In the modern age of computer networking, not all the major components that comprise the information and telecommunication systems are physical. A variety of major IT companies, such as Facebook and Google, are starting to see the potential in investing in more virtualized network infrastructures. Of course, with this increase in software defined network deployment comes an increasing interest in researching and building courses in IT and CS academia. Enter ITS faculty member, Brandon Saunders.
Professor Saunders, a visiting assistant professor with the school of ITS, has been spearheading efforts to create a graduate level seminar course dedicated to Software Defined Networks (or SDN for short). Currently, he is leading a team of undergraduate students enrolled in an independent study course, grad students and lab technicians to help him build the course infrastructure and topics. His goals are to build a course that is primarily lab based, with prerecorded lectures, making it easy for people in any locality to participate. “Things are still hands-on, just in a virtual sense. In theory, anyone in the world will be able to connect and participate in class” said Saunders.
Interestingly, with the ability to connect and participate in the course from places outside Athens, this class has the potential to appeal to students in many different majors. “Once we evolve the course, it will become very popular among large organizations within Columbus, Ohio. The new levels of integration for software defined networks will convince people to take the course and revamp their understanding of networking technology” said Saunders.
In addition to developing the SDN seminar, Saunders teaches 3 introductory level courses in the ITS program that help students develop a basic understanding of computer networks and telecom systems: ITS 2010, ITS 2410, and ITS 2300. But despite the workload of managing three courses, Saunders is excited to also direct the software defined network project.
“Most of our students going into technical jobs are likely to start seeing these virtualization technologies. Seeing them in action and understanding how they fit in a larger IT infrastructure while in school will benefit them in these jobs,” said Saunders.