module specification

CT1037 - Introduction to Communications (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Introduction to Communications
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay Problem Sheets and Laboratory Work *FC*
In-Course Test 50%   Progress and End of Module In-class MCQ Tests
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module introduces a range of fundamental concepts in both analogue and digital communications, mainly through theory but including some practical exercises, and considers some related social and economic issues.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

• To introduce students to fundamental concepts of modern telecommunications [A2].
• To differentiate between analogue and digital communications and their typical uses [A3].
• To provide a working technical vocabulary for describing commonly used telecommunication systems [A3].
• To provide an understanding of telecommunications systems concepts such as bandwidth, the decibel, sampling, coding, multiplexing, modulation, etc [A3].
• To provide an opportunity for students to consider the various social and economic implications of modern telecommunications and enable them to choose and elaborate on at least one of these [A3].

The module supports the subject context for courses in which the basic concepts of modern telecommunications are considered essential. The graduate attributes focused on in the module are A2 and A3.


• Overview of communication systems, significant historical events and developments, and regulatory bodies;
• Social and Economic implications from Modern Telecommunications;
• Analogue and Digital Signal Characteristics;
• Bandwidth, Attenuation, Noise and the Decibel;
• Signal Representation and Spectral Analysis;
• Transmission Media;
• Analogue and Digital Modulation and Demodulation Techniques;
• Analogue and Digital Multiplexing and Demultiplexing Techniques;
• Sampling Theorem, Analogue to Digital and Digital to Analogue Conversions (ADC and DAC);
• Coding Processes and Line Encoding Schemes.

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategy for this module is kept in line with the traditional approach of lectures, tutorials, laboratory measurements and exercises. The subject coverage is so arranged that the material covered during the first four/five weeks is of a more basic and generic nature while the material for the remaining weeks incorporates more advanced telecommunications concepts. The lectures are supported by problem-solving tutorials and laboratory practical sessions. The module is supported via a web based homepage.

Group or team work is encouraged and reinforced during both the laboratory and the tutorial sessions, especially for the social implications essay, even though it is the individual student's effort that is assessed. The two multiple choice test problem sheets are designed and graded so that a fair amount of student self-learning can take place.

Through the laboratory activities students are exposed to the most common modulation techniques such as amplitude and frequency modulation and take relevant measurements. All records are kept in an issued ‘instructions and log-book document’, which also includes additional laboratory relevant exercises for home activity prior to submitting it for assessment in week 11.

• Lectures (learning outcomes 1 to 6) [22 hours]
• Lecture-related independent learning (learning outcomes 1 to 6) [38 hours]
• Tutorial classes (learning outcomes 1 to 6) [10 hours]
• Tutorial-related independent learning (learning outcomes 1 to 6) [40 hours]
• Laboratory practical session (learning outcomes 1 to 6) [10 hours]
• Laboratory-related independent learning (learning outcomes 1 to 6) [10 hours]
• Social / Economic Implications studies (learning outcomes 1 to 6) [20 hours]

Total teaching and learning time [150 hours]

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. List key milestones in the history of communications and assess both the social /
economical and technological implications [A2, A3].
2. Explain the basic structure of modern communication systems [A2].
3. Describe the characteristics of signals commonly encountered in communications systems
4. Explain the need for conversion between analogue and digital signals [A3].
5. Explain the relative advantages of analogue and digital communications, differentiate
between the most common modulation methods, and relate these to laboratory
measurements [A3].
6. Select an appropriate communications system for a given application [A3].

Assessment strategy

• Essay (10%) on one social / economic implication of telecommunications.
• Problem sheets (20%): learning is promoted through formative assessment based on 2 tutorial-based problem sheets, each with around 100 MCQs related to the lecture material.
• Laboratory work (20%): the work produced provides a record of achievement which is used for both formative and summative assessment.
• Progress test (20%): a brief, in-class MCQ test of recall and understanding, designed to provide motivation and feedback (summative).
• End of module test (30%): a final, in-class MCQ test of recall and understanding (summative).

In order to pass the module the aggregate coursework (essay, problem sheets and laboratory work) mark and the in-class MCQ tests (progress and end of module) mark must equal or exceed 40%.


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• Crisp, J. (2002) Introduction to Copper Cabling: Applications for Telecoms, Data Communications and Networking, Newnes, ISBN: 0-7506-5555-0.
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• Goleniewski, L. (2002) Telecommunications Essentials: The Complete Global Source for Communications Fundamentals, Data Networking and the Internet, and Next-generation Networks, Addison Wesley, ISBN: 0-20-176032-0.
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• Cairncross, F. (2001) The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is Changing Our Lives, Harvard Business School Press, ISBN: 157851438X.
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