Course Content and Outcome Guide for EET 178

Course Number:
EET 178
Course Title:
Computing Environments for Technicians
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Surveys complex computing environments where computers, operating systems, programming languages and network connections integrate. Includes projects involving command line, terminal applications, programming, hardware identification, troubleshooting and system analysis. Includes a 3-hour per week laboratory. Prerequisites: EET 122 or MT 122. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students who complete the course should be able to:
1. Identify the purpose of, and physically locate, all the major components within a 
computing system in order to troubleshoot, repair or replace parts. 
2. Use shell commands and scripting languages for applications prototyping and 
3. Apply the basic operations of computer networks including commonly used 
transmission media.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment methods will be defined by the instructor during the first week

of class. Typically, in-class quizzes, exams, and homework assignments

will be used. laboratory assessment will be by reports and/or practical

skills testing.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


1. Brief history of the microcomputer

2. Overview of von Neuman architecture (CPU, memory, I/0)

3. Overview of PC subassemblies including the motherboard and its

main components, buses (internal and expansion), adapter boards,

disk drives, and power supply.

4. Memory concepts (addressable locations each of which stores information)

5. Buses (address, data, and control)

6. Execution cycle (fetch/decode/execute)

7. Boot-up process (POST, execute initialization instructions on adapter

boards, find boot disk, load OS into memory (RAM) from boot disk,

execute OS)

8. Number systems (decimal, binary, hex)

9. PC clocks (CPU clock, bus clocks, timer-tick clock, video clock)

10. Digital circuitry basics

11. Memory interfacing concepts (address decode logic)

12. CPU basics

13. IBM PC memory map

14. Expansion buses (ISA, PCI, AGP, serial port, parallel port, USB,

IEEE 1394, SCSI, and PC Card)

15. Video display systems ("graphics" mode vs. "character" mode

16. Interrupts (IRQs)

17. memory (use of memory, RAM, ROM, "organization" of a memory IC)

18. Ports and port addressing (Memory mapped I/O vs. Direct I/O) (assembly

language: IN and OUT; QBASIC: INP and OUT)

19. Direct memory access (DMA) (DRQs)

20. Adapter card issues (IRQx, DRQx, and/or base port address;

jumpers vs. PnP (Plug and Play))

21. X86 memory "segmentation"

22. Memory expansion (SIMMs/DIMMs)

23. Cache memory

24. CMOS memory and CMOS Setup

25. X86 "protected mode"

26. Virtual memory

27. Disks, disk drives, and file storage (FAT)

28. File and disk compression

29. X86 processor performance comparisons

30. X86 assembly language/machine language

31. Local area networks (LANs)

32. Modems

33. Computer viruses


The student will be able to:

1. Describe the purpose of, and physically locate, all the major

components on a PCs motherboard

2. Remove and replace all removable modules within a PC and then

test the PC

3. Describe the functional characteristics of all the major components

within a PC including the processor, ROM BIOS, CMOS memory, the

various expansion buses, the various ports, the memory SIMMs/DIMMs,

cache memory, the disk drives, display system, modem, etc.

4. Describe the sequence of events that occur during boot-up of a PC,

interrupt response, direct memory access (DMA), and virtual memory

page (or segment) faults

5. Describe the basic operation of computer networks including common

transmission media and media access control (MAC) protocols