Discovering Computer Networks: Hands on in the Open Networking Lab

The Open Networking Lab project has launched a free online course entitled “Discovering computer networks: hands on in the Open Networking Lab”, which is available through the Open University’s OpenLearn platform. In this course, learners can explore how computer networks operate, discover how data is sent around the internet, as well as put their understanding into practice using the PT Anywhere network simulator to create their own simulated computer networks.

The course uses a new teaching approach based on:

  • short screencasts
  • hands-on computer networking activities
  • quizzes and other self-assessment activities

These elements are tightly integrated to provide an active, iterative learning experience aimed specifically at young people, but suitable for everyone. Upon completion of the course, learners earn a free statement of participation issued by The Open University.

The course has been the product of collaboration between the Open University’s Computing & Communications department and the Knowledge Media Institute (KMi), with funding from the Ufi Charitable Trust and support from the Cisco Networking Academy. The KMi team, led by Alexander Mikroyannidis, has contributed the PT Anywhere network simulator, which allows learners to practice what they have learned and experiment with their own network simulations. PT Anywhere has received funding from the European Commission and the Ufi Charitable Trust in order to extend its educational capabilities and, most recently, to provide an accessible interface for visually impaired learners.