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Improving Project-based Learning via Remote OPNET-based Lab Sequence in Undergraduate Computer Networking Curriculum

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.747.1 - 25.747.16



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Paper Authors


Jianyu Dong California State University, Los Angeles

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Jianyu Dong is a professor in electrical and computer engineering at CSULA. Her area of expertise is video compression/communication, multimedia networks, QoS, etc. As the PI of the NSF CCLI Project entitled "Enhancing undergraduate computer networking curriculum using remote project-based learning," she works closely with colleagues from computer science to redesign the network curriculum to integrate project-based and inquiry-based learning.

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Huiping Guo California State University, Los Angeles

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Huiping Guo is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at California State University, Los Angeles. Her research interest includes information security, multimedia communications, and databases. She has published a number of papers in prestigious journals and conferences, which lead to two U.S. patents. Guo is very active in her research fields and has been invited to review papers for more than 20 journals and conferences.

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Improving Project-based Learning via Remote OPNET-based Lab Sequence in Undergraduate Computer Networking CurriculumIn 2010, California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) received a CCLI grant from NSF toexplore a good solution to incorporate collaborative project-based and inquiry-based learning inundergraduate computer networking curriculum. The project goals include: 1) Establish a cyber-infrastructure to enable remote learning which significantly improve the learning efficiency ofstudents on a commuter campus; 2) Foster students’ hands-on design and implementation skillsin networking field; 3) Improve teaching and learning efficiency by integrating project-based andinquiry-based learning pedagogy. During the first year of the project, a series of in-class andafter-class projects using OPNET have been developed and implemented in CS470 and EE440,which were taught in Winter and Spring 2011 respectively. The content of CS470 and EE440were streamlined to cover the protocols and design issues of the entire network architect withminimum overlaps. Therefore, the developed projects were utilized to enhance the students’design skills and deepen their understanding of network protocols from Physical to Applicationlayers.To quantify the impact of the collaborative project-based learning (via OPNET-based labsequence) on student outcomes, comprehensive evaluation using both direct and indirectassessment instruments was conducted. The assessment was collaboratively performed by the PIsand our external evaluator who is an expert from the College of Education. The evaluation wasbased on class observation, comparison study of student performance, pre and post studentsurveys, as well as focus groups. While both quantitative and qualitative assessment results willbe presented and analyzed, the focus of the paper will be the lessons learned through the firstyear experience from both the student and faculty perspectives. Overall, the students’ feedbackon the remote OPNET-based lab sequence has been positive in general. Most students agreedthat the in-class and after-class project experience made them more interested in computernetworking field. Through focus group conducted in Winter 2011, we collected a number ofrecommendations on how to improve the implementation of class projects and how to betterintegrate project-based learning and inquiry-based learning into a tight teaching schedule. In thispaper, we will describe our innovations in using remote labs to foster collaborative project-basedlearning, share the assessment results and the lessons learned in the last year, and present ourplans to adjust the teaching strategy and improve the lab sequence based on the assessmentresults.

Dong, J., & Guo, H. (2012, June), Improving Project-based Learning via Remote OPNET-based Lab Sequence in Undergraduate Computer Networking Curriculum Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21504

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