Understanding Computers and the Internet

Computer Science E-1

Harvard Extension School
This course is all about understanding: understanding what's going on inside your computer when you flip on the switch, why tech support has you constantly rebooting your computer, how everything you do on the Internet can be watched by others, and how your computer can become infected with a worm just by being turned on. Designed for students who use computers and the Internet every day but don't fully understand how it all works, this course fills in the gaps. Through lectures on hardware, software, the Internet, multimedia, security, privacy, website development, programming, and more, this course "takes the hood off" of computers and the Internet so that students understand how it all works and why. Through discussions of current events, students are exposed also to the latest technologies.

This is OpenCourseWare.

Computer Science E-1 is a course at Harvard Extension School. E-1 isn't so much about computer science as it is about technology and how it all works. Most every student who takes this class uses computers every day but doesn't necessarily understand what's going on underneath the hood (or, in some cases, is outright scared!). All students exit this more comfortable with computers and the Internet.

Even if you are not a student at Harvard, you are welcome to "take" this course via computerscience1.tv by following along via the Internet. (The course's own website is at www.computerscience1.net.) Available at left are videos of lectures along with PDFs of problem sets. Sample solutions to the latter are not available, but if you have questions or would like to discuss the material with others, do join the course's Google Group.

If you're a teacher, you are welcome to adopt or adapt these materials for your own course, per the license.

Special thanks to Chris Thayer for the course's videos.

Dan and David

Creative Commons License

Copyright © 2008 – 2014, Dan Armendariz and David J. Malan of Harvard University

This course's content is licensed by Dan Armendariz and David J. Malan of Harvard University under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License, which means that you are not only welcome to "take" this course,

you are free:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute, and transmit this content
  • to Remix — to adapt this content
under the following conditions:
  • Attribution — You must attribute this content to Dan Armendariz and David J. Malan of Harvard University but not in any way that suggests endorsement of you or your use of the work.
  • Noncommercial — You may not use this content for commercial purposes.
  • Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
with the understanding that:
  • Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from Dan Armendariz or David J. Malan of Harvard University
  • Other Rights — In no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:
    • Your fair dealing or fair use rights;
    • Apart from the remix rights granted under this license, the author's moral rights;
    • Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.
  • Notice — For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/.

So that folks (like you!) have a place to turn with questions, we've created a Google Group called computerscience1-discuss, which is like a message board and mailing list rolled into one.

Once you've joined, you'll be able to email the group at computerscience1-discuss@googlegroups.com and browse past discussions at https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/computerscience1-discuss.