June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Computing and Information Technology
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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