FS104 Computer Applications :: Art Institute

Week 1: Computer Hardware and History


Discuss class goals, objectives and expectations.

Syllabus: Monday Class

Syllabus: Saturday Class

Computer Hardware

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View Slideshow: PDF


  • Motherboard
  • Hard Drive
  • CPU / Processor
  • Memory
  • Video Card

Computer Hardware Research

Form groups of 3-4 students. Each group will be assigned a type of hardware component from the list above. Write 2-3 paragraphs in Microsoft Word in your own words about the component. Include at least 2 links to relevant web pages. Be sure to list all of your group members in your document.

Take 40 minutes to compile your report, then share out with the rest of the class briefly.

Possible Subtopics

You might assign these subtopics to specific team members, then combine the responses:

  • history and invention of the component
  • how the component works
  • various types of the component
  • factors which affect the overall computer performance
  • what can go wrong?

How Big Is a Terabyte?

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View Slideshow: PDF

Video: History of Computers

Watch the video "Computers" and take notes on the history of computers. Make note of significant people, events, and pieces of technology, in particular:

  • Charles Babbage and the Analytical Engine in the mid-1800s
  • Herman Hollerith, punch cards, and the census of 1890
  • Alan Turing, ENIGMA, Colossus, and vacuum tubes in World War II
  • John Mauchly, Presper Eckert, and ENIAC in World War II
  • John von Neumann and First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC in 1945
  • John Mauchly, Presper Eckert, UNIVAC, and the 1952 election
  • The transistor in the 1950s
  • Jack Kilby, Robert Noyce, and the integrated circuit in the 1950s
  • Douglas Engelbart and the mouse in the 1960s
  • IBM and mainframe computers in the 1970s
  • Ted Hoff, Intel, and microprocessors in the 1970s
  • Steve Jobs, Steven Wozniak, and Apple Computer
  • Bill Gates and Microsoft

Next week there will be a review exercise based on this video.

Spec Out a Computer to Buy

If you were in the market for a new computer, what would you buy and why? Would it be a desktop? Would it be a laptop? What features does it have to have?

Do some online shopping and find a system that works for you. Then report back in a Microsoft Word document.

  • What specifications appeal to you most?
  • Which ones are confusing?
  • What are the most important features?
  • Compare it to one other computer system. What are the differences? Why is the one you chose better for you?
  • Be sure you talk about at least three of the components we discussed in class.
  • Be sure to include the links to the specific products discussed.

Here are some possible places to "shop":


See instructions to the left for the documents listed below.

eCompanion Dropbox

Upload the following to the Week 1 Lesson basket:

  • Computer Hardware Research (MS Word) (Mondays: 25 points, Saturdays: 30 points)
  • Spec Out a Computer to Buy (MS Word) (Mondays: 25 points, Saturdays: 30 points)