Computer Software and Concepts

I.     Course Prefix/Number: CIS 103

       Course Name: Computer Software and Concepts

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 3 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces business application software and fundamental concepts of computer hardware. Hands-on experience in word processing, spreadsheeting, database development, presentation graphics, digital imaging and photo editing, diagramming software, Windows operating system, computer security, and Internet (web browsers, email, and website development) software. Intended for students seeking careers as Information Technology (IT) professionals or for those needing exposure to various software applications. Recommended: High school algebra, MAT070, or equivalent skills.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Students who successfully complete this course will be "computer literate" with a working knowledge of a variety of business software. They will understand the capabilities of microcomputers and will be able to apply them to their own environments. Students will be able to:

  1. Identify the major hardware elements of a personal computer system and describe the purpose of each element including the CPU, input and output devices, and storage devices
  2. Describe computer networking hardware and software
  3. Determine the requirements for a computer system including hardware and software based on a company or individual's usage
  4. Explain the role of and use the World Wide Web to browse and search
  5. Use email as a form of communication
  6. Identify various software and practices to safeguard the computer system
  7. Explain the role of an operating system and perform basic operating system commands
  8. Explain the role of word processing and perform basic word processing features
  9. Explain the role of spreadsheeting software and perform basic spreadsheeting features
  10. Explain the role of databases and perform basic database features
  11. Explain the role of presentation graphics and develop a basic presentation using the software features
  12. Explain the role of digital imaging and photo editing software and perform basic digital image manipulation features
  13. Explain the role of diagramming software and develop a basic diagram using the software features
  14. Explain the role of website development and develop a basic website using the software features
  15. Understand integration of software applications

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. Introductory microcomputer concepts
    1. The major components of a computer
    2. The information processing cycle (input, process, output, and storage)
    3. Stored program concept
  2. Hardware
    1. Input devices
    2. Output devices
    3. Processing devices
    4. Primary and secondary storage
    5. *Use of hardware
    6. Hardware selection
  3. Software categories
    1. Application software
    2. System software
    3. Programming languages
    4. Integrated software
    5. Software selection
  4. Operation systems
    1. Functions of an operation system
    2. Major operation systems used today
    3. Utilities and language translators
    4. Organization, creation, access, and back-up of files and disks
    5. *Operation system access and usage
  5. Word processing software
    1. Business use of work processing
    2. Word processing concepts and terminology
    3. *Word processing usage
  6. Spreadsheet software
    1. Business use of spreadsheets
      1. Problem solving
      2. Decision support
    2. Concepts and terminology of spreadsheeting
    3. *Spreadsheeting usage
  7. Database management software
    1. Traditional approaches to information processing
    2. File versus database systems
    3. Components of a database management system
    4. Database administration
    5. Database organization
    6. *Database usage
  8. Presentation software
    1. Business use of presentation software
    2. Concepts and terminology of presentation software
    3. *Presentation software usage
  9. Communications, network, and the Internet
    1. Communications hardware
    2. Communications software
    3. Data transmission
    4. Networks
    5. Internet and the World Wide Web
      1. Browsers
      2. finding information
    6. E-mail
  10. Introduction to programming
    1. Programming languages
    2. *The programming process
  11. Management information systems
    1. The role of information in an organization
    2. How information is used in organizations
    3. Information systems life cycle
    4. Types of management information systems
    5. Productivity tools
  12. Multimedia
    1. Media used in multimedia applications
    2. Uses of multimedia applications
    3. Development of multimedia applications
  13. Ethical, security, privacy, and legal issues
    1. Security risks and safeguards
    2. *Viruses and virus protection
    3. *Computer, disk, and file backup
    4. Information privacy issues
    5. Ethical issues related to the information age and the Internet
    6. Copyright issues
  14. Microcomputer careers

*Laboratory instruction and hands-on exercises will be given for each of these topics.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture and discussion in the classroom
  2. Instruction and hands-on computer exercises in the laboratory
  3. Quizzes and  exams
  4. Classroom and laboratory assignments

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

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

  1. Quizzes (to be determined by instructor)
  2. At least one exam (structure to be determined by the instructor)
  3. Evaluation of six or more lab exercises
  4. Evaluation of other homework assignments (e.g. student presentations, research papers)

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

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.