Learning how the Internet really works
On June 24, 2019, Technical University of Munich (TUM) released its new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “iLabX – The Internet Masterclass” (http://ilabx.ilabxp.com/).
The free course on the edX platform teaches students, professionals, and technology-interested people how the backbone of today’s digital society actually works: The Internet.
The course follows an awarded teaching methodology with lots of texts, videos, interactive quizzes, and something unique: a virtual experimentation environment. Through this Virtual Internet Laboratory “vLab”, the participants do not only learn about Internet techniques in theory, but practically implement the Internet on their own computer using the real tools. The course ends with connecting the local part of the Internet that you build step-by-step during the course with the big global Internet.
The course is structured into six parts that require a time invest between 4-6h each. The parts focus on different questions including:
- How does communication between directly connected computers work?
- How can two computers talk to each other when they are not directly connected?
- Routing: How can data packets find their way through the globe-girdling Internet with all its intersections?
- How can different applications on your computer talk to different applications on one or multiple other computers over the Internet simultaneously?
- How is it possible to use names instead of IP addresses? How does the infrastructure behind the World Wide Web actually work?
- How can you secure your computer from attacks in the Internet? How can you connect to old IPv4 hosts with exciting services from an IPv6-only network?
Marc-Oliver developed one of the most relevant lab courses about Computer Networks and Distributed systems in Germany, the iLab series. Since 2004 the iLabs taught more than 2000 students at 4 universities on 2 continents about the Internet and related systems.
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