Oregon State University

CS 101: Applications and Implications of Computers

Oregon State University, College of Engineering


The World Wide Web turned 25 years old in 2018. When introduced by Tim-Berners Lee of Great Britain, it disrupted societies around the world— positively and negatively— and we'll never be the same. It has enabled people around the globe to have their own voice in words and pictures, build online communities to support many aspects of their lives, navigate the vast array of information and locations, and ensure they are ready for the future— all from a handheld device called a cellphone.

“ The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform... But it is likely to exert an indirect and reciprocal influence on science itself.”
--Ada Lovelace The first computer programmer

Other technologies, such as appliances, autos, and equipment enjoy improvements (and sometimes problems) associated with their connection to the internet. The privacy, security, and ultimately our safety depends on using these powerful tools with integrity and Threat Intelligence.

If you are eager to embrace new online tools, but are intimidated by learning to use them, then through the support of your instructor and classmates, you should be able to overcome the frustrations and deliver yourself to the 21st Century knowing more than enough to excel in any career where technology is needed.

This course will be somewhat unique from other courses you've taken on campus or online. There are other similarly-titled courses around the country, but very few, if any at all, ask you to use so many technologies to create and communicate. By the end of this course, you will have created a formal research paper using a word processing program, a couple of spreadsheets to organize and analyze financial data, a slide presentation which teaches computer safety, a simple web page to learn how web servers work, and a timeline application to review the history of computers and programming. You will also improve your online communications style by learning how to ask technical questions. And, you'll be able to discuss the main issues of our times through writing. "And as research into writing shows, the act of tracing your thoughts across a page can make you more productive, more emotionally aware, and a less irrational decision maker." (Drake Baer 2013) Here is how writing makes your life better...


No courses are required before taking this one, though basic computer knowledge is essential. Know each of these skills before you begin (or ask for help learning about them):

Download and print the list so you can check off each item as you learn it.


Readings will be articles and videos available online.

No printed textbook purchase is required. Add each of these websites to separate TABS in your browser:

Canvas, textbook, and library in separate browser tabs
  1. Canvas
  2. Online textbook
  3. OSU Valley Library

Software requirements are based on your existing computer.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) for accessing OSU Library documents and course websites.

Setting up VPN for Windows
Setting up VPN for MacOS
  1. Home Internet Options
  2. Chrome browser for Mac, Windows, or Chromebook users.
  3. OSU Google account for backing up all files.
  4. DUO 2-factor authentication access.
  5. VPN Set up for secure off-campus connections.
  6. Access Canvas using this URL: canvas.oregonstate.edu.
  7. Zoom (from inside Canvas).
  8. Either of these combinations will work for this course:
    • Windows with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Google Drawings, or Google apps.
    • Chromebook or Linux with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings.
    • Apple Macintosh with Microsoft Office, Google applications, or Apple applications*.

*Instructions for Apple applications such as Numbers, Keynote, and Pages are no longer provided. Use them at your own risk. (2019)

more_horizLogistics and Communications


By the time you finish this course and leave the university, you will want to have practiced professional level ways to communicate, collaborate, create, and think critically. Learn more about The 10+ Most Important Job Skills Every Company Will Be Looking For In 2020.

Remember that when you communicate online, you cannot provide eye contact and body language to help explain yourself, so your message may be misunderstood. Sometimes the thread of a message is lost, making readers rely on memory (which is often faulty). And if you need the reader to act on your request, good manners will help you be successful.

Emotional & Cultural Intelligence

The following is adapted from Dr. Susan Shaw, Oregon State University

During the last week of the course you will be asked to evaluate the teaching of this course. Login to the MyOSU Student Online Services area to participate. Instructions are located on the Ecampus website.

Your Feedback is greatly appreciated!

assessmentMeasurable Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to...

  1. Create projects using a variety of computer software applications:
    • A formal research paper using a word processor
    • Financial functions using a spreadsheet
    • A Diagram using vector drawings
    • A Web page using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
    • Safety education using a slide presenter
    • The History of computing using a timeline generator
  2. Understand the positive and negative effects of computers on human lives.
  3. Understand the ethical implications of information technologies.

Read more about OSU's Learning Goals


Grading of Interactions and Projects

OSU's definitions and guidelines for quarter credits imply that 120 hours of your time will be needed to read and understand the readings, participate in skill-building activities, and complete assignments for this 4-credit course (that's 12 hours per week).

Each assignment must be submitted before the Due date and time specified in Canvas. If you are ill or have an emergency, you may submit before the Available Until date (a grace period). Students who submit using the Available Until date will incur a slight penalty (via the Canvas Late Penalty function). Students on a DAS Flexibility Contract may use the Available Until date without a penalty.

S/U Grading for Spring Term 2020: To ensure the highest level of flexibility for student learning and academic progress during this term of fully remote instruction, the university has extended the deadline for students to select the S/U grading option for courses taught in spring term that use the normal grading mode (A-F). Students now have through week 10 to select S/U. Additionally, for undergraduate courses taken during spring term, we have lifted the restrictions on S/U for major requirements and the 36-credit hour limit.

Discussions and Projects

Students will complete 9 discussions and 10 projects which explore aspects of computing which include how to use Canvas notifications, discussions, modules, and calendars; how to use some aspects of a computer, such as the keystrokes and listening tools; how to use office software such as word processor, presentation, and spreadsheet software; how internet search and web pages work; how software and hardware development works; how to manipulate spreadsheet data; how to stay well while computing; and information technology problems and solutions.

Click on the project names below to read descriptions, scoring criteria, examples, and detailed instructions.

  1. Introductions (18 points) Explore Canvas. Get familiar with this textbook. Listen to the Introduction. Discuss the Prerequisite Checklist. Introduce yourself. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  2. Prepare to Succeed (26 points) Discuss writing versus quizz-taking and Google Keep in a group discussion. Design the Word processing document. Research and write about being prepared. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  3. How the Internet Works (24 points) Research and write about the Internet. Diagram how the Internet works. Share hand-drawn diagrams in the group discussion. Create a web page Extra Credit: transfer the file to ONID web server. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  4. How Search and Digital Knowledge Works (30 points) Discuss Facebook fake news agendas in a group discussion. Explore the Media Bias Chart. Set up a news feed app. Set up a bibliography tool. Design a presentation template. Research and write about Search. Add the shared/published presentation to the document. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  5. How Privacy and Security Works (33.5 points) Collaborate to write about data scandals and malware terms. Research and write about data privacy. Research and write about cybersecurity and malicious acts. Research and write about solutions. Add the shared/published presentation to the document. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  6. Wellness and Making Computing Changes (29 points) Discuss how devices help or hinder you in a group discussion. Research and write about mental consequences. Research and write about physical consequences. Research and write about emotional consequences. Research and write about improving the quality of your life. Create an Audio or Video assessment. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  7. How Software Development Works (34 points) Collaborate to write about software development terms. Share software skills in a group discussion. Program a game using JavaScript. Share the game URL in your document. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  8. How Hardware Manufacturing Works (34 points) Discuss disruptive technologies in a group discussion. Research and write about hardware development. Research and write about disruptive technologies. Collaborate to create a timeline. View the results of your collaboration. Submit the assignment. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  9. The Future of Computing (33 points) Discuss recent social problems in a group discussion. Freedom House's key findings and major developments about the state of computing, internet censorship, net neutrality, digital divide, and mobile justice. The difference between spreadsheets and databases. Importing; creating Pivot Tables, VLOOKUP, and charts; and exporting spreadsheet data. Merging PDF files. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
  10. How to Finance your Greatest Dream (24 points) Write about your dream. Design an income and expenses worksheet. Design a dream budget worksheet. Summarize your findings. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.
    Fill in the Student Evaluation of Teaching.
  11. Extra Credit: Screencast a lesson (10 points) Choose a lesson to teach. Set up screen-casting software. Cast the lesson. Review your work. Share and submit. Earn an optional badge. Backup to multiple sources. Scoring Criteria.

Each chapter requires unique submissions. Read instructions carefully each week. Most projects will be submitted as PDF files using the Canvas' TurnItIn function, so that the instructor can check for plagiarism. Some projects will be submitted in the Canvas Discussion. Scores and feedback are provided via the Canvas Rubrics. Read the Rubrics before submitting files to ensure you have completed each skill and writing requirement.