Computers and the Internet

Understanding Computers and the Internet

Video course description:
This course is all about understanding: understanding what's going on inside your computer when you flip on the switch, why tech support has you constantly rebooting your computer, how everything you do on the Internet can be watched by others, and how your computer can become infected with a worm just by turning it on. In this course we demystify computers and the Internet, along with their jargon, so that students understand not only what they can do with each but also how it all works and why. Students leave this course armed with a new vocabulary and equipped for further exploration of computers and the Internet. Topics include hardware, software, the Internet, multimedia, security, website development, programming, and dotcoms. This course is designed both for those with little, if any, computer experience and for those who use a computer every day.

Course topics:
Hardware - Computation. Overview. Bits and bytes. ASCII. Processors. Motherboards: buses, connectors, ports, slots, and sockets. Memory: ROM, RAM, and cache. Secondary storage: floppy disks, hard disks (PATA and SATA), CDs, and DVDs. Virtual Memory. Expansion buses and cards: AGP, ISA, PCI, PCI Express, and SCSI. I/O devices. Peripherals. How to shop for a computer. History. The Internet - Networks: clients and servers, peer-to-peer, LANs and WLANs, the Internet, and domains. Email: addresses; IMAP, POP and SMTP; netiquette; spam; emoticons; snail mail; and listservs. SSH. The World Wide Web: URLs and HTTP. Blogs. Instant messaging. SFTP. Usenet. Network topologies. The Internet: backbones, TCP/IP, DHCP, and DNS. NAT. Ethernet: NICs, cabling, switches, routers, and access points. Wireless: IR, RF, Bluetooth, and WiFi. ISPs. Modems: dialup, cable, and DSL. Multimedia - Graphics: file formats, bitmaps and vectors, and compression. Audio: file formats and compression. Video (and audio): file formats and compression. Streaming. Security - Threats to privacy: cookies, forms, logs, and data recovery. Security risks: packet sniffing, passwords, phishing, hacking, viruses and worms, spyware, and zombies. Piracy: WaReZ and cracking. Defenses: scrubbing, firewalls, proxy servers, VPNs, cryptography, virus scanners, product registration and activation. Website Development - Webservers: structure, permissions, and implementations. Static webpages: XHTML, well-formedness, and validity. Dynamic webpages: SSIs, DHTML, AJAX, CGI, ASPs, and JSPs. Programming - Pseudocode. Constructs: instructions, variables, conditions, branches, and loops. Languages: interpreted and compiled. Scratch. 

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