module specification

CT4001 - Communications Engineering (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Communications Engineering
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Laboratory and Problem Solving (1000 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   2-Hours Unseen Examination
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Morning
Year (Spring and Summer) North To be arranged -

Module summary

This module introduces a range of fundamental concepts in both analogue and digital communications, through theory and practical exercises.  The module also considers ethical, social, economic and environmental issues relevant to the Communications and Telecommunications fields.

Module aims

1- To introduce students to fundamental concepts of modern Communication Systems;
2- To differentiate between analogue and digital communications and their typical uses;
3- To provide a working technical vocabulary for describing commonly used telecommunication systems;
4-To provide an understanding of telecommunications systems concepts such as bandwidth, the decibel, sampling, coding, multiplexing, modulation, etc;
5- To provide an opportunity for students to consider the various ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of modern telecommunications;


Overview of communication systems, significant historical events and developments, and regulatory bodies;
Social, Political, Environmental and Economic implications from Modern Telecommunications;
Analogue and Digital Signal Characteristics;
Bandwidth, Attenuation, Noise, types 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;
Examples of modern communications systems.

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 five/six 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 (Group/Team work). The module is supported via a web based homepage.  This site is continuously updated with guidelines and additional lecture support material throughout the year.

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 automatically once submitted 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 24.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
LO1.  List key milestones in the history of communications and assess both the social, economical, political, environmental and technological implications;
LO2. Explain the basic structure of modern communication systems;
LO3. Describe the characteristics of signals commonly encountered in communications systems;
LO4. Explain the need for conversion between analogue and digital signals;
LO5. Explain the relative advantages of analogue and digital communications, differentiate between the most common modulation methods, and relate these to laboratory measurements;
LO6. Select an appropriate communications system for a given application.

Assessment strategy

Coursework (50%):
This would be assessing student’s learning of social / economic / political implication of telecommunications (LO1), A series of problem sheets promoting learning outcomes: LO2-6, and Laboratory report (LO5).

Unseen Exam (50%):
The exam will be assessing the learning outcomes LO2 to LO6.


1. Bates, R.J., Gregory, D.W. (2007), “Voice & Data Communications Handbook”, 5th Ed., McGraw-Hill Osborne, ISBN 0072263350.
2. Beyda, W.J. (2004), “Data Communications: From Basics to Broadband”, 4th Ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 013145692X.
3. Crisp, J. (2002), “Introduction to Copper Cabling: Applications for Telecoms”, Data Communications and Networking, Newnes, ISBN 0750655550.
4. Couch, L.W. (2007), “Digital and Analogue Communication Systems”, 7th Ed., Prentice Hall, ISBN 0131424920.
5. Goleniewski, L. (2002), “Telecommunications Essentials: The Complete Global Source for Communications Fundamentals, Data Networking and the Internet, and Next-generation Networks”, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0201760320.
6. Halsall, F. (2001), “Multimedia Communications”, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0201398184.
7. Haykin, S. and Moher, M. (2007), “Introduction to Analog and Digital Communications”, 2nd Ed., John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 0471432229.
8. Shepard, S. (2005), “Telecom Crash Course”, 2nd Ed., McGraw-Hill Professional, ISBN 0071451439
9. Stallings, W. (2005), “Business Data Communications”, 5th Int. Ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0131276336.
10. Tomasi, W. (2005), “Introduction to Data Communications and Networking”, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0130138282.

Non-Technical references
1. Cairncross, F. (2001), “The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is Changing Our Lives”, Harvard Business School Press, ISBN 157851438X.
2. Martin and Schinzinger (1997), “Ethics in Engineering”, 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0071141952.
3. Solymar, L. (1999), “Getting the Message: A History of Communications”, Oxford Univ. Press, ISBN 0198503334.
4. Tavani, H.T. (2003), “Ethics in an Age of Information and Communication Technology”, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0471452505.
5. Winston, B. (1998), “Media, Technology and Society: A History - from the Printing Press to the Superhighway”, Routledge, ISBN 041514230X.