ARCHIVED SAMPLE - course no longer available

University of VictoriaIntroduction to IT English
Home  |  Study Guide  |  IT Guide  |  Grammar & Structure  |  Glossary  |  WebBoard

Unit Descriptions and Objectives

This is a theme-based Information Technology and ESL course. Each unit introduces a different theme.

Unit 1 — The Anything Machine

Unit Description

In this first unit, students will be introduced to the concept of computers as a general-purpose tool. Students will explore various types of software and describe their purpose. This unit will demonstrate that information technology (IT) is an essential tool in many day-to-day activities as well as in specialized personal and business applications. The language component of this unit will focus on the use of adjective clauses and common IT-related verbs and will introduce basic note-taking principles.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Define the term “information technology”
  • Understand and describe various types of software
  • Explain how programmers create software for computers by writing and compiling code
  • Understand the correct vocabulary for, and grammatical usage of, IT terminology
  • Use adjective clauses with a relative pronoun to complete sentences
  • Practise basic note-taking concepts
  • Use adjective clauses to complete sentences describing information technology
  • Show general comprehension of the gist of a variety of speakers in both structured and less structured situations
  • Comprehend natural speech in a familiar context, with some dependence on repetition
  • Recognize vocabulary words learned in lessons when you hear them

Unit 2 — Using Software

Unit Description

Unit 2 introduces different types of interfaces and their use. This unit examines software interfaces, command line interfaces, and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and looks at how browsers can provide a simple GUI front-end to a database. The language focus of this unit is on using imperative verbs in an IT related setting such as a help desk.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Understand and define software interfaces, command line, and graphical user interfaces
  • Understand the basics of how a Web browser can be used as a front-end to a database
  • Identify some of the consequences of the fact that software can be copied easily
  • Distinguish between proprietary code and free code
  • Guide others through common computing tasks, such as finding a file or formatting text
  • Use imperative verbs to describe the steps in solving an IT problem
  • Use imperative verbs to explain commands in an IT related situation
  • Learn and use transition words used in a process and direction

Unit 3 — Digital Devices

Unit Description

This unit explores a number of IT devices such as PDAs, MP3 players, and wireless phones. It looks into how many of these devices can be used to produce, gather, and study data about everyday life. The language component of this unit focuses on the use of causative verbs and the cause and effect pattern in descriptions.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose of different types of standalone IT devices
  • Discuss how IT devices have changed everyday life
  • Understand the use of causative verbs and apply them to the use of IT gadgets and supercomputers
  • Apply the most frequent rules of spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to commonly used vocabulary and structure
  • Use a variety of simple, compound, and complex sentence patterns correctly

Unit 4 — Desktop Hardware

Unit Description

Unit 4 introduces desktop hardware such as motherboards, processors, video adapters, fans, and RAM. The focus in on learning how to compare simple hardware specifications, such as hard drive capacity, processor benchmarks, and RAM size. The language component of this unit focuses on understanding hardware concepts and vocabulary with the usage of descriptive adjectives, comparatives, and superlatives.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Define SI prefixes, bits and bytes
  • Identify and define and components of desktop hardware
  • Use and demonstrate understanding of descriptive adjectives, comparatives, and superlatives
  • Apply an understanding of hardware concepts and vocabulary with the usage of descriptive adjectives, comparatives, and superlatives

Unit 5 — Peripherals

Unit Description

Unit 5 will introduce peripherals such as printers, monitors, and digital cameras. You will learn about the different ports that peripherals plug into in the computer. The language component of this unit will focus on specific IT-related gerunds and gerunds for purpose.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Identify and explain the purpose of peripherals such as printers, monitors, and digital cameras
  • Understand and compare different input/output ports such as USB and parallel or serial ports
  • Understand the function of a gerund
  • Understand how a gerund is formed
  • Understand how to use gerunds
  • Use gerunds in a short paragraph to make recommendations

Unit 6 — The Internet

Unit Description

The Internet and its many applications are the main focus of Unit 6. It looks at the use of e-mail, file sharing software, software updaters and different Web browsers. The meaning of Internet-related terms, such as URL, IP address, port, ping, bandwidth are addressed. The language component of this unit focuses on the specific modals and how they are used in relation to warnings commonly found on the Internet.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Gain an overview of how the Internet works
  • Explore different types of applications that use the Internet
  • Explain different ways of connecting to the Internet
  • Explain the meaning of fundamental Internet-related terms
  • Understand the use of modals for warnings
  • Describe the meanings of computer warnings which use modals
  • Write a short response to the computer warnings which use modals

Unit 7 — The World Wide Web

Unit Description

Unit 7 explains the basic concepts of how Web sites are created. The difference between simple Web sites and complex database driven sites are demonstrated. In addition, another aspect is learning how to work with search-engines and understand how to create productive search-engine queries. The language component of this unit focuses on the use of time clauses and compound sentences using Web page related language.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Explain how Web sites are created and published
  • Understand the difference between database-driven pages, such as online shopping sites, and simple HTML pages
  • Explain the meaning of common Web-related verbs
  • Construct and refine a productive search-engine query
  • Understand the use of time clauses
  • Write simple and compound sentences
  • Understand the structure of punctuation of time clauses (sentence combining)
  • Use time clauses to describe steps in a process

Unit 8 — Networks

Unit Description

Unit 8 examines the Internet and networks in general. The focus is to learn to identify the main components of a network and understand the main purposes of networks. The language component of this unit focuses on the use of Adverbs of Certainty with specific IT-related terms and concepts.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Give an overview of how the Internet and other networks work
  • Describe the main components of a typical network
  • Understand the use of relative clauses with a participle in connection with specific IT related terms and concepts

Unit 9 — Security

Unit Description

Unit 9 concentrates on security related issues such as Internet viruses. In addition, possible threats to computer systems and their resolution are addressed. The language component of this unit focuses on using the conditional tense in cause and effect statements related to IT security issues.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Identify possible threats to computer systems and effective responses
  • Understand cause and effect sentences
  • Understand the first and second conditional cause effect structure
  • Use conditional sentences to answer questions about IT security
  • Apply cause and effect writing patterns in sentences

Unit 10 — Digital Media

Unit Description

Unit 10 introduces digital media, copyright, and digital rights management. It looks at different file formats for the creation and distribution of music, movies, and art. The language component of this unit focuses on using Modals of Ability in relation to digital media.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Explain commonly used digital media terminology
  • Be aware of the basic concepts of digital rights
  • Understand the use of modals verbs of ability
  • Apply modal verbs to descriptors of digital media
  • Comprehend modal verbs of ability as they are used related to digital media

Unit 11 — Communicating Online

Unit Description

Besides developing further e-mail skills, Unit 11 examines different ways to communicate via the Internet such as chat, instant messaging, discussion boards, VoIP, and whiteboards. The language component of this unit focuses on writing short e-mail letters, subject verb agreement, and complex sentences.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Contrast ways to communicate over computer networks, including e-mail, instant messaging and conferencing
  • Write a clear and professional e-mail
  • Explain the meaning of e-mail related terms, such as fields, attachments, spam, or bounce
  • Use subject/verb agreement in simple and complex sentences
  • Understand the structure and punctuation of complex sentences
  • Understand and use coordinating conjunctions
  • Write complex sentences in a short e-mail message

Unit 12 — The IT Workforce

Unit Description

The last unit of the course, Unit 12, is dedicated to the IT workforce. It is meant to offer an overview of different IT careers and their requirements. Common requirements are introduced in IT job listings, such as certification and programming languages. The language component of this unit focuses on three verb forms: action, past, and future.

Unit Objectives

When you complete this unit, you will be able to:

  • Describe different IT careers and their requirements
  • Understand the use of action verbs
  • Use action verbs to describe a variety of jobs (IT and non-IT) in a short paragraph