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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


6 months

This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


Ever wondered how a computer processes data into information? This course, An introduction to data and information, will help you to understand the distinction between the two and examines how a computer-based society impacts on daily life.


Computers are used to find, store, process and share data and information. The World Wide Web is an example of a vast store of information, which can be searched. This material will introduce you to what a web browser is and how to use one. The use of search engines to find information more effectively on the web will also be demonstrated. This course looks at how data is transformed into information and relates the topics of data and information to the computer. These are fundamental issues in an understanding of the way in which the computer has shaped and changed contemporary life.

You will learn what computers can do with data to produce information and how computers can be used to work with data and search for it, control machines, and support commercial operations.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Identify some of the instances in daily life where a computer is, or is likely to be, involved
  • Describe, in simple terms, the difference between data and information.
  • Give a simple explanation of why computers are important to people in terms of data and information
  • Explain in simple terms what a computer program is, and why one is necessary
  • Explain the role of the computer with respect to the data given to it.

Course Curriculum

    • What this course is about 00:10:00
    • Aims of the course 00:10:00
    • The individual: an average day 01:00:00
    • The organization: loyalty cards 00:20:00
    • Summary 00:05:00
    • Making sensation make sense 00:20:00
    • Human beings, data, signs and symbols 01:00:00
    • Data and information 00:20:00
    • What has any of this to do with computers? 00:50:00
    • Summary 00:10:00
    • Where am I and how do I get to … ? 00:20:00
    • Maps 01:00:00
    • Geographical data 00:35:00
    • Global positioning system (GPS) 01:30:00
    • Finding information: the web 00:10:00
    • Search engines: what are they? 00:40:00
    • Using the web more effectively: gateways 01:20:00
    • Using a search engine more effectively 00:20:00
    • Computer-based activities 00:20:00
    • Summary 00:10:00
    • Genetic databases and disease 00:20:00
    • What is DNA? 00:20:00
    • The human genome 01:00:00
    • Art and the common computer 01:00:00
    • Controlling things 03:00:00
    • Selling on the web 03:00:00
    • Summary 00:10:00
    • What have you learnt in this course? 00:20:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK