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Ever wondered how a computer processes data into information? This free course, An introduction to data and information, will help you to understand the distinction between the two and examines how a computer-based society impacts on daily life. You will learn what computers can do with data to produce information and how computers can be used to work with data and search for it, control machines, and support commercial operations.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- identify some of the instances in daily life where a computer is, or is likely to be, involved
- describe, in simple terms, the difference between data and information.
- give a simple explanation of why computers are important to people in terms of data and information
- explain in simple terms what a computer program is, and why one is necessary
- explain the role of the computer with respect to the data given to it.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 An introduction to data and information
- 2 Daily life and computers
- 3 Sensing data and turning it into something usable
- 4 Computers as tools for finding
- 4.1 Where am I and how do I get to … ?
- 4.2 Finding information: the web
- 4.3 Computer-based activities
- 4.4 Summary
- 5 Computers as tools for working with data
- 6 Controlling things; selling things
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
An introduction to data and information
Computers are used to find, store, process and share data and information. The World Wide Web is an example of a vast store of information, which can be searched. This material will introduce you to what a web browser is and how to use one. The use of search engines to find information more effectively on the web will also be demonstrated. This course looks at how data is transformed into information and relates the topics of data and information to the computer. These are fundamental issues in an understanding of the way in which the computer has shaped and changed contemporary life.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Computing and ICT courses or view the range of currently available OU Computing and ICT courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 14th July 2011
Last updated on: Monday, 22nd February 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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