SSST Subjects

Operating Systems


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BSc Computer Science with Electrical Engineering;
  • BSc Computer Science with Economics;
  • BSc Computer Science with Management;
  • BSc Computer Science with International Relations;
  • BSc Computer Science with Political Science;

Status (core, option, free choice)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Term taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications

CSIS110, CSIS130


Module Code



Module coordinator

Tomas By


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • The main aim of the module is instilling knowledge of essential principles of how modern operating systems work, and exploring the basic facts about how they can be implemented.
  • The programming examples are given in the programming language C, and sometimes in the assembler.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • Introduction to Operating Systems. History of Operating Systems. Operating System concepts. System calls. Operating Systems structure. Software and applications.
  • Introduction to processes. Interprocess communication. Classical interprocess communication problems. Scheduling..
  • Principles of I/O hardware. Principles of I/O software. Deadlocks. Block devices. Disks. Terminals.
  • Introduction to memory management. Basic memory management. Swapping. Virtual memory. Page replacement algorithms. Design issues for paging systems. Segmentation.
  • Introduction to file system. Files. Directories. File system implementation. Security. Protection mechanisms.
  • Module Review and Conclusion.

Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time
Lectures 30 2 hours 60 hours
Laboratory sessions 15 2 hours 30 hours
Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 110
Total Contact Hours 90
Total Engagement Hours 200

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline
Final exam 1 180 minutes 50% End of semester
Mid-term exam 1 90 minutes 20% Mid-semester (8th week)
Project (individual/group) 1 1500 words 10% 14th week
Test 2 90 minutes 20% 5th and 13th week

Module Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding core concepts of modern operating systems
  • Understanding how operating systems may be implemented
  • Understanding the role of operating systems in human-machine communication
  • Understanding basic system programs in C language

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Lectures are essential not only for the knowledge but also for understanding where it came from (ILO:1-4)
  • Laboratory sessions use examples and solutions to illustrate the theory (ILO:2, 4)
  • Practical lessons provide a series of programming exercises based on using low-level system calls in C programming language on MINIX operating system (ILO:2, 4)
  • Illustrative examples can serve as fundamentals to many other disciplines (ILO:1, 2, 3)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Midterm exam (ILO:1, 3, 4)
  • Final exam (ILO:1-4)
  • Test (ILO:1-4)
  • Project (ILO:1-4)
  • Laboratory sessions (ILO:1-4)

Practical Skills:

  • Practical working with Windows-based and UNIX-based operating systems
  • Practical low-level programming in C using some basic POSIX calls

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Laboratory sessions (PS: 1-2)
  • Project (PS:1-2)
  • Test (PS:2)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Mid-term exam (PS:1-2)
  • Final exam (PS:1-2)
  • Test (PS:1-2)
  • Project (PS:1-2)

Transferable Skills:

  • IT Skills
  • Numeracy Skills
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Research skills

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Laboratory sessions (TS:1-3)
  • Project (TS:1-4)

Assessment Strategy:

  • Mid-term exam (TS:1-2)
  • Final exam (TS:1-2)
  • Test (TS:1-2)
  • Project (TS:1-4)

Key Texts and/or other learning materials

Set text

  • Tanenbaum, A., (2015), Operating Systems Design and Implementation, 3rd edition, Pearson

Supplementary Materials

  • Tanenbaum, A., (2014), Modern Operating Systems, 3rd edition, Pearson Education
  • Stallings, W., (2014), Operating Systems: Internals and Design Principles, 8th Edition, Pearson.

Please note

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the module and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.

More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module and programme can be found in the departmental or programme handbook.

The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Date of Production : Autumn 2016

Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee: 28th September 2016

Date approved by School Board of Study : 12th October 2016

Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee: 2nd November 2016

Date of Annual Review: December 2017


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