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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 17/03/2022 10:08:54

Title of Module: Data Communications and Networks

Code: COMP09022 SCQF Level: 9
(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:Duncan  Thomson

Summary of Module

Networks are built on a number of protocols operating in various layers. This module examines the functionality required in these layers, and allows students to understand some of the underlying theory and models.  The investigation starts with the ideas of information and channel capacity, covers the physical layer concepts of media characteristics and encoding techniques, and then moves upwards, first examining media access and error control.  The concepts of addressing and path determination are covered, along with redundancy and availability, and the provision of QoS and basic queueing theory.  The module concludes with a brief examination of encryption and security protocols.

This module will work to develop a number of the key 'I am UWS' Graduate Attributes to make those who complete this module:


  • Critical Thinker
  • Ethically-minded
  • Research-minded

Work Ready

  • Problem-Solver
  • Effective Communicator
  • Ambitious


  • Autonomous
  • Resilient
  • Driven

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).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

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

L1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the design of network protocols

L2. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of an area of data communications

L3. Use numerical and graphical methods to analyse network performance

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 9.

a detailed understanding of the operation of computer networks
a detailed knowledge of number of commonly used networking protocols

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

use of information from a range of sources, including standards documents, when evaluating network protocols

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

use of basic mathematical equations and graphs to illustrate and calculate network performance
communicating technical information concisely to a technical audience

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

divide and manage work within a peer group

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Other:Basic mathematical skills (using equations, scientific notation, use of a scientific calculator)
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module is delivered primarily through a series of lectures and complementary tutorials designed to cover the topic from both a theoretical perspective and provide practice in solving problems relating to data commuications. Students will also be expected to work both individually and within groups when addressing networking problems. A range of online formative assessment is available allowing students to assess their understanding of both factual and numerical aspects of the module.
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 Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity24
Independent Study164
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:

Module resources from Moodle (lectures, labs and tutorials)

Recommended Books:
"Computer Networks" - Andrew S Tanenbaum; Prentice Hall (2003)

"Data and Computer Communications" - William Stallings; Prentice Hall(2006)

"Computer Networking and the Internet" - Fred Halsall; Addison Wesley(2005)

"The Good Sciences Study Guide” - Northedge, Thomas, Lane & Peasgood; Open University (1997)

"Computer Networks and Internets" - Douglas Comer; Pearson (2015)

"Interconnections" - Radia Perlman (1999)

(**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
ModeratorZeeshan Shakir
External ExaminerR Khusainov
Accreditation DetailsN/A
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
A 2-hour unseen written exam (50%) will provide an opportunity for the student to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of computer networks and their analysis using calculations
This may be replaced by an unseen open book online assessment (as shown in the module descriptor) if CoViD-19 restrictions mean in-person exams are not possible. This may take the form of two separate assessments on the VLE.
A written coursework (20%) will allow students to demonstrate their abilities in using a range of sources, including standards, to research and present an area of data communications.

A second coursework (30%) undertaken in small groups will allow the student to demonstrate their understanding of a range of network protocols, use mathematical models and graphs in the context of computer networks, and divide and manage work within a team. 10 of the 30 marks available will be based on the student's performance managing the group work, including up to 5 marks based on peer assessment.
(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) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen open bookcheck mark check mark502

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Case studycheck markcheck markcheck mark300
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Paper check mark 200
Combined Total For All Components100% 2 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. When a student discloses a disability an additional support advisor will agree the appropriate adjustments to be made, consulting with the module coordinator if necessary.
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.