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Upgrading of a Data Communication and Computer Networks Course in Engineering Technology Program

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Capstone/ET Projects I: Electrical and Computer Focus

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Murat Kuzlu Old Dominion University

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Murat Kuzlu (Senior Member – IEEE) joined Old Dominion University (ODU) of Electrical Engineering Technology Department as an Assistant Professor in 2018. He received his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from Kocaeli University, Turkey, in 2001, 2004, and 2010, respectively. From 2005 to 2006, he worked as a Global Network Product Support Engineer at the Nortel Networks, Turkey. In 2006, he joined the Energy Institute of TUBITAK-MAM (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey – The Marmara Research Center), where he worked as a senior researcher. Before joining ODU, he worked as a Research Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech’s Advanced Research Institute. His research interests include smart grid, demand response, smart metering systems (AMR, AMI, AMM), home and building energy management system, co-simulation, wireless communication and embedded systems. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University.

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Otilia Popescu Old Dominion University

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Dr. Otilia Popescu received the Engineering Diploma and M.S. degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania, and the PhD degree from Rutgers University, all in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Her research interests are in the general areas of communication systems, control theory, signal processing and engineering education. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and serves as the Program Director for the Electrical Engineering Technology Program. In the past she has worked for the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at San Antonio, Rutgers University, and Politehnica University of Bucharest. She is a senior member of the IEEE, serves as associate editor for IEEE Communication Letters, and has served in the technical program committee for the IEEE ICC, WCNC, RWW, VTC, GLOBECOM, and CAMAD conferences.

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Data network communications is traditionally a course offered by computer engineering technology curricula, with the main objective to introduce students to the fundamental concepts in data communication and computer networks, as well as some level of hands-on component related to this area. Typical topics in such courses are the layered model of data communication, Internet routing, communication standards, protocols and technologies, and learning methods used to design the network and send data over the network in a secure manner. In the last decades, the data communication and applications have grown and become ubiquitous in both industry and people’s everyday life, alongside with increasing data rates and emerging broadband technologies, i.e., Internet access technologies. Consequently, courses related to computer networks become imperative for students in engineering technology programs, as they are essential in preparing the students for the level of technology required on the current job market. However, it is not an easy task to keep up in classrooms with today’s industry requirements for graduates in terms of both content and hands-on activities. Firstly, the course content should be updated with emerging technologies, which is crucial for student’s awareness of new trends and to prepare them for the industry, especially telecommunication and Information Technology (IT) sectors. Secondly, the course should cover hands-on activities that are aligned with the theoretical upgrades introduced in the course. Such activities should include the use of network analyzer tools for network analysis and communications protocol development, as well as a network simulator to provide students with a technology development environment for network design, troubleshooting, and protocol modeling in a simulated environment. Following these considerations, this paper presents the way the Data Network Communications course was updated as part of an overall curriculum revision in an Electrical Engineering Technology program. The paper discusses the course topics, the course objectives, and the software tools introduced to support the hands-on activities in the class, including Wireshark software tool, for network troubleshooting, profiling network traffic and analyzing packets. The paper also presents the way the course was received by the students, as well as the lessons learned after the first semester of offering it in the new format and the modifications planned for future semesters.

Kuzlu, M., & Popescu, O. (2020, June), Upgrading of a Data Communication and Computer Networks Course in Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35436

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