Nov 11, 2002 by
Information Technology Editorial Board
This is a tutorial on general networking topics as they relate to CISCO switches and how they operate on a network. Also available via links are sample CISCO and other tests. The site provides a quick-study of Cisco networking concepts. The author covers the topics that he feels are necessary to help the reader learn and pass the Cisco CCNA routing and switching exam, 640-507.
The learning goals are: - Understanding network models - Understanding network concepts - Ethernet - Layer two switching and bridging - Spanning Tree - Virtual LANs
In addition, it helps the reader study for the Cisco CCNA routing and switching exam (640-507). Networking concepts are presented from the ground up with an emphasis placed on Cisco topics.
Target Student Population:
The target population would be students with some prior networking experience. Beginning students would have a difficult time understanding some of the explanations.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Knowledge of basic networking terminology and basic network concepts. Some general PC experience is necessary
Type of Material:
Tutorial with tests available.There are a few graphics. No animation or video are included so this should not be considered a multimedia site.
This material would be appropriate for students who wish to take CISCO CCNA certification exams. The material is a study guide for the specific topics addressed in the exams for this certification. It would also be useful as additional information in an introduction to networking course.
Students must have access to a PC, an Internet connection, and a Web browser.
Evaluation and Observation
Very technical, yet understandable explanations. The description of the OSI model is very well done. This is a difficult concept for students to understand and it is handled very well in this tutorial. Other topics are covered in just enough detail without being overwhelming. The diagrams are simple but well done. The materials would serve as a good ?refresher course? for students who have studied networking and/or internetworking concepts and feel ready to prepare for the CCNA exam.
Animated illustrations would add to the instructional value.The site may be viewed as deceptive in its promises. It lacks critical detail. In addition, the content is presented too ?loosely? which may distract from its purpose and may be perceived as losing creditability.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The tutorial gives the students the information they need for the CISCO test, plus other information they would need if they worked in a networking environment.
The site would serve as a good supplemental source of information in the classroom. In other words, it would be worth sharing the URL with students since the study series could serve to ?fill in some of the blanks? that may be left by the regular classroom material.
Some "pop" quizzes interspersed within the tutorial, or other interactive material would provide the students with something to do during the tutorial. The interactivity would keep their attention and make the tutorial more interesting.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The author presents a very readable style and explains where he is going with each lesson. The lessons are relatively short (his introduction says that each lesson is only 15 minutes long) so that students will not become bored reading a very long on-line tutorial and losing sight of the concepts. For instructors,
the material is in modules so that it can be incorporated into a course at various points, depending on how the material is introduced into the course.
The site is deficient in quality if the audience is expecting multimedia and detail.
Other Issues and Comments:
Some tests related directly to each lesson would make this material more useful. Or a link to the specific CISCO exam (included in the links to the left) would direct the students to the specific exam in which this material is included.
A main concern is that the author does not go deep enough in the material to distinguish this study series from others attempting to accomplish the same objective. Readers are lead to believe that they can go through 12 study topics by reading each for 15 minutes. According to a close colleague who recently passed the CCNA exam, ??In order to be ready for the exam, you need 300 hours of study including 150 hours of hands on time. There are approximately 60 specific Objectives you must master to be certified. The 12 topics don?t include a quarter of the Objectives. This site isn?t worth the time to access it from a real learning standpoint.?