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Computer Systems (CSC 201 3.0 Cr)
Information Technology

Course Description

What is a computer system? Students in this course are introduced to the organization and architecture of computers. This course examines the hardware components of a computer system by addressing the following topics: memory, the central processing unit, input and output devices, auxiliary storage devices, and communications devices. In addition, the following software topics are investigated: application software, system software, database management systems and other types of systems, programming languages, and program development. This course also examines how systems are analyzed and designed, as well as security, ethics, and privacy issues.

Learning Objectives After completing this course, students will be able to:

• Describe how computers work and are used
• Assess hardware and software systems
• Understand the roles of the components of computer systems
• Use computers to access information and help people in the community

Breadth of Assignments
This course utilizes a variety of assignment types to examine and illustrate computer systems including textbook reading assignments, individual flash-based presentations designed to present the material in an illustrative way, web resources provided to support particularly challenging subject matter, self-assessment quizzes, collaborative projects, discussion topics involving current events and computer systems related news items, and the creation of an electronic course-wide portfolio.

Required Resources
Shelly, G. et al (2004). Discovering Computers 2004. Thomson Publishing. ISBN 0-7895-6704-0

Course Summary
Computer Systems
Information Technology

Module/Topics

Module 1: Course Introduction and Introduction to Computer Systems
• The importance of computer literacy
• The hardware components of a computer
• The differences between web application and systems software
• The four types of computers

Module 2: Application Software, World Wide Web, and the Internet
• The differences between Web browsers and search engines
• Comparing search engines
• Examining Web pages critically
• Illustrating how messages travel on the Internet
• Graphic file formats
• How e-mail, FTP, Telnet, newsgroups, mailing lists, and chat rooms work
• The rules of netiquette

Module 3: Central Processing Unit and Memory
• The central processing unit, its parts and functions
• Registers, cache, RAM and disks
• Strategies for using an on-line dictionary or encyclopedia
• Examining a computer and determine memory and processor specifications
• The circumstances for upgrading computer hardware
• Identifying measures of computer speed

Module 4: Input Devices
• Source data automation
• The components and enhancements of the keyboard
• Ergonomic influences on keyboards
• The latest manufacturing trends of the digital camera
• The use of webcam sites

Module 5: Output Devices
• The different types of monitors
• Using the Web to locate information about the Energy Star® program
• The difference among various types of printers
• Using the Web to locate information about software that enables the playing of audio and video materials
• The environmental impact on disposing of used computing equipment

Module 6: Auxiliary Storage Devices

• The make-up of a disk
• Compiling a list of high-capacity floppies
• WORM storage
• How data is stored on disks and tapes
• Magnetic and optical disks

Module 7: Operating Systems and Utility Programs
• The steps in booting a machine
• Open source
• Multitasking, multiprogramming, timesharing
• Differentiate between an operating system and utility program
• The three different operating systems: MAC OS, LINUX, WINDOWS

Module 8: Telecommunications

• The various media of networks
• The types of firewalls available
• Comparing connections to the Internet including: ISDN, DSL, T-carrier, modem, cable modem, and ATM
• Video conferencing web sites

Module 9: Types of Information Systems
• The six basic types of information systems
• Define the term 'data integrity'
• Comparing hierarchical, network, and relational database management systems
• Locating sites for object oriented database management systems
• The various types of information systems

Module10: Analysis and Design
• The phases of the systems development life cycle
• PERT charts
• Types of conversion
• Locating sites for CASE tools
• The various tools used for analysis and design

Module 11: Program Development and Programming Languages
• The concepts behind structured programming
• The uses of application generators, macros, and RAD tools
• Explaining the approaches to program development and programming languages
• Differentiating between compilers and interpreters
• Creating a flow chart

Module 12: Multimedia and Social Issues

• The advantages and disadvantages of distance learning
• Using online dictionaries and encyclopedias to find definitions of "virus"
• The issues concerning the latest MP3 technology
• The use of multimedia replacement for live lab experience
• Multimedia and social issues


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