Developing An Effective Network Course Using The Cisco Ccna Exploration Curriculum

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Source of Publication

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

Publication Date



Undergraduate Computer Science (CS), Information Technology/Information Systems (IT/IS) curricula in many US Universities and Colleges only include one course in networking. This course, usually called Networking and Data Communications, varies in content and focus. Moreover, a number of popular textbooks lack in scope and content, and sometimes do not even address the basics of networking or how networks operate. The Cisco Networking Academy CCNA Exploration curriculum offers in-depth theory, challenging labs, and a detailed overview of protocol operations. It is designed for students who seek to develop their problem-solving and analytical skills. Degree candidates in engineering, mathematics and science, as well as working professionals who wish to advance their careers or gain certification are attracted by the depth of this curriculum. The CCNA Exploration curriculum is designed to be integrated into various technology curricula or programs offered at postsecondary institutions such as technical schools, colleges, and universities. In this paper the content of classical networking textbooks, including well established reference books1,2,3, are reviewed for the purpose of developing an effective networking curriculum. Various objectives of the Cisco networking academy, which is a set of well developed courses that offer many hands on practice, were identified and integrated in the proposed networking curriculum. Furthermore, the new ACM curriculum models4,5,6 in C.S, IS, and IT were studied and measurable learning outcomes were identified. A critical look at the official CCNA exam, and how this exam can be integrated into a C.S, IT/IS curriculum is provided. The newly proposed curriculum could be used to motivate students to attend Networking courses that use classical networking textbooks. It is anticipated that this paper may help CS and IT/IS faculty develop a better, more exciting content for their networking courses. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2009.


American Society for Engineering Education




Education, Engineering education, Problem solving, Professional aspects, Societies and institutions, Students, Teaching, Textbooks, Analytical skills, Curriculum models, Data-communication, Hands-on practice, Post-secondary institutions, Protocol operation, Various technologies, Working professionals, Curricula

Scopus ID


Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Bronze: This publication is openly available on the publisher’s website but without an open license