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How Computers Work: Demystifying Computation

CO206 Online course

Explore the fundamentals of computing - computer architecture, binary logic, data processing, circuits, and more.

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Computing Mathematics Key stage 3 Key stage 4 KS3 and GCSE subject knowledge certificate
Free online course Approximately 8 hours of self-study

On this course, you’ll gain an understanding of how computers work at a fundamental level. You’ll explore system architecture, along with how computers use binary and logic. Once you’ve examined the von Neumann model of computer architecture and the Fetch-Execute cycle, you’ll learn to build a range of simple circuits for maths, and then simulate various logic gates. 

Ultimately you’ll complete the course with an understanding of the processes that underpin every modern computer - from supercomputers to smartphones, and everything in between.

Who is it for?

This course is aimed at classroom teachers teaching up to and including GCSE computer science.

Topics covered

You'll cover the following topics:

  • How computers use binary arithmetic
  • How transistors can act as digital switches and be combined to create logic gates
  • Creating truth tables for AND, NOT and OR gates, individually or combined
  • How logic gates can be combined to produce digital circuits that can perform a calculation
  • Von Neuman Architecture and the Fetch-Execute cycle

How will you learn?

This online, self-paced course can be completed flexibly. You can join and start this course at any time after the advertised date. This course is not facilitated. You can learn independently or with colleagues to directly address your individual needs.

Outcomes

You will:

  • Explore how transistors can act as digital switches and be combined to create logic gates.                 
  • Produce truth tables for AND, NOT and OR gates, individually or combined                                         
  • Explore how computers use binary arithmetic                                                                                                 
  • Explore how logic gates can be combined to produce digital circuits that can perform a calculation        
  • Investigate Von Neuman Architecture and the Fetch-Execute cycle

This course is part of the KS3 and GCSE Computer Science subject knowledge certificate

Key stage 3 and GCSE Computer Science certificate

Our certificate is designed to help you develop or refresh your computer science subject knowledge.

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This course is from the National Centre for Computing Education and is delivered by STEM Learning.

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