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An Alternative Model for Computer Networks Education in Computing Disciplines

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Innovatiive Methods to Teach Engineering to URMs

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.149.1 - 25.149.32



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Paper Authors


Jorge Crichigno Northern New Mexico College

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Jorge Crichigno received a B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the Catholic University of Asuncion, Paraguay, in 2004, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computer engineering from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 2008 and 2009, respectively. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Department at Northern New Mexico College, Espanola, N.M. His current research interests include wireless and optical networks, graph theory, mathematical optimization, and undergraduate STEM education. He has served as reviewer and TPC member of journals and conferences such as IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing and IEEE Globecom 2010, and as panelist for NSF STEM undergraduate education initiatives. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society.

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Ivan Lopez Hurtado Northern New Mexico College

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Ivan Lopez Hurtado received his B.S. degree in industrial physics engineering from Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, 1995, a M.S. degree in Automation from Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, 1998, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M., USA, in 2008. He is currently the Department of Engineering, Chair at Northern New Mexico College.

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An Innovative Model for Computer Networks Education in Computing DisciplinesAbstractComputer Networks is an important area in the body of knowledge of multiple degreeprograms, such as Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science,Information Engineering, Software Engineering, and other programs. As one of thefastest growing disciplines, Computer Networks is experiencing a dramatic need ofprofessionals with solid foundations and practical hands-on experience.According to the Department of Labor, Network systems and data communicationanalysts occupies the second position on the fastest predicted growing occupationsamong more than 1,000 occupations in the U.S., for the years 2008-2018.The tremendous need for Computer Networks professionals has been reflected, to someextent, into the curricula of computing degrees, where Computer Networks topics havebeen included. For example, the curriculum guidelines for undergraduate degreeprograms in Information Engineering Technology of ACM and IEEE considernetworking as a pillar for any modern program. Despite these recent curricula guidelines,most computing disciplines still do not provide appropriate and attractive programs. Mostcolleges and universities only introduce the students to the computer network field attheir senior year. In fact, courses that expose students to actual Computer Networksenvironments are still mostly absent in an undergraduate curriculum. As a result, studentsare only exposed to computer networks in their graduating semesters, at a relativelyabstract level.In this paper, we present a hands-on intensive model for an Information Engineeringprogram that includes 4 computer network courses at different levels: freshmen,sophomore, junior, and senior. The model includes an innovative mix of industrial andacademic components that provide students with skills needed by both industry andacademia. The proposed model also targets retention, breaking up long-term goals (e.g.obtaining a bachelor degree) into milestones, where a milestone can be the completion ofthe 4 courses in the field of Computer Networks. By doing so, the model provides asafety net to students, who are able to acquire skills demanded by the job-market earlyduring their studies. Moreover, the program helps in avoiding high dropout rates duringearly semesters, where institutions have historically experienced higher dropout ratesbecause of lack in incentive for students and limited hands-on experience. The modeldemonstrates a perfect articulation with the 2008 ACM Guidelines for EngineeringInformation Technology, and enables students to achieve multiple program outcomesmentioned in the ABET criteria. Results of the implementation of the ComputerNetworks model in a minority serving institution (73% of Hispanics and 11% of NativeAmerican population) located in a rural area are shown.

Crichigno, J., & Lopez Hurtado, I. (2012, June), An Alternative Model for Computer Networks Education in Computing Disciplines Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20909

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