The impact of technology and networks on our lives, culture, and society continues to increase. The very fact that you can take this course from anywhere in the world requires a technological infrastructure that was designed, engineered, and built over the past sixty years. To function in an information-centric world, we need to understand the workings of network technology. This course will open up the Internet and show you how it was created, who created it and how it works. Along the way we will meet many of the innovators who developed the Internet and Web technologies that we use today.
What You Will Learn:
After this course you will not take the Internet and Web for granted. You will be better informed about important technological issues currently facing society. You will realize that the Internet and Web are spaces for innovation and you will get a better understanding of how you might fit into that innovation. If you get excited about the material in this course, it is a great lead-in to taking a course in Web design, Web development, programming, or even network administration. At a minimum, you will be a much wiser network citizen.
Getting Started Welcome to the class. We will first look at the history of the Internet and Web, followed by a look at how the network works and then examine how we secure information on the Internet and Web.
History: Dawn of Electronic Computing World War II emphasized the strategic importance of computation, communication, and information. There was unprecedented investment in the development of new technologies during the war. We start with Alan Turing and others at Bletchley Park.
History: The First Internet - NSFNet In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a great deal of research done to build the first wide-area packet switched networks for the US Department of Defense. In the 1980s, the first “Internet” was formed to allow academic researchers to access supercomputer resources.
History: The Web Makes it Easy to Use The World-Wide-Web was invented in 1990 but it was not an overnight success. But by 1994 - “the year of the web” - the web was being widely used and Internet usage was growing by leaps and bounds.
History: Commercialization and Growth The late 1990’s saw the web and Internet used increasingly to revolutionize how business was done. Companies like Amazon were founded and grew very rapidly.
Technology: Internets and Packets The Internet is designed based on a four-layer model. Each layer builds on the layers below it. The Link and Internetwork layers are the lowest layers of that model.
Technology: Transport Control Protocol (TCP) The Transport layer is built on the Internetwork layer and is what makes our network connections reliable.
Technology: Application Protocols With reliable “pipes” available from the Transport layer, we can build applications like web browsers, file transfer applications, or email clients and servers.
Security: Encrypting and Signing Using simple examples, we examing how to shield data from prying eyes and make sure that the data was not altered while in transit.
Security: Web Security We apply the basic ideas of encryption and signing to who we actually secure the connections that we use on today’s Web and Internet.
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.
This is not a very rigorous course but that does not detract at all from its attractiveness. There are 7 units, 4 on history and 3 that deal with the more technical aspects of how the internet works. Dr. Severance is very involved with this class and holds in-person office hours in various cities that he visits. He is also very active on twitter which allows some students to have interaction that is usually not practical with moocs.
The assesments for the course were 6 quizzes for the week, a short written assignment that was graded via peer review and a final exam. The highlight of this course for me were the videos, which often had us going back in time to listen to people involved in the early days of the internet talking about their experience as it was going on.
Doris Smithcompleted this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I've been working on the Internet since before there was a WWW, so I didn't necessarily expect to learn much, but in fact this was highly informative. The history part was mostly familiar, but it was helpful to have everything laid out clearly on a timeline. The technology and security portions did a great deal to clarify my previously vague understandings of how things work. Dr. Chuck is an excellent instructor: knowledgeable, relaxed, and funny.
I especially liked the "graduation ceremony" at the end, complete with Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance and a graduation speaker. This is the first MOOC I've taken that included a graduation, and it was a nice touch.
Dana Taylorcompleted this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Very interesting, informative and engaging course. Dr Chuck presents a very relaxed, yet enthusiastic, learning style. The weekly workload wasn't too much, and the extra credit assignments were fun to write and to evaluate.
The lectures were entertaining and fun to watch, and packed full of information. All of this was presented in very easy to understand terms. I would highly recommend this course to anyone, whatever their background and current understanding of the subject matter.
This class was a good mix of entertaining stories about the history of the Internet along with a little technical information as well. Dr. Chuck does a good job of explaining networking concepts in an understandable way.
Just to be clear - if you're looking for a really in-depth technical course on networks, this probably isn't it. If you're looking for an interesting class with an introduction to the technical elements though, this is perfect! Even if you already know how networking works, the history and politics behind the creation of the Internet are presented in an interesting and fun way.
Fun course with some really interesting interviews with the actual people involved with creating the technology. I was disappointed that the history didn't carry on a bit further into the future with the advent of Google, server side scripting like php etc. I hope that Dr Chuck keeps collecting video interviews to expand the timeline further into the future :)
The technical aspect is very simple, great as an intro but perhaps a little too simple for anyone with a CS related background.
Steven Blackcompleted this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
This course is truly fascinating when you considering the impact the world wide web has had on society. This course mainly follows the development of the internet from a file-sharing protocol to what it is today. It does involve some networking concepts though. Networking can be hard but understanding how everything works is truly rewarding.