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Free Tutor’s/New User’s Linux Mint 5 Day Essentials Introduction Course Material

I designed, wrote and tweaked this Linux Mint Introduction course over a few months last year (Nov 2015) as a requested course I could run and teach personally at a community workplace. The topics covered are - in my view - about the most important general but practical areas for a single home user and/or a budding junior Sysadmin for a multi-user system to be introduced to and expand on in future, and immediately show the wide ranging capabilities of a linux system. A combination of base utility and theoretical background for individual's to explore depending on their interests and requirements.

NOTE: NO technical or teaching support is offered or implied. I would appreciate acknowledgements to my work as the original author, but no copyright exists, so this material can be amended and distributed freely as required in the spirit of Open Source.

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Free – Day 1
Free – Day 2
Free – Day 3
Free – Day 4
Free – Day 5

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A lot of thought went into what areas to cover for linux novices and computer savvy individuals alike, to generate overall and topic specific interest, as well as how to teach these for an interesting tutor/student interactive experience.

It is designed from the perspective of an interactive class tutor using a practical, command line based format that students can follow, complimented by equivalent GUI procedures where relevant and useful - with guidance and explanation to be provided by the tutor. Students then copy and paste commands themselves - with consideration given on how theoretically deep the tutor deems necessary to explain for each area.

This was a difficult balance as there is a lot of info to cover at quite a technical level in some examples, so how much can be covered in what time frame depends heavily on student ability, tutor knowledge/time scales and relevant theory needed to be covered. This is for the tutor to decide - or new user to research - depending on required goals.

It is also possible for a keen student to use the material to learn using Web research alone if of independent character, as the examples include sufficient information for using the linux install alone, such as the in built sysadmin docs, user help guide and man pages. This material may suit more "hands on" students who don't want to wade through a 2" thick, comprehensive theory heavy Admin handbook to get a decent overview of some major practically important topics, their basic functions and the reasons that one needs to be aware of them to become more than just a "home desktop" user, but one with skills, knowledge and understanding approaching a junior professional IT tech or Admin standard.

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  For novices, it may take 10 full days or more depending on tutor input and student information overload. Some "days" are more challenging than others.

I decided a PDF was the best format for the student to copy commands from, with a Powerpoint slide option for the tutor, as this gives the ability for the tutor to amend the slide content as required, then export the changes as a new PDF.

This choice was of course based on my own linux knowledge, professional IT admin/networking history and the personal experiences of seeing prior poorly delivered linux classes that turned otherwise future capable but "Windows only experienced" IT students away from linux due to poor teaching procedures, lack of class planning and tutor knowledge or teaching establishment support.

The material has been tested with encouraging results on two individuals of very different computer experience and prior linux knowledge - one a complete IT novice, the other an IT Networking BSc graduate with considerable linux experience. Both gained much from the course, with both having a renewed interest and far better understanding of computer use and systems in general, particularly how file system permissions work and affect security and access of data in any OS, which the graduate had never considered to such depth or had taught to him correctly (container permissions) or in a way that it impacted so deeply for such an important topic.

This course is intended as a teaching aid for a knowledgeable/suitably qualified linux tutor who is teaching students interactively e.g. one to one, in a small class or even remotely by video and/or Remote Desktop/SSH, as it was designed to be taught by me personally, with the students copying and pasting the blue commands from the PDF themselves into a terminal, on suitably configured PCs (i.e. with the directory structure and any root access set up accordingly so the pasted commands and scripts work correctly as pasted for the students home directory etc.).

The main course goal is not only to introduce Linux Mint specifically, as a fully functional Desktop OS and free alternative to any Windows/Apple OS, but to cover as much of the general Admin and functional capabilities of any linux system, but at a basic, surface scratching but immediately useful, practical level, to give novice level and above students a very wide overview of some main IT areas that can be introduced and further studied as desired, using this versatile and accessible platform. It just gets stuff "installed and usable" practically, so the student "gets the point", to then take each area as far as his/her interest carries to meet their personal requirements.

These overviews include programming, basic user and group admin, mysql databases, Apache web server, file system permissions, file security, anti-virus functions and backups - at least enough to be usable. All of these principles covered apply to any computer system anyway, so are helpful to users of any OS understand what goes on behind the scenes of their GUI.

For Day 4 Permissions Contd, a 2nd networked PC is required for the examples on accessing shared group folders.

Each course day contains up to about 20 slides and concludes with a summary of areas covered and further reading links, some of which came from student interest questions during the testing.

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Each day's course material contains a zip file of the content in both a PDF and ODP slide format as well as the basic programming scripts for the Python, C and Java examples.

Day 1 assumes the Mint OS is already available to the tutor and students so it can be delivered during the install time if required.

The OS installation details are self explanatory so are NOT covered in the course material. Install files and DVD images are available from https://www.linuxmint.com/

 

Day1 Summary

 

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