The courses studied in this case study, Data Communications and Advanced Data Communications, are taught on the second and third years of a three-year bachelor of commerce (BCom) degree in information systems. Students enrolled for the BCom degree have to follow a program that is equivalent to three full-time years and pass courses with a total value of at least 42 points. A typical one-semester course is worth two points. Of the 42 points required for this degree, a student must pass at least 22 points in course above Year I, and s/he must complete one or more majors, including at least six points in Year III in each major. A normal course load is comprised of 14 points per year. The maximum load per semester is nine points.

The data communications courses can also be taken by BSc (computer science) and BTech (information technology) students; however it is important to note here that the courses are optional and are not part of the mandatory core of any major approved for BCom, BSc or BTech students.

The second-year course typically has enrolments of approximately 360 students roughly distributed in three classes of about 120 students each. Around 120 students take the third-year course. In the past the material has been delivered by lecturing three hours per week (12 weeks per semester) and by making available to students one optional tutorial hour per week during eight weeks. The coursework assessment consisted of two tests, two research assignments, a laboratory assignment (running CACI's Comnet III networking simulation software), and a group design project. For the design project students formed self-selected groups of four and produce a number of deliverables with staggered hand-in dates distributed throughout the semester. An outline of the contents of the course is found in Appendix 2.

The third-year course had enrolments of around 130 students in one stream during the second semester of each year. The course dealt with detailed descriptions of the seven layers of the OSI reference model, concentrating on the primitives used among the different layers and studying the object-oriented aspects of the standards. Students were formally introduced to the syntax notation used with this type of modelling, and the applications of these techniques were discussed. The coursework assessment consisted of two tests, two assignments, and an Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1) project. An outline of the contents of the course is included in Appendix 3.

Anecdotal feedback from students had clearly identified that they found this course to be highly theoretical. Unlike the second-year course, there was no lab component or group-based assignments.

Annals of Cases on Information Technology
SQL Tips & Techniques (Miscellaneous)
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 367 © 2008-2017.
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