Never confuse education with intelligence, you can have a PhD and still be an idiot.
- Richard Feynman -

Difference between revisions of "ITIC:Introduction"

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==Types of pages==
==Types of pages==
The pages are mostly divided in two types:
The pages on this wiki for this course material (Introduction to IT and computing) are mostly divided into two types:
* The theoretical background with explanations, definitions and examples
* The theoretical background with explanations, definitions and examples
* Exercises (most topics have a dedicated exercise page)
* Exercises (most topics have a dedicated exercise page)

Revision as of 08:36, 28 August 2019

About this course material

The bulk of the course material starts from this wiki, together with course literature as presented by your teachers. The recommended course literature is shown below.

The wiki itself for the Introduction to IT and computing material consists of a set of pages meant to be read in sequence. See, the main page for the suggested reading order.

Types of pages

The pages on this wiki for this course material (Introduction to IT and computing) are mostly divided into two types:

  • The theoretical background with explanations, definitions and examples
  • Exercises (most topics have a dedicated exercise page)

Links at the bottom of pages

At the bottom of the pages you will find links for further studies. Typical link types include:

  • Further reading - external sources for further studies
  • Video lectures and slides - Each theory page has one or more companion video lectures with an introduction to the topic
    • Some topics also have slides for an in-classroom lecture which summarizes what you have read and learned from the reading and video lectures
    • Some topics also have slides for an in-classroom workshop with a manuscript for a teacher-led workshop which takes a more practical approach of the topic
  • Where to go next - Links to the previous page and next page according to the suggested reading order of the Introduction to IT and computing pages on this wiki

Examples of pages in this material

We'll take a few modules/topics from the Introduction to IT and computing material on this wiki (you are actually reading one of the pages right now - but this is a meta page about the material and thus not suitable as an example).

We'll start with ITIC:Digital representation - Binary which is the theoretical introduction to the topic of binary numbers and digital representation of information. The page starts of by introducing and explaining the binary number system with a lot of examples. It moves on to look at how plain text is represented in a computer (also using binary numbers). After that come a few words and examples of how arithmetic using a fixed size binary number representation can overflow (resulting in errors).

Finally, the page has a links section. Here we list links to:

  • Further reading - links for those who need or want to learn more about the topic
  • Classroom summary lecture slides - Slides that will typically be used in the classroom as the manuscript for a summary lecture
    • Note that this will typically be used in a flipped-classroom fashion, where the students are required to read the material (and watch any video lectures in advance)
  • Video lectures and slides (links to the teachers' online video lectures and the slides used in those lectures)
  • Workshop slides - Slides that will be used as the manuscript for an in-classroom workshop (if your teachers decide to use that - see your schedule and ask your teachers if you are unsure)
  • Source code - links to online source code if there are examples that include program source code in the wiki page and/or video lecture
  • Navigation - Links to the previous and next page, according to our suggested reading order

The next page (according to our suggested reading order) is called ITIC:Digital_representation_-_Binary_-_Exercises - a naming scheme that is typical to the topics that come with an exercise page. Here you will find questions and exercises (often with suggested solutions that you can expand with a click if you get stuck and need to peek at our suggested answers).

Consult your schedule and/or teachers to find out when its planned that you should work with the exercises. There might be scheduled exercise sessions where you have access to supervisors and/or teachers. There is nothing wrong with trying to solve the exercises before-hand, anyway. If you use this material for self-studies, then you can dive into the exercises when you are done with the theory page.

The next example topic pages we'll use here is ITIC:Software_and_programming_introduction (which happens to come after the exercises on binary representation exercises according to the suggested reading order). This page follows basically the same structure.

First it lists a few reading tips with suggested course literature readings that you should read before taking on this page. You will benefit from reading the course literature first, but you should be able to dig right in. Note that the course literature and wiki theory pages are overlapping but both contain topics that the other doesn't cover. That's why we suggest that you always read both the wiki and the course material if possible.

Next comes an introduction to programming using Kernighan's Toy Computer model (a simplified simulation of a programmable "computer"). We give examples of programs for the Toy Computer and explain how they work. Next we move on to show you the same program using "real" programming languages - just to expose you to program source code. The purpose isn't to teach you how to program, but rather to explain what programming is and what program source code look like.

After this follows a discussion on what software is and how it is created. This deals with programming languages and why we need them, and how they differ etc. Then we have a short introduction to algorithms with an example of a classic algorithm for searching sorted data.

After this comes the links section with links to the summary lecture slides, the online video lectures and their slides, and the navigation links.

This page also has as a bonus section at the end (we have marked this as an indented section) with an inclusion of a different page from a different collection of materials from elsewhere on this wiki. See this as exactly that, a bonus for the ambitious student. Since we have written about similar topics in other course material collections on this wiki, we thought we might as well include the page directly here, rather than simply providing a link to it.

Some pages in this course material have such inclusions of other pages at the end (with some indentation and other typographical distinctions to make them stand out).

The page that follows the introduction to programming is ITIC:Software_and_programming_introduction_-_Exercises, again following the same naming pattern - the topic folllowed by " - Exercises". This page contains the questions and exercises for the topic of software and programming introduction.

Course material reading companions

If you are using this course material as part of an actual course (e.g. at university), then please refer to the course literature list provided by the teachers.

Below we list some literature that we recommend as readings for this course material to complement the material found on this wiki.


Title Author Publisher ISBN 10 ISBN 13 Year/edition Price (circa) Pages Comments
Understanding the Digital World:

What You Need to Know about
Computers, the Internet, Privacy, and Security

Brian W. Kernighan PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS n/a 9780691176543 2017 230 SEK 256 Newer edition of D is for Digital
Same content,
Pick one of them.
D Is for Digital:

What a Well-Informed Person Should Know about
Computers and Communications

Brian W. Kernighan CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform n/a 9781463733896 2011 200 SEK 238 Covers most of this course material's topics
Older version of
Understanding... above.
Pick one of them.
Datorkunskap för IT-studenter:

Vad varje student behöver veta för att klara IT-studier (Swedish compendium)

Rikard Fröberg and Henrik Sandklef Juneday n/a n/a 2019 Free for students 100 Covers a lot of this course material's topics
Övningshäfte - Datorkunskap för IT-studenter:

(Exercises in Swedish for the Swedish compendium)

Rikard Fröberg and Henrik Sandklef Juneday n/a n/a 2019 Free for students 44 Covers a lot of this course material's topics

The digital landscape, digitalization, digital this or that

You may have heard the term Digital landscape. We have no idea what that means, but we thought we'd share the image we get whenever we hear the term. This course material is less about the cant and jargon of academia and business folks and more about the terms used when doing IT, in the sense of working with computers, programming, understanding how data is represented (even a landscape can be represented digitally, like a picture or image of a landscape) etc.

Oxford defines Landscape as follows

All the visible features of an area of land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal.

1.1 A picture representing an area of countryside.

1.2 (mass noun) The genre of landscape painting.

1.3 The distinctive features of a sphere of activity.

The above definition didn't quite help the authors of this wiki to understand what digital landscape may mean, but we guess that it is the latter definition, the distinctive features of a sphere of activity, where the sphere of activity then must be digital. Perhaps it means digital activities? But that begs the question, what is a digital activity?

Hopefully, you will learn about digitalization throughout this course material. It's probably best that we now also define what we mean by digitalization (sometimes: Digitization). We're not talking about a trend in society, but rather the activity of converting information into a computer-readable format (organizing the information in bits - binary numbers). In fact, we have a whole module dedicated to the beautiful topic of bits and bytes.


Video lecture slides and videos

  • TODO

Where to go next

The next page is Setting_up_your_environment.

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