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Data and processes in computing

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This free course, Data and processes in computing, will help you to understand the forms of data that are handled by software and look at the various processes that can be applied to the data. These ideas are demonstrated through the use of a supermarket till and illustrate how simple data sets can be manipulated.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand ways in which data may be stored and processed
  • distinguish between different forms of data, and use notations introduced in the course to show different forms of data
  • appreciate that fine details may be important when interpreting formal notation (for example, different types of brackets may be used to distinguish between different forms of data)
  • interpret a given function description
  • recognise correct syntax in formal expressions.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 14 hours
  • Updated Friday 8th April 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Computing and ICT
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Data and processes in computing


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This course provides an introduction to data and processes in software, and provides a basis that enables these fundamental ideas to be developed in a clear and precise way. It has two main aims. The first is to illustrate how we can describe ways in which data may be structured and processed. The second is to introduce you to some vocabulary and concepts that help us to do this. The material is accessible to anyone with a little experience of the use of symbols in presenting ideas.

Section 1 provides a brief introduction to the course. It contains some new language that will be explained more fully in later sections. Read this section without spending too much time on it. The most important material in this course is that in Sections 2 and 4. Section 3 includes some ideas that are relatively difficult. You should read this section, but do not spend a great deal of time on it. Section 5 is of a similar length to Sections 2 and 4.

Overall, do not allow yourself to spend too long on any section while you are studying this course. You can always come back and reread material here if you find later that you need a more thorough understanding of some point.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in Computing & IT [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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