Welcome to IFSM201

Concepts and Applications
of Information Technology

My FaceThis is a Hybrid class which meets 2.5 hours per week for lecture and you are required to attend all lecture classes. In lieu of the second class you are expected to work on assignments independently and work through Open Learning Initiative (OLI) content that is integrated into LEO. Use of a computer, Internet connection, and LEO (campus.umuc.edu) is required for hybrid classes.

You will be required to submit all assignments online using LEO, and consider this hybrid class as good training for taking an Online UMUC class in the future. LEO can be accessed using either URL http://campus.umuc.edu (preferred) or http://learn.umuc.edu/ (backup)

The Microsoft Office 2010 Suite is recommended for all assignments because it is available in the UMUC computer lab/testing center. However, Microsoft recently came out with Office 2016 so if you want to spend money on software then you are likely better off with the newest version. One issue with Microsoft Office is they significantly change the adaptive Ribbon User Interface with each version so it is sometimes difficult to find the command you want. Another issue is that Microsoft has never ported the Microsoft Access database application to MacOS.

Alternatively, I recommend using the free LibreOffice, which is available at www.libreoffice.org/download/libreoffice-fresh/ and functions equally well on Windows 7-10, MacOSX, and Linux. Good documentation is available at www.libreoffice.org/get-help/documentation/ and I recommend you download and read the LibreOffice Getting Started Guide if you chose to use this freeware software. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice open-source software and has better support.

It is recommended that you print posted PDF documents at the beginning of the week like PowerPoint slide handouts (4 slides per page) and assignments prior to class so that you can take notes when they are covered in lecture.

Please bring a USB Drive that is 1 GigaByte or greater to class this week and every week. It is best if the USB Drive attaches to your key ring so that it is less likely to be lost. You may use the UMUC computer lab to work on your assignments and all computers in the lab have Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. Keep all files on your USB Drive if you intend to use the UMUC computer lab or your home computer to do your assignments. If you plan on using a MacOS computer then please format your USB Drive to exFAT or FAT32 so that it is readable by both MacOS and Windows. You may want to install LibreOffice to your USB Drive, which will allow it to run on any Windows computer including the ones in UMUC Computer Lab if you install PortableApps.com to your drive and also LibreOffice portable edition. Unfortunately, LibreOffice is not installed on computers in the UMUC computer lab.

To make sure your home computer is properly set up for the class please review the Technical Requirements below:

To ensure a smooth experience as you go through the course resources, please read the technical requirements provided below. If you have a technical problem in your LEO class, contact Help@UMUC at http://help.umuc.edu/ or by phone at 1-888-360-UMUC (8682). Help@UMUC is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For some of the interactive examples and exercises in this course, you will need the Shockwave Flash plug-in. To test whether you have this plug-in (and if you do not, to download it), click on test for Flash plug-in.

You may also need to access PDF files in this course, which require that you have the Acrobat Reader plug-in from Adobe. To test whether you have this plug-in, click on test for Acrobat Reader. If you have Acrobat installed, you will receive a confirmation. If you receive anything other than a clear confirmation, you will need to download and install either Acrobat Reader or PDF-XChange Viewer.

I recommend that you get started with Week 1 content today, by clicking Week 1 in the navigation bar above or scrolling down.

Robert Laurie

Week 1: Data Representation


Lecture This Week

This week in lecture we will be discussing the Syllabus, LEO course management system, OLI Classroom, and investigate Data representation for different number systems used in computing and ASCII codes. Prior to class, please print and read the syllabus and the Number Systems and Codes handout.

The LEO -Discussions are a kind of collective online discussion. This week you need to utilize five online discussions to introduce yourself and demonstrate that you have learned how to convert between various number systems and codes:

These LEO - Discussions exercises will provide you with an understanding of digital data, which is fundamental to understanding How computers work?

The file extension is important in Windows, because it determines which application will open the file. Unfortunately, Microsoft hides file extensions by default, but it is useful to view the file extensions of known file types within Windows Explorer file display pane. File extensions can be viewed by opening Windows Explorer and selecting the menu item
Tools > Folder Options > View Tab.
Find and uncheck the check box labeled Hide extensions of known file types. You will now be able to see the difference between filename.docx file and filename.pdf file.

You must be logged into LEO and then click the Link to the OLI Classroom below from within LEO to access the OLI content.

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the
LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor

or email me at:

Direct Links to YouTube Videos:


Please post in the five discussions below this week which are due next week at the end of class.

  1. Introductions Topic
  2. Binary to Decimal Conversion
  3. Binary to Hexadecimal Conversion
  4. Hexadecimal to Binary Conversion
  5. ASCII Text to Hexadecimal Conversion

Week 2: Hardware and Word Processing



This week you will look at the components, both internal and external, integrated and peripheral, that are used to create a complete computer system. In addition, you will learn about different user types and the category of computer that best satisfies their need. Finally you will look at how data is entered, processes, stored, and shared. Quizzes will test your understanding the the topics.

At the completion of this week's activities you should be able to:

Additionally, we will also discuss our first software application which is Word Processing. Actually, I don't really care which Word Processor you utilize. However, you must submit docx documents throughout the course which are the standard Microsoft Word 2007-16 file format. If you are new to Microsoft Office then please examine the Microsoft Office Bible - optional resources available for your version of Office in the LEO Course Resources. There is also a LEO Course Resources > Office 365 - Free Download  page and if you would like to install this trial-ware on your computer then please let me know if it worked successfully for you.

I will utilize PowerPoint slides for lecture and discussion. The slide sets will be posted as PDF documents with four slides per page in color. Please print the following PDF files prior to class:

Videos about Computer Hardware:

Videos about ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) binary operations:

 Interesting documents to read:

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the
LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor


Prior to class read and work through the two OLI modules contained in 
Understanding the Computer System Unit.

After attending class work through Assignment 1: Word Processing this week. You may use any word processor to complete the assignment, but the preferred ones are Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer and the created word processing documents must be posted using the filename.docx file type.

After attending this week’s lecture and working through all OLI Unit 1 content then take three quizzes described below in the order given. You will have a maximum of 60 minutes to take each quiz and this timer cannot be paused. Only start the quiz when can allocate 60 minutes to complete each quiz. Note module quizzes are shorter and have fewer questions then the more comprehensive unit quizzes.

OLI UNIT 1: Understanding the Computer System Unit


Week 3: Software and Spreadsheets



This week you will take a look at software - both system software (operating systems and utilities) and application software (categories and best uses). First, you will look at the relationship between the hardware studied last week and the software that enables the hardware to function in a way that supports the user. Next, you will look more closely at the operating system and the utilities that are essential to make a computer functions. Finally, you will review software application packages that are most commonly used for personal and work computer-related functions.

At the completion of this week's activities you should be able to:

There are two types of Software: Operating System (OS) and Applications and they are covered in the first three modules of OLI UNIT 2: System and Application Software. Please read and work through these modules before coming to class this week so that you can ask intelligent questions.

The software application topic we will cover this week is spreadsheets in preparation for Assignment 2. Prior to class print the following PDF files to include two slide sets and Assignment 2:

Tutorial pages for Excel are available

Also begin working through the Academic Integrity Tutorial this week. This tutorial is not due until Week 6, but you must score a 90% or higher on the Academic Integrity Tutorial quiz to pass which may take several attempts at this quiz. The Academic Integrity Tutorial link is

Interesting web sites to visit:

Interesting videos to view:

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the
LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor


READ and Do before class this week


Class 4: Databases



This week you will be looking at the basic concepts or components used in the construction of database, read about different database structures, and investigate specific security issues related to use of databases.  In addition, the relationships between Customer Relationship Management (CRM), data warehouses, and data mining will be introduced. 

After completing the work this week, you should be able to:


This week we will be discussing Databases in preparation for Assignment 3. I will utilize PowerPoint slides for lecture and discussion. Please print the following PDF files to include both the slide sets and Assignment 3.

Prior to class use the Link to the OLI Classroom to class work through:

This will help you better understand the class lecture on databases. I will set the quiz to two attempts so please try taking the Quiz before class lecture, and a second time soon after the class lecturer if you want to try for a higher score.

Windows users have MS Access only in the Office Professional versions. MacOSX users will not have MS Access on any versions of MS Office, because Microsoft never ported the Access database application to MacOS. Therefore, if you would like to utilize MS Access to do Assignment 3 you will likely need to utilize the UMUC Computer Lab/Testing Center to utilize MS Access.

Alternatively, LibreOffice could be used for Assignment 3, and is available for free download and LibreOffice Base is their database program. LibreOffice will run on any operating system: Windows, MacOSX, and Linux. They have good documentation available for free in the LibreOffice document Getting Started 4.2 which is available as a free download as PDF. However, LibreOffice does not have the easy to use Wizards that Access has and will take more time to work through.

Under the Content tab, look under Course Resources (main Content tab on the top navigation bar) for optional online resources to assist you with MS Office or Open Office. And there are separate tutorials and a Tips file below for those using Open Office to complete this assignment.

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor


Under Table of Contents, look under Course Resources for optional online resources to assist you with MS Office and the projects in this course.

Week 5: Networking



This weeks topic will address the basic concepts involved in setting up networks and basic computer coding using Markdown to make web pages. 

At the completion of this week's activities you should be able to:

The lecture topic this week is Computer Networks and World Wide Web. Assignment 4alt will be creating a simple web site https://www.jottit.com using markdown coding. Prior to class print the following PDF files to include one slide set and Assignment 4:

The computer network content is available on LEO and consists of thirteen pages, which can be printed from the eBook following the instructions on LEO:

Interesting videos and web sites to view:

Continue working through the Academic Integrity Tutorial that you should have started last week. You must receive a 90% or better on the Academic Integrity quiz to be issued a certificate for Academic Integrity.

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the
LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor


Presentations - Network Basics

  1. Client-Server Technology
  2. Bandwidth
  3. Data Flow on the Internet
  4. Data Flow on the Internet (You Tube alternate)


Complete the Database assignment and Academic Integrity Tutorial before the due date.

Again you need to receive a 90% on the integrity to receive a certificate. Upload the PDF or Image of of your certificate to the Assignment Folder.

Since this is a 7-week term and we have many students this term, I will allow you to either do a web site or PowerPoint presentation about some research topic related to computers.  If you chose to do the web site using markdown coding please work through the Assignment 4 and upload a file and the Hyperlink to your web site. Note that LEO requires you to upload a file for each assignment, but really only the Hyperlink will be graded to your markdown web site if you chose that option. We will discuss the PowerPoint presentation option next week.

Week 6: Issues in Computing - Ethics and Privacy


This week you will begin exploring some issues that are directly related to the use of computers and access to the internet.  Some topics are related to using the computer and computer resources in the workplace (user access agreements and  employee and professional associations codes of conduct. Other topics address personal use of computers, specifically issues related to legal use of software and issues that are specific to social networking.

At the completion of this week's activities you should be able to:

Define the purpose of a user access agreement and identify violations of what constitutes acceptable behavior.


PowerPoint will also be discussed which is a presentation graphics program and it will be utilized for completing Assignment 4: Research Presentation. I will utilize PowerPoint slides for lecture and discussion. Please print the following PDF files:

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the
LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor



Select a topic for research in the Class 6 Discussion and respond to two other students posts with suggestions for research sources.

The content from Module 4a - Ethics and Module 4b - Privacy will be on next weeks Quiz 4. However, we will discuss it in class this week.

APA Requirements for This Class

Much of the information below comes from the APA Tutorial, available through the Effective Writing Center, under the Resources tab above.  For this class, the main focus of APA formatting is on citations and references, and papers with incorrect citations and/or references will lose points on the grade.

APA format is more than simply using in-text citations and full references. Writers apply APA format to their work for the following reasons:

•         Providing in-text citations and full references tells readers what sources were used to write an article or book.

•         Using APA format ensures consistency in the conventions writers use and readers expect in publications.

•         Including in-text citations and full references credits writers in their field for the research they have conducted.

•         Using APA format protects writers from being plagiarized and from plagiarizing others.

The reference list gives the reader the information necessary to locate and retrieve any source you cite in your paper.  Full references are always listed on a separate page at the end of a paper and match one-to-one with a citation that appears in a paper.  Every source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; and, every entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.  If you review other sources, but do not cite them, they are not included in the reference list.  The reference page is labeled as: References  centered and bolded and always plural.  Each reference appears in alphabetical order by the first word, and no numbering is used.  Each entry is single spaced, with the first line at the margin and the second and subsequent lines indented one-half inch.  Use double spacing between entries.

For full examples of how to create correct APA citations and reference lists, go to:


Another excellent, concise guide to APA citations and references list can be found here:


Week 7: Issues in Computing - Security and the SDLC


You will complete your look at specific issues in computing this week by focusing on security in terms of confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA).  Then the focus will shift to methods for protecting one's personally identifiable information (PII) from cyber criminal tactics.

As a separate but equally important avenue of exploration, the system development life cycle (SDLC) will be addressed. Because our focus this entire course has been on computer basics, it is important to understand how computer systems are designed and developed.  There are several SDLC models that are in common use, and the various phases of development will be aligned with several of the models.


Military Robots Check out this video for ideas:

Or if the robots become self aware and autonomous we may find that cylons from Battlestar Galactica will become a reality series:

and of course don't turn over launch authorization to a computer.


This week we will be discussing Computer Security and IT System Development Life Cycles. I will utilize PowerPoint slides for lecture and discussion. Please print the following PDF file:

If you have any questions about the class or assignments feel free to post in the
LEO Discussion > Ask your Professor



Week 8: Research Presentations

imageThis is the last week of our classes. This week you will be doing the talking doing presentations about some topic related to computers using PowerPoint.

You need to upload your PowerPoint presentation to LEO prior to your scheduled class. You must attend class this week to get allocated points for the actual presentation.

All work must be completed by Thursday this week. Anything completed after Thursday will not be considered when determining your course grade.

It was a pleasure to have you in the class this session and I wish you much success with your education and career development.