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Developing An Effective Network Course Using The Cisco Ccna Exploration Curriculum

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Curricular Issues in Computer-Oriented Programs

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.447.1 - 14.447.11



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Paper Authors


Akram Al-Rawi McKendree University

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Akram Al-Rawi is a visiting Professor of Computer Science at McKendree University, Lebanon, IL. He has worked at several academic institutions of which the last three were Zayed University, Columbia College, and University of Missouri-Columbia. His teaching interests include programming languages, networks, digital logic design, and computer architecture. His research interests include computer simulation, wireless, security, embedded systems, and curriculum design. Akram is interested in IT certificate and he holds certifications in A+, Network+, Sun Certified Java Programmer,ICDL, i-Net+, Server+, Security+,CCNA, and Cisco CCAI.

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Azzedine Lansari Zayed University

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Azzedine Lansari received a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1992. From
1993-1998, he was a senior researcher at MANTECH, NC. He joined the College of Information Systems at Zayed University in 1998. Currently he is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Technology. His teaching interests include: Computing foundations, systems analysis and design and web design. His research interests include systems modeling, educational technology and curriculum design in Information Systems.

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

Developing an Effective Network Course Using the Cisco CCNA Exploration Curriculum Abstract

Undergraduate Computer Science (CS), Information Technology/Information Systems (IT/IS) curricula in many US Universities and Colleges only include one course in networking. This course, usually called Networking and Data Communications, varies in content and focus. Moreover, a number of popular textbooks lack in scope and content, and sometimes do not even address the basics of networking or how networks operate. The Cisco Networking Academy CCNA Exploration curriculum offers in-depth theory, challenging labs, and a detailed overview of protocol operations. It is designed for students who seek to develop their problem-solving and analytical skills. Degree candidates in engineering, mathematics and science, as well as working professionals who wish to advance their careers or gain certification are attracted by the depth of this curriculum. The CCNA Exploration curriculum is designed to be integrated into various technology curricula or programs offered at postsecondary institutions such as technical schools, colleges, and universities. In this paper the content of classical networking textbooks, including well established reference books1, 2, 3, are reviewed for the purpose of developing an effective networking curriculum. Various objectives of the Cisco networking academy, which is a set of well developed courses that offer many hands on practice, were identified and integrated in the proposed networking curriculum. Furthermore, the new ACM curriculum models4, 5, 6 in CS, IS, and IT were studied and measurable learning outcomes were identified. A critical look at the official CCNA exam, and how this exam can be integrated into a CS, IT/IS curriculum is provided. The newly proposed curriculum could be used to motivate students to attend Networking courses that use classical networking textbooks. It is anticipated that this paper may help CS and IT/IS faculty develop a better, more exciting content for their networking courses.


An in depth examination of undergraduate curricula in Computer Science (CS) and Information Technology/Information Systems (IT/IS) in several Universities and Colleges in the US show that their curricula only include one undergraduate course in networking. In most Institutions this course is called Data Communications and Networking or Networking and Data Communications. Though the course descriptions may be similar, the content of textbooks used for this course varies substantially. For example in a well known institution this course is called Computer Networking and Communications and the recommended textbook title is “Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach1”. The course catalog description states “This course concentrates on typical hardware interfaces, programming methods, and communication protocols. The topics that are addressed in detail include: electrical interfaces, data transmission, protocol basics, LAN’s, WAN’s, bridged networks, internetworking, and application support”. However this textbook does not address all of these topics. The textbook consists of nine chapters and each chapter is approximately ninety five pages. The titles of these chapters are: Computer Networks and the Internet, Application Layer, Transport Layer, The Network Layer, The Link Layer and Local area Networks, Wireless and Mobile Networks, Multimedia Networking, Security in Computer Networks, and Network Management. It is very hard for the student to comprehend the basics of networking without understanding IP address, subnetting,

Al-Rawi, A., & Lansari, A. (2009, June), Developing An Effective Network Course Using The Cisco Ccna Exploration Curriculum Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5250

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