- 1 COMPUTER APPLICATIONS AND SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS
- 2 Computers and Multimedia training(CBT)
- 3 ORGANISATION OF AN IT (COMPUTER) DEPARTMENT
- 4 CLASSIFICATION OF COMPUTERS
- 5 Web Resources
COMPUTER APPLICATIONS AND SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS
Computers and Multimedia training(CBT)
Computer Based Training (CBT): This is a type of training via a computer system. It can be used to train a lot of people in different skills, from using application packages e.g. a word processor package to learning how to drive a car. Examples of CBT are: Tutor DVDs, CDs, VCDs containing demonstration materials and exercises which help the learner on how to use a particular software or program. Interactive video systems: This is where a computer and a video disk can be used in training.
drill and practice,Games, tutorials, simulation and tests.
Benefits of Computer Based Training (CBT)
- Cost saving: employers do not have to pay for accommodation and other related costs when an epmloyee is attending a course.
- Staff can train and learn at their own time.
- Students can study the course at their own pace and time and be able to repeat difficult parts of the material on their own.
- Real life situations can be simulated and the student can learn without the danger of performing live experiments.
Advantages of computer based trainings (CBT)
- It is available any time the user wants it.
- It never gets tired, bored or annoyed.
- It gives immediate and individual feedback.
- It keeps a record of progress and test acquired automatically.
- Training is very interactive, motivating and interesting.
- Different levels, styles of training are made to suit the needs and content of individuals.
Disadvantages of computer based trainings (CBT)
- No human interaction
- Teachers can adapt to needs at short notice.
- CBT can be expensive and time consuming to develop and modify.
- CBT requires hardware and is not quite as portable as a book.
- It may not be appropriate for learning certain skills. E.g. personnel skills, using the telephone.
- Can vary pace and difficulty to suit individual needs
Computers in Education
Computers are being used in schools in different areas such as:
- A teaching and learning aid in many different subjects
- To access the internet and for research purposes.
- In monitoring progress and testing forstudents/pupils.
- For electronic mailing systems, both inside and outside the school e.g. to communicate with other schools or organisations.
- To assist administration to keep school data
- For careers advice, or helping to find a place in a College or University.
Computers and the disabled
Today there are systems based on personal computers that can talk, listen, teach, communicate and translate.
Voice synthesizers: Many manufacturers have produced special equipment for people with special needs e.g. dumb, deaf from an early age and need special help in learning to speak.
A different type of device called a “Touch Talker” is available to help disabled people of all ages and abilities. It consists of a portable computer in the form of a tablet onto which different picture overlays can be placed. The computer enables the user to store information of his choice and recall it at will to be spoken by the voice synthesizer.
Computers for the blind and visually impaired In addition to voice synthesizers,Braille and other special keyboards and printers, there are some special systems which may enable blind people to read screens and written text. The Optacon is one of the examples, It has a compact, portable reading system which converts the image of a printed letter or symbol into a tactile form that can be felt with fingers.
Computers in everyday life.
Telecomuting (teleworking): Telecommuting also known as e-work is work performed from a distance, typically over a network such as the internet.
- There is reduced or no commuting time, less travel-this reduces the environmental costs of commuting and the personal stress and loss of time caused by a daily trip to work.
- Reduced company office space, Savings on expensive office space.
- Flexible schedules.
- Greater ability to focus on one task.
- Working hours to suit the individual
- There is no need to live near the work place.
- Less social contact.
- A suitable room has to be found at home.
- Likelihood of interruptions from family members.
- No specified working hours.
- Personnel are not always in the office when required.
- Less emphasis on teamwork, the focus is on individuals.
Information Technology and Society
There are several reasons why computers have become a vital part of our lives:
- They are very reliable
- They are fast.
- Computer systems can store large amount of data.
- Computers can perform boring, dangerous or highly sensitive jobs.
- They can help us sort through a mass of data and sift out relevant information.
- They can help reduce waste and cut administrative and other costs.
The impact of modern technology-computers and employment.
The introduction of computers into commerce, industry and government organisations has undoubtedly caused far reaching changes in patterns of employment, causing hardships to some and bringing new opportunities to others. The wide spread of computers has:
- Put many people out of work – retrenchment, redundancy
- Changed the nature of many people’s work
- Resulted in a deskilling of some jobs.
- Made some people’s jobs more interesting
- Resulted in an increase in the total number of unemployed people.
- Enabled some organisations to operate more efficiently.
- Resulted in an increase in the number of bankruptcies
- Created many new jobs opportunities. e.g. programmers, Systems managers, Technicians, Consultants, Data Processing Staff, Systems Analysts, Network Designers, Network Managers, Web Designers, Technical Authors etc
- Made some people’s work environment more pleasant.
- Forced people to learn new skills.
Electronic commerce (E-Commerce). This refers to the exchange of products and services, usually for money on the internet.
Elements of E-commerce
- A product
- A place to sell the product e.g. website
- A way to get people to visit the website.
- A way to accept orders e.g. online forms.
- A way to accept payments – credit card payments.
- A way to deliver the product – shipping.
- A way to accept returns.
- A way to provide customer service.
Advantages of E-commerce
- Shopping can be done anytime of day or night. 24/7.
- Lower order –taking and customer service costs.
- Goods are available from all over the world.
- Orders can be placed and accounts settled from the comfort of a home.
- Security of payments is constantly being monitored and improved.
- For sellers, it is usually means larger purchases per transaction.
- Sellers can display larger catalogs e.g. Amzon.com, Car junction.com,
Disadvantages of E-commerce
- Choosing of goods from a virtual shop is difficult.
- It may sometimes be difficult to assess the quality of goods ordered
- Clothing cannot be tried on before purchasing and sending it back can become a burden and expensive.
- There is no human contact.
- There will always be the risk of insecure payment methods.
- Personal details are obtained during the payment process and this information can be used illegally.
- For sellers it is a constant challenge to get people to buy something from websites.
The Impact of the Internet
The internet is the global network of computers that allow people world wide to share information and to communicate electronically.
The World Wide Web (WWW) also known as the web provides access to a wealth of information stored in hypertext files called web pages. A series of related web pages is called a website. The Web is actually an enormous information system or library that uses specific methods of transferring files between computers.
To connect to the internet the following is needed.
- A computer
- A telephone connection
- A modem.
- Internet Browser.
- An Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Features of the internet
- World Wide Web
- File transfer
- Search engines
- Chat rooms
- News groups
- Web browser
Uses of internet
- Games and entertainment
- Banking and shopping.
- Electronic mail.
- Access to databases all over the world
- Discussion groups
- Place orders
- Book flights
- Read the papers
- View live camera images
- Download software, songs, movies etc.
Drawbacks of the internet
- There is little control over what is on the web sites e.g. misleading material, offensive material, unreliable material, rubbish material.
- Terrorists can obtain information about how to produce and procure weapons.
- Material promoting distrust or hatred towards certain groups is easy to find.
- Pornography material is easily circulated.
- Data on the internet is not secure.
- Web browser': is software application for retrieving, presenting resources or surfing on the World Wide Web. e.g. Internet Explorer, Opera, Mozila firefox, Netscape Navigator, Safari etc
- Web site: this is a page containing many different web pages.
- Web page: This is any single electronic document on the World Wide Web.
- Search engine: is a computer program or software designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. e.g. Google, Yahoo,
- HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): a protocol that is used to create documents and make it readable to everyone that opens the document.
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol): a protocol that is used to copy and download, transfer files, documents, graphics etc from the internet or between web sites.
- HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language): This is a special formatting language that is used to create web pages or hypertext files.
- URL (Uniform Resource Locator): This is a web site address or Web page address.
- HOME PAGE: This is the page that appears every time you open any web browser.
- Cookies: this is a file created by an internet site to store visited sites or information on the computer.
- Cache: This is the amount of space available to temporarily store recently opened Internet pages.
Electronic Mail This is the method of sending electronic messages within an organisation or to anyone around the globe. Examples of e-mail software: Outlook Express, Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail,
The E-mail Address: An e-mail address consists of three main sections: username, host name and domain name .e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
- User Name (mutuzana): the username is always followed by the @ symbol.
- Host Name (gmail): usually the name of an organisation such as company or institution or ISP. It is usually followed by a full stop.
- Domain Name (com): Indicates the type of institution where the e-mail address originates.
'Charactaristics of an e-mail address'
- Usually typed in small letters or lower case.
- Usually no spaces.
- An @ symbol is always used between the username and the host name.
- The full stop used is called a dot.
- Dots need to be at the correct places.
Advantages of electronic mail
- Very quick delivery.
- Less use of paper. e.g. mails can be read and replied without printing, a letter can be written using a word processor then attached and sent.
- Very cheap to send
- Can be sent at any time to suit the sender.
- Generally reliable.
- Records and copies can be kept automatically.
Disadvantages of electronic mail
- Electronic mail can only be sent to people with email addresses who subscribe to the service and use it regularly.
- Emails can be misinterpreted.
- It is not secure.
- There is always a risk of viruses.
- It is expensive to use a public network.
- A user does not know any mail has been received until he/she logs in.
- Computers, other hardware and software are required.
- Embarrassing emails can easily be distributed.
- Inbox: shows all the e-mails received after downloading the mail.
- Outbox: shows all the messages that have been typed but not yet sent.
- Sent items: shows all the messages that have been sent.
- Attachment: It is a document that is send with a mail message
ORGANISATION OF AN IT (COMPUTER) DEPARTMENT
IT (computer) Managers This is a person who is responsible for the overall running of the organization’s IT facilities. The IT manager will be in charge of:
- Data collection preparation and control
- Software- design and maintenance, purchase
- Hardware-configuration, purchase and maintenance.
Duties of an IT manager
- Help to determine the IT policy and plans of the organisation (keep up with new developments in computing)
- Coordinate with other departments to determine the computer work to be done.
- Liaise with outsiders e.g. user groups, auditors. (Keep close contacts with suppliers and customers)
- Set budgets and deadlines, i.e. plan, implement and control costs and times of various IT jobs in the department and the organisation overall.
- Help select and promote IT staff, allocate tasks and job responsibilities and chair IT meetings.
- Help to oversee a staff development and training programme.
The Systems Development and Operations Manager
The System Development Manager: This is a person who is in charge of the ‘off-line’ development, i.e. study, analysis and design of a better computer-based systems from which the organisation can benefit. The manager can also help in the implementation of the new system. He/she acts as a chief systems analyst and is responsible for coordinating the work of the analysts and programmers, assigning projects and tasks to them.
Operations manager The operations manager is responsible for the efficient day-to-day running of the computer operations and operating staff.
- Planning procedures, schedules and staff timetables, so that the various computer and programming jobs can be completed on time.
- Working out contingency plans to cope with emergencies.
- Supervising and coordinating: data collection, preparation and control; computer room operations.
- Liaising with the IT manager and the systems development manager regarding: staff training or problems; improvements in work methods or equipment.
System Analysts and Programmers
Systems Analyst: This is a person who studies and analyses a system with a view to designing and improved computerized version. Analysts may specialize in a particular area of work, e.g. in network and data communications design and development. An analyst may also help to implement a new system that he/she has worked on.
- To define the objectives of a system
- To carry out a feasibility study and write a feasibility report of a proposed new system
- To study the existing system
- To analyse the system to establish its strengths and weaknesses.
- To prepare a report describing the existing system
- To design the new system.
- Defining input, processing, storage, transmission and out methods.
- Defining all manual procedures and documents.
- Drawing up diagrams and program specifications for the programmers to follow.
- Providing documentation for the users of the new system
- Helping to implement the new system.
- Designing test data and providing expected results
- Staff training and end user support
Computer Programmers A computer programmer: this is a person who writes, codes or amends programs. Usually a programmer writes a program from a program specification given by the systems analyst. A systems programmer: writes and maintains the systems software. This may require familiarity with a particular computer and its operating system which may be proprietary e.g. Microsoft products An applications programmer: is someone who writes programs or adapts (‘customers’) software packages to carry out specific tasks (applications) for the computer users, e.g. a sales analysis program for the marketing department of a company. This requires:
- An understanding of the business application
- The ability to program in a high-level language
- An in-depth knowledge of software packages.
Duties of an Applications Programmer
- To discuss the program specification with the analyst.
- To write the source program module.
- To test and debug it.
- To produce program documentation including charts where appropriate.
- To maintain existing programs by: correcting errors, making improvements, making modifications to allow for changing business methods or circumstances.
Duties of Chief Programmer
- Liaison with IT, systems and operations managers about programming needs. E.g. training of programmers, languages and equipment needed, staffing needs.
- Liaison with systems analysts about programs.
- Allocation and supervision of programming work.
End-User Support Staff These are personnel that are not IT specialists but nevertheless need to use desktop technology to help them in their jobs. Support staff helps and train users in other departments to use IT systems and run the software. They can help to correct faults.
Qualities of Support Staff The ability to communicate with both business and IT people
- A sound understanding of the relevant software.
Computer Operating and Technical Staff
- Scheduling work for the shift and telling the other operators what to do.
- Supervising the work.
- Ensuring a proper operations log is kept.
- Taking charge when problems arise.
- Liaising with the operations manager about problems on the shift or possible improvements in work methods.
Computer Operator A computer operator controls and operates the hardware in the computer room.
- Starting up equipment
- Running programs
- Loading peripherals with appropriate media e.g. paper into printers and disks into disk drives.
- Responding to messages on the operator’s console, prompted by the operating system which monitors user requests and the status of the peripherals.
- Watching the progress of individual jobs and of the computer system in general.
- Dealing with faults where possible – otherwise reporting them.
- Carrying out cleaning and simple maintenance
- Keeping a log of what happens-to supplement the log produced by the computer.
Technical Support Staff Technical Staff: This person who assists end users.
- Act as troubleshooters
- Correct and log faults
- Handle some queries
- Carry out cleaning and simple maintenance.
Data Preparation and Control Staff A data preparation and control supervisor is in charge of the data preparation area and personnel. With the changes in technology, data preparation and data control staff are declining in numbers.
- Allocating work t the keyboard operators.
- Ensuring that the right data is processed in the right way.
- Checking on the quality of work produced.
- Liaising with users to ensure that: quality of input data is acceptable for data preparation, they are satisfied with the output results.
- Liaising with the operations manager.
- Providing for training and assisting the operators.
- Keeping a record of work processed.
Data Preparation Operator An operator operates a key station to prepare data. The person may specialize in one type of data preparation device e.g. key-to-key station.
- Correctly entering (keying-in) data from source documents and forms.
- Keeping a record of data handled.
- Reporting problems with data or equipment to the supervisor.
File Librarian A file librarian keeps all the files (e.g. tapes and disks) in a computer system organized and up to date.
- Keeping records of files and their use.
- Issuing files for authorized use.
- Storing files securely and preventing unauthorized use.
- Liaising with the data control supervisor or operations staff.
CLASSIFICATION OF COMPUTERS
Super Computers: these are the fastest and very expensive computers. They contain large numbers of high-speed chips that are packed closely together and need to be cooled.
- they are used for specialized applications that require immense capacity of memory.
- they are used for mathematical calculations
- they are used for animated graphics, computer simulations and also for modeling they are used for fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear and energy research.
- they are used for petroleum explorations.
- they can also be used for weather forecasting because it requires immense mathematical calculations.
- they are used in institutions such as NASA, Meteorological offices, research and defense
Mainframe Computers: these are the most powerful computers used where there is a need for a machine that can cope with very high volume transactions and for businesses and accounting applications.
- they are used in banks, insurance companies, large manufactures, Telecommunication companies, Cell phone network companies, gas and electricity companies.
- they are used to hold a large database of information such as car registration, order processing, air-line reservations, holiday bookings.
- it deals with larger volume of data
they need professionals to operate them because of complex commands.
Mini Computers: these are computers that are used for a wide range of business applications such as accounting routines, databases, payroll, stock control, order processing. The typical minicomputer will be able to handle a number of users doing a number of tasks.
- they can also be used in factories for numerical control of machine tools
- they monitor various types of processes.
- they can be interlinked to each other in a network for data interchange or for information gaining access in corporate database
- they need experts and specialists to operate them.
Some minicomputers can be used to free a large mainframe computer from the job of handling communication links with users, thus allowing more efficient use to be made of the mainframe. Minicomputers used in this way are referred to as front-end devices.
- it can be linked into a network consisting of mainframes, minicomputers and other micros for interchange of data.
- it can be connected to fax machine systems
- it share the resource of high speed printers and high capacity disk storage.
Desktop Computers: is any computer designed for use on a desk in an office environment. Therefore home computers and PCs are types of desktop computer. e.g Desk Top, Lap Top, Palm Top, PDA
Workstation Computers: these are computers that are between Personal Computers (PC) and mini-computers.
- they are used in engineering application, desktop publishing, software development
- they have high graphics capabilities.
- they come with a large graphic resolution screen.
- they have inbuilt networks
- they have mass storage device.
- They can be interlinked to form a Local Area Network (LAN) or can be standalone.
Personal Computers: these are relatively small and inexpensive computers designed for an individual use.
- They are used for word processing, accounts, desktop publishing, spreadsheets and database management systems.
- they are single user systems
- they are based on microprocessors ( The CPU made on a single chip)
- they can be interlinked for a network
- they can be used for games at home.
Laptop Computers: these are relatively small and light computers which can be put on the laps. A typical lap-top computer operates on mains electricity or by rechargeable batteries and is small enough to fit inside a brief case.
- laptops have inbuilt disk drives and flat screens commonly known as Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD).