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Revising A Network Engineering Curriculum To Reflect Current Industry And Student Trends

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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

14.1033.1 - 14.1033.16



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Paper Authors

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Phil Rawles Purdue University

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Anthony Smith Purdue University

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Raymond Hansen Purdue University

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Jeffrey Sprankle Purdue University

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

Revising a Network Engineering Curriculum to Reflect Current Industry and Student Trends Abstract

One of the fastest changing areas of technology education is information technology. Within the Information Technology (IT) field, the area of network engineering and security is changing especially quickly. Ongoing issues such as machine and network security, malware and SPAM control, the continued evolution in wireless networks, and support for new application development and deployment models keep IT educators busy ensuring their courses and curricula are kept in sync with changes in the industry.

In addition to changes in the industry, there are changes in the student body. Today’s students are much more technology savvy than those entering the program just five years ago. These students are also taking internships earlier in their college careers, creating a need to ensure they are prepared for these earlier industrial experience opportunities.

As part of our ongoing continuous improvement process the faculty in the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University has recently completed a significant curriculum revision of the undergraduate baccalaureate network engineering program. After analyzing industry trends, student performance, incoming student experience, and discussing their findings with industrial partners, several key opportunities for improvement were identified. Designed to reflect the aforementioned changes, materials were deleted, moved, or added to the curriculum as needed.

This paper provides a discussion on the identified issues, the curricular changes made to address them, and the rationale behind those changes. While a cursory review of the overall curriculum is included, this paper is not intended to be a comprehensive discussion of the curriculum as a whole, but rather a discussion of the recent improvement process. As many of these issues affect all IT and networking programs, it is hoped that this discussion is helpful to all programs.


The Network Engineering Technology (NET) program in the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) at Purdue University focuses on building infrastructure to support business application deployment. The general philosophy of the program is that business needs drive application and data needs, which require network and underlying system infrastructure. Students must understand business at a high level, application and data management at a medium level, and infrastructure in detail.

The core curriculum consists of two main areas: network engineering (NET) and systems/network administration and security. Students take a core that covers each of these areas and choose electives from one or both areas. Graduates of the program have a holistic knowledge of IT infrastructure that enables them to work in many areas of an organization. Their breadth of knowledge positions them well for advancement with many alumni rapidly progressing into IT management positions.

Rawles, P., & Smith, A., & Hansen, R., & Sprankle, J. (2009, June), Revising A Network Engineering Curriculum To Reflect Current Industry And Student Trends Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5362

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