Microcomputing for Learning

Home Admissions Course Guide Microcomputing for Learning

This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.

IT E150

Microcomputing for Learning

Welcome to IT E150 Information Technology for Learning, an online, five-credit foundation level course that can be taken as a part of most HKMU undergraduate degrees and several sub-degree programmes. The course is presented in English.

Given the importance of computing in university-level work and of the World Wide Web (WWW) in lifelong learning, the course serves as a foundation for continuing education programmes where computing and Internet skills are required. You are not expected to have any prior knowledge or qualifications in computing.

An online Web-based course delivery system — the HKMU's Online Learning Environment (OLE) — is the major platform for course delivery. The IT E150 webpage includes multimedia illustrations of computer applications, links to other useful websites and downloadable files for self-tests.

You are probably keen to look at your course materials right away but, first, please read this Course Guide very carefully. It gives you information about:

  • the course aims and learning outcomes;
  • the course schedule;
  • the course materials;
  • the support available to you; and
  • how your work will be assessed.

Remember to refer to this Course Guide throughout the course to help clarify important points about studying IT E150.


IT E150 aims to provide you with:

  • knowledge and skills in using computers and the Internet for lifelong learning and in business or daily life; and
  • an overview of common hardware components, software applications, multimedia concepts and aspects of data communication.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Utilize a computer with Microsoft Windows for learning.
  • Use word processing software toproduce academic essays/reports.
  • Describe basic hardware components, typical software applications and multimedia concepts.
  • Use spreadsheets and presentation software for academic purpose.
  • Use Internet tools such as Web browsers and email in a learning context.

This is a practical, hands-on course that is divided into five study units:

Unit 1 Microsoft Windows: Basic operations

Unit 2 Word processing

Unit 3 Computer hardware, software and multimedia

Unit 4 Using personal computers as tools

Unit 5 Interactive learning supported by information technology.

Working through these materials will equip you with the fundamentals of using information technology for learning. In particular, you will master the skills of word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software and databases. You will also have an opportunity to explore the potential of information technology in supporting learning. (More details on the coverage of each unit is given later in this Course Guide.)

In studying IT E150, you will use the following software:

  • Microsoft Windows; and
  • Microsoft Office.

The following table suggests the amount of time to allow yourself for working through the course materials. However, as we all have our own pace of learning and approach to study, this schedule is only a guide. You can adjust it to fit your personal needs. The estimated time, on average, that you need to spend on this course is about eight hours per week for 16 weeks. This includes time for working through the study units, completing the self-tests and activities, writing your assignments, attending the tutorials and preparing for your final examination.


UnitTitleNo of weeks
1Course Guide
Microsoft Windows: Basic operations
2Word processing3
3Computer hardware, software and multimedia3
4Using personal computers as tools3
5Interactive learning supported by information technology3


You can see from the table above that each study unit involves three weeks' work. You should remember that, as a distance learner, you need to plan and schedule your studies carefully. It is most important that you attempt the self-tests in each unit to check your understanding of the material presented.

In addition to this Course Guide, the course has the following important components:

  • an Assignment File
  • a Presentation Schedule.

Please ensure that you have all these materials and can identify the various components in the course. If you don't have any of these materials (or have not been advised when they will be made available to you), please contact the University immediately.


The study units

Each unit includes an introduction, directions for study, activities, self-tests and summaries of the key issues. Some of the units are supplemented by printed activity manuals.

Unit 1 introduces a computer operating environment called Microsoft Windows. You will learn how to use a computer through the graphical user interface environment. The essential features of Windows are discussed, including topics such as Windows Explorer, Control Panel functions, and how to get help using the Windows help function.

Unit 2 helps you to acquire essential skills in word processing. You learn how to start a word processing program and how to create, edit, format, print, save and retrieve a document file. The use of mail merge is also discussed. The software used is Microsoft Word in the Microsoft Office.

Unit 3 introducesthe basic hardware, software and multimedia components of a microcomputer system. The topics covered include: inside a microcomputer; displays; printers; storage devices; connecting devices; and common software applications. In particular, the concepts and requirements of multimedia are discussed. You are then given guidance on how to use the multimedia capability of Windows to produce simple multimedia application files.

Unit 4 looks at how your computer can be used as a tool for learning. You learn how to use spreadsheets as a planning tool and how to create and manage a simple database. You also learn how to use a computer to create an academic presentation using PowerPoint.

In Unit 5, you are first introduced to Internet-supported interactive learning. You practise some common applications enabled by the Internet and learn how to use and master Web browsers, electronic mail and discussion boards. How Web-based technology may change educational paradigms is also considered.


Using the course materials effectively

How you work through each unit of the course depends on your experience. If you are a completely new user of a personal computer (PC), we suggest that you work through the sub-modules, one at a time, in the order in which the topics are presented. The first sub-modules give you the basics, and later ones deal with somewhat more demanding skills.

If you are taking the course to learn more about Windows, you can skip the sub-modules that deal with skills you have already acquired. However, we strongly suggest that you work through any activities or self-tests for any section you decide to skip. By completing these activities, you can make sure that you are able to demonstrate the skills practised in the unit, and prepare yourself for future units, and your assignments and examination.

The course website contains printable reading materials and many multimedia presentations and interactive exercises. To master this course you must have sufficient hands-on practice, so please take time to view the multimedia presentations and complete the activities.

Please note that the study units are presented without much text explanation. In general, only brief explanations are given because the course encourages you to learn by doing. The course also strongly encourages you to use help functions in various programs so that you can become an independent computer user. Where applicable, links to resources on the Web are also given.


Reference books

There is no set text for IT E150 as the course covers a wide range of topics. Whenever applicable, information on finding additional resources on the Internet is also provided.

If you are an absolute beginner, you will find the following books very helpful:

  • Chambers, M. (2013). PCs all-in-one for Dummies (6th ed.)., Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley.
  • Miller, M. (2016). Computer basics : Absolute beginner's guide, Windows 10 edition (Eighth ed.), Indianapolis, Indiana : Que

For skills in using Windows 8.1/10:

  • McFedries, P (2014) Teach Yourself Visually Windows 8.1, Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Pub.
  • Rathbone, A (2018) Windows 10 for Dummies, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

For skills in using Microsoft Office:

  • Conner, N, & MacDonald, M (2013) Office 2013: The Missing Manual, Sebastopol, CA : O'Reilly Media
  • Wang, W (2016) Office 2016 for Dummies, New Jersey, Ind.: John Wiley & Sons.

Assignment File

This file gives you details of what is required in your assignments, their due dates, and how each will be graded. You must submit your assignment through the OLE. Please read the Student Handbook for the University's policies on late assignments.


Presentation Schedule

The Presentation Schedule for IT E150 lists the key dates for course presentation (including the dates for assignment submission) and the course website also includes a course schedule.



You need access to a computer loaded with the right software, but there is no need for you to buy a computer. HKMU has suitably-configured computers available during tutorials, and outside tutorial times you can visit an HKMU PC Laboratory to complete course- work and practice activities. You can ask your tutor for details of computer availability.

Of course, having your own computer or private access to someone else's machine will be an advantage. The list below shows you what you need if you want to work from a private computer. Show this list to your supplier if you are buying your own computer, or to the owner of any computer you will be using.


Hardware and software requirements

You will require:

  • an IBM compatible PC with:
    • a Pentium 4 (or higher) processor (1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2)
    • a minimum of 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) of RAM
    • the ability to run Microsoft Windows 8.1 (or a later version) and Microsoft Office 2013 (or later).? To improve performance, a more powerful processor is highly recommended;
  • a hard disk of 16GB (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit) or higher capacity, containing the following software programs:
    • MS Windows
    • MS Office
  • a recordable optical drive;
  • a colour monitor with a graphics card that supports Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver;
  • a keyboard and a mouse;
  • access to broadband services for Internet access;
  • an Internet service provider (ISP) account, or other means of accessing the Internet frequently;
  • a sound card with speakers or headphones; and
  • a microphone.

A special note about configuring computers

Unfortunately, there is more than one way to configure a computer! The HKMU machines are set up to conform to the IT E150 study units, so when you switch the computer on, you will be looking at the screen set-up that is described in the course materials. It's possible, however, that other computers are set up differently, and we can't cover all these possibilities in the course.

However, don't despair. If at the start your computer doesn't seem to have exactly the same configuration as those illustrated in the course materials, ask an expert to help — or if don't know an expert, please contact your tutor.

To create a better learning environment, HKMU has developed an online Web-based course delivery system -- the Online Learning Environment (OLE). IT E150 uses the OLE to deliver course materials, and this gives you an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience in using computers in your studies and to develop Internet skills.

In the HKMU Online Learning Environment, you will be able to access the following components online:

  • course materials, including the study units and specimen examination paper
  • assignments
  • interactive tools, such as the course Discussion Board, and email
  • course schedules
  • news
  • help functions, such as the User Guide, FAQs, and technical enquiries.

Your tutor

Before the course starts, you will be advised by the HKMU Registry of the name and telephone number of your tutor. Your tutor will:

  • conduct tutorials for your group;
  • assess your assignments;
  • answer questions that are posted in your Tutorial Group Forum of the OLE Discussion Board; and
  • be available at certain times to help you by phone (you will be advised of these times separately).

Your tutor will welcome your getting in touch with him/her through the OLE Discussion Board and by telephone if you need help — for example, if you:

  • don't understand any part of the study units;
  • have any difficulty with the self-tests; or
  • have queries about assignment questions or your tutor's grades or comments on them.


IT E150 ?has eight two-hour tutorials. You will be notified of the dates, times and locations of these tutorials before the semester starts.

Although they are not compulsory, you are strongly encouraged to attend them as they provide an opportunity to discuss aspects of the course with your tutor and the others in your group, and, most important, to gain hands-on experience with software and microcomputing systems.

To gain the full benefit from tutorials, you should prepare for them by carrying out the relevant reading and practice activities, and you should contribute actively to them.


The examination at the end of IT E150 lasts for three hours and has a value of 50% of the total marks for the course. You should use the time between completing Unit 5 and the examination to revise the course. You might find it useful to review each unit's self-test exercises and to look at your assignments, together with your tutor's comments on them, before sitting the examination.

The examination will cover all parts of the course. The questions will reflect the types of self-tests and assignments you have previously encountered. It will not be designed to confuse you and will be consistent with the clear, open approach HKMU takes to helping its students to succeed in their studies.

You will be provided with a specimen examination paper before the examination. This will be in a similar format to the final examination but the actual questions will, of course, be different. To complete IT E150 successfully, you must obtain a pass grade in both your assignments and the examination.

The following table summarizes the assessment requirements for IT E150.


Assignments3 of 3 (16.66% × 3) = 50%
Final examination50%

We hope that you find IT E150 Information Technology for Learning interesting and useful.

Good luck and happy surfing!