COMP 210 (Introduction to Information Systems and Computer Applications) is a three-credit introductory computer science course that is designed for students who are not planning to major in information systems. The course covers basic hardware concepts; the structure, or architecture, of computers; the software hierarchy from systems software to application programs; and information systems concepts and development at a more basic level than COMP 200 (Introduction to Computing and Information Systems). This course has no course prerequisites, however, some basic competence in Windows is required. COMP 210 is not available for challenge.
Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering.
Students should note that they must have an ISP connection supporting a graphical user interface, a working email account, and must be able to use email to register into COMP 210. Students are also required to have their own copy of Microsoft Office. Or in other words, they have to have access to the web, and can get a copy of Microsoft Office for free from Athabasca University while they are a student.
Introduction to Information Systems and Computer Applications is made up of eight units, eight projects weighing ten percent each, and a learning resource conference participation component that weighs a total of twenty percent. The eight units within the course cover several topics such as hardware and software, networking, the internet, internet security, computer privacy, and emerging technologies. To receive credit for COMP 210, students must achieve a course composite grade of at least a “D”, or fifty percent, on the course portfolio, which combines projects one through eight and the learning resources conference activity. This course has no midterm or final examinations.
Karen Fletcher enrolled in the Bachelor of Science major in Mathematics program at Athabasca University in May of 2019 and completed COMP 210 recently. She provides a bit of an introduction, stating “’I’m from Ottawa, and I have three kids (ages 2, 4, and 6). I got a Bachelor of Arts when I was younger but as my kids will all be in school full-time in the next couple of years, I’m looking to do something a bit different, and have recently returned to school to get my Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. I work part-time designing knitting patterns for magazines and yarn companies and when I have free time I love to sew or play board games with my husband.”
When asked to explain the course to students, Karen states “This is a required course for Bachelor of Science students to learn about computers, the text seemed like it was written in the early 1990s and had not been sufficiently updated. For example, it explains that one way to input information into a computer is to use a “mouse” which you can use to move your cursor around, it also explains how to “drag and drop” as if it were possible to be taking an online course and not know that. One of the assignments required students to use software to crop a photo, change its brightness, and make it greyscale. That was the entire assignment. I normally love school, but this course felt like pulling teeth, thankfully it was over in about a week and I got an A+.”
As for the structure of the course, she explains that “There were eight units with one chapter of reading and one assignment. The assignments are not difficult (demonstrating that you can crop photos, or answer some questions about computer security), and are not necessarily on the content of the chapter they are grouped with. The assignments took me between fifteen minutes and three hours with most around the one-hour mark. After that there’s a “learning conference” which is actually just a PowerPoint presentation you need to create with some online resources you find that relate to the chapter topics. There are no exams.”
When asked if she would recommend the course to other students, she states “If you need a quick easy A+ this course should fit the bill, I did not enjoy it though. I think if the university is going to require us to take a computer course it should be changed to be relevant, maybe change the content assignments to be about graphic design basics and keep the introduction to programming unit, so that students are walking away having learned something.”
As for communications with her tutor, Karen states “I submitted all my assignments over the course of three days, and they were marked a day or so later with minimal feedback.”
Whether COMP 210 is a degree or program requirement of yours, or the topics that were mentioned above are of interest to you, this course should give you the basics on some computer software you may not have tried yet, and on the topic of information systems and how computers run.