The Internet connects more than half of the world's population. This revolutionary form of transmitting all kinds of data between places on the planet has made the network of networks the indispensable backbone of societies. The number of users has exploded to four billion people.

The speed of change is dramatic and for some breathtaking. Many well-known and even more unknown personalities have shaped the development of the Internet. However, this exciting success story also reveals the dark sides of this development. What has become of the original hope for a democratization of communication? To what extent has the Internet provided access to better educational opportunities? How do large Internet companies and governments use the Internet? How can you safely communicate over this network?

Self-paced since October 20, 2020
Language: English
Beginner, Internet

Course information

Why you should attend this course

At the end of this course, you will better understand the following contents:

  • What the technical construction principle of the Internet looks like in its main features
  • How data is transferred from one computer to another
  • How data packets find their way through the interconnected individual networks of the Internet
  • How mobile devices, sensors and machines communicate with each other via the Internet
  • Which applications ensure that you can surf the World Wide Web and send or receive e-mails or films
  • That security on the Internet - not considered a design feature from the outset - must be protected against possible attacks.

You will also be able to evaluate:

  • What have so far been the key personalities and milestones in the development of the Internet so far
  • Which developments have been successful or unsuccessful in the Internet's 50 year old history
  • The important role the Internet has taken on in the economy, society, and politics
  • How the Internet is being misused for criminal purposes and how to protect yourself against it
  • Which development the Internet is likely to take in the future.

Workload and Certification

Depending on your previous knowledge, you should plan 3-6 hours per week for course participation. This estimated time includes the study of materials and self-tests provided. In addition, each week a graded homework assignment with a 60-minute time limit is scheduled. The workload of this course corresponds to 2 ECTS points. All successful course participants will receive their record of achievement or qualified certificate about one week after the end of the course.

Social Media

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Course contents

  • Intro

  • Week 1:

    Digitalization of the World (introduction, history, humans in the focus)
  • Week 2:

    Computer Networks (bits and bytes, LAN, WLAN, WAN)
  • Week 3:

    Network of Networks, internetworking, internet protocols
  • Week 4:

    Transport through the Internet
  • Week 5:

    Internet Applications (WWW, e-mail, social media)
  • Week 6:

    Internet and Web Security (digital identities, cybercrime, risks, precautions)
  • Final Exam

  • I like, I wish

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Course End
Oct 20, 2020
Course Start
Sep 01, 2020


This course was rated with 4.84 stars in average from 19 votes.

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 50% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain a Confirmation of Participation by completing at least 50% of the course material.

Find out more in the certificate guidelines.

This course is offered by

Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel

Christoph Meinel (Univ. Prof., Dr. sc. nat., Dr. rer. nat., *1954) is CEO and Director of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering gGmbH (HPI) at the University of Potsdam.

Christoph Meinel is full professor (C4) for computer science at the HPI at the University of Potsdam, and holds there the chair of Internet Technologies and Systems. He was the founding dean of the first private faculty of Germany, the Digital Engineering faculty of the university of Potsdam.

He teaches courses on IT Systems Engineering in the Bachelor and Master Degree programs on digital engineering of the HPI and on design thinking at the HPI D-School. He is the author of various interactive online courses at the MOOC platform which was and is developed and operated by his team. His research focus is currently on knowledge and educational technologies, security engineering, and AI. He is also active in innovation research and design thinking. Earlier scientific work concentrated on efficient algorithms and complexity theory.

Christoph Meinel is author or co-author of 19 books, many anthologies, as well as numerous conference proceedings. He has more than 700 (peer-reviewed) papers published in scientific journals and international conferences, and holds a number of international patents. He has supervised and supervises many master and doctoral students, more than 70 have already successfully defended their doctoral theses.
He is a member of the National German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), director of the HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Research Program, member of the board of governors of the Technion in Haifa, visiting professor among others at the TU Beijing, and member of numerous scientific committees and supervisory boards. Together with Larry Leifer he was program director of the HPI Stanford Design Thinking Program and serious editor of the Springer serious “Understanding Innovation”. Since 2012 Christoph Meinel has developed the MOOC platform openHPI which is meanwhile used by various partners (SAP, WHO, KI-Campus, …) and counts more than 15 Mio. learner enrollments. In the years 2016-2021 he has developed the HPI Schul-Cloud which meanwhile is used in more than 4.000 schools all over Germany. For many years he offers the HPI ID Leak Checker service which is frequently used by 16 Mio. users. He was the founder of the scientific journal ECCC and in the years 1994-2016 its editor-in-chief.