CpSc 100: Introduction to Computing for Liberal Arts

1. About the class (SRU online course material – for registered students. Some copyrighted material.)
2. Introduction
3. Internal Hardware
4. Peripheral Hardware
5. Software & System Administration
6a. Internet, Applications & the WWW
6b. Research, Privacy & Security
7. Personal
8. Networking


This material was developed for a one semester hour, online course at Slippery Rock University.

Organization and Goals

The course is divided into eight modules, the first of which is for registered students at Slippery Rock University. The content of the first module is expected to change for various instructors. For the original author this includes some introductory material about the course and the SRU computing environment. Course specific materials, such as the course syllabus, online quizzes, assignments, etc, will be managed via a Desire2Learn course shell.

Each module is further divided into submodules for that topic. The directory page for each module describes the instructor, department, college and university goals addressed in the module. Although specific for the course at Slippery Rock University, they are (I hope) appropriate for general use.

Why stop here?

There are numerous introductory books and on-line courses. They differ in goals, content and organization. These notes are my humble attempt to accomplish the goals the University set out, along with a few of my own. Primary among my own goals is to bring all of you up to the level of your peers — and to have a little fun while doing so. Nevertheless, the hardest part is knowing when to stop and what to leave out. Your individual interests (and current knowledge) is so widely varied that I have decided to sprinkle the notes with links and suggestions for how you can expand on what I have decided to include. Don't feel obligated to use my links or my search terms – use your own. Whatever your current experience with the Web, you will be amazed (at least I am) at vast amount of useful information available to you.

Watch for the following links in the material. Use them as you wish. Except where specifically noted, they are not required!

wikipedia icon computing search icon "introduction to computers" -book -course video icon How to learn everything about computers

Each of these will show up in a seprate window. Assuming no mistakes, you will never have more than five windows (tabs) in use. One each for: the main article, larger images, additional material, search results, and videos. The zoomed images generally appear in the Wikimedia Commons page for the image and can often be increased in size further by a second click.

Video Clips

The optional video clips selected for inclusion include a large number from Lab Rats, a technology webcast that currently has 281 episodes. Now, that is success!

Regular Lab Rats episodes last anywhere from 15 to a little over 20 minutes, while all of the other clips tend to be short. Lab Rats clips have a special icon, shown to the right. Clicking on this icon will take you to their YouTube video. You can meet the team by selecting the icon now. And, you should try the (recommended) "sidebar".

video icon
#0 Introducing Andy, Sean, Biff & Boo

sidebar Sidebar on LabRats videosRECOMMENDED!

Wikiversity & Wikipedia

I am grateful to those who created the Wikiversity course, Introduction to Computers, and to all of the many authors contributing to Wikipedia and Wikiversity. The course provided inspiration, organization, and a significant amount of material. Wikipedia is used as a source of material and linked extensively throughout these notes. (See "Why stop here" above.)

So, why didn't I just fix up the Wikiversity course and use that? First, although some of it is in relatively good shape for use, other parts were (and are) not. And, I was in something of a rush to complete a static version that I could use as a course resource. This precluded the necessary negotiation of what belongs, what is correct, and how to say it, not to mention dealing with vandalism, in a wiki.

Nevertheless, anyone choosing to do so is welcome to port the work over. Images are either from the Wikimedia Commons, public domain, low resolution thumbnails (linking to the original), or created by me. The compilation, original text and images are all copyright Dr. Paul Mullins, Slippery Rock University 2011 and released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The author does not claim ownership of, or the right to transfer license to, any linked (off site) content or any image using Microsoft PowerPoint clipart. The majority of images shown are directly linked from Wikimedia Commons – and they are in turn linked back to the information page for the image. Some images are served from this site. These images include some modifications of images available under license from Wikimedia, some original work, and a few "fair uses". Anyone wishing to reuse images, should look here first: Using Images

Broken or dead links

I have attempted to select links to material, such a videos, search engines, Wikipedia, and occasionally other sources that are likely to remain intact. Yet, the Web is dynamic. I expect that each time I teach the course, the material will be updated. How regular that is, is uncertain. I recommend that instructors intending to use the material consider porting it to Wikiversity first. (Something I may do myself in the future.)



There are several locations in the notes where information is added in the sidebar (as opposed to images and video clips). Some that are not as directly relevant, for which there was not room, or that are used in multiple places, are indicated by the sidebar icon, shown on the left. Click the sidebar icon to to read my ramblings about something or other. (This one is about the Lab Rats videos, so it's "recommended".) Although any work necessarily reflects the viewpoint of the author, this is more true in the sidebars, which may include the Instructor's rather cynical, and occasionally Luddite-like, opinions.

Sidebars are considered part of the course material for my registered students.



You will almost certainly find something to disagree with. Read the sidebar, then go back the paragraph on Wikiversity.

Contacting the author

Corrections, suggestions, notice of broken links, etc. can all be sent to:
  paul.mullins using the sru.edu
email system. (Yes, you have to use the "at symbol" above as shown below, where you have to substitute my first and last names.)

Registered students must send course email to their instructor's campus address using the format:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Attribution: Dr. Paul Mullins, Slippery Rock University
These notes began life as the Wikiversity course Introduction to Computers.
The course draws extensively from and uses links to Wikipedia.
A large number of video links are provided to labrats.tv. (I hope you like cats. And food demos.)