Welcome to CS402: Computer Communications and Networks

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Saylor Student Handbook.

 

Course Description

This course is a detailed introduction to the basic hardware and software, architectural components for computer communications in local area networks. The components that are focused upon include understanding the basics of computer networks, switching, routing, protocols and security.

 

Course Introduction

The Internet has become one of the most important components of our life. We browse the Web, check e-mails, make VoIP phone calls, and have video conferences via computers. All of these applications are made possible by networking computers together, and this complex network of computers is usually referred to as the Internet. This course is designed to give you a clear understanding of how networks, from in-home local area networks, or LANS, to the massive and global Internet, are built and how they allow us to use computers to share information and communicate with one another.

Unit 1 introduces you to an explanation of what computer networks are as well as to some basic terminology fundamental to understanding computer networks. You will also familiarize yourself with the concept of layers, which compose the framework around which networks are built. Next, Unit 2 explains the concept of protocols. A computer communication (or network) protocol defines rules and conventions for communication between network devices.

The rest of the course implements a top-down approach to teach you the details about each layer and the relevant protocols used in computer networks. Beginning in Unit 3, you will explore the concept of application layer protocols, which include the Domain Name System, e-mail protocols, and the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Unit 3 ends with an overview of how to use socket programming to develop network applications. In Unit 4, you will learn transport layer protocols, including the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). You will go on to study the network layer Internet Protocol (IP) and packet routing protocols in Unit 5. Next is Unit 6, which is devoted to a discussion on link layer protocols, and the course concludes with an overview on voice and video protocols, network security, and cloud computing in Unit 7.

As you move through the course, take time to notice how the layers build on top of one another and work together to create the amazing tool of computer networks, which many of us depend upon daily.

This course is comprised of the following units:

  • Unit 1: Networking Fundamentals
  • Unit 2: Networking Fundamentals: Protocols
  • Unit 3: The Application Layer
  • Unit 4: The Transport Layer (TCP/UDP)
  • Unit 5: The Network Layer
  • Unit 6: The Link Layer
  • Unit 7: Multimedia, Security, and Cloud Computation over the Internet

 

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • describe the architecture of a computer network and explain how each device in a network communicates with each other;
  • describe the processes in each layer of the network protocol that enables different networks to share resources;
  • describe the basic network protocols in each layer of a TCP/IP stack and the purpose of each protocol;
  • recognize and differentiate between the various services and functionalities of specific mechanisms in each protocol and their usage in a computer network;
  • explain the role of the Network Request for Comment (RFC);
  • compare and contrast each layer in the TCP/IP model with those in the OSI model;
  • define socket programming and explain its role in application processing;
  • describe IP addressing and explain its purpose;
  • explain packet collisions and how they are corrected in the link layer;
  • define CSMA and describe its use in the link layer;
  • describe and compare application protocols such as VoIP and IPTV; and
  • explain TCP/IP security related issues.

Throughout this course, you'll also see related learning outcomes identified in each unit. You can use the learning outcomes to help organize your learning and gauge your progress.

 

Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are readings, lectures, video tutorials, and other resources.

All course materials are free to access, and can be found through the links provided in each unit and subunit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will instruct you as to what specifically to read or watch at a given point in the course, and help you to understand how these individual materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also access a list all of the materials used in this course by clicking on Resources in the course's "Activities" menu.

 

Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you may take it again as many times as needed, following a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Saylor Certificate of Completion.

There are also 7 unit assessments and other types of quizzes in this course. These are intended to help you to gauge how well you are learning and do not factor into your final course grade. You may retake all of these as many times as needed to feel that you have an understanding of the concepts and material covered. You can locate a full list of these sorts of assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course's "Activities" menu.

 

Earning College Credit

This course is eligible for college credit via Saylor Academy's Direct Credit Program. If you are seeking to earn college credit, you must opt to take and pass the Saylor Direct Credit final exam. That exam will be password protected and require the presence of a proctor. Upon passing that final exam you will receive a Proctor Verified Course Certificate, and will be eligible to earn an Official Transcript. For more information about applying for college credit review the Guide to College Credit Opportunities. Be sure to check the section on proctoring for details (fees, technical requirements, etc.)

Note: There is a 14-day waiting period between attempts of the Direct Credit final exam. There is no imposed wait period between attempting the non-credit certificate-bearing exam and the credit exam. Some credit exams have a maximum number of attempts allowed, which will be detailed on the exam's instructions page.


Thomas Edison State University TECEP Exam Alignment

This course is designed to align with a Thomas Edison State University TECEP examination. Visit the TECEP website and click on "Networking Technologies (CMP-354-TE)" to download the content guide for the exam. For more information about this partnership, and earning credit through Thomas Edison State University, go here.


 

Tips for Success

CS402: Computer Communications and Networks is a self-paced course in which you the learner determines when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or predetermined schedule to follow. While learning styles can vary considerably and any particular student will take more or less time to learn or read, we estimate that the "average" student will take 105 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular (daily, or at least weekly) progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so below we've compiled a few suggested study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories as you read. This can help you differentiate and contextualize concepts and later provide you with a refresher as you study.
  • As you progress through the materials, take time to test yourself on what you have retained and how well you understand the concepts. The process of reflection is important for creating a memory of the materials you learn; it will increase the probability that you ultimately retain the information.
  • Although you may work through this course completely independently, you may find it helpful to connect with other Saylor Academy students through the discussion forums. You may access the discussion forums at https://discourse.saylor.org.

 

Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course, you should:

  • have knowledge of the fundamental computer terminology covered in an introduction to computing course, such as hardwaresoftware, and the Internet.

Technical Requirements

This course is delivered fully online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one, free of charge, here. Although you can access some course resources without being logged into your account, it's advised that you log in to maximize your course experience. For example, some of the accessibility and progress tracking features are only available when you are logged in.
  • If you plan to attempt the optional credit recommended final exam that accompanies this course, then you will also need access to a webcam enabled computer. A webcam is needed so that our remote proctoring service can verify your identity, which will allow Saylor Academy to issue an official transcript to schools on your behalf.

For additional technical guidance check out Saylor Academy's tech-FAQ and the Moodle LMS tutorial.

 

Fees

There is no cost to access and enroll in this course. All required course resources linked throughout the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, activities, etc are accessible for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

This course does contain an optional final exam that will provide students an opportunity to earn college credit. Access to the exam itself is free, though it does require the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring is $25 per session.



Last modified: Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 5:23 PM