Course Analytics

for Oregon State University's Computer Science Post-Bacc Program

Upper Division


CS 372

Introduction to Computer Networks

Data Summary





Hours per Week


/ 5.0 Difficulty

Common Pairings

CS 362:

18 times

CS 344:

18 times

CS 361:

13 times

Tips from Students

Page 1 of 8

WI 20246-12 hours/week3 / 5 CS 344

This class is pretty easy (the content and weekly summaries are kind of like CS 271). But the content isn't all that informative, so I watched Steve Tarzia's lectures online! They follow the same path as this course but are very in-depth and interesting. It made the class really fun! The labs take way too long, but are easy (usually just taking screenshots of things). The programming projects are open-ended. You don't get a lot of guidance, and they have to cover a lot. That being said, it was fascinating and fun to play around with IF you have the time!

Submitted Wed Mar 20 2024

FA 202313-18 hours/week3 / 5 CS 450CS 362

I had this class with Prof Muhati, and my experience was much better than others based on previous reviews. This topic is so important and this class so informative that it's honestly a crime that it's not a required course for the Postbacc program. There are a handful of coding projects in this class, and how miserable they are seems pretty directly tied to the professor you have, as the specs for them leave many of the details of the implementation up to your judgement and interpretation, and you're expected to work without much handholding. Between the assignment details, the rubric, and the spec documents, there is a notable level of ambiguity and sometimes inconsistency. I think for that reason, the professor you have for this class matters way more than in other classes. Muhati was very open and communicative, and it's clear that he does not see himself in an adversarial relation to his students. There are a handful of projects that involve interacting with different parts of the network stack, and they're all pretty interesting in their own ways. The first is pretty easy, with code you can mostly borrow from the textbook. This one sheds a lot of light on what some of the tools used in 290 are doing in the background. The second and third are significantly more involved and time-consuming. Do not procrastinate these projects. The final project is fun and very easy. It's a socket program implementing a chat server and client. You can reuse the bulk of the code from the first project for this. The skeleton code for assignments 2 and 3 is an absolute mess. It seems pretty likely that someone hastily reworked existing Java code to Python, as it contains a lot of Java-style conventions and old-school approaches to writing code. There is a very embarrassing preamble essay for one of the most challenging assignments in the class, RDT, condescendingly citing a 30 year old paper on adult pedagogy as a rationale for the poorly structured starter code and vague and confusing assignment description. It's the classic "I'm teaching you what the real world is like" crap, but adding a giant diatribe about it into the course module is obvious cope. Having read things people have said about this course in the past, I can probably guess who wrote it. The other assignment FAQ pages are worth reading, however. Outside of that, you'll be doing Wireshark labs every other week or so, which I found fun. They involve looking at data packets and the information contained in them and developing an understanding of what you're seeing at and how the network stack is operating. There are module summary quizzes that you can retake twice, where questions often repeat week to week. There are two discussion groups before the exams which involve choosing a topic and recording a brief video explaining it and demonstrating an example problem. Finally, there is quite a bit of weekly reading, which you can mostly skip and still do well, but you really shouldn't because the book is great. People have complained about busy work in this class, and I don't really think that's fair. It is a very busy class, but the primary learning activity that came across as busy work to me was writing the reflections after each project. I think every other assignment had a clear value for learning the material. Overall I would definitely recommend this class to everyone in the program and it should probably be a required course, but I wouldn't take it if you needed something with a small time commitment or you're otherwise dealing with a lot of stress. I would also avoid taking it with certain faculty members who have a reputation.

Submitted Tue Dec 19 2023

FA 202313-18 hours/week4 / 5 CS 290CS 362

This class was a ton of busy work. Definitely read the textbook, as it was the best resource in this class. The midterm seemed to take questions directly from the module quizzes, so study those as best as you can. The assignments were difficult and tedious - time needs to be spent debugging the given code to first even understand what it is doing. However I definitely feel like I learned a lot in this class, and can appreciate networking moreso now than before. The midterm and final were not proctored thankfully, and were completely open-note and open-book. You have two attempts at the weekly module quizzes, and some questions overlap between the two attempts. The discussion groups are mainly busywork, recommend just getting the video and comments out of the way ASAP so you can go back to doing regular work.

Submitted Mon Dec 11 2023

SU 20236-12 hours/week3 / 5

This class is okay. The textbook is good and you should read it although it is verbose. The author has lectures on YouTube that are a lot better than the lectures in the explorations. The skeleton code for the projects is really pretty bad and seems to get in the way more than helps. It’s like someone trying to write Java code using Python — overuse of object oriented programming and an overall non-standard style. Spend time to thoroughly understand the skeleton code and its quirks before starting. Exams are open note and textbook and follow the summary exercises and practice exams pretty closely. You should still study and prepare because running out of time may be an issue if you need to constantly reference your book or notes.

Submitted Sat Aug 19 2023

WI 20236-12 hours/week3 / 5 CS 362CS 344

The textbook is great. Read it! The instructors, Samina and Eric, are terrible, as are the explorations and the assignment descriptions. For example, the project rubrics were something like "5 points for a pdf explaining the program and 70 points for the code", and the instructions themselves were vague and unclear. Then, some graders would take of 20 points for formatting output improperly, even though the instructions were not specific and they refused to provide guidance on Ed. The explorations confused more than they explained, so I stopped reading/watching them after a few weeks. Basically, anything touched by someone at OSU was terrible, but the textbook was great. Also, the textbook's authors have video lectures that I've heard were pretty good. All this said, I'm glad I took the class because the book taught me how the internet works, and I feel like that's an important thing to understand as a programmer.

Submitted Fri Apr 21 2023

WI 20236-12 hours/week2 / 5 CS 492

Get the labs done early, they're annoyingly long. The lecture videos are awful, just read the textbook and you'll be fine. Grading is sometimes totally subjective and off-rubric... For that reason, take advantage of all extra credit opportunities. Power through and you'll be in cloud in no time (if you're not taking this for cloud's pre-req, take something else... worst class I've taken at OSU)

Submitted Fri Mar 24 2023

SP 202313-18 hours/week5 / 5 CS 361CS 340

This is absolutely the worst experience I have ever had here. The course is purely self-study and an exercise in search. What's worse is that you will not find out your actual standing in most of your grades well past a month. Why is this relevant? Because decisions that could have been made like dropping a class cannot be made because you won't know where you stand The projects are graded harshly even though the Professors outright tell you there's no guidance on how to actually do them. Oh and don't bother trying to learn from your mistakes. They won't show them even after you have taken your weekly quiz.

Submitted Thu Mar 23 2023

WI 202313-18 hours/week3 / 5 CS 344

In short, this class is kind of a mess right now. It feels packed with busy work that doesn't provided substantial value. On the other hand, the textbook is great. If you read the textbook and can locate the textbook author's lectures they will prove far more valuable to your learning experience than anything in the class material itself. As a result, if you're good at self-studying I would choose to do that instead of taking this class. However, I wouldn't skip on learning Networks.

Submitted Mon Mar 20 2023

WI 202318+ hours/week3 / 5 CS 361

This course is a lot of work. That said, I think the excessive amounts of time I spent reading, doing WireShark labs, doing programming assignments, and doing the weekly quizzes, help a lot of the basic networking concepts stick. Like others have said, the book is great (book based assignments included). For me, I benefit from guided learning and I think this course is god for that. I never would have touched WireShark, the Python Socket Library, nor would I have taken time out of my day to learn networking terminology, bit transmission calculations, etc. i have taken a networking course before, but this was far more hands on and I appreciate that. Having Eric and Saminah oversee the course are also a huge benefit, considering comments about their predecessor. If you need someone to force you to learn technical networking, the class is worth it. If you can self teach and prefer other electives this is course is quite replaceable.

Submitted Sun Mar 19 2023

WI 202313-18 hours/week3 / 5 CS 344

Don't. This course has a great textbook and all the materials (videos, activities, etc) that you'd need to learn all about networking are online, and free (well, not the book): So if you're interested in the topic - you should be, it's fascinating and useful! - take the time to watch the videos on there and maybe buy the book if you're a book person. OSU literally just takes this UMass class, dumps a bunch of crappy and confusing content on top of it, and charges you $2000. It's also got a ton of busywork and the assignments are confusing.

Submitted Sun Mar 19 2023

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Course Analytics was developed for students of Oregon State University's online Computer Science program. The data on difficulty, time commitments, course pairings, and tips have been submitted by real students using this survey. Feel free to add your own reviews if you are a current student! The data is scraped from this spreadsheet.

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