Free course

Representing and manipulating data in computers

Free statement of participation on completion

Computers are all around us: in cars, kitchen scales, digital cameras, etc. But how do they store the data they hold? This free course, Representing and manipulating data in computers, will help you to understand how the data in a computer represents something in the outside world. You will also explore how ASCII code and Unicode are used to control data.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand what all the terms highlighted in bold in the text mean
  • understand how the following types of data are represented in a computer, and what the limitations of such representations are: positive and negative integers; fractions; analogue physical quantities such as weight; true/false quantities; still pictures; text; moving pictures; sound
  • understand at an introductory level what data compression is and why it is useful
  • understand at an introductory level how input and output subsystems support the conversion of various types of information to and from data types usable by a computer
  • describe what a computer program is and how it utilises the memory and the processor.

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

Course content