SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1I324451
Module Leader Dawn Carmichael
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Computing
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge


Summary of Content

This module introduces students to the fundamental aspects of computer systems appropriate and complementary to their programme of study: architectures; applications; computer networks; computer network interconnectivity; computer security. The module is accessed by several different programme suites and the module's learning outcomes and syllabus for each suite are tailored to complement other level 1 learning experiences for each suite. Students will gain practical experience in the investigation of computer systems and architecture through a programme of laboratory work and tutorial study.


Representation of data in programming languages. The architectural building blocks of a simple CPU including registers, ALU, control unit and data-paths. The fundamentals of instruction fetch, interpretation and execution. How a program works and how it is stored on hard disc, high level languages, compiling a program. Bootstrap process. Operating systems, software and applications: Connecting to memory and other typical I/O subsystems such as disk storage and networking devices. File systems and directories: Mapping files onto disc blocks, file structures and their advantages and disadvantages. Systems organization including distributed-systems, parallel and multi-core techniques. Introduction to the wide range of processors available, their performance-levels and typical application areas. Organisation and performance of the memory/storage hierarchy. This overview ranges from CPU-based memory technology through to network-attached storage technologies. Client/Server Architectures, N-Tier Architectures Overview of representative computer systems, their characteristics and constraints and software applications. The overview ranges from parallel supercomputers, servers and desktop machines through to embedded systems, personal devices and wireless-sensor networks. Cyber Security Players Describe the characteristics of criminals and professionals in the cyber security realm. Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability Describe how these principles relate to data states and cyber security countermeasures. Cyber Security Threats, Vulnerabilities and Attack Describe the tactics, techniques and procedures used by cyber criminals. The Art of Protecting Secrets Describe how technologies, products and procedures are used to protect confidentiality. The Art of Ensuring Integrity Describe how technologies, products and features are used to ensure integrity. The Art of Ensuring Availability Describe how technologies, products and features provide high availability. Network Defence Explain cybersecurity professionals use technologies, processes and procedures to defen all components of the network. Law and Ethics Explain the purpose of laws and how ethics provide guidance in cyber security.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:Describe the key components of a computer system hardware and software architectures used to provide computer system functionalityUnderstand how data is represented and manipulated by representative computer languages and CPU instruction sets within a computer system.Describe the characteristics, constraints and performance capabilities of a representative and wide range of computer-based systems.Describe the characteristics of criminals, and professionals in the cyber security realm.Explain the principles of confidentiality, integrity and availability as they relate to data states and cyber security countermeasures.Explain how cyber security professionals use technologies, processes and procedures to defend all components of a network.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Learning and teaching will take place through a variety of mechanisms, including lectures and practical sessions, research into current developments and issues, and case studies. This module emphasises an active "hands-on" approach to learning. Case studies will be used formatively in tutorials throughout the module in order to promote the application of knowledge to specific problems and to facilitate discussion. Topics will be introduced in lectures and discussed through guided inquiry learning activities. Key concepts of knowledge and understanding will be re-enforced and consolidated through the critical analysis and discussion of case studies that are designed to explain and elaborate both on lecture and laboratory content. Additionally, directed learning will reinforce essential theory and place understanding into context. Independent study will be encouraged to satisfy the student's own interests. A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will also be used that will provide access to a range of relevant learning resources and materials to enhance the teaching strategy. Managed blended learning environments will be used to consider material and provide the capability for reflection on material related to learning outcomes. The subject discipline is continuously developing, evolving and changing and as a result students will be expected to keep up to date with developments through independent research. Students will be encouraged to adopt an independent learning style, acquiring and applying knowledge through their own research and enquiry, supported by a series of guided activities and exercises. Students will be encouraged to share findings of their research through discussions and participation in on-line forums.

Indicative Reading

Brookshear, J G, Computer Science: An overview, Prentice hall, April 2014, ISBN-10: 0133760065 ISBN- 13: 9780133760064 Reed, D Balanced Introduction to Computer Science, Pearson, Nov 2010, ISBN-10: 0132594447 ISBN-13: 9780132594448 Gollman, D, Digital Security, Forensics & Ethical Hacking and Networked Systems for Engineering Students: Computer Security, 2nd edition. Wiley, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0-470-86293-3 Kurose, J f; Ross KW. Computer Networking: A Top-down Approach, 6 th Edition, May 2012, ISBN-10: 0273768964 Spengler, E; Wayne, L, Switched Networks Companion Guide, May 2014, ISBN-10: 1587133296 Cyber Security Essentials, Cisco Networking Academy Programme.

Transferrable Skills

C1 Logical thinking and problem solving C2 Critical analysis D1 Communication skills (Electronic, written, oral and listening) necessary to make effective presentation of a technical nature (information, ideas, problems and their solutions) to a range of audiences. D2 Numeracy in both understanding and presenting cases involving a quantitative dimension. E2 Creativity, innovation and independent thinking. E3 Appreciating and desiring the need for reflection and planning for self -learning and improving performance as the foundation for CPD and Life long learning. E6 Ability to prioritise tasks and time management (organising and planning work). E7 Interpersonal skills, the ability to work as a member of a team (work with and relate effectively to others) recognising

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Independent Learning (FT) 120.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Practicals (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 1.00 50.00 35% Class Test presented through GCULearn
Coursework 1 2.00 50.00 35% Lab Based Skills Assessment