Module 1: Introduction to Computer Systems

Getting Started
  1. Review the module introduction and outcomes to help you gain an understanding of the main topics and expectations.
  2. Work through each lesson in this module and complete the Check Your Knowledge activity.
  3. You can take notes on each lesson by clicking on the “take notes” tab on the bottom right of your screen. You can take notes for each lesson and they will appear on your dashboard. Make sure you save your notes before continuing to another lesson or quiz.

Note: If you would like to learn more about this module’s topics, click the Module Toolbox or Module Glossary for additional and supplementary resources.

This module introduces the basic concepts of information technologies including the basics of computing and its impact on individuals.  

Managing information through technology is an important skill in a modern information-based society. Most of us feel that we are bombarded with information. For some, this leads to a rising sense of information anxiety or FOMO: that feeling that you are not getting the right information, or enough information. It’s the feeling that you are missing out on something everyone else knows, even if it is only the most recent spectacular skateboard crash video.  

There are many ways we gather information. For example, if you get up in the morning and the milk jug is empty, you are visually gathering the data that leads to you buying more milk. If you look out the window and see that it is raining, you have gathered information about the weather, and can decide if you need an umbrella to go outside. A lot of information surrounds us, and that information is not much different today than the information available in the 19th century. Where they got their milk and how they protected themselves from the rain were different, but the basic observable information in our world has remained relatively consistent.

The difference we see every day is the increased amount of available codified information. This is information that is documented in some way through writing or some other visual representation. It is transmittable, for example, through printed media like books and newspapers, through websites, emails, tweets, and texts.  

As you read these lessons, consider your answer to the question: “What is information?” Is it the stuff we gather as we observe our world? Is it the data that is codified and distributed in some format? And, are some distribution formats better than others?  

After completing this Module, you should be able to:

  • Identify and summarize the impact of computers and computing on society.
  • Outline the impact of computing on society.
  • Apply information literacy methods to various information sources.
  • Evaluate behaviors in terms of positive digital citizenship.

Lesson 1 – Introduction to Computers and Computing

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  • Cloud computing
    the delivery or application of computing services through the Internet
  • information technology
    the use of computers to collect, store, manipulate, create, and transmit information and data

Lesson 2 – History of Technology and Computing

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  • microprocessor
    an integrated circuit that contains all the functions of a central processing unit of a computer
  • Moore's law
    the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years
  • Rock’s law
    the cost to produce semiconductors would double every four years

Lesson 3 – Information Literacy

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  • information literacy
    the ability to know when information is needed and then identify, locate, evaluate, and use that information effectively

Lesson 4 – Digital Citizenship

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  • cyberbullying
    the use of technology to target an individual to torment, threaten, humiliate, and maliciously harass
  • digital citizen
    the act of using information technology to regularly and effectively engage with others online