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Authentic Learning for Computer Network with Mobile Device-Based Hands-On Labware

Authors: Kai Qian, Ming Yang, Minzhe Guo, Prabir Bhattacharya, Lixin Tao


Computer network courses are essential parts of college computer science curriculum and hands-on networking experience is well recognized as an effective approach to help students understand better about the network concepts, the layered architecture of network protocols, and the dynamics of the networks. However, existing networking labs are usually server-based and relatively cumbersome, which require a certain level of specialty and resource to set up and maintain the lab environment. Many universities/colleges lack the resources and build-ups in this field and have difficulty to provide students with hands-on practice labs. A new affordable and easily-adoptable approach to networking labs is desirable to enhance network teaching and learning. In addition, current network labs are short on providing hands-on practice for modern wireless and mobile network learning. With the prevalence of smart mobile devices, wireless and mobile network are permeating into various aspects of our information society. The emerging and modern mobile technology provides computer science students with more authentic learning experience opportunities especially in network learning. A mobile device based hands-on labware can provide an excellent ‘real world’ authentic learning environment for computer network especially for wireless network study. In this paper, we present our mobile device-based hands-on labware (series of lab module) for computer network learning which is guided by authentic learning principles to immerse students in a real world relevant learning environment. We have been using this labware in teaching computer network, mobile security, and wireless network classes. The student feedback shows that students can learn more when they have hands-on authentic learning experience. 

Keywords: Mobile Computing, Network, android, labware

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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