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CS2013-Ironman-NC-Networking and Communication

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CS2013-Ironman-NC-Networking and Communication
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Forum to comment on "NC-Networking and Communication" Knowledge Area in the CS2013 Ironman report. We ask that comments related to specific text in the report please specify the line number(s) of the text being commented on. Line numbers are provided on the far left-hand side of the each page.

Very large core
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The curriculum guidelines appear to be comprehensive and thorough. It is clear that much hard work and thought has gone into the guidelines. One cannot argue that any of the topics are not important. However, the core is too big. The hard work of paring the core down to a manageable size has not been done. The number of individualized topics is too large. The number of hours per topic is overly optimistic; the learning objectives in many cases will require yet more instruction than the hours given for the required topics.

For example, on p. 127, 1.5 "hours" are allocated to naming and address schemes (DNS, IP addresses, Uniform Resource Identifiers, etc.), distributed applications (client/server, peer-to-peer, cloud, etc.), HTTP as an application layer protocol, multiplexing with TCP and UDP and Socket APIs and the implementation of a simple client server socket based application. This does not seem adequate. This is only one small example.

My department spent the last six months mapping our current curriculum to the knowledge areas, then remapping the topics into a new set of courses. We've made a reasonable approximation. I'm not particularly pleased with the result. Our new curriculum is likely to be quite rigid. We gave up Calc 2 and one-third of our elective choices to add the additional required content. We squished more "content" into existing courses. The likelihood that all of the core topics will actually be covered is not particularly high, whatever we plan and put on paper. I am concerned that opportunities for creative teaching will be suppressed in favor of a strong focus on content. I am also concerned that it will be difficult to include emerging topics with such a large set of existing materials to cover.

The body of knowledge outlined in this proposal is comprehensive. I am not able to argue against the inclusion of anything. However, the body of knowledge is too large. A recommendation for a small, strong core rather than a large one, would be more helpful.

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