Cooperative and Contributive Learning -
the real choice to push professional education in Networking Information Technologies in Ukraine and CIS

Demchenko Yu.V. <>


Paper describes two years experience and results of development and implementation of the new educational course and instructional methodology of teaching Internet/intranet Networking and Information Technologies in conditions of rapidly developing Internet and emerging new technologies in Ukraine..

Internet eliminates boundaries and distance in dissemination of the new technologies. But still there are many differences in studying Networking Information Technologies and Internet in local conditions comparing to developed countries. It was impossible to use directly experience of some western universities in local environment. Real practice helped to find proper approach and formulate main principles of Teaching of Computer Networks and Networking Information Technologies in Networked Environment and rapidly emerging technologies.

I. Programs and activities in Internet Training and Professional Education on Networking Information Technologies in Ukraine

Successful implementation of GII elements in Ukraine and its future sustainable development requires a special concern about Professional Education on Computer Networking and Networking Information Technologies and concurrent Users Training, which will contribute to the solving problem of preparing necessary mass of specialists for socially important areas of academic, industry and business activity in the country. Such approach reflects existing in the world experience of two ways of 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 continuos professional renewal for satisfying urgent demands in dissemination of new technologies among wide groups of users and specialists [1].

As result of deep understanding of importance of education and training in conditions of emerging new technologies, many organizations, companies and foundations in Ukraine have started different programs and projects on development of educational programs and training courses oriented on wide dissemination of the new knowledge and creation of critical mass of specialists for sustainable development of new technologies. Training and User Support are the obligatory component of all funded projects in the frame of different Internet Programs in Ukraine funded by International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), International Eurasia Foundation (IEF), IREX.

Special project on development of distance learning model for training on Internet Technologies and Services is supported by UNESCO ( [2]. Three projects with strict orientation on education and training in Internet related technologies are funded now in the fame of IRF Internet promotion programs. The projects are regionally located in Kiev, Kiev Polytechnic Institute (described in this paper), Kharkiv, Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute and Lviv, Institute for Condensed Matter Physics. But still professional education on Internet and Networking IT remains only the destiny of some leading organizations and universities.

Early needs of developing Internet infrastructure were satisfied by training small group of administrators of Internet nodes in the frame of different international workshops and seminars such as INET Workshops, TERENA, NATO and CEENet Workshops on Advanced Networking Technologies.

However, it does not solve the problem of preparing specialists for important areas of economy and for needs of different companies that start to implement new Internet/intranet technologies for their corporate needs what is necessary for smooth integration into world economy and business processes.

Another area of wide demand of new knowledge and skills is development of national information content to provide necessary presentation of Ukraine in the Internet.

Proposed paper discusses results of two years realization of initiative project started in 1995 on development of educational course and instructional methodology of teaching Internet/intranet Networking and Information Technologies [3].

Development and implementation of the new approach in education that combines cooperative and contributive learning models has allowed to organize educational process in real conditions of deep economic crisis of restructuring economy with very limited state support of new technologies implementation in education.

II. Pilot implementation of new instructional methodology and educational program

II.A. Educational program

Pilot group of 50 engineer students of the firth year started their education from September 1995 till May 1996, 17 of them will continue Master education till March 1997 and work on their Master thesises on different themes related to Internet/intranet Networking and Information Technologies. New group of students started education in September 1996 and will follow first group. They play important role in current project as explorers and implementers of the new methodology concurrently with their education. They are involved in development of complete educational course technical and information base.

Pilot educational program includes the main specialized courses on Internet/intranet Networking and Information Technologies that are the most actual in local conditions:

Rapid development of modern Networking technologies in the world and their wide implementation in Ukraine has demanded more than 40% changes in course content during second year as well as sufficient changes in themes of educational projects. First year program was more oriented on practical issues, program of current year has more basical structure with more theoretical content. All issues that can be learned practically were left for students self-study.

Information about new technologies and standards were directly transferring to students on lectures, classes and via departmental server.

The prospective program development will cover all components of the new Internet/intranet technologies that include the following main services of campus or corporate networks

  1. HTML/WWW Publishing
  2. TCP/IP Network technology (IP-address translation, Network Security, Firewall, Proxy, Cache)
  3. E-mail standards (MIME, PGP/PEM, X.400) and system integration (Eudora, MS Exchange, cc:Mail, MS Internet Mail, Netscape Mail)
  4. Common Directory System (Yellow Pages, X.500, Whois)
  5. Intranet Search System (WAIS, CWIS, AltaVista)
  6. Electronic commerce over Internet (including secure corporate tunneling)
  7. Collaborative and Cooperative work (electronic/video conferences, cooperative design/publishing, WhiteBoards)
  8. User and Applications Mobility.

All courses are supplied by instructional and computer presentation materials that are distributed among students in paper and/or electronic form. Some materials are available on educational WWW server.

To provide efficient tool for testing students' knowledge and feedback for course revising and improvement, the examination test system was developed. The questionnaires on Computer Networking Technologies consist of 50 questions (randomly chosen from the base of more than 100 questions with more than 1000 linked statements) covering all key items of the course. This questionnaire has attracted now wide interest among commercial companies. Officially adopted such test system could be used for specialists' certification for organizational staff education and training management needs. The Demo version of the examination system will be accessible in the near future via departmental WWW.

II.B. Educational projects -- the key part of proposed instructional methodology

Important component of proposed instructional methodology belongs to students independent work that includes development of educational course projects. All educational projects include development of real networks projects for concrete academic and educational institutions including planning necessary information services for operational needs of concrete organization or users' group:

Generally, complex educational projects consist of two main components: network infrastructure design and information server structure and content development. Projects are recommended to 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 organization of optimal cooperative work of the project group. It is provided special lecture on projects' design and management. Templates, specimens, forms of all necessary documents for project development and tender organization are available on educational server.

Topics of projects can be chosen from recommended list or proposed by students themselves. Most of developed WWW server contents during autumn semester were devoted to realization of two initiative projects at the department

Examples of students Web pages developed during autumn semester are listed below

During design period all projects have their homepages on educational WWW server at CAD Department in special working directories (see reference page After completing and final editing by webmasters Web pages or templates are moved to their destination location on departmental WWW Server and two other mentioned servers. Original works are left on their working directories for future use by other students as templates. Such approach allows to involved most of students in development of educational course and information resources creation.

Experience of the first 1995/1996 academic year demonstrated effectiveness and fruitfulness of such organization of students independent works. Students' projects of the new 1996/1997 academic year have more practical orientation on design of different corporate networks of current or future students' employment. This year students received possibility to use popular CACI COMNET III Network modeling software in their projects design for modeling network components and traffic flow.

Second year Master students participate actively in development of educational and information base for new courses. Complete information library on Internet Networking and Information Technologies (including HTML, CGI, HTTP, RFC and other standards, application software and accessories, etc.) have been created and is accessible now via FTP or WWW on educational server.

Last year five graduate students defended their diploma projects on Internet related topics. Also four Bachelor diploma works in 1996 were devoted to development of components of KPI Campus Wide Information System (CWIS), Gateway between Fidonet users' groups and Majordomo Mailing Lists, Ukrainian WWW resources index database and Java graphics presentation.

Master research works are devoted to the very modern Internet information technologies and WWW application including

Listed research themes are worked out in cooperation by students of the first and second years of Master education providing in such a way continuos investigations during two years of Master education.

II.C. Using cooperative model for effective course management

Course management system includes such main components as

Cooperative work of students of different years of education provides continuos course development and sustainability of investigations in mentioned fields at the department.

Educational course is permanently supported by group of specialists. Experienced students also involved in technical assistance of course. Some elements of course management are delegated to them.

During the semester students groups and teacher work as big project group developing common project and mastering new technologies. Teacher with his assistants has to organize work in such a way that all accept conditions of cooperation, common tasks and orientation on final results.

Many students have their own computer at home using them for WWW projects development. Intermediate versions of HTML documents should be uploaded on departmental Web server during classes or via Internet. Course tutor edits and corrects documents that further could be published to the destination web or another location. Communications between tutor and students can be completely organized via Internet or departmental intranet. It's obviously that such technology is very similar to distance or virtual-class education.

Cooperative model for course management allows to utilize better joint experience of teacher, experts and students as well as more effectively organize the project work itself.

II.D. Current results and background of success

Current project has been started as demand of developing NIT sector of Ukrainian economy and market. But from the very beginning the idea of cooperative and contributive learning have given unexpected positive results enforced by students' enthusiasm and wide interest of correspondent professional and business circles. New ideas prompted by practice have appeared and been developed.

It is possible to list some intermediate results

  1. Creation of Hardware and Software technical information library (electronic and paper) and basic learning materials on pilot courses on Russian language
  2. Development of training materials for practical studying Internet technologies that are used both for students self-training and for users training courses
  3. Involvement of students in pilot testing of instructional methodology, development of educational base and creation of Ukrainian national WWW information resources.
  4. Creation and operation of educational server and development of technical base for cooperative work of tutors and students on educational and information resources development
  5. Creation of critical mass of specialists and students involved in development of educational courses and correspondent research activities at the department which remains sufficient in conditions of high drain of specialists caused by expanding IT market in Ukraine.

Important factors of successful realization and further extension of the project are

However, key role in realization of such kind of projects and instructional methodology belongs to the teacher and his personality who must be able work as tutor, project manager and team leader.

As a result of real recognition of advantages of provided education methodology and existing needs of Networking market in Ukraine, specialists and students of department were proposed to technically assist specialized Internet/intranet exhibition EnterNet'96 in Kiev on November 26-30, 1996. EnterNet'96 Internet/intranet Network Operating Team (INOT) responsible for network design and maintenance was completed of students and specialists of CAD Department. Many students were involved in development of intranet WWW information resources too. Such cooperation with Exhibition Company Euroindex Ltd. will provide good possibility for students to see and master new technologies and be acquainted with IT market in Ukraine. Really, this experience is very similar to well-known NOC and ITM volunteer program of Interop world exhibitions [4].

III. Main Principles of Teaching in Networked Information Environment

Strong orientation on reaching real practical results in integration into GII/Internet in discussed pioneer work has allowed to formulate main principles of developing instructional methodology for teaching and/or implementing Modern Information Technologies in Technical, Technological and non-Technical education. These principles can provide real base for establishing active position of teachers and creative role of learners.

  1. The new paradigm of education in modern Networked Information Environment should be incorporated into instructional methodology development

Learning from the Internet - Contributing to the Internet

  1. In conditions of wide use of computers and multimedia technologies among students and rapid technologies changes, teachers sometimes can not have strong benefits in practical technological experience. In these circumstances they should play the role of mentors and/or managers of educational process or curricula. Teacher can propose some idea of contributional learning when students or students groups work out the projects that have real implementation for building Universities, National Information Infrastructure or other Society's meaning.

Implementation of this principle in discussed project has allowed to start a number of interesting projects completely based on student's initiatives (WWW Server with Information Resources about Historical and Cultural Heritage of Ukraine, Campus Wide Information System, Networking Library of Internet and IT related documents for educational purposes, etc.).

Additional level of responsibility in contributional learning is given by possibilities of direct publishing in the intranet/Internet via Web.

  1. Complete implementation and full benefits from using Internet and New Information Technologies in Education can be reached only by using concept of "active position" that is very close to the idea of contributional learning.

It is not enough to give students and teachers Internet access only. To use effectively Internet, faculties should start development of their own Internet resources and creation of its own Internet presentation.

  1. Using Internet/Intranet technologies Teachers and Learners can mutually benefit from exploration of the

Cooperative Learning Model

  1. Students' desire and inspiration to learn, use and implement the very new Information Technologies (such as HTML 3.2, Java, VRML) can be and should be exploited very effectively

Giving students the possibility to express themselves

and to direct their initiative on educational course purposes or other meaningful direction.

  1. New networking environment provided by Internet/intranet eliminates differences between traditional and distance learning, however, stressing on interactive on-line (IRC, conferencing) and off-line (e-mail, mailing lists) communication between teachers and students. Current development of Intranet/intranet concept in the world gives a common base for the whole educational process re-organization re-engineering.
  2. The new obligatory demands that should be included into educational projects design rules are Multilingual support of Server and Client applications. Further realization of this principle will lead to using automated language translation assistance of the user that should be established automatically between Client and Server [5]

In general, all these principles are based on University's ways of Internet development (as opposite to commercial one) that suppose undepletable providing all available resources to individuals for their creating commonly consumable good and resources [6]. Understanding of this is very important for planning right policy for future development of this area of activity. It also confirms common principles of Internet and modern technologies development even in such different social conditions as developed countries and countries with emerging technologies.

IV. Summary

Pilot realization of the project was resulted by developing and implementing new approaches in conducting Professional Education in real conditions of emerging technologies in Ukraine. The approaches have allowed to create critical mass of specialists (and students) for future sustainable development of the course.

The main principles of Teaching of Computer Networks Networking Information Technologies in Networked Environment and rapidly emerging technologies were formulated. The key idea for conducting such kind of education is applying cooperative and contributive models for interaction between tutor and students, organizing them into self-sufficient project groups. Some research topics are developed by cooperative group of students of different years. This creates principle basis for future course and researches development orienting them on practical results and sustainability.

Contributive part of current project was resulted in creation of two WWW servers: U'Pavilion - WWW Server on Historical and Cultural Heritage of Ukraine (, and WebIT - WWW Server for Internet Publishing and Internet Business and Marketing applications (

Described instructional methodology is very simple for implementation in other places but needs experienced devoted tutor personality for it's managing.

V. Acknowledgement

Realizations of this project have become possible owing to sufficient material, people and moral support of all CAD Department staff.

At the initial stage project was supported by special grants of USIA in Ukraine ( for conference participation, educational materials publishing and students' researches support

For the 1996/1997 academic year project has received special grant of International Renaissance Foundation of Soros Foundation for developing Professional Education Program in Networking Information Technologies and Information Resource Management.

VI. Reference

  1. Main Working Document. Second International UNESCO Congress on EDUCATION and INFORMATICS (EI'96): Educational Policies and New Technologies. -- Moscow, Russian Federation. 1-5 July 1996.
  2. Copernicus Project #1445 (1995-1997) "Flexible and distant learning through telematics networks: a case for teaching English, and Communication and Information Technologies" (Netherlands, England, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ukraine). -
  3. Demchenko Yu.V., Petrenko A.I. Development of Instructional Methodology for Teaching Computer Networking and Information Resource Management Technologies in Kiev Polytechnic Institute. - JENC7 Proceedings. -- Budapest. -- May 13-16, 1996. -- Pp. 175-1 - 175-9.
  4. The InteropNet Contributor Program. Guide Contributing Human Resources. --
  5. CEN/TC304 - Character Set Technology Workshop. Providing multilingual support in middleware: Implementing the Universal Character Set ISO 10646 in the European Information Society. --
  6. Hallgren M.M., McAdams A.K. Model for Efficient Aggregation of Resources for Economic Public Goods on the Internet. -- JENC7 Proceedings. -- Budapest. -- May 13-16, 1996. -- Pp. 243-1 - 243-10.

Author Information

Yuri Demchenko is an Associate Professor in Department of Computer Aided Design at Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI). He conducts a number of educational courses united by general direction on Internet/intranet Networking and Information Technologies and Services. He tutored a number of student's diploma projects devoted to computer network design and Internet information services. He manages Departmental WWW Server and is involved in development of its information resources. He has initiated special WWW server on Historical and Cultural Heritage of Ukraine and other devoted to Internet Publishing Technologies and Internet Business Applications. Another interesting project realized now by Yuri is Russia, Ukraine and CIS WWW Resources Yellow Pages that is sponsored by Dialectica Computer Publishing (

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.

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