National Diploma in Computing - BTEC Level 3 Extended - Truro Penwith College

BTEC Level 3 Extended National Diploma in Computing

If you enjoy learning about Computers and Information Technology, then the Extended Diploma in Computing will be of great interest to you. Based on our hugely successful Extended Diploma for IT, this brand new course has been completely revamped to cover the very latest subjects in Computer Science. Building on your existing knowledge this course will stretch and challenge your IT knowledge and skills.

Covering thirteen different subjects over two years you will study a wide range of topics including the Principles of Computer Science, Computer Hardware and Networking, Digital Graphics and Animation, Computer Programming and Games Development.

You will work on a wide variety of interesting practical and theoretical projects. By the end of this course you will be confident in planning, designing and writing computer programmes, building websites, developing mobile phone apps, configuring and managing networks, and analysing and designing complex computer systems for business. You will understand how to configure and protect an IT system from attack and subsequent data loss. You will be able to describe the impact that IT systems are having on our world and how businesses are using the latest technologies to gain a competitive edge.

Upon successful completion of this course you will have a comprehensive understanding of modern Computer Science. You will be well prepared to enter the work place as an IT professional or to go on and study a Computer Science degree at university.

Lessons take place in specialist IT rooms with networked PCs. Your lecturers will be specialists in their field who will teach you through a variety of demonstrations, lectures and by helping you undertake a variety of practical tasks. You will have access to hardware and networking lab facilities for the practical parts of the course.

The course consists of a total of thirteen units. Seven of the units are mandatory, six units are optional.

Mandatory Units

Principles of Computer Science
This unit will introduce you to some of the fundamental ideas of computer science. One of these is the idea of “programming,” but programming is not the only, or indeed the major, focus of the course. Other components of the course will include the physical construction of computers, the theory of computation, the history of computing, and applications of computers.

Fundamentals of Computer Systems
This unit will teach you about computer hardware. Computer hardware relates to the physical parts or components of a computer, such as the monitor, mouse, keyboard, computer data storage, hard disk drive (HDD), system unit (graphic cards, sound cards, memory, motherboard and chips), and so on. As well as learning about the current technology you will also be taught about the Von Neumann architecture, the template for all modern computers. This describes a design architecture for an electronic digital computer with subdivisions of a processing unit consisting of an arithmetic logic unit and processor registers, a control unit containing an instruction register and program counter, a memory to store both data and instructions, external mass storage, and input and output mechanisms.

Planning and Management of Computer Projects
In this unit you will learn how to plan and manage a computer project. Working on your own project will help you learn in a practical way how to create and follow a development plan using a variety of techniques. You will be taught how to produce Pert Charts and to use them to produce a Critical Path Analysis. Other topics include Risk Management, Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Management and Resolution.

Software Design and Development
In this unit you will plan, design, write, test and evaluate your own computer program and will help consolidate everything you have learnt in the first three units. The projects covered will change each year but could include a phone app, a real-time control system running on a Raspberry Pi, an online database developed using HTML, CSS, PHP and MySQL.

IT Systems Security and Encryption

It seems that every month the news reports another breach of systems security with subsequent loss of data. In this important unit you will learn some of the fundamental principles of IT Security. Topics covered will include Data Security and Cloud Computing, Data Loss Protection, Data Encryption and Database Security Management.

Business Applications of Social Media

In our connected world social media has now become a primary tool for businesses to engage with customers. Social media allows business to explore new markets, generate leads, and support the existing client base. In this unit you will learn how successful companies transform their business and catapult themselves ahead of the competition.

The Impact of Computing

Modern computing and information technologies have had a massive impact on almost every aspect of our modern lives. In this unit you will learn how computing affects us as individuals, how it affects our communities, our businesses, our nations and our world.

Optional Units

The six optional units are chosen from 4 groups

Creative Computing
Computer Science
Computer Systems and Network Support
Business Information Systems.

Units include Games Side Development, Computer Animation, Digital Graphics, 3D Modelling, Procedural Programming, Event Driven Programming, Object Orientated Programming, Client Side Web Site Development, Server Side Web Site Development, Systems Analysis, Network Configuration and Management, Computer Systems Maintenance, Human Computer Interaction, E-Commerce, Database Development, Advanced Spreadsheets and Data Modelling.

The course assessment is mainly via assignments, some will be set by your lecturers and some will be set and marked by the exam board. You will normally have 3 or 4 assignments to complete for each subject. All subjects will be taught for a minimum of 60 hours, but they are not all of the same length. Some of the more challenging subjects will have 90 hours and some will have 120 hours. The grades for all subjects contribute towards your overall grade that is awarded at the end of your 2-year course.
Information & Support

Students will take the BTEC Level 3 90-credit qualification in the first year. The qualification is equivalent to 3 AS level qualifications. You will be required to successfully complete the first year to progress to the full BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma.

You will also be invited to join our Computing Academy where you will work with other students to complete a variety of programming and hardware projects. Our “Near Space Mission” is particularly popular, where you will take part in launching a weather balloon loaded with a variety of sensors and cameras. Our photographs taken at 80000 feet are simply stunning.
Progression Opportunities

The majority of students continue on to computing and IT related degree courses at university, such as Computer Science, Computer Forensics, Game Development, Digital Graphics and Animation, and Artificial Intelligence. The course also forms an excellent skills base for employment in the IT industry as a technician or developer.

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