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ITED101 Computer Networks

Unit rationale, description and aim

Almost all computing devices from super computers to personal computers and even to mobile devices are connected using computer networks. The rapid advancement of communication technologies and the long-established use of local area networks have made the study of computer networks as important as the more traditional foundations of information technology such as computer architecture and programming. There is a need of professionals who exercise knowledge and leadership in the area of computer networks and its applications. This unit covers the fundamental topics of computer networks and data communication. The unit demonstrates the basic networking concepts, OSI and TCP/IP networking model, functionalities and characteristics of different layers, network devices, and protocols. Students will learn how these devices and protocols are used in computer networks and application programs. The practical works will help students to learn how to design, configure, build and test a small-scale peer-to-peer network for an organisation. In addition, the unit focuses on designing a network solution that utilises optimal resources and thus, aims to minimise negative impacts on the environment. 

In a nutshell, the unit aims to equip students with background knowledge in computer networking, which scaffolds an advanced unit in emerging technologies of blockchain and IoT. It will produce graduates with i) a wide range of professional knowledge and skills relevant to networking and communication technologies, ii) adaptability to changing technology and society, iii) capability to design network solutions utilising minimal computing resources.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - identify basic components of networking devices such as switch and router, configure and troubleshoot these devices (GA5, GA8)

LO2 - design and implement a hierarchical IPv4 and IPv6 addressing scheme to ensure an effective network for stewardship of resources (GA2, GA5)

LO3 - describe the characteristics and functionalities of each layer of the OSI and TCP/IP model (GA4, GA5)

LO4 - plan, build, and test a small network using packet tracer network simulator (GA5, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • Basic switch and end device configuration
  • Protocols and models
  • Physical layer
  • Data link layer
  • Network layer
  • IP addressing
  • Subnetting
  • Transport layer
  • Application layer
  • Build a small network

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in different modes. These are: “Attendance” mode, “Blended” mode and “Online” mode. This unit is offered in three modes to cater for the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants and maximise effective participation for isolated and/or marginalised groups.

Attendance Mode

In a weekly attendance mode, students will require face-to-face attendance in specific physical location/s. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops, most students report that they spend an average of one hour preparing before the workshop and one or more hours after the workshop practicing and revising what was covered. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you to prepare and revise.

Blended Mode

In a blended mode, students will require face-to-face attendance in blocks of time determined by the School. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you to prepare and revise.

Online Mode

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with working with technology. Students can explore the essential knowledge underpinning technological advances and develop knowledge in a series of online interactive lessons and modules. Students are given the opportunity to attend facilitated synchronous online seminar classes with other students and participate in the construction and synthesis of knowledge, while developing their knowledge of working with technology. Students are required to participate in a series of online interactive workshops which include activities, knowledge checks, discussion and interactive sessions. This approach allows flexibility for students and facilitates learning and participation for students with a preference for virtual learning.

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit, including class attendance, readings, online forum participation and assessment preparation.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The first assignment item consists of a number of weekly labs designed to give students practical knowledge of installing, configuring and troubleshooting network devices as well as planning and building a small network. The second assessment task will help to gain practical knowledge on subnetting which ensure optimal uses of network resources. The final assessment item includes a case scenario where students need to apply their knowledge and skills to find configuration errors, apply patches to make the network operational.

The assessments for this unit are designed to demonstrate the achievement of each learning outcome. To pass this unit, students are required to:

  • obtain an overall mark of at least 50%
  • attempt all three assessment items 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Lab Assessments

This assessment consists of a series of weekly lab exercises where students are required to use packet tracer to configure, build and troubleshoot network systems. The feedback from this assessment will help students to understand critical concepts of network security and their applications.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Lab Practical task

Artefact: PT file/Lab report


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Practical task- Subnetting IP networks

This is a skill-based assessment where students will be given a network scenario and a set of requirements. Students will be asked to divide the networks in sub-networks to create an optimal network design plan.

The purpose of this assessment is to assess students’ critical and analytical ability to solve practical problems.  

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Practical/Laboratory

Artefact: Network scenario (PT file)



GA2, GA5

Assessment Task 3: Practical Task- Configure, Build and Troubleshoot a network

This assessment task will test the students’ grasp of both theoretical and practical aspects of the unit. In the first part of the task, students will be provided a network scenario and need to configure the devices to make the network operational. They will also be given a misconfiguration scenario to troubleshoot network devices and fix the errors. 

In the second part, students will be given to plan, design and build a small network for an organisation. They need to consider various aspects of computer networking to design an optimal and effective solution. Students will also need to answer a number of questions related to their design and implementation process.  

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Practical/Laboratory

Artefact: PT file & Answer script


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Cisco Networking Academy, Introduction to Networks Companion Guide (CCNAv7), 2020.

T McMillan, CISCO Networking Essentials, Sybex, 2nd edition, 2015.

P L Dordal, An Introduction to Computer Networks (e-book), Second edition, 2020.

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