module specification

CT4005 - Computer Hardware and Software Architectures (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Computer Hardware and Software Architectures
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
30 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
180 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Practical Examination 30%   Unseen Practical Examination (1 hour)
Unseen Examination 50%   Unseen Theory Examination (2 hours)
In-Course Test 20%   Progress Tests
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The module introduces students to the basics of Information Technology; past, current and future trend in computer systems.   The detailed design of a small scale Computer Systems is presented where students have the opportunity to build, configure and test a computer system for a given application. Students will identify the basic features of the Windows operating system and its elements. Health Safety issues and the safe disposal of equipment is also covered leading to an understanding and appreciation of social, ethical, environmental and economic issues related to computer’s hardware and software element. The module aims to
1. To introduce students to the fundamental concepts of Information Technology and basic networking,
2. To provide a working technical knowledge of modern computer systems and their respective components,
3. To introduce Operating systems by focusing on Windows products, identifying similarities and differences,
4. Identify the correct approach to preventive maintenance and upgrading, and troubleshooting
5. Introducing students to Assembly language and how it interacts with hardware
6. Awareness of social, environmental, commercial and economic aspects of PC technology


Introduction to Information Technology LO1, 2, 5
Computer Architecture, elements and their operation in a typical computer system
The relationship and role of hardware and software
Assembly language programming
The design of Computer Hardware architecture, typical examples.  Memory types and IO peripherals,

The detailed design of a PC computer system LO1-3
Communications Channel; Serial, USB etc...
Operating system fundamentals; Windows MACos Linux and mobile
Advanced hardware fundamentals, High performance systems
Servers Architectures and applications
Printers and printing

Preventative maintenance and upgrading LO3-5
Troubleshooting hardware and software
Current trends in Computer hardware / software architecture
Ethical, social, environmental, and economical issues related to computer hardware and software, users vs. designers

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Module is delivered in a single session of 3 hours weekly through traditional lecture (1 hour) augmented by closely linked laboratory work and tutorial (2 hours).  All the teaching material for the lectures and tutorials are available online through Weblearn (VLE)  allowing students to read ahead at home for interactive discussion with tutors during tutorial/practical sessions. For practical work on installation and configuration of hardware software components, additional lab handouts are provided. Regular progress tests with spot-feedback help students to check their performance and adapt their study plans. Students are made aware of module leader’s office hours (via WebLearn VLE) for quick queries and consultation.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module students should be able to:

LO1. Describe computer technologies, hardware design and standards.
LO2. Configure and install operating systems.
LO3. Select appropriate hardware, installation, configuration and monitoring their operation in a responsible manner giving due consideration to safety, quality, budgeting
LO4. Identify security threats and vulnerabilities;
LO5. Evaluate emerging computer technologies.

Assessment strategy

The module has three separate assessment elements:

Progress Tests (LO1,4,5) are conducted regularly for continuous assessment and feedback and to prepare students for the final unseen examination. The first test will be by week 5 for providing early feedback and to maximise students’ engagement with the module.

Unseen Practical Examination (LO2,3) is designed to assess practical knowledge and hands-on skills around installation, configurations of various hardware and software components. 

Unseen Theory Examination (LO1 to 5) is designed for comprehensive and holistic assessment of the theoretical aspects of the module.


Core Text:
• IT Essentials Companion Guide v6 (theory) ISBN-10: 1587133555
• IT Essentials Lab Manual, Version 6 (Lab Companion) ISBN-10: 1587133547

Other Texts:
• CompTIA A+ Complete Study Guide: Exam Core 1 220-1001 and Exam Core 2 220-1002 Paperback – 28 Jun 2019 ISBN-10: 1119515939  ISBN-13: 978-1119515937