June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.554.1 - 23.554.13
Evaluation of the Effect of Wireshark-based Laboratories on Increasing Student Understanding of Learning Outcomes in a Data Communications CourseA 3000-level course in data communications is a part of the curriculum in the electrical engineeringtechnology program at my institution. Some of the primary learning outcomes of the course section thatinvestigates the data link layer are: to identify the different fields of a data link layer (Ethernet) frame, todescribe how the TCP/IP protocol suite utilizes physical, logical and port addresses to send/receive data,and to describe the operation of the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) in facilitating data link layercommunication. The content relevant to these outcomes is presented in class via a lecture format. Inthese lectures, frames are represented in a simplified graphical format. Recently, a laboratory using theWireshark packet-sniffer application has been added to deepen student understanding of these learningoutcomes. The laboratory involves investigating the function of the ARP by examining the contents of anARP request packet and an ARP reply packet produced when a user uses a web browser to access a filefrom a website. The laboratory also involves analyzing the different fields of an Ethernet frame as well asthe address fields of the network layer and transport layer packets that the frame encapsulates. It isexpected that the interaction with actual frames that this laboratory provides, should result in an increasedability to accomplish the above-stated learning outcomes. To investigate this hypothesis, studentknowledge is assessed by requiring them to take a test prior to the laboratory session and immediatelyafter the session. The pretest and posttest scores are analyzed to determine if there is statistical significantdifference between them. Also, students are required to complete a questionnaire that asks them toprovide a subjective assessment of what aspects of the laboratory helped to increase their understandingand what aspects of the laboratory could be improved. A discussion of these responses is given.
Chin, C. A., & Sharma, L., & Crosby, G. V. (2013, June), Evaluation of the Effect of Wireshark-based Laboratories on Increasing Student Understanding of Learning Outcomes in a Data Communications Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19568
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