Edexcel O Level Computing Studies

O-Level Computing Studies

  • Lesson Plan
  • Analysis on Cambridge and EdExcel Examinations Syllabus

Lesson Plan for 2007 to 2008

Lecture 1

What is an information system? Data, information, the three stages of doing tasks, manual information systems, computerized information systems, examples of computerized information systems. The Components of an Information System: Hardware and software. Why use computer? Are there any drawbacks in using computers? Processing data, Types of computer, Peripheral devices, Microprocessors.

Lecture 2

Input and Output devices: Keyboards, monitors, printers, mice, scanners, barcode, Optical character recognition and speech recognition

Lecture 3

Storage RAM, ROM, CD-ROM, DVD ROM, Hard disks, Floppy and Zip drive etc. Unites of storage – bits, bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes.

Lecture 4

Communication and information systems. What is Internet and electronic mail? Application and impact of Internet and e-mail on business, education, entertainment etc.

Lecture 5

Information retrieval systems: Various techniques to retrieve information from different sources and the World Wide Web as an information retrieval system.

Lecture 6

Commercial and general data processing: Discussion on banking systems, school administration, stock control and order processing.

Lecture 7

Application of computers in business, Commerce, Bank, Insurance Company, Office Automation, Medicine, Airlines, Police, Garments, Design and Manufacturing etc.

Lecture 8

What is Software? Discussion on Systems Software. Operating System and Application program. Detailed discuss on Operating System. Different types of Operating System according to its use. What are the main functions on an Operating System?

Lecture 9

Discussion on various application programs such as, word processor, spreadsheet, databases desktop publishing software, graphics like, photo editor, illustration software, 3D modeling, integrated packages, customized software browsing, information retrieval and multi-media presentations etc, Industrial application like Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM).

Lecture 10

The human-computer interface: Command languages, menus and the effectiveness of the interface.

Lecture 11

What is System? Brief discussion on System Life Cycle or Systems Analysis and Design. System specification: The needs for clear specification of the function of the system; the links between the components of the system (in terms of control and flow), and the data used and processed by the system.

Lecture 12

Discussion on Investigation or Fact-Finding Techniques or Data-Capture Methods, Input and Output: The selection of methods of data capture and data verification. Collecting Your Data: The problems with college enrolments. Coding data, putting the details into the computer. Flood warning: an example of automatic data capture. Automatic data capture using signals. Turnaround documents etc.

Lecture 13

What is data transcription? What is transcription error? Why Verification and Validation techniques are required? Detailed discussion on different techniques of validation like, length checks, type checks, range checks, presence checks, parity checks and check digits using weighted MOD 11 Check etc.

Lecture 14

Detailed discussion on System Analysis. Preliminary and thorough techniques of system analysis. Economical, technical and operational feasibility studies with practical examples.

Lecture 15

How a system can be designed efficiently? Algorithmic representations, structure diagrams, program modules and pseudo code. Structure, sequence, flow and repetition, Objects.

Lecture 16

Software design: The use of library modules and existing programs. Modular programming. Discussion on various tools and techniques of designing such as Flowchart, Data Flow Diagram (DFD) etc with examples.

Lecture 17

Detail discussion on programming techniques. Iteration or looping with some practical examples and use of searching, sorting and merging techniques.

Lecture 18

Data relationship or Mapping cardinalities. One to One, One to Many and Many to Many relationships.

Lecture 19

Coding or Programming techniques. The hierarchy of programming languages. High level and low-level languages. The need for different kinds of high-level languages. Programming paradigms: imperative, object oriented, declarative programming languages.

Lecture 20

What is Low-Level language? Types of low-level language. What are the differences between high-level and low-level language? What are the main advantages and disadvantages of assembly language? Solving assembly-language problems with an example.

Lecture 21

Best use of Hardware and Software. Software compatibility: Transfer of data between packages. How a system can be implemented? Discussion on parallel running and direct changeover.

Lecture 22

How a system can be checked? Different techniques of checking data like dry run test, program run with test data, full test with actual data, Syntax and Semantic or logical errors diagnosis, White-box and black-box testing.

Lecture 23

Documentation: System documentation, maintenance documentation and user documentation. Evaluation of the implementation: Ease of use, effectiveness, efficiency, costs and reliability.

Lecture 24

What is Multimedia? Applications in the arts and the media. Multimedia presentation in business, education, entertainment etc.

Lecture 25

Simulation and modeling: Modeling, Games, Model Builder, Expert system, Expert Builder, and Simulations. An example IT task.

Lecture 26

The use of spreadsheets in simulation and modeling. Such as, Software decision analysis, graphing, optimization, data analysis and probability simulations.

Lecture 27

Monitoring and Control Systems. The monitoring of hospital patients, the use of microprocessors in domestic equipment: embedded system.

Lecture 28

Sensors: temperature, pressure, light, push switch, sound, humidity, proximity, position, pH etc with examples.

Lecture 29

Robots: Computers in control, Process control, Pseudo-code, Computers in greenhouses, Computers and safety of cars, Data logging etc. What is Actuators and Stepper Motor? Use of Actuators and stepper motors. Open loop and closed loop control.

Lecture 30

Types of data: Integers, real numbers, characters, which are generally, used practically for example, Medical record, a School administration, tabulation of examination results etc.

Lecturer 31

A file as an organized collection of related records and fields, field types, key fields, fixed and variable length fields. Types of files and Organization of files. Discussion on Master file and Transaction files.

Lecture 32

Discussion on Serial, Sequential, Index sequential and direct or random files with application.

Lecture 33

Relative advantages and disadvantages between sequential and direct organization

Lecture 34

Computer Architecture: Processors: What is processor? Function and architecture of processor. Registers: ALU, Control Unit, Program Counter (PC), Memory Data registers, Memory Address registers, Current Instruction registers etc.

Lecture 35

Buses: External and internal buses, Control, data and address buses and its uses. Interfaces: What is Interface? Hardware and software interfaces.

Lecture 36

Types of network: Local area networks, wide area networks and metropolitan area networks. Network topologies: Bus, Ring, Star network and Client-server or Hierarchy network.

Lecture 37

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), Telecommunications, Internet Service Provider (ISP), The Internet, Electronic mail. Message sending. Protocols and handshakes. File compression, Speed of access, Bandwidth, Cost of installation. Electronic data interchange (EDI).

Lecture 38

Modes of transmission. Synchronous and asynchronous transmission. Transmission protocol like, simplex, half duplex and fall duplex transmission. What is Hand Shaking? Various types of services like, Narrowband, Voice-band and Broadband and packet switching.

Lecture 39

Features of networks: Shared resources, Security aspects of networks, Communications Electronic mail systems, Internet and intranets, Web page browsers, Search engines etc.

Lecture 40

Hardware and software requirements to establish a network. Various types of Communication Links/Cables, Hub and their uses. What is the use of Modem? Modulation and Demodulation processes. Use of a Multiplexer between terminals or workstation and server.

Lecture 41

Advantages and disadvantages of the use of network. On-line data entry. Functions of a Communication Processor or Front-End processor. Fixed and Mobile telephone system. E-mail and Facsimile services. Advantages and disadvantages of using email and fax using computer network.

Lecture 42

The socio-economic reasons for using computers and the effects of doing so. Social and economic effects on people, organizations and society. The impact on people of changes to existing production methods and services, and new opportunities for employment. The effects of global communication. Social and economic effects of ICT. Is information technology a good thing? Changing employment patterns. Identity cards move a step closer, the shape of things to come. Environmental, ethical, moral and social issues raised by information technology.

Lecture 43

File security, file backup and transaction logs, Archiving, File privacy Access privileges, passwords and encryption, Difference between Privacy and Security. Why are these required? How data can be protected from accidental or intentional loss? Security of computer systems. The need to ensure privacy and appropriate use of data stored in computer systems.

Lecture 44

Computer crime, unauthorized access to confidential files, financial fraud, and breach of copyright. Measures to combat computer crime, physical security, passwords, encryption and the use of logs to monitor access.

Lecture 45

Computers and privacy. Loyalty cards, the reasons behind -the Data Protection Act, the 1998 Data Protection Act, data subjects and data controllers. Computers and the Law, Computer crime and Credit card use. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Credit card fraud. Electronic fraud. Phantom withdrawals. Smart cards. Software piracy. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1989, The Computer Misuse Act 1990.

Lecture 46

What are the differences between Viruses and Worms? Discussion on the propagation of different types of viruses and worms. How can we protect our computers, network and data from viral infection?

Lecture 47

Computer occupations: Duties of Systems network manager, data processing manager, software engineer, computer engineer, systems analyst, programmer, operator, user support staff and data input staff.

Lecture 48

Key features of an information system: The purpose and required outcome, the communication requirements, the inputs to the system and data capture methods.

Lecture 49

The organization of the data and the processing of the data within the system, the use and organization of the major software and hardware components of the system. The need for recovery in the event of system failure. The interface between the system and its users. The effectiveness of the system in practice.

Lecture 50

Computers and health and. Discuss on various physical problems and remedy.

Important notes

  • Computing syllabus and Coursework guideline for the practical work have been enclosed with this theory lecture sequence. Coursework guideline will be followed in the practical classes from the beginning of the new session.
  • Class tests will be held regularly after completion of each topic. Students are requested to be prepared for surprise class test, which can be held in any regular class period.
  • Students are also requested to collect and file-up updated study materials like Computing syllabus, Coursework guideline, last 10 years O-level question papers etc. Class notes, which are copied in the class or provided by the subject teacher, must be brought in the class.


Analysis on Cambridge Examination and London Examination (EdExcel) Syllabus

Report prepared by: Mohammad Nurul Islam

After thorough investigation, it has been discovered that most of the parts of the EdExcel’s and Cambridge’s syllabus are same. Very limited differences are found between these two syllabuses. Those have been presented as follows:

Both of the syllabuses consist of 2 sections:

  1. Theory (written examination)
  2. Project work (Software and Report)

Marking distribution

EdExcel Cambridge
(100 marks)
(100 marks)
(100 marks)
(50 marks)
70% 30% 75% 25%

Final Examination Schedule (in British Council)

EdExcel May N/A
Cambridge June November

Duration of written examination

2hours 30 minutes for both EdExcel and Cambridge examination

Theory section

Some additional information has been found in the Theory section of Cambridge syllabus as follow:


Project section


According to the EdExcel syllabus, we do not need to moderate the students’ project work rather we supervise whether they are preparing the project according to the given instructions.


According to the Cambridge syllabus, we have to supervise and moderate the project as well as evaluate (marking) them. Then the evaluated project along with mark sheet (provided by Cambridge) must be send to the Cambridge International Examination for external moderation.

Comparison between EdExcel and Cambridge syllabus in the Project section given as follows:

Topic EdExcel Cambridge
  Available Section Marks Distribution Available Section Marks Distribution
Analysis 15 14
Design 25 12
Implementation 30 4
Testing 10 7
Documentation     5
System Evaluation and Documentation 20 5
Technical Skill     3
Total   100   50
Date of Project Submission 30th April 30th April and 1st October

Pattern of the Question Paper

Both of the examination are following same marking scheme. Each of the question paper has two (2) sections and student must attempt all the answers to get full credit.

EdExcel question paper

Each of the question starts with a brief description about the problem then the question asked on the basis of that problem. Students have to think and match what are the main requirements of the question then they need to write the answer with the justification. Answer must be precise and brief. For example, if there are five (5) marks in one question then it is expected that student will write five (5) valid points to award full marks.

Case study:

It is an interesting part of the EdExcel syllabus which is not available in the Cambridge syllabus. Normally a CASE is dispatched approximately 3/4 weeks before the final examination from the EdExcel International. As a supervisor, we normally explain the case and prepare all possible questions and help students to write answers correctly. This CASE covers 50% of the written papers.

Cambridge question paper

More or less direct questions are asked in the Section-A. Some extended programming knowledge is required to write answers in the Section-B. Students have to write the answers in the given spaces after each question. No additional papers are provided in the examination.



Grades are awarded as: A, B, C, D, E, F


Grades are awarded as: A, C, F

Recommended Text Books

  • Information Systems for You 3rd Edition by Stephen Doyle.
  • Computer Studies Through Applications by Kennewell, Fox, Mitton and Selwood, Student Book, 1989, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198327447

Reference books

  • Sandra Pyne and Allene Tuck (Eds.), Oxford Dictionary of Computing for Learners of English, 1996, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0194314413
  • British Computer Society, Glossary of Computing Terms, 1998, Longman, ISBN 0582369673
  • John Walsh, Standard Grade Computing Studies, 1994, Hodder and Stoughton Education, ISBN 0340605561
  • Nick Waites, GCSE Information Systems, 1994, Business Eduäation Publishers, ISBN 0907679714
  • P M Heathcote, Computing: An Active Learning Approach, 1996, Letts Educational Ltd, ISBN 1870941861
  • Ian Ithurralde and Anne Ramkaran, This is IT!, 1995, Hodder and Stoughton Educational, ISBN 030611049


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