CCST9003 Scientific and Technological Literacy
Everyday Computing and the Internet

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]

Non-Permissible Combination:
CCST9004 Appropriate Technology for the Developing World /
CCST9015 Electronic Technologies in Everyday Life


Course Description

[This Common Core course is of a blended learning format based on a Small Private Online Course (SPOC), i.e., much of the traditional in-class lecturing will be replaced by video lectures or other online learning materials, and subsequently, the time-tabled lecture hours will be used for collaborative learning activities.

This course has a compressed schedule (see below). Please make sure you do not have time conflicts before enrolling on this course.]

In order to make informed decisions in this information age, everyone needs to have an efficient way to sift through and evaluate the myriads of information that is available through the Internet. The ultimate objective of this course is to help students develop a “computational” state of mind for everyday events. Specifically, the course will enable students to answer the following questions: What daily problems need to be solved by a computational method? Are such problems solvable? By what means can such problems be solved? Is it worthwhile to compute such problems? How do all these problems relate to the Internet that we use on a daily basis? We will also discuss intensively the societal impacts of computing technologies on our daily life. The course will be taught with minimal levels of mathematical and technical detail.

Online lectures would be available for the whole course, making room for more in-depth learning in lecture sessions. Specifically, most of the lecture sessions would be conducted in collaborative workshop formats, whereby students need to work in teams to complete hands-on tasks corresponding to the topics covered in the course.

Course schedule:

  • Sept 7: 10:30-12:30 [conventional lecture]
  • Sept 21: 9:30-12:30 [tutorial + flipped class]; 2:00-5:00 [tutorial + flipped class]
  • Sept 28: 9:30-12:30 [tutorial + flipped class]; 2:00-5:00 [tutorial + flipped class]
  • Oct 5: 9:30-12:30 [tutorial + flipped class]; 2:00-5:00 [tutorial + flipped class]
  • Oct 12: 9:30-12:30 [tutorial + flipped class]
  • Oct 26: 9:30-12:30 [tutorial + flipped class]

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain, in a high-level manner, various representative computational algorithms (e.g. Google search, Google map route finding, etc.).
  2. Use the understanding of limitations on computability to judge whether a certain problem is computable.
  3. Apply the various “tricks” learnt in designing algorithms (e.g. recursion) to come up with a rough solution to a new problem.
  4. Demonstrate appreciation of the various technology frontiers and make informed judgements as to what new services/products we can expect to be derived from them.
  5. Critically judge whether a certain computing service/facility is likely to be beneficial to society.
  6. Demonstrate understanding that “computing” as a tool is a double-edge sword, and thus, reflect critically on whether we have been relying too much on computing devices in educating and entertaining young people.
  7. Demonstrate creative, collaborative and communication skills in solving problems and co-creating knowledge.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Sat)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 10
Tutorials 10
Seminars / Guest lectures 4
Reading / Self-study 20
Online lectures 8
Online participation 15
Assessment: Workshop participation 24
Assessment: Essay writing 20
Assessment: Group project 30
Total: 141

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Participation in classroom activities 20
Participation in online activities 30
Individual essay 20
Group project 30

Required Reading

Timely articles published on the Web and in other magazines (e.g. Science, Nature, Time, Newsweek, The Economist, Psychology Today, etc.)

Recommended Reading

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Professor Y.K. Kwok
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Tel: 2859 8059
Teacher(s) Contact
Professor Y.K. Kwok
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Tel: 2859 8059
Ms. Andrea Qi
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Tel: 3917 6188