Learning outcomes of the course unit
The main aim of the course is to provide students with the ideas related to computer architecture and information representation. Moreover, the course introduces the main concepts of the language HTML and offers an insight into the creation of Web pages. Finally, the course provides monographic semiars related to crucial topics of computer science, such as artificial intelligence and the history of personal computer.
Taking Dublin Indicators into account:
Knowledge and understanding
The main aim of the course is to introduce the ideas related to information representation in computers, focusing in particular on multimedial files, such as images, sounds, videos, and on their different formats. A large parte of the course is also dedicated to Web and to basic instruments which can be used to create Web pages. During the course, some monografic lectures are given, concerning, for instance, the history of Personal Computers and Artificial Intelligence. Most of the suggested literature is in italian, even though proper english words are used during classes, in order to help students in reading also international scientific papers and books.
Applying knowledge and understanding
Theoretical knowledge is also applied in specific and real contexts, through the creation of Web pages and the discussion on different multimedial files.
Exercises proposed during classes can be solved individually or in groups and they often can be solved in different ways. Students can compare their approach to the solutions proposed by other students and to the solutions shown during classes.
Discussions during classes and exercise sessions allow students to improve their communications skills.
The study of topics related to media, computers, and Web allows student to learn modern and interdisciplinary themes. Acquired knowledge can be adapted to solve problems which may be different from those specifically seen during classes.
Course contents summary
Computer architecture and information representation are introduced in the first part of the course. In particular, the digital representation of text (ASCII and UNICODE), numbers (binary encoding of natural numbers), pictures, video, and sounds are discussed. Then, the main concepts of the language HTML are introduced and necessary notions related to the creation of Web pages are presented. Some lessons are dedicated to the presentation of interesting topics related to computer science, such as: artificial intelligence, the history of computers, the importance of the Web in relation to culture and tourism.
1) Information Representation
- Definition of alphabet, string, language and examples
- Binary encoding and properties
- Representation and encoding of texts
- Representation and encoding of sounds
- Representation and encoding of images
- Representation and encoding of videos
- Redundant encoding
- Huffman encoding and applications
- History of Web
- Definition of Web, hypertext, internet
- Browser and search engine
- Web 1.0 and Web 2.0
- Web and services; Cloud computing
3) HTML language and CSS style sheets
- Features of HTML language
- Structure of an HTML document
- Representation of colours
- Style sheets (CSS)
- XML (hints)
4) An Introduction to LaTeX
5) Computers Architecture
- CPU and its components
- Memories and memory hierarchy
6) History of Computer Science (2 lessons)
7) Artificial Intelligence
8) Computer Science and Cultural Heritage and Museums
9) Computer Science and Tourism
- Marco Lazzari. "Informatica Umanistica", McGraw-Hill (2ed.)
- Dennis P. Curtin et al. "Informatica di Base", McGraw-Hill (6ed.)
- Additional material uploaded on elly.dusic.unipr.it
Lectures and monographic seminars. After each lesson, all the material used during the lesson is uploaded on the elly platform. All the topics discussed during classes are also available in blended mode.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final exam consists in a written test, including questions and exercises. After passing the written test students can ask for an oral test, which is not compulsory. The oral test consists in a few questions. If answers to such questions are satisfying the final grade of the exam is incremented of a few points with respect to the grade obtained in the written test. At the opposite, if answers are not satisfying the final grade of the exam is reduced of a few points with respect to the grade obtained in the written test.