Modules | ITNP023 | Syllabus ITNP023 | Syllabus Updated 26/07/16 17:39
ITNP023 - Foundations of Information Technology Autumn 2016
menu Foundations of Information Technology Autumn 2016













This module is 20 credits at SCQF level 11.



  • Computer System Architecture and Operation
    • Basic machine architecture
    • Data representation on machines
  • Operating systems
    • Notes and examples on OSs functionalities
  • Algorithms, Efficiency, and the Limits of Computation
    • Algorithms; The concept of an algorithm; its representation and efficiency
    • The limits of computation: non-computable problems
  • The Software Engineering Process
    • The software life cycle
    • Project planning and management
  • Professional Issues
  • Designing the User Interface
    • Human factors in design and usability for different applications and users
    • Mechanisms of interaction with machines
    • Evaluating the user interfaces, usability testing

Learning Outcomes

A basic understanding of fundamental topics in Computing Science, including the operation of computer systems and networks at all levels of abstraction. In particular,
  • machine architecture and operating systems
  • algorithms, efficiency, and the limits of computation
  • software engineering
  • professional and ethical issues
  • human-computer interaction
  • design and critical analysis of user interfaces
Students will demonstrate an ability to apply theory and techniques to unseen problems (without reference to notes), to work independently, and to work under a time constraint.

Transferable Skills
  • understanding and use of modern computer systems
  • ability to informally estimate the relative efficiency and performance of systems
  • ability to deal with complex ethical and professional issues in the profession of Computer Science
  • a critical understanding of theories and concepts in modern computer systems
  • ability to communicate with peers and more senior colleagues
  • ability to research topics independently and present results
  • apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to current issues in computer systems
  • a critical appreciation of concepts in human-computer interaction and real user interfaces needs for concrete software systems
  • design of user interfaces with a strong focus on the visual aspects of information presentation


Computer Science: An Overview, J. G. Brookshear, latest edition, Addison-Wesley (strongly recommended)

Professional Issues in Software Engineering, F Bott et al, second edition, UCL press (background)

For the design part of the module, either of:

Y. Rogers, H. Sharp, and J. Preece. Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, Wiley, 2011 (3rd edition). ISBN 978-0-470-66576-3.

B. Shneiderman, C. Plaisant, M. Cohen, S. Jacobs. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, Pearson, 5th edition 2010 (earlier editions are acceptable alternatives), ISBN 978-0-321-60148-3.


There are two assessment components for this module - an assignment worth 30% and an exam worth 70%.


In order to be considered for a pass grade for the module you must:

  • Submit the assessed coursework
  • Attend the examination.

Non-submission of the assessed coursework will result in the award of grade X for the module as a whole. Assessed coursework submitted late will be accepted up to seven calendar days after the submission date (or expiry of any agreed extension) but the grade will be lowered by three marks per day or part thereof. After seven days the piece of work will be deemed a non-submission. If the piece of work is compulsory, the student will be deemed to have failed the module, due to failure to comply with published requirements.

This rule (regarding coursework) may be relaxed for students who can show good cause for failure to submit. Good cause may include illness (for which a medical certificate or other evidence will be required). Students must request an extension by contacting the module coordinator, supplying relevant evidence, no later than seven days after the published assignment deadline. Extensions will be granted for acceptable reasons only, and will not normally be beyond such time as solutions and feedback are returned to the rest of the class.

If a student is unable to attend the Main examination, he/she must apply to the Student Programmes Office for a Deferred examination. If a Deferred examination is not granted, then the Examiners may allow a Repeat examination. The maximum mark for the module that can be awarded for a second attempt is the pass mark i.e. 50.

Assessment guidelines can be found here.


You are expected to attend all lectures, tutorials, and practical classes, in order to derive the maximum benefit from your time at University. It is your responsibility to make the most of the opportunities for education offered to you by the University.


Work which is submitted for assessment must be your own work. All students should note that the University has a formal policy on plagiarism which can be found at

Plagiarism means presenting the work of others as though it were your own. The University takes a very serious view of plagiarism, and the penalties can be severe (ranging from a reduced grade in the assessment, through a fail grade for the module, to expulsion from the University for more serious, or repeated, offences). Specific guidance in relation to Computing Science assignments may be found in the Postgraduate Student Handbook.

Prescribed Classes

This module has no prescribed classes.

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Mail Computing Science and Mathematics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA
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