4.6.2 Cisco Networking CCNA (TM257/TM357) – Packet Tracer
Sometimes tutors are required to use additional third-party software and resources to support their teaching. Some tutors may need to be familiar with Cisco networking materials. TM129: Technologies in Practice, a stage 1 OU course, makes use of Cisco materials, as does level 2 and 3 modules from the OU Cisco Networking programmes; for example, TM257 (Cisco Networking Pt 1) and TM357 (Cisco Networking Pt 2).
The challenge here is helping the students relate material between Cisco, the OU, Assessment and the real world.
These courses are based on the Cisco Network Academy programme, where students are required to access their course materials as well as complete exams, all through the Cisco Netacad site. This is over and above accessing their own module course page through the OU VLE/TutorHome.
Additionally, students are also required to download and install network simulation software called Packet Tracer. This software allows the completion of lab-based activities as well as tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). The Packet Tracer software offers a fully functional environment where tutors and students have access to a variety of network hardware, media and cabling, smart devices and IoT technology as well as popular end devices such as PCs, tablets, printers and IP phones.
Packet Tracer also offers programming features such as interfaces for block-based visual programming (e.g. Scratch) as well as Python and HTML/CSS. Packet Tracer is also able to be used alongside networking hardware, where users are able to export configurations into real routers and switches.