Department of Information Technology

Computer Networks II spring 2013

Course information

Below follows important information about the structure and assessment of the course. You should read this through and make sure you understand how the assessment works - if you have any questions, contact the main teacher!

The course in cyberspace

This course has two homes in cyberspace: this page at the IT department's Wiki, and another page in the student portal. The reason for this is that some things work better here, some work better in the portal (yes, they do!). On this Wiki page, you will mostly find information about the course, the labs, the schedule, how to go about with the presentations etc. In the student portal, you will sign up for a presentation topic, watch your progress, submit your presentations and labs etc.

Admittance and Registration

In order to be admitted to this course, you must have passed a first course in computer networks - either here at Uppsala University, or in your bachelor degree from a foreign university. Students who do not meet this criteria at the beginning of study period 3 will not be allowed to register for this course. New students will not be allowed into the course after the first week of the study period.

Admittance is handled by your student counsellor - teaching staff are not allowed to make decisions about who is allowed to take the course or not. If you were not admitted into the course due to missing merits, contact your student counsellor asap.

Course litterature

There is no official course litterature - the majority of readings are in the form of articles, whitepapers, web pages and slides that are linked to from the Schedule page. However, some of the readings refer to the book Computer Networking - A Top-Down Approach (5th edition) by Kurose/Ross, i.e., the same book used as course litterature for Computer Networks I at Uppsala University. If you have not studied Computer Networking in Uppsala before, you may want to get a copy of that book.

Teachers and Contact

Information about the teacher lineup and their office hours can be found here. If you need to contact a teacher or any of the teaching assistans outside their scheduled office hours, send an e-mail to it-dk2kanelbulle.jpglists.uu.se

Course structure

The course is divided into two parts; a theoretical part (8.5 hp) and a laborative part (1.5 hp).

Theoretical part

The key thing to note about the assessment of the theoretical part is that if you settle with grade "3", you are assessed on the theoretical part solely on a recorded presentation and the written exam at the end of the course. If you aim at grade "4" or "5", there are additional assessment in the form of discussion seminars and opposition to recorded presentations throughout the course. More details about this below.

The theoretical part is divided in three parts. Each part consists of a number of lectures, followed by a discussion seminar where the understanding of what has been covered in lectures and readings of each part is assessed.

Lectures

Lectures are not mandatory to attend, but if you miss one you may miss interesting and important details that will later be asked about in discussion seminars and/or the written exam. For each lecture there is a reading assignment which you are assumed to have completed before the lecture (details on the Schedule page). There is no guarantee that there will be slides available either before or after each lecture; some lectures does not use slides that extensively and guest lecturers my not be able to provide slides at all.

You are expected to have read or viewed the material associated with each lecture beforehand. If you have not done that, it might be harder for you to understand and discuss what is being presented during the lecture.

Discussion seminars

There are going to be 3 discussion seminars in the course, during which we discuss the last few lectures and the associated readings. Discussion seminars are 1 hour long and your participation awards you 0-3 SEM points depending on your performance. You only need to participate in discussion seminars if you aim at grade "4" or "5" in the course.

You need to sign up for a discussion seminar in advance no later than three days before the seminar. This is done through the doodle links available from the schedule page. When signing up, specify potential collisions with other courses by tagging timeslots as "no". Please do not sign up before you are sure you want to attend that seminar.

The seminar starting times do not follow the conventional quarter-past-the-hour schedule. Respect their starting times and be there a few minutes before they start - arriving late at a seminar will affect your seminar grade negatively. You are allowed to bring all readings to the seminar so you don't have to memorize everything.

If you have signed up for a seminar but can not attend it for a good reason, tell the teacher before the seminar begins and we will try to make arrangements so that you can do it later. Note that this option is only available to students that can present a good reason before the seminar begins!

Recorded presentations

All students are assumed to produce a 10-15 minute recorded presentation on a specific topic. For this, it is assumed that you have access to a computer with sound recording capabilities. If that is a problem for you, contact the main teacher as early as possible to resolve that issue.

Presentations are awarded 0-5 P1 points depending on performance and structure, and 0-5 P2 points for content and technical level. There are a number of deadlines associated with the presentations for forming presentation groups, choosing a topic etc. More details are available on the presentation page.

Note that all the topics covered in the presentations are considered part of the course material and may be asked about in the final exam.

Opposition to recorded presentations

Students who want grade "4" or "5" in the course must in addition to a recorded presentation write an opposition to three other presentations. This involves viewing the assigned presentations closely and giving the presenter constructive feedback. Doing so may involve reading up a bit on the topics being presented. Your oppositions are graded and awarded 0-3 OPP points depending on how good they are.

Written exam

At the end of the course, there is a written exam covering the material from lectures, discussions during lectures and the readings for each lecture. Your exam will be graded "U" (Fail), "3", "4" or "5". If you have not participated in discussion seminars and opposition to recorded presentations you may only earn grade "U" or "3" at the exam even if you answer problems required for grade "4" and "5".

About 80% of the exam will be released to students a few hours before the exam begins in the exam hall. During those hours, students are allowed to discuss problems with each other, search for information, read up on necessary stuff and prepare in the way you think is the best. The remaining ~20% questions on the exam will be purely theoretical questions that you need to answer without having seen them in advance.

The exam will have three parts corresponding to the grades "3", "4" and "5". Each part will be graded pass/fail. For grade "3" you need to pass the first part, for grade "4" the first two parts and for grade "5" all three parts. If you fail at one of the first two parts, following parts will not be graded even if you have answered the questions.

More details about the exam will be e-mailed out about two weeks before the exam.

Lab part

There are two lab assignments in the course that are awarded 0-3 and 0-3 LAB points depending on how well you do the lab. There are no rebounds for non-functional labs - instead, labs will get a lower grade if they have flaws in their solutions. More information on the laborative part of the course can be found on the labs page.
Only 3 LAB points are needed to pass the lab course, however you need to get at least 1 point in each of the two labs (i.e you still have to do both of them). See "Course grade" below for more information.

Each lab has a deadline associated with it. Submitting your lab before the deadline guarantees you to have the lab graded during the course, If you submit your lab after the deadline, we will grade it during the course if it reaches us before we have finished grading all the labs that were handed in before the deadline. If you submit your lab after we have finished grading, we will grade it at a later point - probably not until after the end of the academic year in August. If you submit your lab after the end of the academic year (i.e., after the last day of re-exams in August), it will be silently ignored and you will thus fail the lab part of the course.

Deadlines

There are two types of deadlines in this course.

The first type of deadlines exists for logistical reasons. This includes signing up for the seminar and completing the different subtasks of your recorded presentation. You should make sure to meet this deadlines to make things as smooth as possible for yourself during the course as it may not be possible at all to sign up late for seminars.

The second type of deadlines exists for assessment reasons. This includes deadlines for the labs, submitting your recorded presentation and giving feedback to other students on their recorded presentations. These deadlines work as follows:

  • If you meet the deadline, you are ok
  • If you submit after the deadline but before we have finished grading the labs or assigned presentations to others for review, you should be ok.
  • If you submit after we have finished grading or assigned presentations to others for review, you have missed the deadline. Your submission will then be reviewed at a later time, possibly not until the end of the academic year.
  • If you submit after the end of the academic year, your submission will be silently ignored. You will have to redo the assessment another year. Note that it is not possible to redo single lab assignments another year - you will have to redo the entire lab part of the course.

One deadline is not possible to compensate for later: giving opposition to other students. This means that if you want a higher grade than a "3" in the course, you must meet the deadlines for submitting your recorded presentation and giving feedback to others.

Course grade

In this course, you can get grade "U" (Fail), "3", "4" or "5" depending on what grade you get at the exam in combination with how many extra points you have earned through participation in the different parts of the course. The table below is used as a guideline when translating course performance into course grade. If you meet the criteria specified in the table for a given grade, you are guaranteed to get that grade. If you are a few points short of meeting the criteria for a higher grade, we make individual judgements regarding whether you should get a higher grade or not.

Grade Exam grade SEM(9) P1(5) P2(5) OPP(3) LAB(6)  Total (28)
"3" 3 -  2  2  3 8
"4" 4 6 3  3   1  4  17
"5" 5 7 4  4  2 5  21

(The number within parentheses show the available amount of points)

Workload

This is a course with a workload that some students perceive as very high. Most of this perception comes from the fact that many courses with the same number of credits do not require as much work for different reasons. One such reason can be that there is a shortage of teaching resources, another that students already know a large portion of the material and hence do not need to put in as much work. There is also the hypothesis that since most courses students have taken before do not include as much reading, a course like this with a lot of readings will be perceived as very demanding. Another guess is that for many courses, you can take it easier during the study period and put more work into the exam periods, while this course requires continuous work.

In a course that does only include readings, seminars and an exam, a common rule-of-thumb is that a 7.5 credits course should include no more than 1000 pages to read. This boils down to roughly 150 pages per credit which would mean that we in this course could have close to 1400 pages to read using the same rule-of-thumb (the theory part is 8.5 credits). However, we do not have that. For each seminar, there is about 150-250 pages to read. For the presentation task, there should be another 70-100 pages to read. This means that we fall well below the 1400 pages that our 8.5 credits allows us to have.

Still, many students are likely to perceive that this course requires a lot of work. 10 credits corresponds to 26 hours a week for this course alone. We recommend students that think that this course is too demanding to keep track of their time during a week or two and then come to us and discuss the workload distribution if it turns out that you spend much more than 26 hours a week on this course. We have put quite some effort into not having too high workload, so if there is some flaw in the course design we do want to know about this. However, we do not want to remove too much material either, since we feel obliged to deliver a course with enough material for 10 credits when that is what we get paid to do.

Cheating policy

DO NOT CHEAT. All cases of cheating will be reported to the disciplinary board. 'nuff said.

Updated  2013-01-21 10:09:26 by Liam McNamara.