Computing Resources

How do I get in touch with my CSCI Instructor(s)?

Many of us are used to being able to pop by the Physics building to drop into the lab or knock on your instructors’ doors, but unfortunately that will not be an option this fall.  To help centralize information about how to contact your instructors (and Merlin), what their office hours are (which are normally posted on our office doors), and where to access information about your courses, Merlin (our department technician, also known as The Wizard) has updated the CSCI Faculty page.  Each instructor’s listing (and Merlin’s) now includes:

  • a link to their home web page (or VIU Learn if that is their main landing point)
  • office hours (being updated as we all return from our leave, so be patient)
  • email address (our main form of communication)

Accessing Your CSCI Course Pages

Instructors in the Department of Computer Science will host information about your courses on either their CSCI webpage, or VIU Learn.  Your course page(s) will include important information, like:

  • Course Syllabus
  • Assignments and due dates
  • Links to course resources like video lectures

You can find a link to your instructor’s course pages on the CSCI Faculty Page.

If your instructor is using VIU Learn, and you need help accessing VIU Learn, VIU’s Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning has great resources to get you started:

How do office hours work, online?

Office hours will be via Zoom, and Zoom room codes (and passwords) will be available by email from your instructor or technician. For best results, please let them know ahead of time that you’d like to meet during office hours including what date and time to set up a meeting.

Technology Needed for Online Learning at VIU

Since all Computer Science courses at VIU during the Fall semester will be offered online, make sure you have all the tools and technology you need to succeed.  

VIU’s IT Help desk has put together a helpful Tech Guide for all VIU Students, which includes how to access free resources (like Microsoft Office 365), how to set up your VIU email, and much much more.  The IT help desk is also there to assist you with issues.

Computer Services at VIU

For general help with accessing all services on campus, see the VIU Technology website.

For help accessing CSCI Servers from home, please see Linux Accounts, below.

Help with CSCI Technology

The Computer Science Department’s (Tutorials page) includes a link to Dave’s Help page, and instructions on setting up and using GIT for assignment submission.

Where do I get CSCI tech help if I’m stuck?

Merlin (Computer Science Technician)

At the start of term, your best source of help will be Merlin (his email etc. is on the Faculty page). Merlin can help with things like:

  • Resetting your CSCI password if you’ve forgotten it
  • Problems connecting to CSCI servers

The Help Centre

A few weeks into the term, we will have three Help Centre students who can help with things like:

  • Being stuck on a first year lab
  • Simple tech questions (linux related, debugging, resetting your cache)

The Help Centre will be available at posted times on Discord for quick problems (you’ll get a Discord invite in from your instructor(s)).  If you’d like to chat privately (instead of airing your dirty laundry for all to see, how embarrassing!) you can ask them to start a private chat on Discord.  You can also request a video chat if you need to share your screen (like, you’re REALLY stuck).  Discord supports video chats, but Zoom is also an option.

CSCI Discord Server

Our super-duper Discord admins will also create specific Discord channels for each of our courses, where you can ask your instructors and classmates questions. Please use email for serious/timely issues, as not all instructors will check Discord frequently.

CSCI Machines and Accounts

Computing systems used by CSCI faculty and students include:

  • otter (GNU/Linux)
  • pupN in 315-102 (GNU/Linux)
  • cubN in 315-115 (GNU/Linux)
  • kitN in 315-215 (GNU/Linux)

Users of the above systems are subject to VIU's Use of Information Technology (Policy 45.01). In addition, users are subject to the following Lab and Computer Usage rules.

Linux Accounts

Computer Science students have access to servers running GNU/Linux. Linux accounts will be issued to students registered in courses requiring such access.

New information for Fall 2020:

New to the Department? 

  • If you’re registered in CSCI 160, you instructor will go over accessing our servers during the first labs

Returning Students:

  • If you need a refresher on how to access our servers there is help to be found on Dave’s Page 


Printing is unavailable for Fall 2020 online instruction.

Two laser printers are available in Building 315 Rooms 102 and 115. The printer in Room 102 is called csci-lq. The printer in Room 115 is called csci-lqa.

PC Labs

IT Services operates a number of PC labs on campus running MS Windows. A complete listing is available on the VIU Classroom Technology page.

For up to date information about what physical computer labs are available during Hybrid Delivery, please see the IT Helpdesk Page.

Computer Science Teaching Labs

Computer Science has two main teaching labs: 

  • The First Year Lab is in Building 315 Room 102
    • It is used to deliver CSCI 160 and CSCI 161.
  • The System Lab is in Building 315 Room 115 
    • It is used to deliver several Systems Courses, including CSCI 261, CSCI 355, and CSCI 360.

Physical access to these labs is unavailable for Fall 2020 online instruction. However, you can directly access machines in this lab using ssh or x-forwarding.  For more information, please see Dave’s Tech page.

Computer Science Project Lab

This lab is located in Building 315 Room 215. It has an evolving hardware/software configuration that facilitates various courses and on-going projects in the Computer Science department.

Physical access to these labs is unavailable for Fall 2020 online instruction. However, you can directly access machines in this lab using ssh or x-forwarding.  For more information, please see Dave’s Tech page.

Off-Campus Access

See the VIU Technology website.

Card Key Access

New information for Fall 2020:

Card key access is not available while the CSCI department is operating online.

Computer Science students can gain access to CSCI labs in the Physics Building by purchasing and registering their card-key. 

Different Levels of Access

There are two levels of access:

Level 1

Doors: Building 315 Room 102 and the north-end ground floor entrance.
Access: 8am to 10pm 7 days a week including weekends and holidays. Students registered in the following CSCI courses are eligible for Level 1 access:
160 161 162 171 172 173

Level 2

Includes Level 1 access and:

Doors: Building 315 Room 115 and Room 215
Access: 8am to 10pm 7 days a week including weekends and holidays.

Students registered in the following CSCI courses are eligible for Level 2 access:
251 260 261 265 310 311 320 322 330 331 340 355 360 365 370 375 405 420 422 435 454 460 461 485


  • A new process will be in place when building access is once again allowed.
  • Students are no longer required to purchase the white proximity card-keys for access to CSCI labs.

Lab and Computer Usage Rules

Computer Science students are subject to the following Lab and Computer Usage rules. In addition, all computer users at VIU are subject to VIU's Use of Information Technology Policy.

Lab Usage

  • You will not bring food or drink into the labs.
  • You will not allow unauthorized individuals to enter locked labs.
  • You will not conduct yourself in a manner disruptive to the use of the lab by others.
  • You will not take any action to circumvent lab security e.g. propping open of doors, tampering with security cables.
  • You will only use equipment designated for your use.
  • You will use this computing resource only for course work and for non-course related computing of an educational nature e.g. exploring the internet for materials related to but not strictly required in Computer Science courses. In the latter case, you must relinquish the computer to a student waiting for a machine on which to do courseworks.

Computer Usage

  • You are responsible for all activity on your account.
  • You will not tamper with the operating system security or accounting nor disguise your identity while using the system.
  • You will not permit any other individual to use your account.
  • You will not interfere with other users nor attempt to obtain access to another account.
  • You will not permit processes to accumulate excessive amounts of compute time or resources.
  • You will not modify the system configuration (e.g., xterm configuration) or install or save software other than programs you create or install as part of your course work.
  • You will not broadcast messages on any of VIU's systems. You will not write (anonymously or otherwise) on another user's screen.
  • You will not use your computing privileges for commercial gain.

Resources for Faculty and Staff

CLOSE X Computer Science