FUNDAMENTALS OF HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
This Unit seeks to:
(i) to provide students with an introduction to fundamental hardware and software concepts
(ii) to provide students with hands-on experience of the operation of computer based systems.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES and CONTENT
The students should be able to:
1. state the functions of the basic components of all computers and list examples where applicable; Control unit, ALU, main memory/immediate access storage, backing store/disk storage, peripheral devices.
2. explain the functions and uses of primary storage devices and media;Bistable devices, PROM, EPROM, RAM, ROM, byte, kilobyte bit, megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte, word, wordsize, address, location and address content.
3. state and compare the characteristics and uses of secondary storage devices and media; Magnetic tape, floppy disk, rnicro-floppy disk, hard disk (fixed head, moving head, exchangeable), optical disks, Magneto Optical disk, CD, DVD.
4. explain and use terms associated with backing storage devices and media;
Read/write head, sectors, tracks, buffers, cylinders, access time, sequential access, direct access.
5.state the characteristics and uses of input devices and media;
Optical mark reader (OMR), character readers (OCR, MICR), mouse, joystick, light-pen, touch terminals, voice data entry (VDE), voice response unit, pads and tablets, point of sale (POS), bar code, keyboard, key-to disk, scanners.
6. compare the characteristics and functions of output devices and media;
Visual display unit (VDU); resolution, printers, character, line, page, impact, non-impact, plotters, voice, microfilm, permanent copy (hard copy), temporary copy (soft copy), speed, print quality, storage capacity, human readable, machine readable.
The student should be able to:
7. describe how data are stored and manipulated within the computer;
8. distinguish between systems and application programs;
Binary number, Binary addition, ASCII, discrete and continuous data, parity, conversion of decimal to binary and binary to decimal. Representation of integers (positive and negative); sign and magnitude; two's complement; characters, BCD representation.
9. discuss the difference between generalized and specialised application packages;
10. distinguish between types of user interface;
11. describe and apply appropriate file management techniques;
Operating system functions, batch processing systems, on line systems, disk formatting, file management, data transfer, resource management.
12. use the appropriate operating system functions to:
Application programs, custom-written software, general purpose software; specialized software package, customization of general purpose software.
(Directories, naming of files, labelling of diskettes, storage of files on diskettes, user back-up; user check point).
13. recognize and use the terms commonly associated with data communication;
14. detect and rectify low level problems with the computer hardware.
Point-to-point and broadcast transmission computer network, modem, bandwidth, simplex, duplex, half duplex protocol, local area network, wide area network, up-load, down-load, e-mail, bulletin board, data transfer mode, voice band.
Loose interfacing cables, improperly adjusted monitor controls, changing ribbons/cartridges.