Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Traditionally, the instructional approach to introductory courses in networking and networking technologies has been to start with an explanation of each of the layers in either the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) and/or TCP/IP models and then to discuss the various technologies assigned to each layer. It is only after completion of these concepts that networks are discussed with respect to their purpose and the technologies and applications that they employ to deliver services and/or content. Heavy in jargon and acronyms, the nature of this instruction is often foreign to students. As such, teaching the many concepts contained within these layered models without contextual understanding frequently creates a disconnection early in the course and, in some cases, alienates students as they struggle to comprehend the plethora of acronyms within this jargon-rich environment. This disconnection can lead to student disengagement, making it more difficult for them to successfully construct the critical knowledge of the course. In this study, the authors compared offerings of a course in networking technologies using two different methodologies. For two semesters the course was delivered traditionally by first defining the models and then digging into the technologies of each layer before presenting the various networks, their function, operation and application. In the third semester the approach was flipped to first present the networks, thus providing context for the layers and the many technologies contained within them. Student performance is compared, with respect to discrete concept knowledge (network model layers) and integrated understanding (network topology and application) and proficiency in applying these concepts to creatively solve problems and develop solutions. This study indicated that a context based, top down approach improved student understanding of networks, network topologies and networking technologies.
Indelicato, M. J., & Christman, J., & Zion, G. H. (2018, June), Assessment of Discrete Concept Knowledge, Integrated Understanding, and Creative Problem Solving in Introductory Networking Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29835
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