Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Analysis of Students' Performances during Lab Sessions of Computer Networks Course

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Analysis of Students' Performances during Lab Sessions of Computer Networks Course

Article excerpt

Introduction

Computer network is an infrastructure including computers and peripherals connected to each other for sharing resources. Due to changes and developments on the information and communication technologies, computer networks gained a critical role for establishing connections to share resources in a specific domain. Sharing information is very important in the digital age for giving high-quality services to all interested people enrolled in the networks.

Computer networking offers a basic connection constructed to provide transmission of signals over a distance for the purpose of communication. Computer networks still evolving and the study of computer networks is a necessary part of the computer engineering field. According to Surma (2003), computer network courses are in the main research fields of computer engineering field. He studied a subject based on the students activities which supports course requirements, projects and lab experiments which collaborative and discovery learning techniques were used.

For using computer network applications for educational purposes at universities, Elkateeb & Awad (1999) offered that the usage of multimedia in the educational system increases the quality and reduces the cost. For this reason they produced the Multimedia Learning Center (MLC) learning system and it was used to teach data communication and networking concepts with support of the Web. Similarly, Delialioglu & Yildirim (2007) investigated students' perceptions of the "effective dimensions of interactive learning" in a hybrid course including 25 students enrolled in "Computer Networks and Communication". Moreover, Chiu & Liu (2008) proposed a Network Tutorial System (NTS) to investigate the disadvantages of ineffective CTS (Class Tutorial System) used in Taiwanese universities/colleges and discussed the feasibility of the NTS.

Using simulations for the design and implementation of computer networks is very common due to its availability and flexibility. Bello, Mirabella & Raucea (2007) used a modular web-based test bed comprising basic components (hosts, routers, and access points) implemented on nodes equipped with operating systems and open source software for enabling students to accomplish practical applications of computer networks. Kayssi, El-Hajj, El Asir, & Sayyid (1999) used a Web interface for computer networks course to integrate material, registration, exams and grading.

Moreover, Goyal, Lai, Jain, & Durresi (1998) produced the software package for computer networking and telecommunications. It was a simulation environment with laboratory exercises including a range of network subjects from data message flows to IP (Internet Protocol) fragmentation and reassembly. Similarly, Powell, Anderson, Spiegel, & Pope (2002) defined that Web-based teaching tools can be used to improve the quality of an undergraduate laboratory and to reduce cost with the integration of web-based teaching tools and hands-on laboratory courses. Furthermore, Aziz, El-Sayed, Esche, & Chassapis (2009) applied Web-based educational tools to provide a detailed laboratory experience based on remote and virtual laboratory experiments for undergraduate engineering students.

Rahman, Pakstas, & Wang (2009) conducted a research on network modelling and simulation tools. TinkerNet (Winters, Ausanka-Crues, Kegel, Shimshock, Turner, & Erlinger, 2006) was developed as a low-cost platform for teaching bottom-up, hands-on networking at the undergraduate level. It enables students to build their own networking stack from Ethernet up to TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol). BoteLorenzo, Asensio-Perez, Gomez-Sanchez, Vega-Gorgojo, & Alario-Hoyos (2010) presented a Distributed Network Simulation Environment (DNSE) based on grid technology used by students as an application.

Sang (2010) presented hands-on laboratory experiments for students by using low-cost Small Office / Home Office (SOHO) networking technologies. …

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