Computer Science (COMP) 200

Introduction to Computing and Information Systems (Revision 6)

COMP 200 Course website

Revision 6 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Skills Required: Basic computer literacy and competence are required.

Prerequisite: None. Complete the steps to Are You Ready to Start an SCIS Program or Course?

Precluded Course: None

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

COMP 200 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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**Note: Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering


COMP 200 is designed as a three-credit course to cover fundamentals of information systems, and to serve as an introduction to, and prerequisite for, a program in Computing and Information Systems. The course will cover basic hardware concepts; the structure (or architecture) of computers; the software hierarchy from systems software to application programs; and information systems concepts and development.

In Comp 200 students will be expected to use a combination of locally-installed and external electronic materials to develop skills needed for further study in the field. This will include downloading, installing and using specialized software tools and setting pathing parameters to allow programs to access their components and files. Because this is a preparatory course for further study in CS, the level of technical content and difficulty in Comp 200 is fairly high.

COMP 210 is recommended as more appropriate for students not majoring in CIS (check your program regulations and transfer credit agreements where appropriate).

Learning Objectives

Students successfully completing this course will be able to:

  • discuss the importance of information systems in organizations
  • list and discuss key steps in microcomputer development and evolution
  • correctly use terms and methods of data representation and measurement
  • define and discuss system software components
  • describe the role and functions of the central processing unit , primary memory and storage
  • describe and discuss the types and functions of peripheral or auxiliary devices
  • list and describe single and multi-user business applications
  • describe the components of relational database and perform a simple data normalization
  • describe the principles of integrated and shared information systems
  • describe the key elements of data- and telecommunications technology
  • define and describe client/server systems and Internet Applications
  • describe the methods and tools for developing application software, including programming languages
  • describe the principles and methods of systems analysis, design, and implementation
  • write simple scripting programs using Python
  • install and use the basic features of a Java Development Toolkit
  • identify and discuss computer technology trends and emerging technologies

Learning Outcomes

After completing COMP 200 students should be well prepared for further study in Computer Science topics such as system or network administration, programming, and database design or administration. Students will have gained some basic programming experience and will be familiar with the installation and basic use of programming tools required in more advanced CS courses.


COMP 200 consists of the following six units:

Unit One: Background and Context

  • Section 1 - History and Social Implications
  • Section 2 - Security and Ethics
  • Section 3 - Architecture
  • Section 4 - Networks
  • Section 5 - The Internet

Unit Two: Foundations of Computer Science

  • Section 1 - Database Fundamentals
  • Section 2 - Numbering Systems and Data Representation
  • Section 3 - Data Structures
  • Section 4 - Operating Systems
  • Section 5 - File Structures

Unit Three: Human Computer Interaction and Software Creation

  • Section 1 - The Human Computer Interface
  • Section 2 - Problem Solving and Debugging
  • Section 3 - Software Engineering
  • Section 4 - Programming


To receive credit for COMP 200, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent), including an average grade 50 percent on the course projects, and at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Quiz 1 2%
TME 1 3%
Quiz 2 2%
TME 2 3%
Quiz 3 2%
TME 3 3%
Course Project Part 1 15%
Course Project Part 2 15%
Course Project Part 3 15%
CMC Participation 10%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Anderson, G., Ferro, D., & Hilton, R. (2011). Connecting with Computer Science (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

The remaining learning materials are distributed in electronic format. At this time, those materials include:

  • Computer Science 200 Study Guide.
  • Detailed descriptions of the requirements for the individual quizzes and tutor-marked exercises.
  • A course evaluation form.
  • Links to a variety of resources on the World Wide Web.

Additional supporting materials of interest to students of COMP 200 may occasionally be made available electronically.

Special Course Features

Information Systems courses at Athabasca University require students to use computer mediated communications.

A word-processing program capable of producing MS-Word compatible documents is required for COMP 200. Students must supply their own software.

MS-Access may also be used in Comp 200, but is not required. A free option to download MS-Access is included in the online course materials, or the database design project may be done without using a database management program.

Minimum hardware standards depend on the requirements of the software used in the course (where applicable). We expect students to have access to computer equipment with the minimum configuration:

Special Instructional Features

COMP 200 is offered through Moodle, a Learning Management System that can be accessed through the Web. COMP 200 can be completed at the student's workplace or home. COMP 200 is an core course in all undergraduate programs offered by the School of Computing and Information Systems.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the COMP 200 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least "D" (50 percent) on the examination and "D" (50 percent) on the project.

Project Exam Total
50% 50% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 6, September 9, 2013.

View previous syllabus