Development of Instructional Methodology for Teaching Computer Networking and Information Resource Management Technologies in Kiev Polytechnic Institute

Demchenko Yu.V. <>

Petrenko A.I. <>


The paper describes the project initiated and realised now by Computer Aided Design Department in Kiev Polytechnic Institute on development of educational course and instructional methodology for teaching Computer Networking and Information Resource Management and development of Basic Internet Training Materials

Some interesting results of pilot implementation of mentioned courses and existing problems are discussed.

I. Development of Academic and Research Networking Infrastructure in Ukraine

The emerging Information Society is characterized by wide use of modern computer communications technologies providing access to a variety of different information resources distributed over the global networks. It could be the public domain information for everybody in the world or the specific information for authorised access only. Recent summit of the Group of Seven (G7) - group of senior government ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States - in Brussels in February 1995 have adopted plans for creating basic set of rules for Global Information Infrastructure (GII) that will play key role in developing Global/Open Information Society (OIS) defined at the summit as knowledge based society [1, 2, 3]. G7 declared their intentions to welcome participation of developing and technology emerging countries in building GII and developing it's information contents to provide them "the chance to fully participate in this process as it will open opportunities for them to leapfrog stages of technology development and to stimulate social and economic development" [3].

An important role in participation of Ukraine in GII development belongs to Universities' Academic and Research community. The knowledge-based economy demands greater openness and creativity in schools and universities, and the acquisition of new skills and adaptability through life-long training. An open approach to education that combines local and national cultures and promotes mutual understanding is required [3]. Creating elements of Open Information Society in Ukraine will empower individuals in all sectors of society by providing rapid access to world-wide information, the ability to share information and ideas with colleagues on an international basis.

But at present moment Ukraine has not Academic and Research networking infrastructure integrated into Internet that could serve non-commercial users from Educational, Academic and Research communities. As well as there is not defined state policy and coordinating Program on development of Academic and Research networks in Ukraine. Existing national and international program are oriented on solving some particular problems and badly coordinated. Government and responsible State bodies can not provide coordinating and integrating role because of very limited funding and lack of experience and qualified specialists. Networking and information infrastructure development is not regarded as priority area of state funding in situation of hard economical crisis.

Such circumstances lead to the situation that Ukraine and, particularly, Kiev has not reliable Internet connectivity for Educational and Research organizations that affects wide information exchange and integration of Ukraine into Open Information Society.

The most significant groups of Internet users in Ukraine are scientific and educational institutions, information agencies and commercial companies. Development of campus networks of leading Ukrainian universities that forced now to use commercial Internet Service Providers (ISP) demands creating of research and educational networks).

The main volume of Internet access services are provided now by a number of small ISPs in the main regional centers of Ukraine. Four main commercial ISPs in Kiev are:

Detailed information on Ukrainian ISPs, external and internal connectivity and WWW information resources can be retrieved from UANET Corporation's WWW server at or from educational Web-server at

But now there are not active non-commercial Internet providers in Ukraine. The main non-profit working Internet nodes created in the frame of different international assistance programs oriented on the support of Internet development for educational and research purposes in Ukraine are the following (including their external Internet links):

Two another Internet nodes will be running in the near future

Realization of OSI/ISF Telecommunication Project for building IP Network Backbone in Kiev will provide Internet access for Ukrainian Educational, Academic and Research organizations and users via 4 regional network distribution centers (Kiev University, Institute of Physics, Institute of Metallophysics, Kiev Polytechnic Institute and Central Distribution point in Bogomoltsa Institute of Physiology) connected by 2 Mbps Radio Relay links. At present moment the backbone works in debugging mode. But to start regular operation of the network many organizational and legal questions have to be solved that will postpone the official use of building network infrastructure.

The number of Universities in Ukraine that have full Internet connectivity and started building their campus networks is constantly increasing. Some of them have became the centers of regional activity on building Academic and Research Network, such as

KPI already has developed campus network based on proprietary long- distance Ethernet technology that connects four buildings (2, 7, 12, 18) and Scientific Technical Library. Realization of TEMPUS-TACIS Project on building Campus FDDI Superhighway is started now.

Internet access for KPI campus network is provided by Computer Communication Center of Academy of Engineering Science of Ukraine that maintains POLYTECH network owning 4 C-class IP addresses (194.44.128 - 194.44.131). Now POLYTECH network has external Internet connectivity via Verkhovna Rada Communication Center, IPRI and commercial ISP. Prospective Radio Relay link to ISF Kiev IP Backbone is not operable now.

The main problems of coordinated and sustainable development of Academic and Research networks are the following

Important role in solving some of mentioned problems belongs to Professional Education of specialists in Networking and Communication Technologies and wide User Training and Support.

II. Professional Education in Networking Information Technologies as demand of sustainable development of Networking Infrastructure in Ukraine

Successful implementation of Global Information Infrastructure elements in Ukraine and future sustainability of developing Networking Information Infrastructure require a special concern about Professional Education on Networking Information Technologies and concurrent Training and User Support activity, which will contribute to the solving problem of preparing workforce/specialists for socially important area of academic, industry and business activity in the country.

Discussed project on development of Instructional Methodology for Teaching Computer Networking and Information Resource Management Technologies was started by Computer Aided Design Department at Kiev Polytechnic Institute [4] because of existing demands of Internet and Networking Information Technologies development in Ukraine. The project intends to create the solid base for wide dissemination of networking skills in professional area of computer communications and network management as well as wide user support services and training. The project is based on effective utilization of existing professional resources and specialists in modern networking technologies and Internet in Kiev Polytechnic Institute that has experience in Campus and regional network building as well as in Internet training courses and materials development.

The realization of the project will help to disseminate widely and better use professional experience and knowledge among the most active layer of future Academic and Research network users which are tutors, researches, students and associated users groups from scientific community.

The project has two part of activities: professional education in modern Networking and Information Technologies, and associated with it training on Internet and services applications for different categories of users. This approach reflect existing in the world experience of two directions in wide implementation of new technologies: professional education that create and strengthen sustainable basis (academic and research) for implementation of new technologies, and short term training and continuous professional renewal for satisfying urgent demands in dissemination of new technologies among wide group of users.

The main target groups requiring new combination of distance education, professional renewal and training can be defined as:

III. Project Goals and Outputs

Also, important goal of the project is development of the basic educational and training materials for distance education and training via special educational server providing public and/or authorised access to these materials.

IV. Academic curriculum description

IV.A. Specialist's profile

Work with information (in Research and Business environments) requires special functions and services for performing Information Management and/or Information Resources Management (IRM).

Information Management means browsing, receiving and retrieving data in form and time that is topical to concrete managerial and decision making tasks regardless of its stored form and location in the network. One of the basic idea of IRM is Open Client/Server based concept of Distributing Computing that allows to place Information Resources and Servers at the place where they can be managed better.

The level of technical complexity and functions required from networking Information System depends on many factors: nature of the works undertaken, pre-existing equipment at the parent company or client firms, communication costs, availability of networking services etc.

Companies, for solving their Information Technologies and Resources Management needs, establish deferent specialities/offices: Information Manager, Business Information System Manager, Development Manager, Information/System Analyst, System/Network Manager.

Also Computer Communication and Information Centers in Universities and Internet Service Providers will employ specialists in Information Services, User Support, Information Services Management, Information Search and Retrieval.

Faced with such complexity a specialist in "Networking Information Technologies" have to make decisions in conditions of present Ukraine/FSU poor information and communication infrastructure and within companies which do not generally dispose of sufficient internal skills in terms of Telecommunications and Information Technologies.

His work's obligations will include:

To secure quality of studying, special entry requirements should be established for the pilot group of students. Proposed course is designed to provide an opportunity for people with some experience in information technology to develop their professional skills in order to enhance their future career opportunities.

The curriculum duration is 1.5 year, full-time, 36 credits and 3 month practice and project work.

The aims of this teaching are focused on development of awareness and skills in the areas of technical and strategic management of IT within organizations. It is intended for graduates of any technical discipline who have some initial experience as systems developer or management experience of IT exploitation for achieving functional objectives within their organizations.

IV.B. Curriculum draft

Project proposes comprehensive framework academic program for preparing Masters on Information Resource Management and a set of tutorials that can be combined for providing short term training programs for different users groups from non- technical to Network administrators. Curriculum will be reviewed annually in order to maintain the relevance of curriculum to continuous Networking IT development and requirements of prospective students' industry and business employers.

The program consists of series of core modules and number of optional modules. The core modules are

First semester (12 credits)

Second semester (12 credits)

Third semester (12 credits)

Project Practice

Optional Units

The final three-month part of the education is a diploma project practice which will be put at concrete institutions and organizations, as rule, at the places of future students' work.

The curriculum is intended to teach Network Information Systems analysis, design and implementation through an organizational and managerial perspective. It offers to students a way of thinking which will train them for a variety of information management roles in either public sector or private organizations. It includes understanding of organizations management mechanisms combined with the knowledge of information system operation and design. The graduates will be effective information specialists providing an important implementation of information technology to the needs of organization.

The graduates from this course will have the following skills: general management ability; good understanding of information needs for organization activities and the way the organization operates; good expertise in providing and running information systems; using of Internet access software for providing information service in organization, etc.

Some students will have possibility to master highly technical specialisation on Network Administration and Management on the base of Computer Communication Center of Kiev Polytechnic Institute.

V. Pilot project realisation

V.A. Pilot educational program on Networking information Technologies and Services

Pilot group of students of the firth year started education from September 1995 till March 1997.

The pilot educational program includes the main specialized courses on Networking Information Technologies and Information Resource Management that can be developed on existing information and technical base with minimum additional funding:

Basic Units

Optional Units

The pilot development of mentioned courses is intended to span the main issues of teaching Networking Information Technologies. Another purpose of such pilot work is to adopt and test Russian and/or Ukrainian terminology on real lecturing and educational projects development.

Some practical experience will be acquired by students during practical projects designing in autumn and spring semesters that include development of real networks projects for concrete academic and educational institutions including development of necessary information services for operational needs of given organizations and/or user's group. Also practical installation of services and pilot information resource development ill be performed on special educational laboratory base.

The course projects should be developed by groups of three or four students and include all necessary components of real networking project design of campus or company's network including

The methodological approach and course management system were intended to be based on students independent work and choice of topics of their educational course and diploma projects including organising optimal cooperative work of the project group.

The methodological and instructional materials for such project work are based on materials of real networking projects of KPI Campus Network, ISF Telecommunication Project for Creating Pilot IP Network in Kiev ( and other materials.

Initially, proposed list of Internet services to be developed in the frame of the projects included all basic Internet services. But later during the current projects design it was realised that the main emphasis should be done on WWW technology. Now all projects has their temporal presentations at educational WWW server at CAD Department ( Some HTML templates developed in such projects were used for completing departmental WWW Server. Many good ideas were developed by students. All were involved in information resources creation.

Also five pre-graduate students are working now on their diploma projects on Internet and related topics summarising their current diploma practice work at their future working places. One of the significant results of such diploma practice was creating WWW Homepage of Ukrainian GalaRadio FM100 Broadcasting Company at that serve information needs and listeners' auditorium feedback.

Four Bachelors diploma works are devoted to development of components of Campus Wide Information System, Ukrainian WWW resources index database and graphics presentation in WWW, all projects will use extended possibilities of HTML 3.0 and JavaScripts. The future Master thesises of pilot group of students will deal with the very modern Internet information technologies and tools including C++, VRML, Java and shell programming for WWW and distributed applications.

V.B. Current results and acquired experience

The main intermediate results of pilot project realisation can be stated

  1. Creation of initial base of learning materials on Russian language on pilot courses
  2. Developing training materials for practical studying of Internet technologies
  3. Involvement of students in creation of educational base and learning projects examples as well pilot testing of instructional methodology
  4. Creation and operation of educational Internet server and development of students account management policy
  5. Acquiring necessary technical information about networking hardware and software and other information resources necessary for course supplement.

To provide efficient tool for testing students knowledge and feedback for course revising and improvement, special examination test system was developed. The questionnaires consist of 50 questions (randomly chosen and sorted) covering all key items of the course. Officially adopted such test system could be used for specialists certification for organizational staff education and training management needs.

One of the interesting secondary result in teaching such course, mainly based on English language manuals and handbooks materials, is in rising aspiration of students to learn and enhance their knowledge of English. All educational projects' Homepages have their presentations in English and Russian/Ukrainian languages but some documents has only their original presentation on one language.

The obligatory condition for all students in these pioneer course and diploma projects was use of Russian or Ukrainian languages for preparing textual materials of the projects that sometimes contradicted with desire of students who has good knowledge of English and practically work in Internet. But such condition will help us to create information data base for future course development and dissemination.

Another task of preparation stage of the whole project realization is to encourage of wide use of Internet and computer communications among professors, tutors and students as a way to develop collaborative learning models at the department. Professional academic contacts have to be established for cooperative development of the new educational courses and technologies.

To provide course with current technical information and training technologies professors and tutors of CAD Department actively participate in organizing Workshops, Conferences and Seminars in Kiev and Ukraine with project's promotion purposes (look at related events at

The main background conditions of successful realisation of this initiative activity are the following

Leading specialists in networking technologies from local companies and institutions in Kiev are invited to read some lectures on their professional skills. Course is supported permanently by group of experts and consultants from cooperating organizations and companies.

The current experience allows to suppose that wide implementation of such course and whole realisation of it's potentiality in present conditions will affect teaching of another IT related courses at the Department and their integration on the base of Internet networking and information technologies which was found to be very effective for such purposes.

V.C. Existing problems

Current project realisation was faced with number of problems caused by technical, organizational, methodological and funding reasons. Some of them can be discussed more detailed:

  1. Technical problems including
    • low speed of existing Internet links that demands special buffering and mirroring of the main popular information resources (for example, RFC, Documents on Internet Protocols, Network Security, HTML and HTML Editors, weather server and pop-music) at educational server to avoid unnecessary traffic via very slow external link of Campus network
    • absent of special equipment for traffic separation between different segments of departmental LAN and efficient students' account access management
  2. Methodological problems that include
    • first of all, lack of experience of teaching such modern courses in Ukraine and FSU
    • absent of instructional materials and handbooks on Russian or Ukrainian languages
    • a small number of tutors with practical experience that can cover all items of prospective curriculum
  3. Funding problems including shortage and lack of necessary funding for proper implementation of such educational project.

VI. Associated activity - Basic Internet Training and User Support

As associated activity, basic training materials and courses on Internet related issues is being developed during realisation of the pilot academic curricula. Also regular training courses for different categories of users are started at CAD Department. The first group trained, surely, consisted of teacher's staff of the Department that encouraged them to use networking tools in academic process and develop their own homepages at CAD WWW Server.

Another one was a group of 30 students of KPI taking part in the international distance educational course of IUAP (International Association of Universities Presidents) on the book "Preparing to the XXI Century" by Paul Kennedy.

Real implementation and wide dissemination of modern networking culture and knowledge can be reach with more wide activity oriented on users support and information services implementation and development. The network status and value depends on information resources available in the network. Wide group of specialists and individuals have to be involved in the process of information creation and it's converting into the network accessible form.

Internet training and user support should be oriented on wide users support and run, in general, concurrently and independently (to some extent) on educational activity. Special objectives of the Basic Internet Training and User Support can be clearly stated:

Participation in training activity will help universities tutors to understand better real needs of different categories of users and practical workers. Distribution of the target groups of the training program can be estimated as

1. Technical personal of network information center, organization's information resources management staff (approx. 30%).

2. Information resource developers (approx. 30%).

3. Non-technical users: librarians, school teachers and media specialists (approx. 30%).

4. V.I.P., presentations, demo (approx. 10%).

VII. Summary

Intending for wide dissemination of current work, special Educational and Training Materials server integrated into POLYTECH Campus network was established at CAD Department (to be merged in the near future to the name that consists of basic information about academic curricula and students projects as well as basic training packages for training Internet related issues. Developed examination tests will be converted to interactive WWW form for providing interactive Internet training.

Necessary component of any implementation strategy will include stage of promotion to reach wide awareness of prospective users from academic and research communities with real possibilities of Internet and Networking Information Technologies and multimedia in different areas of activity. Also such promotion must be oriented on establishing cooperation and finding technical and financial support for realisation of the full project.

We hope that such pioneer work will create base for wide implementation of Networking IT in University's environment and mobilise community's intellectual forces for self supporting development of the new technologies. Some areas of fruitful international cooperation should be found in applications development areas, first of all, exchanging of the educational courses and instructional methodologies on different subjects interesting for foreign Universities and Companies.

VII. References

  1. G7 Tackles Information SuperHighway. - OnTheInternet. - May/June 1995. - pp. 4-7.
  2. Keynote Address by U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Feb. 26, 1995. - G7 Summit in Brussels. February 24-26, 1995. - URL://
  3. Chair's Conclusions. Issued by the G7 Ministers. Feb. 27, 1995. - G7 Summit in Brussels. February 24-26, 1995. - URL://
  4. Demchenko Yu.V., Shkarupin V.V. Kiev Pilot IP Network. INET'95 Proceedings. -June, 1995.
  5. Demchenko Yu.. Ukraine.. - OnTheInternet, Sept./Oct. 1995. - Pp. 45-47.

Author Information

Yuri Demchenko is an Associate Professor in Department of Computer Aided Design at Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI). He conducts courses on Computer Network Design and Networking Information Technologies and Services. He tutored a number of students diploma projects devoted to computer networks design and Internet information services. He manages Departmental WWW Server and is involved in development of it's information resources.

Yu.Demchenko has been active in Internet infrastructure development for Academic and Research community in Ukraine since 1992. At this period he took part in forming Program of State Committee for Science and Technologies of Ukraine on development of Ukrainian Academic and Research Network, coordinated ISF-Ukraine Telecommunication Program and directed design of KPI Campus Computer Network.

Yu.Demchenko graduated from KPI in 1981 receiving diploma in Instrumentation and Measurement. In 1989 he has received Cand. of Sc. (Techn.) degree. Since 1989 he has worked on Open Test and Measurement System concept development and design.

More information about his professional activity, projects realized, publications, philosophy and hobbies can be found on his homepage at

Anatoly Petrenko graduated from Kiev Polytechnic Institute (1957), received PhD (1960) and Dsc (1969) degrees from Moscow Power Institute. He is a Head of Computer Aided Department of Kiev Polytechnic Institute, a Vice-President of Ukrainian Academy of Engineering Sciences. He is a member of IEEE, FIEE, N.Y. Academy of Science, Community Network for European Education (COMNET).

A. Petrenko was a Visiting Professor at California University at Berkeley (1976), Michigan State University (1991), Concordia Montreal University (1993). He received many awards for Scientific and Research results, including State Prize of Ukraine in 1986.

The scope of activities comprises Computer Aided Technologies, Multimedia and Internet in Education, Circuits Simulation and Optimization, VLSI Design and Lay-out, etc.

Prof. A. Petrenko is an author of 28 text-books and monographs, 400 scientific papers and 40 patents.