The new track: Computing offered by the Faculty of Computer Studies consists of a minimum of 131 credit hours (490 points) and is distributed as follows:
Information Technology and Computing are used in almost every aspect of our lives. The Faculty of Computer Studies (FCS) at AOU offers an Undergraduate Programme in Information Technology and Computing (ITC). The Bachelor of Science in IT and Computing has four tracks, designed to meet the needs of the modern society. The students who are admitted to the Programme will have the option to choose one of the following four Honors degrees:
AOU's course material is adapted from the courses taught in a similar program at UK-OU. Our graduates will be awarded two Honors degrees: one from the Open University in UK and the other from one of our local branches in Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon or Oman.
BSc (Hons) in Computing
(1) Mandatory General University Requirements (18 credit hours)
(2) University Electives (14 credit hours)
(3) Major, core program courses (99 credit hours)
** Level 2 and 3 courses.
In the learning process, students should register in programme courses in a sequential way, no second level course is to be taken before first level courses, and also, no third level course should be taken before second level courses. In addition to the prerequisites mentioned in the major courses table, some courses need deanship approval.
Faculty Requirement Category (Up to 8 credit hours from Electives):
The Faculty Requirement Category has recently been approved by the Academic Committee. The aim of this category of courses is to utilize 8 credit hours from the 14 credit hours of Electives to Introduce ITC and ICT Courses to meet individual Branch Requirements for their local accreditation purposes.
1- General requirement courses:
GR101- Independent Study Skills - 10 points/ 3 credit hours
This course aims at helping students develop a wide range of effective study techniques and strategies necessary to help them succeed in their university studies. It focuses on note-taking and making use of different study media, writing reports, using study resource materials and references and preparing for examinations.
This is a 12-week course that provides an introduction to computing and the on-line world. Students learn about software applications such as word processing, databases and electronic mail. They take part in on-line discussions, search the web and author simple web pages using HTML. This course is taught entirely on-line. The total teaching and assessment material is published on the course web site, to which only registered students have access. Students work both individually and in groups with fellow students on collaborative projects, supported by a personal tutor.
AR111 - Arabic Communication Skills I - 10 points / 3 credit hours
This course aims at consolidating the students' skills and competence in listening comprehension, reading comprehension and writing Arabic. It also aims at introducing the students to the basics of Arabic syntax and literary appreciation.
AR112 - Arabic Communication Skills II - 10 points / 3 credit hours
This course builds on and extends the knowledge and skills developed in AR111 and introduces the students to different aspects of Arab culture as reflected in the writings of leading figures, both old and new. It also trains the students in research methodology and report writing.
EL111 - English Communication Skills I - 10 points / 3 credit hours
This is a theme-based integrated skills course which aims to upgrade the student's proficiency level to the extent that he/she can communicate with ease and confidence and utilize English in pursuing his/her university education.
EL112 - English Communication Skills II - 10 points / 3 credit hours
This course complements and builds upon English 111. It particularly seeks to develop the reading, writing, listening, and study skills which students need in order to meet the demands of distance learning university education.
2- Elective courses:
DD121 - An Introduction to the Social Sciences (Part I) - 30 points / 8 credit hours
This course is about people and how they act individually and collectively. It deals with three major topics: questioning identity, interaction between the worlds of the natural and the social, and the ordering of lives.
This course introduces the Islamic culture, civilization and its history. It deals with the beginning of Islamic civilization and its development. How did the Islamic civilization grow with the time? What is importance of education in Islam? How does Islam stress on thinking and research? How does Islam encourage learning from nature and wandering on the land of Allah and looking into the nature. How does Islam encourage and support academic research and development in all fields of life? What is political system of Islam? What are the fundamental principles to run and manage a state in Islam? How is the concept of religion and religious life in Islam different from other thoughts? What are outstanding features of social life in an Islamic country and Muslim society? What are the economic philosophy and guidelines of Islam? How was Islamic art considered as the best in medieval period?
This course helps students to incorporate mathematical thinking into their everyday life. It looks mathematically at matters of general interest including prices, earnings, health, music, art, maps, motion and rainbows. It develops the key skills of communication as well as students' own learning and performance. Students will cover statistical, graphical, algebraic and numerical concepts and techniques. In addition, they will be introduced to iteration and mathematical modeling, as well as being able to interpret slopes of graphs. Students will also learn how to use a graphing calculator. Formal calculus is not included.
T172 - Working with Our Environment: Technology for a Sustainable Future - 30 points / 8 credit hours
This course is an introduction to environmental issues and the role of technology in today's fast paced computer world. It will suit the needs of students whether they intend to study technology or if they have a general interest in learning how to shape a sustainable future. It takes students progressively from environmental impacts of their lifestyle to the global issues of technological and economic development. They will also learn general skills such as basic numeracy, critical reading, report and essay writing. This course introduces more specific skills and knowledge required for higher-level environment or technology courses. The themes are: You and the Environment, Traveling Light, Food Chains, and Thinking globally; supported by files on Energy, Resources, and Human and Ecosystem Health. The course also includes computer-based activities.
From design concepts to the manufacturing of products, this course examines the range of human activity that is 'engineering'. It introduces the context of how engineers operate, including issues such as risk assessment and patent law. It looks at current engineering practice and at some of the developments in engineering methods and applications that will shape the future. It offers a general introduction both for those who simply have an interest in what engineering is and how it is practiced in modern society, and for those who are considering engineering at higher level of study.
This course consists of major two parts. The first part deals with the brief history of establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Then it elaborates its legislative, administrative and judicial systems. Establishment of various governmental organizations along with their goals and functioning systems also has been included. The Second part of the course deals with the educational systems of the Kingdom starting from the previous educational history. It focuses on the main features and goals of primary, secondary and higher educations in the Kingdom. Different educational methods have been included. The role of private sector and private organizations has been discussed. It also includes all related important features and characteristics of modern education.
DD122-An Introduction to the Social Sciences (II) Understanding Social Change Part - 30 points / 8 credit hours
This course is about understanding more key debates, ideas and arguments about the contemporary social sciences, race and ethnicity, the city and globalization, the city and knowledge and communication. It also deals with the relationship between structure and agency and focuses on uncertainty and diversity in the post-war and analyses the consequences of globalizing world on culture, economics and politics.
The aim of this course is to introduce the students to the following topics:
To teach students notations used in the discrete mathematics associated with computer science
To teach the rudiments of elementary mathematical reasoning (elementary proofs; proofs by induction)
To prepare students for the theoretical parts of all further courses in CS.
To study logic and Boolean algebra from a mathematical perspective, but relating it to computer applications.
To introduce basic set-theoretical notions: relations, functions, graphs, equivalence relations, and orderings.
To relate these notions to applications in CS.
3- Major, core courses:
M150 - Data, computing and information - 30 points / 8 credit hours
The major theme of M150 is the transformation of data into information using computers. You will also learn to write simple programs. This will provide you with the basic knowledge required for further study of computing if you wish to continue with the subject. If your interests lie elsewhere, you will find that what you learn will enable you to use a computer to produce better information (whether it will be a website, a document, a piece of music, or a picture) and to combine different types of information successfully
T175 - Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies - 30 points / 8 credits
This course will take you on a journey towards understanding information and communication technologies. You will study examples of ICT systems, learn about the concepts they are based on, and consider the contexts in which they are used. You will also develop the skills needed to learn effectively about ICT systems, both in this course and in your further studies. As you study the course, you will gain hands-on experience of ICT systems.
MST121- Using Mathematics - 30 points / 8 credit hours
It covers a broad introduction to the nature of mathematics and its uses in the modern world. This course shows how mathematics can be used to investigate and answer questions from science, technology and everyday life using a range of fundamental techniques, in particular, discrete mathematics (including matrices), calculus and statistics. Use of computer software (MathCAD) is an essential part of the course. The skills of communicating results and defining problems are also developed. This course will give students a complete foundation for higher-level mathematics and physics.
This course teaches the fundamental ideas behind the object-oriented approach to programming; through the widely-used Java programming language. The course concentrates on those aspects of the Java language that best demonstrate object-oriented principles and good practice. M255 will give you a solid basis for further study of the Java language and object-oriented software development.
Before studying this course, you should be confident of your ability to use a Windows-based PC and have some experience of writing small programs, such as that gained through study of Block 2 of M150. You should also be able to write short explanations of technical ideas in your own words, and be able to communicate with others electronically.
M263 - Building Blocks of Software- 30 points / 8 credit hours
M263 is for you if you intend to specialize in computing. It is an introductory course covering essential formal and theoretical concepts needed in the study of computing. The course covers fundamentals of computer science such as specification and abstraction in code; data structures; and data types and classes. It then moves on to efficiency and proof of correctness of programs, providing a basis for formal methods of software development. The course also includes an introduction to formal logic. Mathematical ideas (such as sets and functions) are introduced where they help to clarify computing concepts.
M256 - Software development with Java - 30 points / 8 credit hours
Discover the fundamentals of an object-oriented approach to software development. Starting from an analysis of requirements, you'll be introduced to up-to-date analytical techniques and processes essential for specifying, designing and implementing a software system, including a graphical user interface. The small systems developed in the course are chosen to facilitate learning though the underlying concepts are widely used by professional software developers. Software models are created with UML and implemented with Java 5, using NetBeans. You need Java experience, preferably by prior study of M255 and M257, though it is possible to study M257 alongside M256.
M257 - Putting Java to work - 20 points / 6 credit hours
This course teaches the industrial programming language Java. It provides a good grounding in many of the advanced facilities of this object-oriented language including inheritance, polymorphism, class libraries and the Java human-computer interface. The course concludes with two case studies which use the full power of the language. By completing this course you will be well-equipped to work on small-scale industrial software projects. All development will be carried out using the NetBeans development environment supplied by the OU. The course assumes basic programming skills, for example you must be familiar with the main control constructs of a modern programming language.
M253 - Team work in distributed environment - 10 points / 3 credit hours
M253 gives you an understanding of the issues and processes involved in planning and carrying out a team-based, problem-solving project where team members are not co-located: a situation that is becoming more common in the electronic age. You will gain practical experience in team working on a case study, which will be developed through several phases. You will be able to develop: your skills in analysis, design and evaluation; your ability to reflect critically on the processes and outcomes involved; and your team-working skills. You will work remotely, communicating with your tutor and collaborating with other team members electronically.
The computing systems that support any large enterprise now use concurrency and distribution. In this course, you'll look at the theory and practice of developing such systems. You'll also learn about the advanced use of Java - such as Java's concurrency features and the layered approach for building large enterprise systems - using Java Enterprise Edition as a practical illustration.
You'll also examine heterogeneous and mobile systems and security. The course uses examples, from simple stand-alone systems, distributed systems with web access and online auction systems. You should be familiar with Java 5.0, which could be achieved by successfully completing M257 or its equivalent.
This course covers the design and construction of software systems. Constructing software systems to meet a set of sometimes diverse and even conflicting user requirements can be a daunting prospect! This course will provide you with the intellectual tools to make such tasks easier. Building on M257 Putting Java to work and M256 Software development with Java, you will examine the disciplined approach needed to satisfy all user requirements and expectations. Using CASE tools (such as a Java IDE and a modeling tool), you'll study topics including analysis and design in UML and managing the OO software development process. You will also explore how software systems can be delivered in a timely and economical manner and be resilient to changes introduced during their operational lifetime
M359 - Relational data base theory and practice - 30 points / 8 credit hours
This advanced computing course offers perspectives on relational databases. It introduces database management systems and the facilities required to store and access large collections of data in a shared user environment. This is followed by a theory of relations, underpinning topics such as data modeling and database architecture; the database language SQL; and the development of a practical database system. Also considered are issues surrounding the on-going development and application of relational database technologies, including the role of JAVA and XML. You should be familiar with computers, particularly program construction and using files and operating systems, as taught in our Level 2 computing courses.
In M366, you'll look at work at the frontiers of research in computing, where ideas from biology are inspiring computer scientists to find new solutions to old problems - particularly in the quest to build truly intelligent computer systems. The first half of the course presents a survey of both traditional and modern approaches to artificial intelligence, bringing out the concepts that underlie them. In the second half, you'll explore in detail the theory and applications of two classes of system inspired by biology: neural networks and evolutionary computation.
This advanced computing course offers perspectives on relational databases, based on the storage of data as tables. This course begins with an introduction to the use of the databases in information systems, with examples. This is followed by a theory of relations that are applied to the representation of models of data, and practical implementation in the database language SQL. The development of a database system is covered and finally, issues to do with a broader view of relational databases.
T471 is a project course that will give you skills and experience in completing an individual project. You will develop the project topic, carry it out and then write it up. A tutor will advise and guide you, but you will be expected to produce your work independently, without close supervision. You must also keep a project log and use it for an assessed critical review of your work. The emphasis is on you being a reflective practitioner, developing not only the technical aspects of your project but also reviewing and thinking about what you have learnt from doing the work to further improve your skills. There are guidance notes and a resources CD-ROM but no teaching material associated with the course.
Project work at this level is a challenge, but one which you should now be ready to tackle and enjoy. Doing a project offers you an opportunity to bring together knowledge and understanding you have gained from your study, and apply it to a related area.
The project is not a conventional Arab Open University course in that there is very little specific teaching material. Instead, there are resources that offer you an opportunity to develop and enhance your skills and experience in completing an individual project. Your tutor will act more as a mentor to whom you will be expected to bring ideas and suggestions. He or she may suggest possible avenues for exploration or approaches to think about, but you will have to make and be able to justify your own decisions about how you manage and develop your project. You must also keep a project log and make use of it to critically review your work.
Your first task will be to develop a proposal for an interesting project to work on and to set goals that are realistic within the constraints of your available time and resources. You will then plan and carry out the project, and write it up. You will need to monitor your own progress and adapt your plans accordingly as the project unfolds. Finally, you will be asked to look back over your work, evaluate how you tackled the project as a whole and identify what you have learned from your approach.
About 60 per cent of your study time should be spent on developing your project, and about 40 per cent on understanding how to plan, monitor and critically evaluate your work. Learning about how projects develop and being able to explain why your project has developed in the way it has are skills that are central to this course and its learning outcomes. The emphasis is on you becoming a reflective practitioner. That is, someone who is technically proficient but who is also able to step back from the details to think about how their project is progressing, what they have learned, and how their knowledge and skills might be further improved.
As you progress through the Computing track, you will build up knowledge and understanding, and a collection of skills. These are described below in four areas below.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
The key concepts of software development and maintenance, including principles of requirements analysis, design and programming, and the representation and meaning of data;
The methods and tools used to develop a range of software systems;
The range of situations in which computer systems are used, the ways in which people interact with them and the ethical, social and legal problems that computer software can create.
You will be able to:
Explain key software development concepts and apply them to practical problems, including in an extended piece of work
Analyze problems, and design and evaluate suitable solutions to them;
Compare and contrast a variety of software development methods and tools, identifying the best choices to apply to specific problems;
Explain the various roles, functions and interactions of members of a software development team.
Practical and/or professional skills and attributes
You will be able to:
Design, program, test and evaluate software systems;
Use modern software tools;
Identify and handle the ethical, social and legal issues that may arise during software development and use.
You will be able to:
Work independently, planning, monitoring, reflecting on and improving your own learning;
Work in a group, communicating effectively;
Find, assess and apply information from a variety of sources, using information technology where necessary;
Use numerical and analytical techniques to solve problems.
The Computing track in the computer studies program provides with each course an important document called study calendar. The calendar provides students with the breakdown of tutorial sessions over the semester weeks. The students must follow this study calendar so they will not face major problems in covering the course materials. Thus, they can perform the required activities and meet the dead lines in a comfortable manner.
The study calendar lists course tutorials and their coverage, as well as the dates when the relevant activities (TMA, CMA,) should be delivered. Also, it states the dates of the MTAs and the period of final exams.
In the Computing track, most major courses are annual courses spread over two semesters. Few courses are one semester courses.
The assessment is based on three main types of written works:
Quizzes or MTAs (Mid-Term Assessments)
The student assessments consists of two components:
Continuous assessment: This comprises the TMAs (35%) and the Quizzes/MTAs (15%) representing 50 % of the overall assessment score.
Examination assessment: This consists of one final exam for one semester courses and two end-of-semester final examinations for two semester courses. In both cases, this component represents 50 % of the overall assessment score.
The number of TMAs varies from one course to another, usually, 3 credit courses have two to three TMAs, 8 credit courses have 4 to 6 TMAs and 16 credit courses have six to eight TMAs.
In the project course the assessment is usually based on the following:
TMAs work ( 4 TMAs, each having a weight of 10 % )
Project report (20 %)
Project Presentation (20 %)
Project implementation (20 %)
The allocation of marks for project work depends on all the above mentioned components. At the end of the project as per the course calendar, each student must defend his project in a presentation in front of a committee of tutors and staff tutors of the Computing department.