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CSC8512 Advanced System Administration

Semester 1, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Advanced System Administration
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 029999 - Information Technology not els
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Leigh Brookshaw


Pre-requisite: Some experience with a Unix Operating System and Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GDTI or GCSC or MCTN

Other requisites

Recommended Pre-requisite: CSC2408 and CSC2404.
Students who have enrolled in or completed CSC3412 System and Security Administration cannot enrol in this course.
Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


System and security administration is the management and configuration of one or more computers with multiple operating systems, multiple hardware architectures, multiple software suites, together with the shared resources necessary, such as wired and wireless networks, in order to make them work effectively and securely. System administration requires an understanding of how computer systems work, an attention to detail, problem solving, people skills, security and planning in order to select the most effective and secure system. Computers which function as servers may run Unix-like systems, although others run proprietary software such as Novell, IBM or Microsoft. The ability to manage Unix-like systems is another desirable attribute of a system and security administrator.


This course introduces students to the administration of computer systems and computer networks. Coverage includes system administration tools, security techniques, system initialisation, resource management, backups, performance measurement, and network and security administration. Further topics include documentation policy development and disaster recovery. Practical work requires use of Unix- like operating systems on dedicated Intel-architecture PCs or equivalent hardware and software negotiated with the lecturer prior to commencement of the semester.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an intermediate level of understanding of general principles of computer system administration ;
  2. Apply security techniques to enhance computer system security and communication ;
  3. Understand, build, modify, and maintain the Linux kernel components.
  4. Select, install, and configure applications on a Linux Operating System ;
  5. Manage and implement a system for backup and recovery ;
  6. Maintain routing tables and firewall ;
  7. Demonstrate an appreciation for the intrusion detection systems and techniques;
  8. Review and evaluate the security status of a system.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction 10.00
2. Linux basics 5.00
3. System programming 10.00
4. Encryption, authentication techniques 10.00
5. File system, partitioning 10.00
6. Security and monitoring 10.00
7. Resource management 5.00
8. Network services, DNS, DHCP, HTTP, SSH,SAMBA 20.00
9. Data and network security 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Nemeth,E., Snyder, G., Hein, T., Whaley, B., Mackin, D 2018, Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook, 5th edn, Addison-Wesley.
(ISBN 978-0-13-427755-4.)
This course requires access to the GNU/Linux Operating System to run the course software. Debian GNU/Linux can be installed from the School of A.C.E.S. GNU/Linux DVD. The DVD is available from the USQ Bookshop. Student can install it as dual boot or as a virtual machine. This has been used with our students for over 10 years - in about 4 to 6 courses. It comes with complete instructions especially on partitioning disks. Please note these are IT students and will have experience in installing OSes.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 42.00
Lectures 26.00
Private Study 102.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 100 15 03 Apr 2019
Assignment 2 100 15 08 May 2019
Assignment 3 100 15 05 Jun 2019
2hr Open Exam 100 55 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them (including course Web pages) to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the Examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. If electronic submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment irrespective of holidays. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  3. If hardcopy submission is specified for a course assessment students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for a hardcopy assignment is the date by which a student must submit at USQ or despatch the assignment to the USQ irrespective of holidays.

  4. The referencing system to be used in this course is supported by the School. Information on this referencing system and advice on how to use it can be found in the course materials.

Other requirements

  1. Computer requirements: Students must have exclusive and fully privileged access to an Intel x 86 architecture PC with at least 500MB free disk space and an unused disk partition.

  2. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.