Computer Operations

Learn the basics of operating a PC with a Windows operating system using Microsoft products. This is a great course for those wanting to understand the basics of computers.

Course Code: VIT101
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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A Course for Anyone who Hasn't Studied Computers Before

Most people know what a computer is, how to switch it on, and how to send an email or type a document; but computers can be more "tricky" than that. Things do go wrong; and all sorts of issues can arise that for many can be confusing.

This course is written for people who struggle at times with using a computer; or simply lack the confidence to try doing things or solving problems when they arise.  This may be a very useful course for you, if:

  • You are tired of waiting for a relative or the neighbours son to come and help, this may be a course for you.
  • You've found lack of computer skills have stalled your work or business opportunities.

It provides a very solid introduction to understanding both hardware and software. We do assume you have that basic understanding mentioned earlier; but the course can be valuable for anyone from a beginner through to someone who has used computers before but only for very basic things like emails and typing a simple document.

The emphasis is on personal computers (i.e. P.C's) and while the course is relevant to all types of PC's using Microsoft Windows as an operating system.

Lesson Structure

There are 13 lessons in this course:

  1. Hardware Components
    • Introduction
    • Input devices – keyboard, mouse, trackball, trackpad, microphone, webcam, touchscreen, digitizer, scanner, optical reader, OMR
    • Output devices – displays, printers, plotters, audio speakers, speech synthesiser, GPS
    • Storage devices
    • Memory types – RAM, ROM, CMOS
    • Central Processing Unit (CPU)
    • Microprocessor and motherboard architecture
    • Processor sockets, Zero insertion force, Dynamic ram, Cache memory
    • Bus type
    • BIOS
    • Memory capacity
    • Built in interfaces, Input/Output (I/O)
    • Computer terminology
  2. Peripherals
    • Introduction
    • Peripheral devices
    • Mouse and keyboard
    • Modems
    • Printers
    • Monitors
    • Removeable storage devices
    • Scanners
  3. Operating Systems
    • Introduction
    • What are operating systems
    • Types of operating systems - batch, multitasking, real time, distributed, network, server, mobile
    • Background
    • Start up
    • Formatting
    • File types
    • Comparisons – versions of windows
    • Software applications
  4. Files, Folders & Data
    • Managing data
    • Data storage and cloud
    • Smartphones and tablets – the ‘app’ concept
    • Metadata and searching
    • Data management in Windows
    • Windows metro
    • Windows desktop: file explorer
    • Directory tree structure
    • Files
    • Basic file/ folder manipulator
    • Making different selections
    • Drag and drop
    • Using a shortcut menu
  5. Office Applications
    • Accessing tools and commands
    • The ribbon
    • Saving files and documents
    • Where to save files
    • Common tasks and short cuts
    • Multiple applications, multiple users
    • Working collaboratively
  6. Windows Accessories & Programs
    • Introduction
    • The changing workplace
    • Paid vs free
    • Single payment vs. subscription
    • Windows built in software
    • Selecting office software
    • Word processing, spreadsheets, data bases, desktop publishing
    • Communications and scheduling
    • Email programs
    • Calendars and project management
  7. Disk Management
    • Disk properties
    • Managing hard disks
    • Formatting a storage device
    • System tools
    • Disk fragmentation
    • Back ups
  8. Installation Of Software
    • The gold rules
    • Installing software and device drivers
    • Boot disks
    • Device drivers
    • Technical support
    • Using manuals
  9. Trouble Shooting
    • Introduction
    • Determining what caused an error
    • Power on self test
    • Hard disk problems
    • Defragmentation
    • Bugs and viruses
    • Motherboard battery
    • Logical approach to trouble shooting
    • Computer stress syndrome – causes, technical failures, not investing enough in upgrades and repairs, etc
    • Handling computer stress
  10. Word Processing
    • Introduction – open office, libre office
    • Forms and templates
    • Create a document from a template
    • Filling in details
    • Replace wizard text
    • Styles
    • Create template for standard documents
    • Tables
    • Mail merge
  11. Spreadsheets and MS Excel
    • Introduction
    • Using excel
    • Absolute and relative references
    • Using Formulae
    • Display and presentation
    • Charts and other tools
  12. Databases and Microsoft Access
    • What is a database
    • DBMS
    • Microsoft access
    • MS Access database structure
    • Creating a simple database
    • Working with forms
  13. Microsoft PowerPoint
    • Introduction
    • Creating presentations using templates
    • Key concepts in powerpoint
    • Layout
    • Content
    • Slide views
    • Animation and backgrounds
    • Viewing your presentation
    • The slide master
    • Background styling
    • Create a structured presentation

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Identify different hardware components of a computer system
  • Identify peripherals for a computer system
  • Develop a generic (general) understanding of common computer operating systems.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of file and data management in Microsoft Windows.
  • Discuss basic functions in commonly used office applications.
  • Describe common Windows accessories programs.
  • Describe techniques used in computer Disk Management
  • Develop skills to install different software programs into computer systems, in accordance with manuals.
  • Develop knowledge to determine the cause of common problems which occur with computer systems.
  • Determine key concepts to how to use MS Word, Excell, Access and Power point

What You Will Do

  • Explain the role of the motherboard and the CPU in a computer system.
  • Briefly, describe the evolution computer systems, starting from the first IBM PC through to the most currently generally available systems available today. Make special reference to changes that you deem to be 'significant' leaps in this evolutionary process.
  • Name five things that the motherboard is responsible for supporting.
  • Explain how modems are measured in terms of performance.
  • Compare different types of printers and explain how they differ in the ways that they produce a printed page.
  • Define the following computer terms: screensaver, wallpaper, device driver, sound card
  • Discuss ‘Brief case’, when might you use this feature, and how a brief case can be added to your desktop.
  • List the advantages and disadvantages of having several windows open at the same time and describe two situations that either illustrates advantages and/or difficulties than might be encountered when you work with more than one window open.
  • In order to install or set up a new printer, write down what you would click on or type for each step and what would happen when that was done on the computer.
  • Choose a software program (different to your set task) of your choice, and write about the steps involved with its installation onto a hard drive.
  • You are trying to run a DOS program and you get an Insufficient Expanded Memory error message in a DOS window. If expanded memory on your computer is set to Auto, how can you correct this problem?
  • A computer stopped working after a violent electrical storm so the customer stopped using it for a year, he has finally brought it to you to look at because the keyboard isn't working and it will not boot. List the steps you would take to determine what is wrong with it and write what your opinion of what is damaged.

Start by Understanding the Computer System

The computer itself is only part of a system.

Put simply, the computer is at the centre of the system. It is a machine that does all the "thinking". Beyond that, there are all words of other things that connect in and out of the system. Those things are called peripherals.

A peripheral could include any number of devices that are added to a computer system to make it more accessible as a working tool. 
Peripherals, like all technology, change and evolve rapidly; today’s latest tools may be out-of-date tomorrow. However, implementing new technology can be a risky, complex, knowledge-intensive and expensive process for a business. For this reason, you will find that many small to medium size organisations and businesses are still using ‘legacy’ technology and older peripheral devices. It is important to understand both the old and the new in order to support computer systems and users effectively.

To help understand this better; it may help to see the computer as being like a human brain, and everything else in the human body is like the peripherals.

Operating Systems

At the centre of any computer, you will have software called an operating system.

Software is like the memories that inhabit our brain - the information that drives the computer.

Operating systems are programs that support a wide range of other software programs.

Without software, your computer will have nothing to run. Every computer requires an operating system. Generally, on PCs, the most common operating system is Microsoft Windows, although some other operating systems such as Linux and Unix also are in use. The quality and abilities of an operating system will affect what can be done with other software on a computer.

By gaining a generic (general) understanding of operating systems, you will develop a better foundation for understanding Windows. Windows in effect is simply an operating system that is more sophisticated than many of the operating systems that came before it; but in essence it is designed to do the same task.

The operating system basically tells the computer how to operate, and how to interact with the other programs installed on the computer.

Application software (‘an application’) is the software that is loaded to enable you to perform tasks, such as word processing, spreadsheet analysis, database storage and retrieval of files. A ‘suite’ of applications is a series of application software products that are designed to work in related ways. Microsoft Office is one example. Sometimes the word ‘bundling’ is used to refer to grouping of related applications into a single suite. A ‘stand-alone’ software application can be installed and run independently from an application suite.

The application software uses the operating system to interact with the computer. You can think of the operating system as the “base” software, with the application software running on top.


Computers do not work alone. They are no more than an electronic tool. An operating system is a set of instructions, very complex instructions, that enables the computer to work. In some ways an operating system is like a language. Both provide a framework within which other functions can happen.

Each computer needs at least one operating system ("OS"), and it is within the framework of that operating system that all other functions occur. The operating system will perform necessary management tasks such as:

  •     Copying files from one drive to another
  •     Formatting a device
  •     Running other programs
  •     Allowing the computer to communicate with you (the operator).
  •     Managing user access and file security

An operating system will have particular hardware requirements in order to run effectively. These include such things as available processor speed available RAM etc. As operating systems evolve, these demands generally increase, and old hardware is often unable to run newer operating systems. In addition, the advent of smart phones and tablets has resulted in a new range of operating systems, specifically designed with these hardware platforms in mind.

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Rajy Xavier

An Electrical Engineer with 12 years of experience in Engineering and Education. After completing masters in Telecommunication Engineering, she worked as an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering for 5 years.

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