Proposed Learning Outcomes

Based on efforts you put in (irrespective of what you already know and what grade you get), it is expected that you will learn the following:

  1. Broad understanding of basic concepts of computer organization, computer networks e.g. different components of computer and their interconnectivity, exposure to basic terms like PCI slot, working of internet including DNS mapping.

  2. Ability to configure the computer from scratch example formatting the drives, selecting the boot-up preference, selecting resolution, interfacing with other computers on the network etc.

  3. Knowledge of software tools/utilities for basic hands on upkeep of personal computer for example

    1. OS installation (running multiple OS on a single machine in both as dual boot and as virtual machine)

    2. Looking at current system performance and understanding of possible ways to improve that performance

    3. Ability to interface with external devices over USB/serial/parallel port

    4. Networking (DNS/IP configuration)

  4. Knowledge of useful utilities for everyday work – data backup, data recovery, data compression, basic computer security etc.

  5. Configuring a local wireless network (specifically in the home environment), basic troubleshooting in case of networking/internet-related issues and ensuring enough security of their network

  6. Exposure to some generic utilities of value – P2P communication, website designing, video/audio editing 

  7. Good understanding of basic unix commands and ability to write short shell scripts including basic knowledge of regular expression

Link to survey at the beginning of the class for feedback on current topic expertise

Calendar for the SM course with all the deadlines is available here

Informal meetings with the students every Thursday over Lunch


  • Lab session - 30% (2.5%x12)
  • Mid term exam (theory and lab) - 15%
  • Learn it yourself activity - 10%
  • Shell scripting exam – 5%
  • How Stuff Works Assignment - 5%
  • Final exam (theory and lab) - 20%
  • Innovative individual assignment - 10%
  • Hypo-explanation - 5%
  • Learning performance - 5%

Lecture Slides

Some of the lectures are also video recorded. Video recordings are available with me and can be taken personally on an external hard disk

Lab Sessions

Video Lab Handouts available on youtube channel

How Stuff Works (HSW)

  • Logistics: In groups of 3 each; Deadline Nov 10 (No Bonus deadline)
  • You are expected to open up and understand the functioning of one electronic device of your choice (example - mobile phone, landline phone, TV/AC remote, Set Top Box, Monitor, fan regulator, transformer, charger, water motor, radio etc.). Please make sure to take permissions from your parents before opening up any working device - and preferably open up any junk electronics that may be lying around.
  • You may also do something like understanding the electricity distribution in your home (for any such topic, take prior approval from instructor)
  • As an output, you should prepare a short report that should contain the following:
    • An overview of how the device works - in your own words
    • A block diagram of what are the different components inside the device and how they are interconnected - for this you may need to search on internet on specific ICs that are inside the device you opened and what are their functionalities
    • Pictures clicked by you for the device that you opened and explain the different interconnections in those pictures - these should not be the pictures downloaded from the internet.
  • Fill up your form here and see your filled up response here

Mini Project

  • Logistics: In groups of 2 students each; Bonus Deadline: Oct 20; Final Deadline: Nov 3
  • Select a topic of your choice that involves some hands on work and is not purely reading based
  • Take the approval from faculty before starting on the project. A list of sample topics is available here. You need not necessarily select a topic from this list
  • Final deliverable is a short (1 double sided) report on your selected topic. The report should have appendix (in addition to the two pages of explanation) that should conatin proof that you have done some hands-on work yourself (photos/videos etc.)
  • You can look at Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects online to see if something interests you
  • You may also select a topic such that it helps you in your hypo-explanation and/or HSW assignment
  • You can put in your topic details here and then confirm the submission here


  • You are expected to do one of the following:
    • Improve upon the video lab handouts (only 11 groups will be allowed)
    • Pick up a course module and explain it directly in the form of video (the explanation should follow as the same thing is explained in the class - I will provide the slides and you need to add annotations, audio etc. and explain things nicely)
    • Create a hypothetical scenario to explain a concept taught in the course - sample videos for this category (from last year) are available at SV-1, SV-2, SV-3, SV-4, SV-5
  • Logistics: In groups of 4 students; outputs expected - audio narration/video explanation/animation; Bonus Deadline - Nov 3; Final Deadline - Nov 20
  • Fill in your option here. Please check what others have filled in (and your response) before you decide on lab session or course module here

Learn it yourself

You can get the list of topics here. This list also contains details of what all I expect in each topic. Please read the details on the topic selected by you to make sure you address everything that I require (of course you are free to add anything extra in that topic as well)

Select a topic and add your group details here

Creative Session

Each lab group was asked to create a creative video on any of the topics learned so far in the course. The groups selected the following topics:

  1. Group-1: Basics of operating system operation
  2. Group-2: Understanding basics of how web works
  3. Group-3: Basics of File Systems Operation
  4. Group-4: A brief on components of motherboard
  5. Group-5: Understanding the basics of memory hierarchy

The students did a phenomenal job and the. Video outputs from each group is available on the youtube channel


For those of you craving for some formal readings and references - please refer to ebooks here and here
Many of the topics discussed in the class are also formally discussed in detail in these books. You dont need to go through anything extra than what is covered in the class so dont get bogged down by these books. You may just do very well without these books as well.
Only for those who are feeling lost, you can refer to the topics that are discussed in the class into these books. 
Disclaimer: I do not use any of these books to prepare the class material so if you dont find things in the same flow as in the book, please do not complain :)
Thanks to Sudeep for sharing these ebooks