News from the IETF Edu Team

By: Avri Doria, IETF Edu Team

Date: September 7, 2005

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The IETF Edu Team, a project organized within the General Area, manages the internal education efforts of the IETF. Its efforts are focused primarily on education for IETF participants and leaders.

Historically, each Sunday before the week of IETF meetings, an introductory class for newcomers would be held. Several years ago, a security class was added. In 2004, a decision was made to widen the curriculum offered by the Edu Team. At IETF63 the EDU Team offered five classes:

Two versions of the traditional Newcomers Orientation were given; one in English and one in French. The introduction to the IETF for new IETF attendees covers the IETF document processes, the structure of the IETF, and gives tips for new attendees on how to be successful in the IETF environment. At the Seoul meeting in 2004, the IETF first offered the Newcomers class in the language of the host country. The Edu Team decided to do this because there was an expectation that many new participants from the host country would be attending their first IETF meeting and that they might find it useful to hear an introduction from a native speaker in their native language. Specifically in Paris: Une introduction à l’IETF destiné aux nouveaux (ou récents) participants Couvre la structure de l’IETF, le processus d’avancement des documents, et des conseils pour réussir dans ce cadre.

Bridging, Routing and Switching was a class that was given for the second time at IETF63. This session demystifies the conceptual issues involved in moving data across multiple hops. The class gives an overview of, and contrasts the functionality of these technologies, including an overview of link state routing (used in OSPF and IS-IS), spanning tree (used in bridging and switching), distance vector (used in RIP), and path vector (used in BGP).

DNS for programmers was a new class that was offered for the first time at IETF63. Various IETF working groups’ protocols/applications have a need for universal distribution of information related to their operation. The Domain Name System (DNS) is the natural fit to carry certain information. While the DNS is indeed a very valuable and powerful tool fulfilling its tasks very well for almost two decades now, it does not serve all proposed new uses equally well. And even if the DNS is the lookup system of choice, the extent to which the DNS is used still needs to be considered. Sometimes, the DNS’s strength, its global availability, turns out to be a weakness when it comes to operational issues, tracking bugs and fighting misconceptions. This tutorial covered DNS basics and explained how to take advantage of DNS. It also covered the pitfalls of DNS. The class covered common misconceptions and design criteria to be used.

RFC Editor Tutorial or How to Write an RFC is a class that is given at each IETF. Given that the main product of the IETF is technical documentation, this is a critical class and should be attended by everyone who plans to write an RFC. During this class, not only are the processes explained, but some of the major errors RFC authors make are described, with explanations of ways to avoid them. This tutorial provides an introduction for newcomers to the RFC series as well as a refresher for experienced RFC authors. It reviews the most important editorial policies and formatting rules for RFCs. It also provides a set of helpful hints to authors about content and format; following these hints will often improve the timeliness of RFC publication and the quality of the resulting documents. It includes a brief overview of the procedures for review and approval of RFCs, both IETF submissions and RFC Editor submissions. The class was given by an RFC editor and there was an opportunity to ask questions of RFC Editor staff.

Copies of slide sets used in the classes are available at:

In addition to offering the series of classes on Sundays, the Edu Team also holds a lunchtime session for current Working Group chairs on selected topics. These sessions are usually very interactive and this time was no exception. The session at IETF63 covered the criteria the Area Directors use when reviewing Internet Drafts before sending them on to become RFCs and covered new tools that are being developed by the IETF Tool Team and the IETF Secretariat.

The Edu Team is always looking for new ways to provide information and education to the IETF community. We hope that this newsletter is helpful in describing the activities of the IETF. The Edu Team maintains an open email list for discussions of any IETF educational issues. Please feel free to subscribe and to send us email with any recommendations you have on ways to improve the educational project in the IETF.

For more information about the IETF Edu Team:

Join the IETF Edu Team Mailing list: [email protected]