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Analysis Of Computer Networks Courses In Undergraduate Computer Science, Electrical Engineering And Information Science Programs

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Course Development and Services

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.206.1 - 9.206.10



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Paper Authors

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Gregory Mokodean

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Xiannong Meng

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Maurice Aburdene

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2158

Analysis of Computer Networks Courses in Undergraduate Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Information Science Programs

Maurice F. Aburdene, Xiannong Meng and Gregory L. Mokodean Bucknell University


This paper presents an analysis of computer networks courses offered by universities and colleges in the departments of computer science, electrical engineering, or information science. The results are based on the information collected from course web sites from twenty-seven universities and colleges in computer science, electrical engineering and information science departments, primarily within the United States. The data analyzed include the course titles, course structure, textbooks used, major topics and how they are covered, projects, and laboratory exercises, if any. We found that the courses can be divided into three categories: those that cover the general topics of computer networks using some practical examples, those that specifically discuss Internet protocols, and those that work through a set of programming projects after students have had a previous network course.

1. Introduction

Pervasive use of the Internet, especially the World Wide Web (the web) has made teaching computer network courses a necessity for many universities and colleges. Students take network related courses hoping to gain first-hand knowledge of how the Internet works, how the web works, how to set up an operational network and how to program the network to deliver various applications. In this paper, we summarize characteristics of computer network courses from the web sites of 27 universities and colleges, mainly from the U.S. and from two other countries. We wanted to cover a variety of schools with different structures and objectives, including both public and private, predominately undergraduate and graduate, and different regions of the US, from what was available on the web. We examined how the course is taught, what textbooks are used, which subjects and practices are covered in laboratory exercises, if any, and the topics of course projects.

In general, three approaches are used to cover the main topics: bottom-up, which starts at the lowest (physical) layer of the protocol and works its way up; top-down, which starts from higher layers such as applications; and a mix of the two. Five textbooks dominate the required reading material. While most courses involve some projects, a few actually have dedicated weekly laboratory exercises. The contents of projects and laboratory exercises vary, and include: looking at the design and implementation protocols, programming actual network processors, writing client-server software in various programming languages, setting up operational network hardware and software, and experimenting with protocols using network simulation software.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Mokodean, G., & Meng, X., & Aburdene, M. (2004, June), Analysis Of Computer Networks Courses In Undergraduate Computer Science, Electrical Engineering And Information Science Programs Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13660

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015