June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
7.353.1 - 7.353.26
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
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. https://peer.asee.org/10460
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