COMP 466 (Advanced Technologies for Web-Based Systems) is a three-credit, senior-level computer science course that is designed for students to learn some of the advanced Web technologies that are widely used by IT professionals in developing web-based systems and applications. It extends the student’s knowledge and skills in computing; network programming; web design; and in system analysis, design, and development. COMP 466 requires students to have completed COMP 306 (C++ for Programmers), COMP 308 (Java for Programmers), or an equivalent. This course also has a challenge for credit option available, if there are any students that are interested in taking that route.
Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. A print version of the electronic textbook may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.
Students should be familiar with at least one of the programming languages of C, C++, C#, Visual Basic, or Java, and have some good programming skills in one of these languages. In addition, students are also expected to have completed at least three senior CS courses and have some good knowledge of database, SQL, system analysis and design, and computer networks. Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering.
Advanced Technologies for Web-Based Systems is made up of eight units, two assignments worth twenty percent each, one assignment weighing thirty percent, and a final exam weighing thirty percent. The eight units within this course cover senior-level computer science topics, such as databases for the web, XML, Ajax, web-based system development with PHP, HTML5, and CSS. Although the course has eight units, students will need to study only six units to pass the course: all of units one to five, and then either Unit 6, Unit 7, or Unit 8. Students will need to make their choice clear when doing the third assignment. To receive credit for COMP 466, students must achieve a course composite grade of at least a “D” or fifty percent, including a grade of a “D” or fifty percent on each assignment, and at least fifty percent on the final invigilated examination.
The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation center. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation center can accommodate online exams.
Will Kiiskila is a full-time, fourth year student in the Bachelor of Science program, majoring in Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University. Will provides an introduction, stating “I started as a Computer Science major at UNBC (University of Northern British Columbia), and transferred to Computing Science at TRU (Thompson Rivers University) before ending up at Athabasca University. I’m not working now but have been at different times throughout my degree.”
When asked to explain COMP 466 to other students, he states “COMP 466 – Advanced Technologies for Web-Based Systems expands on Web Development topics you would have covered in COMP 266 (Introduction to Web Programming). I took an equivalent course at another university and was just fine in the course. The course covers how a lot of the behind the scenes functionality in websites is achieved. The textbook is good for the first half of the course. In the last few chapters it briefly covers the topics and mainly relies on outside tutorials.”
As for the structure of the course, Will explains that “There are three assignments and a final exam in this course. Each assignment is very large and time consuming. The assignments aren’t particularly difficult but require you to create complete web systems including database functionality, and design documentation. Each assignment took me a couple of weeks to complete, but you end up with a fully functional website to show off. I have not completed the final exam yet, but the practice exams are fairly straight forward, with a lot of multiple choice on syntax and definitions, with a few small programming problems.”
Will would recommend this course to students, stating “It is worth taking if you are interested in web development and understanding how modern websites are made. I found the content of the course to be very easy but when you try to put it all together in the assignments it can become very difficult very quickly.”
As for tips and tricks to completing the course, Will states “For each assignment you need to write detailed documentation on how everything works and how you implemented it. It’s a lot easier to write the documentation as you create the web systems, otherwise you will spend countless hours trying to remember how you may have done something weeks ago!”
As for communications with his tutor, Will explains that “The tutor has marked all my assignments in around two weeks and provided large amounts of feedback.”
Whether COMP 466 is a degree or program requirement of yours, or the topics discussed above are of interest to you, this could have you learning a lot of interesting material surrounding the topic of advanced technologies for web-based systems.