Asee peer logo

Curriculum And Issues In A First Course Of Computer Networking For Four Year Information Technology Programs

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.353.1 - 7.353.26

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Stephen Renshaw

author page

Joseph Ekstrom

Download Paper |

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

Main Menu Session 2793

Curriculum and Issues in a First Course of Computer Networking for Four-year Information Technology Programs

Joseph J. Ekstrom, Stephen R. Renshaw Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Abstract No field evolves more rapidly than computer networking technologies. However, the skills necessary to evaluate, integrate, and manage networking equipment are considered fundamental for an IT professional. This paper presents a curriculum for a first course in computer networking, the experience of two instructors in teaching similar curricula over a two-year period, and the unresolved issues revealed by the experience.

An IT professional is expected to be able to deal with vendors and stake holders in procurement processes, interpret and evaluate vendor presentations, explain technology to the uninitiated, critically evaluate and make technology recommendations, and then install and manage the network infrastructure that has been procured. In an environment where new technologies appear frequently and yet old technologies seem to live forever, how can any curriculum prepare an individual for such a responsibility?

A balanced curriculum must include fundamental concepts and real-world examples of those concepts. It must build intuition through examination of historical trends and direct experience with real networking hardware integrating diverse technologies. The curriculum must be continually evaluated in an environment where new technologies appear more rapidly than the publishing cycle for textbooks.


BYU and several other universities have been developing a four-year degree program in Information Technology. 1,2 A key component of this program is networking. There is a requirement for a networking fundamentals course that can both serve as an introduction to networking for all IT students and also serve as a foundation for more advanced courses in networking and telecommunications. Developing and teaching such a course is complicated by several factors. Three of the most problematic are: 1. There is a large body of knowledge to cover. 2. The technology is evolving rapidly. 3. Students want to learn permanent, absolute answers where none exist.

Thus any course in networking must teach the students fundamental concepts combined with current technology in such a way that the students will be prepared for professional practice and yet be able to understand and embrace change through an attitude of life- long growth in the field. The rapid evolution of the field also requires that the instru ctor

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & 1 Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

Main Menu

Renshaw, S., & Ekstrom, J. (2002, June), Curriculum And Issues In A First Course Of Computer Networking For Four Year Information Technology Programs Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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: © 2002 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