This course is a broad introduction to the use of computers as tools for creativity, communications and organizing information. In addition to learning the technical fundamentals of computer operations and networking, we hope to help you build your skills in researching information, making appropriate ethical choices about the use of computers, and using technology to help you learn on your own and pass your new skills on to others.
The role of the computer as a communications tool will be central to this course. We expect that much of the interaction between students and teachers will be conducted through electronic mail and other network communications technologies. All students will be given computer accounts on Uni High’s multi-user computers, as well as some space to edit and organize your electronic communications. We will also emphasize the use of the Internet as a tool for finding information and communicating with your peers worldwide, and word processing, presentation software, photography, image editing and video production to organize and communicate your ideas.
Much of your grade will depend on how well you work together and interact with the teachers and other students in this course. Those who already have some computer skills at the beginning of the year are expected to help the teachers by passing on their knowledge to the other students. There’s nothing like having to teach a subject to someone else to help you learn it yourself! We want every student to work on developing the ability to teach each other and cooperate in the kind of team environment that is necessary in all real-world technology projects.
During this semester, we will cover the following major topic areas:
- Apple Macintosh and Windows personal computers and operating systems
- Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint as tools for writing, analyzing and presenting information
- Practical use of information technology to assist you in other coursework
- Using the Internet for communications, research, creativity and entertainment
- Traditional and nontraditional ways to find and share information
- Creating, editing and sharing pictures and video
- Creating online and paper publications and graphics using computers
- Ethical and responsible use of computer technology
If there is a particular area of computing you wish to explore that is not included in this summary, you may work with us to help prepare a unit to present to the class.
There are two computer laboratories available for students to use. Room 314 contains 23 Microsoft Windows compatible personal computers, while room 113 has 18 Apple Macintosh computers. These rooms are scheduled for regular classes during about half of the periods each day. At other times, the labs are available for students to use. Rules for the use of the labs are posted in each room. You are responsible for following them, as well as the terms of the Uni High Computer Usage Agreement.
Because of the size of the computer labs, we will often divide the class into two groups. Half the students will meet in room 314 and half in room 113. The entire class will meet together in room 109 for lecture-discussion sessions and tests.
There is a web-based calendar that shows which room you should go to each day, and includes a brief description of the subjects we will be covering. From the main Uni High web page (http://www.uni.illinois.edu), click on Calendar at the top of the screen, then Computer Literacy One to reach it. Make sure to check the calendar frequently.
There is no required text for this course.
All students must have a University Laboratory High School Computer Usage Agreement signed and filed in the main office before they can be issued computer accounts for this course.
Your grade will be based on a combination of homework, project and test scores, plus class participation. There will be two hour-long examinations during the semester, as well as a final exam. Except for the final, they will be multiple-choice, “fill in the blank” and short-answer questions. The final exam will consist of essay questions covering larger issues.
Time will be allocated in class to complete most of the projects required for this course. You may occasionally have to take some work home, or use the Uni High computer labs during your free time. We expect that most students will have a Windows or Macintosh compatible computer and Internet access at home, and may sometimes give homework assignments that require them. If you don’t have Internet access at home, we will make other arrangements for the assignments that require it. Please talk to one of the teachers if necessary.
You may receive some reading assignments and quizzes via electronic mail. You are expected to check your e-mail daily for class announcements. If your e-mail doesn’t work for some reason, it is your responsibility to contact Mr. Smith immediately so we can correct the problem.
This course requires that you be well organized and ready to work when you come to class. Please keep a notebook for the assignments from this class, and be ready to take notes and write down assignments at all times. Please note the due dates! You must bring note-taking materials and your past class handouts to every class, and write down the important points covered in class discussions and lectures. (You will be tested over this material, as well as the readings and projects!)
The teachers are all available to help with any kind of problems you may be having with this course. Please don’t hesitate to make an appointment or drop by our offices whenever you feel you need some assistance. We’re all here to learn together, and want to stay in touch with you and find out how you’re doing.