Introduction to Handheld Computers

I.     Course Prefix/Number: CIS 133

       Course Name: Introduction to Handheld Computers

       Credits: 2 (2 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces handheld computers, also known as PDAs, using devices running the PalmOS operating system. Content includes using the data book, address book, to-do list, memo pad, calculator, using the stylus to input information, pre-installed applications, and installing new software applications.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to demonstrate introductory-level proficiency in using a PalmOS-based handheld computer (also known as a PDA).  Concepts learned will include:

  1. Use of the PDA to manage schedules and tasks
  2. Use of the PDA to store data
  3. Entering data with a stylus
  4. Adding new applications to the PDA as needed
  5. Backing up the PDA via synchronization
  6. Understanding PDA choices

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction to Handheld computing
    1. How is it different?
    2. Families of handheld computers
      1. PalmOS
      2. PocketPC
    3. The PalmOS based PDA
      1. Screen
      2. Stylus
      3. Silkscreen area
      4. Application Buttons
      5. Scroll Buttons
      6. HotSync Cradle
  2. Introduction to PalmOS
    1. Navigation
    2. Menus
    3. Onscreen Keyboard
    4. Graffiti
    5. Launching Applications
  3. Standard PalmOS Software
    1. Date Book
    2. Address Book
    3. To Do List
    4. Memo Pad
    5. Calculator
    6. Other built-in features
  4. Adding New Software
    1. Why add new software?
    2. How to find programs
    3. Installation of programs
    4. Use of programs
  5. Synchronization and Palm Desktop
    1. Why synchronize?
    2. Using Palm Desktop
    3. Other desktop applications
  6. Troubleshooting
  7. Memory and battery management
  8. Other hardware features
    1. Handspring PDA
    2. Wireless access
    3. Selecting a PDA

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Reading, lecture, discussion, hands-on exercises and projects, assignments, quizzes, and/or tests.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Reading: Students will be expected to read textbook and research appropriate manuals as needed.
Writing:  Aspects of PDA use require the student to be able to write using clear and syntactically correct English.
Computer:  Students will use handheld and desktop computers.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Students will be evaluated on quality of programs, other written assignments, quizzes, and tests as specified by the instructor.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at