Introducing computing and IT
The profound technological, economic, political and ethical changes brought about by computing and information technology (IT) will affect every one of us. In this course we talk about digital technologies in relation to computing and IT. A fundamental idea is that a digital technology is any technology based on representing data as sequences of numbers. Computers use digital technologies so, in this course, the term ‘digital world’ refers to the influence of computers, in a wide variety of forms, on the world.
In this course you will learn a little about the historical development of computers and their role in today’s society. You will then consider examples of digital technologies in the world around you and their influence on your life. Through a case study of online research into information on childhood vaccination, you will see how computer algorithms can shape our beliefs and actions. You will also be introduced to the field of digital forensics and learn how data are stored on and deleted from hard disk and solid-state drives.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University courses Introduction to computing and information technology 2.and TM112
Note: The word ‘data’ is plural (‘datum’ refers to an item of data), but is often used in the singular, e.g. ‘The data is ….’. You will find both uses in this course, depending on the context.