Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

A strong foundation in the fundamentals of digital technologies and computing is a valuable asset in a broad range of professional contexts and provides a necessary basis for further study in the digital technologies discipline.

This unit will introduce students to computers as collections of hardware, software, networks, data, and applications and show students how they are configured to meet the needs of organisations and end-users. Students will be introduced to data analysis, data analytics and problem-solving skills using spreadsheets and databases and acquire a real-life understanding of the strategic and social impact of computers. This unit culminates in the development of a simple information system for solving real-world problems through the application of their developing systems and design thinking skills.

The aim of this unit is for students to learn how to work with and communicate with data in ethical and authentic projects so that they can apply knowledge and skills in a variety of professional settings.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1       Describe the structure and role of computer hardware and software in managing, controlling and securing the movement of and access to data in networked digital systems (GA5, GA8).

LO2       Analyse and visualise data using a range of software to create information, and use structured data to model objects or events (GA5, GA10) 

LO3       Plan and manage software projects using an iterative and collaborative approach, identifying risks and considering ethics, safety and sustainability (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

Module 1: Hardware

  • Digital Content
  • Digital Devices

Module 2: Networks

  • Network Basics
  • Internet
  • The Web
  • Digital Security

Module 3: Software

  • Spreadsheets -data analysis
  • Databases
  • Database project management
  • Data modelling using ERD
  • Data visualisation using SQL
  • Information systems
  • Programming
  • Artificial Intelligence -Data Analytics

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

A student-focused, problem-based learning approach is used in this unit. This enables the development of conceptual, procedural and professional knowledge and skills that allow students to practise design-thinking, systems-thinking and computational-thinking skills.

The learning trajectory follows the ACU’s 3A framework:

Acquisition: Students encounter concepts and principles important to hardware and software, networking and database systems theory through interactive lectures. Concepts are discussed and broadened through analysis of specific case studies and further informed by research during the development of design projects. In practical tutorials, students perform data analysis, data visualisation, data modelling and database development using data processing tools, as well as learning to evaluate databases.

Assimilation: Issues in software project management are introduced through a practice-oriented learning method. This method involves the parallel development of procedural and conceptual skills required for the design, development, evaluation and documentation of information systems.

Application: Using a system-thinking approach, students develop solutions to real-world problems. They design, develop, communicate and evaluate software solutions by combining the knowledge, understanding and skills they have assimilated during the tutorials.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The problem-based learning strategy employed in this unit is supported by the integration of progressive authentic assessment tasks completed at critical points in the students’ learning.

Initially, students acquire knowledge in hardware, software and networking theory and will develop skills in building software solutions through practical tutorial classes.

Practical tutorials provide opportunities for formative assessment which supports assimilation of knowledge of hardware, software and networking concepts.

Summative assessment aims to assess students’ competencies and how well they can apply knowledge and skills (conceptual, procedural and professional) in a holistic manner using an integrated approach to solving design problems.

In this unit, students’ skills are assessed by means of a quiz, network assessment and database design project that assesses their achievement of a synthesis between theory, practice and the application of the skills they have learnt in the unit. The information system project will document students’ project management skills in system analysis and design processes and will include evidence of project definition, research, ideation, prototyping, iteration, critical evaluation and risk assessment.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


Requires students to demonstrate their knowledge of hardware, software and networking theory



GA5, GA8

Individual Assessment: Node diagram

Requires students to demonstrate competence in creating an ‘Internet of things’ model that incorporates a functioning user interface.


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA8, GA10

Database Design Project

Requires students to demonstrate competence in software project management. This will include the design, development, testing and documentation of an information system..


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Baltzan, P., & Phillips, A. (2020). Business driven information systems (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Connolly, T., & Begg, C. (2015). Database systems: A practical approach to design, implementation and management (6th ed. global ed.).

Evergreen, S. (2017). Effective data visualization: The right chart for the right data. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Laudon, K., & Laudon, J. (2018). Management information systems: Managing the digital firm (15th ed.). New York: Pearson.

Linoff, G. S. (2015). Data analysis Using SQL and Excel. Retrieved from

Monk, E., Brady, J., & Mendelsohn, E. (2020). Problem solving cases in Microsoft Access & Excel. (16th ed.). Cengage Learning US.

Morley, D., & Parker, C. (2017). Understanding computers: Today and tomorrow (16th ed.). Stanford: International Edition Cengage Learning. 

Oppitz, M., & Tomsu, P. (2018). Inventing the cloud century: How cloudiness keeps changing our life, economy and technology. Retrieved from

Parsons, J. (2018). New perspectives on computer concepts 2018. Sydney: Course Technology (Cengage).

Rainer, R. K., & Prince, B. (2020). Introduction to information systems: Supporting and transforming business (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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