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Peer Review

Cisco Tutorial on Switches



Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Nov 11, 2002 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: 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.

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

Recommended Uses: 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.
Technical Requirements: Students must have access to a PC, an Internet connection, and a Web browser.
Identify Major Learning Goals: 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
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Knowledge of basic networking terminology and basic network concepts. Some
general PC experience is necessary

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: 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
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.

Concerns: 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

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: 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

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.
Concerns: 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

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: The site is deficient in quality if the audience is expecting multimedia and

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.?