Fall '23 Week 1

Ed Discussion

This video was recorded before I decided to switch to Ed Discussion instead of using Discord. All discussions of “Discord” can be applied to “Ed Discussion” instead. Sorry for the confusion! - Russ


Video Script

Hello, and welcome to the week one announcements for CIS 527 and CC 510. In Fall 2023, my name is Russ Feldhausen. I’ll be your instructor for this semester, my contact information can be found here. It’s also on the syllabus. It’s also on the cannabis page. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns at all in this class. I also have one teaching assistant this semester, Matt Schwartz, Matt is going to be working with me to help you if you have any questions on the labs, he’s also going to be helping me with doing some of the grading Matt did this class last year, I believe. So he’s pretty familiar with a lot of the content. And he’s going to be working right alongside you to check all the labs for me. So if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to either of us, we’re happy to help. In this course, just like a lot of courses, it’s built with gated modules on canvas. There’s one module due every other week in this class, so please check the due dates very carefully. Each module includes a lab assignment, that lab assignment requires a live grading portion, which means you’ll work with either Matt or myself via zoom, so that we can grade your work, it means that this is a very labor intensive class. So please be aware of that. We’re also going to have some discussions throughout the semester. So you’ll either have a recorded video to watch, or I’ll bring in a guest speaker and you’ll have the opportunity to join a live zoom and speak with one of our guest speakers. And then finally, at the end of the semester, we’ll have a final project.

So for discussion of this course, I’ve set up a channel on the CIS Discord server. So I please encourage you to use discord. One of the early assignments is to go to discord and introduce yourself there so that you can find the channel and make sure you’re in the right place. So please make sure you do that. If you have any questions, personal issues, grading questions, etc. I’ve set up a help email for this class, which is cis527-help. If you’re in any of the case, Dave email systems, if you just type CIS 527 Dash, it should autocomplete email is kind of our official method for communication in this class, Discord is a little bit more flexible. In general, feel free to ask questions on Discord. But if it’s personal stuff, grading stuff, feel free to put that in an email, that cis 527 Help email goes to both Matt and I and whoever is the first one available, we’ll answer that for you as best we can. So success in this course, learning to be a system administrator is difficult. And it is a different way of thinking compared to a lot of the programming that you’ve done. Because there’s simultaneously one way to do things. And there’s also many way to do things in a lot of ways. So to be successful in this course, you really need to come at it with a growth mindset, it’s going to be tricky, you’re going to break stuff, you’re going to run into issues. And so you have to be willing to sit down and try and learn. But I guarantee you, you can learn how to do any of this if you just take the time to do it. The second big thing about being a successful sysadmin is don’t just read or watch content, but engage with it. There’s a lot of content where I’m just going to sit there and go line by line through a config file, or I’m going to discuss some concepts. And if you just read the video, read the text or watch the video and just go oh yeah, I got it. That may not be enough, you may really need to engage with it and follow along and do those examples yourself. So to really see and understand how it’s working. A lot of these labs involve multiple parts. So please work iteratively get one part working, make sure it’s working, then move on to the next part. One of the most frustrating things in this class is when somebody brings me a lab, it’s like, oh, yeah, I tried to do this and it didn’t work. So then I tried to do this and it didn’t work. And so then I tried to do this and it didn’t work. And so they’ve got like three or four broken things in their lab instead of just one that they can focus on. And it’s hard to tell where the error is. The other nice thing is we’re using VMware for all of this. So VMware has a very nice snapshot feature. So just like any other class, save early and save often make yourself snapshots. Anytime you get something working, I always hate that situation where a student breaks a VM. And then they don’t have any snapshots. And they have to start over. And it happens every semester. And I will guarantee it will happen this semester. So make sure you’re making snapshots early and often and using them all the time. It’s just like playing a video game, you’re walking into a boss fight, auto save before you going to the boss fight. The same thing happens in this course. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are always situations in this course where something will not work, right or you will do something and it doesn’t work the same on your computer as it does on every other every other computer. Don’t assume that you’re stupid or that you’re having trouble. Please ask for help. It is very easy in this course to back yourself into a corner. And almost every semester there’s a student that has something happened on their system that even I can’t debug. And so don’t sit there and just spin your wheels. If you get stuck and you’re not making progress, ask for help. Let us know Matt and I are here to help. So don’t be afraid to reach out and let us know if you have any questions.

So like I talked about the lab grading this course there are seven labs. Most of them are graded interactively. I think there are two labs that we submit everything online. For the interactive grading, what you’ll do is you’ll schedule a grading time via Calendly, we recommend choosing a 15 or 20 minute time slot, please, for my own sanity, please check the TA schedule first, Matt gets paid to do this hourly. So the more times that he can grade stuff, the more money he makes. So please feel free to check that schedule first and see if you can get on his schedule. If not feel free to get on my schedule, you can schedule your lab time before you’re done with the lab. But the lab grading must happen before the due date. I think most of the labs are due on Friday. And so you should schedule your lab grading time before Friday at 5pm. There are 25 of you in this class, which means if we do for an hour, that still takes six hours, at least, to grade everything. So that’s like I said, it’s very labor intensive to do this class. So please be aware, you may not get that early time if you don’t schedule ahead. The other thing is my Calendly, especially requires anywhere from two to four hours notice. So if you get done with the lab at four o’clock on Friday and want to try and find a grading time between four o’clock and five o’clock on Friday, it’s not going to be there. So please be aware of that schedule your grading times in advance. You when we do grading, we’ll bring it up on Zoom, we’ll have you share your screen pointed at VMware, we will ask you to walk through things in your VMs and show us that it’s working correctly, we may ask you to run commands, we may ask you to show us config files, we may ask you to do certain things. That’s our way of confirming issues, your systems work the way they should. The last thing, once you start grading, you cannot make a change. For example, if you pull up a config file and realize that something is wrong, it’s too late, you can’t make that change. So please make sure that you have everything done before you do any grading. Because once you start that grading process, it is the way it is. And we have to take it as you submit it. We try and be pretty lenient with partial credit, but do your own testing, make sure things are working before you go for lab grading.

So this year, one of the things I want to do, again, is discussions a couple years ago, I brought in some guest speakers. Now I’ve got a big class this semester, I think it’d be fun to do that again. So I’ve got a survey, it’s on the first page of the discussions module, it’s a little when to meet survey, please respond to that survey by Friday, August 25. I’m going to take the most common overlap time or maybe one or two of those and make those into zoom discussion times. On most weeks, I’ll just have them zoom office hours, but a few times throughout the semester, I will try and bring in some guest speakers. In years past I had Seth Galitzer, I got K-State’s CIO, Kyle Hutson to talk about supercomputers. I’ve had a couple of folks from industry that have come in. So it’s a really great chance to learn more about being a system administrator, and all the different ways that that looks out in the real world. And so part of your grade will come from participating in those discussions, you’ll submit some questions beforehand that I can pick from, and then you’ll either participate in the live discussion on Zoom, or you’ll watch the video and write a response afterwards. But it’s a really good way to learn more about system administration in the field itself. So I think this is a really fun part of this class. So that’s really all I’ve got for this first week of announcements. As always, if you have any questions, join the discussion on Discord. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your announcements, your introduction posts there, and I’ll be pretty active on Discord throughout the semester. I also host Tea Time office hours, which are Mondays at 11 o’clock this year, you’ll see some information being posted about that shortly. The Tea Time officers are available on campus in person, but they’re also held on zoom so you can join either way. And then of course, both Matt and I will have some one on one office hours available via Calendly. So you can schedule some time there. But again, bear in mind, there’s 25 of you in this class. It’s a very labor intensive class. So please be mindful and try and do the best you can working with us on Discord and some other things. And then schedule the office hours if you need that time to work with us directly. Because we’re going to be really overloaded trying to keep up with 25 students in this class. So that’s all I got for this semester. I’m rooting for you. Good luck. I hope everything goes well. You’ll probably see me every other week. Usually since this is an every other week class. I usually post announcement videos every other week. So watch for an announcement video probably the day after Labor Day this year. If you have any questions or concerns, let us know otherwise, I look forward to interacting with you on Discord and I will see you in a couple of weeks.