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Enhance Computer Network Curriculum using Collaborative Project-based Learning

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.611.1 - 22.611.14



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Paper Authors

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Jianyu Dong California State University, Los Angeles

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Huiping Guo California State University, Los Angeles

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Enhance Computer Network Curriculum using Collaborative Project-based LearningAbstractIt has been widely recognized that hands-on design and implementation is one of the essentialskills that students should acquire to become qualified computer networking engineers. Toenhance the training of students’ design skills, the computer networks community has madesignificant efforts to create a number of network simulation tools to support hands-on projects invarious network layers. However, how to develop an effective teaching strategy to integrate thenetwork simulator-based projects into network courses as project-based and inquiry-basedlearning tools still remains a challenging task. In addition, due to the huge difference amongdifferent institutions, successful implementation experience in one institution usually cannotdirectly apply to the others. Recently, CSULA received a CCLI grant from NSF to explore agood solution to enhance the learning of a very diverse student body in a multicultural campusthat serves a significant number of underrepresented minority students. The project goals arethree folds: 1) Establish a cyber-infrastructure to enable remote learning which significantlyimprove the learning efficiency of students on a commuter campus; 2) Foster students’ hands-ondesign and implementation skills in networking field; 3) Improve teaching and learningefficiency by integrating project-based and inquiry-based learning pedagogy.This paper presents our current progress on the CCLI project, which is focused on thedevelopment of a sequence of scalable remote labs using OPNET to enable the integration ofcollaborative project-based and inquiry-based based learning into existing computer networkingcourses in both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments. The remote labsequence offers projects of three different scopes to progressively build up the students’ designand implementation skills. Small scope projects can be incorporated into lectures to expose thestudents to basic design and simulation process. The knowledge and skills acquired throughsmall scope projects allow the students to work collaboratively on median scope projects afterclass remotely. The large scope projects require the students to apply what they have learned tosolve some open-ended problems. The developed projects cover all five layers in TCP/IP modelto reinforce the students’ understanding of various protocols. In addition, the paper will describehow the computer networking curriculum is revised to incorporate collaborative project-basedand inquiry-based learning. Preliminary assessment results will be included to show the feedbackfrom both the students and the instructors on the curriculum revision.

Dong, J., & Guo, H. (2011, June), Enhance Computer Network Curriculum using Collaborative Project-based Learning Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17892

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