be handled between the instructor and the student unless there are other university offices involved. For university excused absences, instructors shall provide the student the opportunity to make up missed assignments, activities, and/or attendance specific points that contribute to the course grade, unless they decide to excuse those missed assignments from the student’s course grade. Please see the policy for a complete list of university excused absences and how to obtain one. Students are encouraged to contact their instructor regarding their absences.

© The materials in this online course fall under the protection of all intellectual property, copyright and trademark laws of the U.S. The digital materials included here come with the legal permissions and releases of the copyright holders. These course materials should be used for educational purposes only; the contents should not be distributed electronically or otherwise beyond the confines of this online course. The URLs listed here do not suggest endorsement of either the site owners or the contents found at the sites. Likewise, mentioned brands (products and services) do not suggest endorsement. Students own copyright to what they create.