The Internet Engineering Curriculum Repository (IEC) is a project of CAIDA (Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis) in conjunction with NLANR (National Laboratory for Applied Network Research) to help educators and others interested in Internet technology keep up with developments in the field.
The technology surrounding the Internet is so new and is changing so fast that many Universities do not have networking courses and those that do find it hard to keep the courses current. Often faculty were trained before the Internet was so pervasive. Most networking textbooks are at least 3 years out of date. The IEC repository is a collection of teaching materials from University courses, vendor training materials, tutorials, etc. that have been contributed by individual authors. These authors include regular University faculty, industry research labs personnel, training professionals, and even the occasional MIT freshman dropout who is deep in the trenches making the Internet work. The repository is intended to provide a resource to University faculty and others designing networking courses for their institution.
A repository of teaching materials doesn't instantly produce new University courses and hoards of trained network engineers. We will hold workshops in order to facilitate new faculty's use of the repository. The workshops will be in Boulder, Colorado in the summertime and in San Diego, California in the winter. The authors of the materials will be the workshop faculty and the University faculty and their Teaching Assistants will be the students. The National Science Foundation is funding this effort and some financial support will be available for University attendees.
We envision the workshops as being one week long and covering about 10 discrete day-long topics. Attendees would choose one topic per day and attend lecture and lab sessions on the topic itself, the materials supporting that topic, and typical homework assignments. Some topics may require two days to do properly. We feel that a lecture/lab format will maximize the amount of technology transferred.
University faculty are not the only potential customers of this repository; engineers seeking re-training or wishing to keep current in this fast moving field would also benefit both from the materials and from workshops. Additional workshops targetted at industry engineers and training specialists would be held if demand exists.
The repository contains a collection of links to University course materials, conference tutorial materials, research reports, white papers, tech reports, FAQs, and other online information related to networking. In addition to these raw teaching materials, we have added:
- an index of materials present
- difficulty levels for courses
- reviews of each set of materials
- a concept graph representing the pre-requisite structure of a course
- a concept graph of the whole collection
The concept graph was introduced to us by Prof. William M. Waite at the University of Colorado and Rosemary Simpson from Brown University. It is a representation of an index for a course that contains knowledge about the lecture materials, about the textbook used, and about the hierarchical structure of the concepts. The nodes of the graph represent concepts or topics in the course and the edges and represent component relationships. For example, an edge from concept A to concept B means that concept B is one of the sub-concepts making up concept A. We would like to use this idea but modify it to express "pre-requisite" relationships, rather than the "contains" relationship. Hopefully, the resulting graph is close to acyclic!
A concept graph of the entire collection helps the user browse its contents quickly.
In addition to the concept graphs the root pages in each set of course materials contain a navigational frame that can be used by students to easily and quickly find items in the course.
The original NSF Proposal for the Internet Engineering Curriculum Repository includes the research proposal, project management, and a sample implementation timetable. The first year's NSF annual report refines these ideas and re-focuses the effort along the lines of this vision statement.
We thank the many people who have contributed to these materials, and welcome additional materials; please send us pointers if you see things we might include.