The Computer Network course is generally considered difficult because the underlying networking protocols are typically taught in an abstract way, with an emphasis on their complexity.
Many students, especially those from non-premier institutes with weaker fundamentals, find it difficult to understand and visualize how these protocols actually work from this dry, abstract presentation. Exams also tend to be mostly based on rote memorization.
To teach this course effectively, it is first necessary to shatter the prevailing myth that protocols can only be taught as dry abstractions via lectures. This talk will demonstrate that more than 75% of the course concepts can be taught using an experiential learning approach where students actively carry out simple experiments.
Further, these experiments do not require setting up an elaborate network -- the speaker has successfully taught this course where students work in teams of size 2 to 4 using their own laptops as well as additional equipment costing less than Rs. 1,000 per team.
This hands-on approach makes the learning process joyful for students, and leads to deeper, long-lasting understanding.
Several students have attributed their success in answering networking questions on job-interviews several semesters after taking the speaker's Computer Networks course.