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Board 27: Boardnotes 2.0 in Computer Networking: Organizing and Representing Meaningful Technical Information Graphically for Improving Learning Competencies

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

Page Count

24

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32310

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32310

Download Count

183

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Paper Authors

biography

Vigyan Jackson Chandra Eastern Kentucky University

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Vigyan (Vigs) J. Chandra, Ph.D., serves as a professor and coordinator of the the Computer Network Security & Electronics Technology related programs offered within the department of Applied Engineering & Technology (AE&T at Eastern Kentucky University. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Kentucky in Electrical Engineering; a master's in Career and Technical Education from Eastern Kentucky University; and holds certifications in several computer/networking areas. He teaches courses on computer networking systems and applications, communication systems, along with digital, analog, and machine-control electronics. He is the recipient of the 2013 Golden Apple award for Teaching Excellence at Eastern, and has been nominated multiple times for the Critical Thinking Teacher of the Year Award. His professional interests include implementing active teaching and learning strategies, integrating open-source software/hardware with online control, IoT technologies, and deploying electrical and telecom technologies in community-based organizations. He is always seeking opportunities for collaborating on teaching, scholarly and service projects, especially those aimed at improving students' critical/creative and communication skills.

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Abstract

The field of computer information technologies in general, and more specifically that of network switching and routing, is filled with abstractions, abbreviations, and acronyms, along with an accompanying assortment of implementation techniques frequently requiring customization. Bridging the divide between theory and practice can be difficult for students as they attempt to build a cohesive understanding of the subject. It also poses a challenge for faculty trying to convey dense, text-heavy technical information using either the conventional chalkboard or presentation software. It is easy for the underlying beauty of the concepts to stay hidden under the jargon-filled landscape. Notes written on the whiteboard or chalkboard by faculty focus on conveying technical content to students, and these may make only limited used of graphical design ideas that can be leveraged for communicating information more effectively. What is needed is a mechanism for engaging both the students’ imagination and technical skills while building an understanding of concepts, using technology appropriately, solving technical issues safely, and focusing on the process along the way.

Exploring network switching and routing can be facilitated using the elements and the principles of graphic design. The strategic use of icons, symbols, color, scale, proximity, contrast, groupings, hierarchy, alignment, repetition, balance, along with text annotations in diagrams or tables as part of Boardnotes 2.0, aims to do just that. The repeated usage of these elements encourages students to develop a visual vocabulary of the subject, using both standardized and self-developed graphics as a way for firming up ones understanding about a topic. Boardnotes 2.0 refers to the thoughtful use of selected graphical design elements and principles while communicating technical information using a whiteboard or chalkboard.

Visual representations of network information – whether it be networking models, Ethernet collision and broadcast domains, cabling standards, IP addressing, subnetting charts, network device modes, protocol operation, status views, or autonomous areas – allow for generating both a holistic view of the system and of specific regions within it where focused action may be needed. Being able to simultaneously access both the big-picture view and the zoomed-in one of a system, a sort of picture-in-picture representation, can provide students with increased confidence while working on network design and implementation issues. Requiring students to represent technical information both graphically and textually on class-laboratory worksheets increases engagement with the content. In addition, ways of memorizing the content may be introduced visually, along with strategies that aid the long-term recall process.

Chandra, V. J. (2019, June), Board 27: Boardnotes 2.0 in Computer Networking: Organizing and Representing Meaningful Technical Information Graphically for Improving Learning Competencies Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32310

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