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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 11/03/2022 13:18:39

Title of Module: Computing Systems

Code: COMP07061 SCQF Level: 7
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Henry  Hunter

Summary of Module

This is a core module for the undergraduate programmes in Computer Games Technology, Business Technology, Computer Networking and Web Development. It also forms part of the BSc Computing. It is an option on a number of other computing and related degrees.

Two complementary approaches are used in teaching and learning, and woven together over the weeks of teaching. In the first approach, students look at different examples of computer systems, hardware and software, and learn about the different hardware and software components that together form a computer system. In this way, a top-down view of a computer system is formed. Second, students learn about how computer processors are built up from simple digital logic circuits into distinct components and then to complete CPUs and GPUs.

This top-down/bottom-up approach is also used to examine the software running on today's computer systems. A broad view of the OS and software environments it complemented by a machine level view. This moves from the machine code used by computers, to the high-level programming languages favoured by human programmers and the processes by which these are translated into machine code for execution on the computer.

The module also introduces the (GCHQ – ‘Operational Security Management’ discipline) topics: Internet, Network and Applications Security. As each of these topics are covered, students will research, in groups, recent threats targeting new platforms. 

Undertaking this module will develop a range of graduate attributes including: critical thinking; problem solving; effective communication and research skills.

  • Computers and processors are now an ever present part of normal life, found not only in PCs, but in mobile phones, digital cameras, games consoles and in a myriad of places around the home and workplace. Security is now a core requirement when creating systems and software. This module will introduce students to some of the fundamentals of computer security including internet threats, network security and application security.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate an awareness of the range of hardware and software components and devices that are brought together in modern information, entertainment and ubiquitous computer systems showing an understanding of the security issues which are associated with the components.

L2. Identify and use a variety of approaches associated with representation of data

L3. Convey and demonstrate their understanding of the organization and operation of low level computer system organization and architecture.

L4. Identify and describe concepts from operating system and software translation that demonstrate their understanding of bridging the gap from a problem-oriented level to machine execution level.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 7.

Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the various levels contributing to computer system organisation.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 7.

Explaining ways in which data may be represented within a computer system and performing conversions between number systems

Illustrating the steps involved in the detailed execution of instructions at the logic and machine levels and solve related problems in lab exercises

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 7.

Use a range of approaches to address defined and/or routine problems within familiar contexts

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 7.

Use of standard word processing applications

Use of a range of numerical and investigative skills

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 7.

Work with others to solve defined problems

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
An extended overview of the subject area is presented in a series of introductory lectures, before focusing in more detail on each of instruction set architectures, operating systems, representation of data, computer language levels, internet threats, network security and application security. Tutorials involve students working in groups on exercises and problems relating to the taught material, and serve, with the coursework, to encourage wider reading and reflection on some of the design and implementation issues for modern computer systems.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop24
Independent Study152
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Course booklet and online resources will be provided/referenced.

Additional text: How Computers Work, Ron White

Recommended reading material from:
Computers and Computer Systems, OpenLearn,

Principles of Computer Hardware, Alan Clements

Elements of Computing Systems, Nissan & Schocken

Schaums Outline of Computer Architecture

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardComputing
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelBusiness & Applied Computing
ModeratorTony Gurney
External ExaminerD Doolan
Accreditation DetailsThis module is accredited by BCS as part of a number of specified programmes. It is also accredited by Skillset as part of BSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology. GCHQ accreidtation.
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Intermediate class Tests 50%, Group Report 50%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Class test (written)check markcheck markcheck markcheck mark503
Report of practical/ field/ clinical workcheck mark   500
Combined Total For All Components100% 3 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
The University policies on equality and diversity will apply to this module: the content and assessment are based on the ability to communicate in English but are otherwise culture-neutral.This module is almost entirely computer based and students must be proficient computer users within a windows, icons and mouse pointer environment with the use of suitable aids where required.When a student discloses a disability an Enabling Support Advisor will agree the appropriate adjustments to be made, consulting with the module coordinator if necessary.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.