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Check this page for updates on upcoming classes, our learning goals, and the lesson modules we'll use to get there.

CIT-100 Online and In-person: Weekly Lesson Guides

AS OF WED evening, revisions are STILL Coming along--I'm dedicating all available energy to rolling out our new module structure and course concept.

You're looking at a draft set of documents. I edit them in "real time" so if you are bored, you can load this page and the module menu and hit F-5 to reload the page to see technology being rediscovered as you blink.

Getting Help

Please treat each week's guide as gold--it is your path through this course, week-by-week. If you have any questions, please call the technologyrediscovery.net shop at 412.894.3020.

I can also receive emails at edarsow@ccac.edu but programming questions can most effectively be answered over the phone or during office hours.

CIT100: Post-MidTerm Course Guide

The second half of our course involves two components:

Module Explorations: Monday 12 March - Monday 30 April

Dedicated a few hours per week to this class about once a week to working through a single module. Here's step-by-step process for each week:

  1. Browse the modules in the list below that looks interesting. If you like a lot of structure, choose a ready-to-roll module. If you are the exploring type, choose an in-process module.
  2. Click on the module link and read the index at the top of the page to orient yourself.
  3. Best to study the module mini-project BEFORE digesting the whole module. Give your brain a target to shoot for.
  4. Devote a few hours to practicing the concepts in the module. Start at the top, read everything, and work to the bottom. Tinker with your tools (the programs) as you go. Have fun. Experiment.
  5. Finalize your mini project: Create a little word processing document that tells about your work: what did you do, how can others do it, to?
  6. Upload and share your work using the "Work Upload Guide" section below.
  7. Take a break and do something completely unrelated, but perhaps still on a computer :)

Final Project: Tuesday 1 May through Monday 14 May

Reflect on which of these module mini-projects you've found most interesting. Develop it into a more comprehensive and packaged final project. For details, digest and complete the steps in this final project guide:

All course content must be uploaded by morning light on Monday 14 May, 2018.

Final project upload links

When your content is ready to roll, upload your work just like you've been uploading the module mini-projects using the links below. Just remember: Name >> Upload >> Log.

Work upload guide:

Follow the procedure linked below for uploading and sharing all your work for CIT100: both the module explorations and the final project.

Week 1: Monday 29 Jan - Saturday 3 Feb

Computers as systems | binary language | Computer Hardware

Welcome to CIT-100 online! Each week we'll explore a new area of computer coolness. We'll start with the basics this week: how do computers "work" and what are the things inside of them that make all the magic happen. Please attend to the content in each week's guide carefully, as it will guide your through your learning.

Step 1: Watch Welcome and Overview Video

This 20-min clip walks through our course process, our website, and what to expect in terms of grading and feedback. I apologize for any confusion in this regard:


Learning Objectives

  1. Define and discuss the concept of a system--generally.
  2. Build and label a system flow diagram for both a computer and a non-computing machine and discuss their common component functions
  3. Annotate a photograph of a computer by noting the core components and their function
  4. Explain the general idea of binary data storage and operations inside as applied to computers

Lesson Sequence

  1. Read through our course syllabus and think about what would make a grade "fair" for an online course. movieAs linked in the image above, view our course intro video on youtube.
  2. Devote 20 minutes of study to overview articles on computers hosted on Wikipedia and the Computer hardware on Wikipedia You'll be making a system diagram of a computer system, so get a flavor for what the range of components inside a computer is.
  3. To get a sense of what kinds of technology our course will explore,view the segment: movieIs a digital camera a computer? which explores our working definition of a computer.
  4. Choose a non-computer system that interests you and create a diagram of its components and their relationships. movieIn this example video, Eric explores the steering system in a truck and shows how a diagram of this system can be generated.
  5. Now that you have your own non-computer system diagrammed, review the list of core components in a computer on the wikipedia article linked in step 2. movieAs you watch the final video (week 1, segment 4) start creating a note card for each of these core components which list the name and a carefully summarized definition of what that component does.
    • Power supply
    • Motherboard
    • CPU
    • Random Access Memory
    • Hard Drive
    • Input devices
    • Output devices
  6. Work on assembling a diagram of how these listed components work together by arranging your note cards on a table. You can place sheets of paper under the cards and draw connecting lines between them, labeling what is flowing. NOTE that this is an exploratory activity so you can tinker with computer components. We'll review the complete diagram starting next week.
  7. Assemble your two diagrams and a discussion of how they are connected into a word processing document as explained in the following section: Weekly Products

Weekly Products

STEP 1: Create a new word processing document. Type your first name, "CIT100, Spring 2018, Week 1" and your special ID number at the top. (See the intro video for instructions on creating your special ID.)

STEP 2: Manufacture your Special ID number. Locate your student id number either within MyCCAC or on your Student ID card. Your four-digit special ID is the FIRST TWO followed by the LAST TWO digits of your student ID number.

So if my assigned student ID number is 56387239, the special ID I'll use throughout this course is 5639.

STEP 3: Save this document with a title that looks like this: week1_[your special ID number]_[your first name]. For example, Juan's special ID number is 1234, so he would name is file: "week1_juan_1234".

STEP 4: Create three sections in this document, and include your work on each of these three tasks that you've created over the week in that document.

  1. Component diagram of a non-computer system
  2. Labeled component diagram of a specific computer system you regularly use
  3. Brief discussion of what these two diagrams have in common and what makes them unique

If you make a digram on paper, snap a photo of it, and transfer it to your computer via email. If you need guidance on that, this tutorial provides four different transfer mechanisms. You can then insert photos into a MS Word document with these simple steps.

NOTE that you can find tutorials for almost any basic office task by searching intelligently in a search engine. I found this one by searching "insert images into ms word". Best to not phrase searches as questions.

STEP 5: Upload--Once your document is complete, upload that document to our shared submission directory. and your week is done!


Essential Resources

These are also linked in the steps they should be reviewed above.

Computer basics on Wikipedia provides a through discussion of how we can define a computer and insights about the history of computing.

Computer hardware on Wikipedia provides a base knowledge about each and every component inside a computer.


curiosity Corner

The Imitation Game film about Alan Turing, a leading thinker in the development of modern computing. Complete with WWII drama, machinery, and even an exploration of romance with a mathematician.

Week 2: Monday 5 Feb - Saturday 10 Feb

Mighty Operating systems | File systems & file types | Access Control

With a developing understanding of a computer's key components, we're ready to explore the software that runs on that hardware, the most important of which is called the Operating System (OS) which is a collection of software tools that allows useful programs to interact with the hardware itself.


Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the core roles of an operating system in a computer using practical examples from your day-to-day computer work.
  2. Create a mini-file system about a topic that's interesting to you and describe how its structure is useful inside computers.
  3. Dissect a file by identifying it size, location, permissions, type, and extensions and use that knowledge to describe your mini file system.

Essential Resources


Lesson Sequence

  1. View this week's introductory video that reviews last week's work and lays out the content for this week:movie Week 2, Segment 1 on YouTube
  1. Create a word processing document and save the file with a name in the following format: week2_OS_[first name]_[special ID Number]". For example, Joslyn whose special ID number is 4567 would name her file: "week2_os_joslyn_4567.docx". Document your learning in this file as you work through this week's lesson. Also place the same file name as the title of the document. Create section headers for each exercise in this guide
  2. Work through the Chunk 2, Module 1 Learning guide which provides step-by-step learning activities around the topic of operating systems and their core functions. This guide will also provide instructions for documenting your learning
  3. Note that the video guides for each exercise are posted at the beginning of each exercise's specific section.
  4. Use the link in the Weekly Products section (next) to upload your file and complete your work.

Weekly Products

  1. You should have a word processing document created in step 2 above all ready to roll. Make sure your document is free of errors and organized into nice headers for each exercise. Remember, other students will look at your document and learn from your work: so make it accessible!
  2. You should also have a compressed file tree ready to roll. Its name should follow this structure: "fileTree_outdoorActivities_eric_1234.zip"
  3. Upload your word processing file AND your compressed file tree (created in exercise 3) to this shared directory. If you accidentally upload the wrong files, you will not be able to delete it so just upload the correct one and Eric will handle the deletion.

curiosity Corner

Learn more about the Free Software movement on YouTube by a man named Richard Stallman who helped to create the Linux operating system, which runs most of the internet, all Google Searches, all Android Operating Systems, etc. Note that he is very political in the way he expresses his ideas and they do not represent the opinions of the course instructor or the Community College of Allegheny County and are instead shared as a learning resource for you to generate your own ideas about software licensing.

Week 3: Tuesday 13 Feb - Thursday 22 Feb

Continuing Operating System Explorations with a growing file tree

DUE DATE: Since I posted this later than expected, You have a week to get this done, so please have your updated and expanded tree and PDF file uploaded by the end of the day Thursday, Feb 22.


Learning Objectives

  1. Unpack and analyze another student's file tree, build on that tree, and repackage the tree for sharing
  2. Navigate the windows Command Prompt program and run a utility that operates on files in the system.
  3. Use a word processor to format a document with columns, add column breaks, and use a highlighting tool
  4. Carefully and strategically name files so they are sorted in a logical fashion.

listLesson Sequences:

  1. Work through Chunk 2: Module 2 - Growing File Trees. This sequence will guide you through building onto an existing file tree created by another CCAC student (both online and in-person). You'll get to decompress the existing tree, add your own content and structure, and graft an entire tree into the tree you're editing. You'll have a newfound appreciation of the power of tree-based file structures by the end.

cakeProducts to Produce

Introduction to Spreadsheets: Wed 28 Feb - Wed 7 March

Computer fundamentals Chunk 3, Module 1

Much of our data exchange on The Internet interacts with computers that can read and write information through the World Wide Web. We'll learn about the backbone technologies that make the Web possible and you'll create your own profile in HTML and CSS to share with the world!


Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the core concept of a spreadsheet and the difference between a data cell and a calculated cell.
  2. Navigate a spreadsheet's core features: cell editing, formula creation, sheet formatting
  3. Create a personal or small business budget spreadsheet that is useful to the creator

listLesson Sequence:

  1. Carve out am hour or two and work through the module guide: Spreadsheet Fundamentals. This is a detailed document. It was designed to be worked through sequentially from top to bottom. The link box at the top jumps you down to the main sectiosns of the document if you need to jump around. If you need a break, try taking one at the end of one of the sections with big purple headers.
  2. Construct a budget spreadsheet of a quality that just might become a useful tool for your own life. When it's done, upload it with the instructions in the next section.

cakeProducts to Produce

Helper video for file uploading

Step 1: Regardless of where and how you created your spreadsheet, we need download it to your working class directory--probably called cit100. You made this directory in the past module if you were working along with the videos in the last module.

Step 2: Use your newly developed file management skills to navigate to this directory in a file explorer program. Check to make sure your spreadsheet file is named using the following template (you should have done this when you saved it initially in the module):

budget_f17Online_[first name]_[special ID#].[file extension]

For example, Lorette created a budget in Microsoft Corporation's Excel online using her OneDrive. She downloaded it and when she viewed it in file explorer, she saw that it's name has a .xlsx at the end. Her special id number is 1289 (the first two and last two digits of her student id squished together). Her file name would be:


NOTE: We have folks using Libre Office, Google Sheets, Apple's Numbers, etc. Each of these programs has their own special format and can export into common formats. The best is called open document spreadsheets that creates files with extensions .ods. This is the default extension in Libre Office. If Loretta was using LibreOffice and not Microsoft's Excel, her file name would be:


Step 3: Upload your file to our shared directory

When your spreadsheet is cleaned up, looking tidy, and properly named, upload it to our shared spreadsheet projects directory.

This upload directory is also available on our course home page section and looks like this

Mid-term grading procedure: Due by morning light on Tuesday 6 MARCH

Step 1: Spend some time digesting the technology rediscovery course grading policy linked here.

Step 2: HAND-WRITE a note-card (or note-card shaped paper) using other students' as a model. On the header bar: your name, course section, and term. In the body of the card: a fair grade propsal letter (A, B, C, D, F) and a few sentences explaining why you think this is a fair grade.

Mention evidence that I can look up on our site of the work you've done. Everything I use to determine your grade is publicly posted for you and me and everybody else to see. You might say, for example: "I worked hard on and posted my budget spreadsheet" or "I was focused and worked through all but one of the modules"

Step 3: Submit by morning light on 6 MARCH. Please scan or photograph this note card and deliver it to your instructor. Email will, unfortunately, be best: edarsow@ccac.edu. Please use a subject like: "cit100 online mid-term grade proposal". In the event of digital transmission failure, you can post note cards to me at the shop: 2209 S Braddock Ave, PGH, PA 15218.

I will submit mid-term grades via my teacher portal on Wednesday morning at about 8am on Wed 7 MARCH (Previously 7 Feb) 2018. I am actively trying to not work on a last-minute basis with respect to grading, but will if needs be. All bets are off after Tuesday.

We're experimenting in this course. We're building the ship as we're sailing. Have fun on the ride. Let's have a ball.