A successful student project - analyzing popular websites

Most computer networking classes in universities include lab sessions and projects that enable students to learn how protocols are used in the real worl. For almost a decade, I’ve asked the students who follow the networking course at UCLouvain to analyze one web site. This project idea was suggested by Gisueppe Di Battista who also teaches computer networking at Roma III university.

Students spend a lot of time interacting with websites, but they rarely know how websites operate. Once they have learned the basics of DNS, HTTP and TLS, I ask them to select a website that they use and analyze it in details. Each student writes a four-pages report that describes his/her technical findings. Here are some sample student reports from last year. Unfortunately, most of them are in French.

  • 9gag.com by Florian Damhaut
  • 01net.com by Nicolas van de Walle

  • [dailymotion.com] (/files/dailymotion.pdf) by Gildas Mulders (in French)
  • [dailymotion.com] (/files/dailymotion2.pdf) by Benoit Loucheur (in French)
  • [rtbf.be] (/files/rtbf.pdf) by Guillamue Prieur (in French)
  • [nordpresse.be] (/files/nordpresse.pdf) by Corentin de Meeûs d’Argenteuil (in French)
  • [zalando.be] (/files/zalando.pdf) by François De Keersmaeker (in French)
  • [openclassrooms.com] (/files/openclassrooms.pdf) by Nicolas Chauvaux (in French)

There is a brief description of this project in Scaling Networking Education with Open Educational Resources. It can be easily adapted to various networking classes.

*This blog post was written to inform the readers of Computer Networking: Principles, Protocols and Practice about the evolution of the field. You can subscribe to the Atom feed for this blog.

Written on November 5, 2019