module specification

CT4F05 - Computer Hardware & Software Architectures (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Computer Hardware & Software Architectures
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Faculty of Life Sciences and Computing
Total study hours 300
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
210 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 20%   Progress Test (1-Hour)
Practical Examination 30%   Practical Exams (1-Hour)
Unseen Examination 50%   2-Hours Unseen Examination
Running in 2018/19 No instances running in the year

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  economical issues related to computer’s hardware and software element.

Module aims

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
Basic Digital Logic Elements
Microprocessors ; past, current an future
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 small-scale computer system
Communications Channel; Serial, USB etc...
Operating system fundamentals;  Windows 9x NT/2000 and XP
Advanced hardware fundamentals, High performance systems
Servers Architectures and applications
Printers and printing
Preventative maintenance and upgrading
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

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategy for this module is a combination of intensive laboratory work and modern online delivery of content.   Group work is encouraged and reinforced at the laboratory sessions.  Individual members in each group are expected to keep a log book which is updated in real-time during the practical sessions. 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

LO1. Understand how the modern PC systems work, and the interrelation between hardware and software,
LO2. Explain the basic structure of modern PC hardware,
LO3. Identify the role and importance of operating systems,
LO4. Use preventive maintenance and solve upgrading issues,
LO5. Implement PC hardware and software troubleshooting techniques.

Assessment strategy

The module has three separate assessment elements.  The first test will be in week 8 of the first semester for the purpose of providing comprehensive feedback to all covering learning outcome LO1, LO2 and LO3.  The second element of the assessment is the practical examination in week 30 covering LO1, LO3, LO4, and LO5.  The test and the practical examination provide 50% of the assessment mark.  The final formal assessment will be an unseen examination held in week 30 covering LO1, LO2, LO3 and LO5.


CISCO Networking Academy Program ,  IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software, Companion Guide
CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, Seventh EditionISBN-10: 9780071701334