How our young colleagues are being educated....

Scott Morris swm at
Wed Dec 24 16:40:48 UTC 2014

All networking courses SHOULD have some version of binary in them.  Too
many things rely on it to be skipped.  Yes, in the real world we have
shortcuts.  But when those shortcuts become the only thing everyone knows,
bad things may be left to happen.  Besides, if one can¹t do binary, how
can they be expected to understand hex?

AnywayŠ  Good these things are here, but one thing I will point out is
that there is a distinct difference with people glazing over because they
don¹t understand something versus the fact that something is truly boring.
 There¹s nothing sexy about binary.  But that doesn¹t mean it can¹t be fun!

So if the classes are Death by Powerpoint (which is very typical in
academia it seems), then I can certainly understand the aversion that
students would have to that.

Amazingly enough, for a skill that everyone SHOULD understand, I find a
tremendous number of people who don¹t.  And for something that¹s boring
and nobody wants to learn, I have LOTS of people sign up for various
sessions I do at certain vendor¹s trade shows on that very subject.  So
someplace there¹s a disparity in there.

Now, as a side, one problem that I often have with various academic-based
courses is that the people who teach them often don¹t have enough
real-world experience (or not current anyway) in order to pass along any
benefit in that matter.  There are many things that need to be addressed
at this level within the higher-education arena, and I¹m sure it¹s not
just related to networking subjects!


-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis Bohn <bohn at>
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at 2:40 PM
To: Ken Chase <math at>
Cc: <nanog at>
Subject: Re: How our young colleagues are being educated....

>On Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM, Ken Chase <math at> wrote:
>> Learning how to do CIDR math is a major core component of the
>> Im
>> thinking that this is about a 30 minute module in the material, once you
>> know
>> binary, powers of 2 and some addition and subtraction (all of which is
>> taught
>> in most schools by when, first year highschool?) you should be done with
>> it.
>So... just finished up teaching a network course because the Math/Comp Sci
>dept had lost professors  I can tell you it was really tough getting
>the idea of four bytes of dotted decimal from binary and  THEN subnet
>and getting the students THEN to convert to CIDR.  Many glazed eyeballs.
>We asked some of the students who had taken the network class in prior
>years and it was true that they learned very little of the things we
>consider basic, as Javier mentioned.  The profs seemed to have been
>focusing on programming more than neworking per se, even tho the book they
>were using covered the technology as well as socket programming.  We
>covered all of the things in Javier's initial rant and more, like the
>principles of TCP congestion control and the history of packet switching.
>It was fun being able to let them in on some real world things, like say
>the sinking feeling of making a change in a network and then the phone
>starts ringing off the hook :-)    Unfortunately, this was likely a
>one-time deal that the students got to really learn a couple of things
>about networking.
>Dennis Bohn
>> Adelphi University

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