Chapter 6 Communication Technology (Ict) (UGC NTA NET JRF Teaching and Research Aptitude Book)
Information and Communication Technology is a very wide topic. General abbreviations and terminology includes basic computer terms, print media, satellites and terms such as internet, intranet etc. For general abbreviations, the basic terms have been explained as parts of system such as computers.
In India, the education sector is facing many challenges because of two main factors. The first factor is a continuous increase in population. The population is increasing by geometric progression and every year, more and more students are seeking admissions in educational institutions to educate themselves. Hence, more institutes are required. There is an additional challenge to appoint more trained teachers. All these require more financial resources. The second dimension is knowledge explosion. In almost every subject, the knowledge is accumulative. This actually turns out to be a challenge for teachers as more knowledge is to be imparted within the available time, though the curriculum may remain unchanged. Today, from the time we wake up in the morning until the time we sleep, we are surrounded by media, such as newspapers, radio, television (TV) and computers.
Sometimes, we are not even aware that we are surrounded by these media. Gaining comprehensive knowledge in using information and communication technology tools (ICT) is important in today’s fast changing society. However, we are very often confused about what these media are. The optimum use of ICTs in India’s higher education system can propel the country to become a knowledge superpower. The innovative use of information technology (IT) in higher education addresses the three fundamental challenges, such as access, equity and quality.
Meaning Of Information And Communication Technologies
According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) defi nition, ICTs are basically information- handling tools, such as a varied set of goods, applications,and services that are used to produce, store, process, distribute and exchange information.
ICT includes both old and new tools. Old ICT tools mainly include radio, TV and telephone. New ICT tools mainly include computers, satellite, wireless technology and the internet. These different tools are now able to work together and combine to form our networked world, where we have a massive infrastructure of interconnected telephone services, standardized computing hardware, the internet, radio and TV, which reaches into every nook and corner of the globe.
ICTs not only refer to the latest computer and the internet-based technologies, but also refer to the simple audio–visual aids, such as transparencies, slides, cassette and video recorders, radio, television and film. These conventional and more familiar technologies are referred under the collective heading of analogue media, while the newer computer and internet-based technologies are called the digital media. The differentiation between the old ICT and new ICT is subjective to some extent.
After completing the chapter, you will be able to: • ICT: General Abbreviations and Terminology • Basics of Internet, Intranet, E-mail, Audio and Video-conferencing • Digital Initiatives in Higher Education • ICT and Governance Learning Objectives
ICT And Education
Liberalization, privatization and globalization (LPG) coupled with the advancement in IT have opened up a new demand for skilled manpower, especially in the services sector. In this kind of scenario, education has been identified as one of the 12 main services under General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which needs to be opened up for free flow of trade between countries. Knowledge is expected to become a tradable commodity and it will be essential that Indian educators keep pace with the change or else perish in the face of competition from multinational forces in all fields of education and learning, including adult learning.
According to Cross and Adam, the four basic rationales behind introducing ICT in education are as follows.
Basic Rationales for Introducing IT in Education
|Social||Keeping in view the role that technology now plays in society, students need to learn technology.|
|Vocational||Now, most of the jobs require technological orientation.|
|Catalytic||To enhance teaching effectiveness with the help of technology.|
|Pedagogical||To make use of technology in enhancing learning, flexibility and efficiency in the course of delivery.|
The various kinds of ICT products available is relevant to education, such as teleconferencing, e-mail, audio conferencing, TV lessons, radio broadcasts, interactive radio counselling, interactive voice response system, audiocassettes, and compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM) have been used in education for different purposes. The objective must be clear while deciding to use ICTs. There are three ways in which ICT in education is considered in current thinking. There is ICT education, ICT-supported education and ICT-enabled education.
1. ICT education: It refers to the creation of trained manpower to meet the IT needs of knowledge society. The motivation is to train people in order to meet the manpower requirements of IT industry in both software and hardware. The role of ICT in the education policy of a government is to equip students with IT skills.
2. ICT-supported education: It is sometimes termed as multimedia education. Nowadays, many distance education universities and institutions use ICT to supplement printed study materials. Here, ICT mainly includes broadcast media, such as radio and TV programmes, audio and video tapes.
Multimedia contents such as lessons are offered on CDs.
3. ICT-enabled education: In this case, a comprehensive educational programme is purely delivered through ICTs, i.e., using them as the basic medium for the teaching–learning process as it requires ICT access.
Target Community of IT in India
As far as India’s demographic profile is concerned, almost half of India’s population is below 25 years of age, 70% people live in rural areas, the literacy rate is around 60%, and people speak 15 major languages. The demand for education outstrips the conventional system’s ability to provide it, leaving no alternative for the use of technology in education.
Urban-rural divide (sometimes termed as digital divide) still exists in terms of access, equity and resources.
In the new educational system, there are four levels of learners.
1. First level: The learners in this category can afford high cost of education for the sake of its quality.
2. Second level: It consists of intelligent and competent students, who are not able to afford the cost of education, so they prefer the existing public institutions and would soon be competing with the first level.
3. Third level: It consists of the academically and financially poor students, who seek access to education from not so qualitative institutions of higher learning.
4. Fourth level: It consists of the illiterate and the poor.
Objectives of Using ICT in Higher Education
The objectives of using ICT are as follows.
1. Improving access to the system through online education.
2. Improving the quality of teaching, especially across remote locations.
3. Increasing transparency and strengthening systems, processes and compliance norms in higher education institutes.
4. Measuring the students’ learning participation and effectiveness.
5. Analysing students’ behaviour to maximize students’ involvement, optimizing retentions and improving placements.
6. Analysing students’ performance, placement, application volume, website analytics and social media metrics for brand audit.
Strengths and Limitations of ICTs
Strengths of ICT
Some of the strengths of ICTs are as follows.
1. Individualization of learning: Individualization of learning means that people learn as individuals and not as a homogenous group. ICTs may offer flexibility to each individual to relate to the medium and its content. The concept of self-paced learning helps in this process.
2. Interactivity: Through interactivity feature, the learner can relate to the content more effectively, go forward and backward in the content and start at any point, depending upon prior knowledge and experience. It is not always necessary that the learner should move in a sequential manner.
3. Distance and climate insensitive: Teaching and learning could be taken out of the conventional education system of schools and colleges. Teaching can be individualized and geo-climatic conditions (a combination of geographical distances and climatic conditions) can be overcome as a result of ICT.
4. More economical, higher speed of delivery and wider reach: With increase in number of learners, the unit overhead cost comes down even though when the initial investment may be higher. The speed of delivery of contents is instantaneous.
5. Multiple teaching functions and diverse audiences:
In using ICTs, especially the computer and internet-based technologies can be useful in drills and practices to help diagnose and solve problems, for accessing information and knowledge about various related themes.
6. Uniform quality: If content is well produced and is of good quality, then the same quality can be delivered to the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural equally at the same low cost. This way of using ICTs can be a great equalizer.
Limitations of ICT
ICTs also have certain weaknesses that we must understand.
Some of the weaknesses depend upon the use of ICTs. and it includes the following.
1. High infrastructure and start-up costs: It costs money to build ICT systems and to maintain them. The cost of hardware and software can be very high.
2. Little attention towards individual differences in order to achieve economies of scale: The higher the quantity, the lower will be the cost. To keep the cost low, we make the content common.
We do not take into account the individual differences among students.
It may create a digital divide within the class as students who are more familiar with ICT reap more benefits and learn faster than those who are not familiar with the technological aspects.
3. Accessibility issue: Not everyone has equal access. Therefore, not everyone benefits equally from the use of ICTs. A 100% reach of radio or a 90% reach of TV does not mean that all the listeners or viewers have access to the medium. Timing of broadcast, electricity supply, socio-cultural factors, poverty, illiteracy, time constraints, mobility and relevance are the key factors influencing access.
4. ICT is basically a delivery system: A medium is different from the content, where ICTs are essentially meant only to deliver content and they are not expected to major attitudinal or behavioural changes.
5. Difficulty in performance evaluation: Learning from ICTs is usually multidimensional in nature and with long-term perspective. Thus, it may take longer time to assess performance in comparison to classroom assessment which is spontaneous.
6. Continuous training requirement: As technologies change, there is a continuous need to train the trainers which may sometimes be resisted by them.
Also, since not all teachers are experts with ICT, they may lack knowledge in updating the course content online which can slow down the learning among students. In fact, there is a need to train all stakeholders in ICT.
7. Call for attitudinal change to understanding of teaching and learning: These are different media and have a different way of teaching from what we are accustomed to. Therefore, they need different ways of understanding what teaching and learning is all about. It may shift attention from the primary goal of the learning process to developing ICT skills, which is the secondary goal. Higher dependence on ICTs affects the bonding process between the teacher and the student as ICTs become a communication tool rather than face-toface conversation and thus, the transactional distance increases. The potential threat of plagiarism is high as students can copy information rather than learning and developing their own skills.
Synchronous and Asynchronous Media
Based upon their characteristics, media technologies can be grouped into two categories, namely synchronous and asynchronous.
Synchronous media requires all participants to be together at the same time even though when they are in different locations. Asynchronous media allows participants in the learning process to be at different times and at different places.
Major ICT Learning Categories
In view of ICT, education can be classified into three main categories as follows.
1. E-learning 2. Blended learning 3. Distance learning In addition, there are face-to-face, self-paced and online collaborative learning under major ICT learning categories.
E-learning or Electronic Learning
It is also known as online learning and is commonly associated with the field of advanced learning technology (ALT), which deals with both the technologies and associated methodologies in learning using networked and/or multimedia technologies. Distance education provided the base for e-learning’s development.
E-learning can be ‘on demand’. It overcomes timing, attendance and travel difficulties. It also allows higher participation and greater interaction.
It is a combination of multiple approaches to learning.
It is usually used to define a situation where different delivery methods are combined together to deliver a particular course. These methods may include a mixture of face-to-face learning, self-paced learning and online classrooms.
It refers to learning that occurs in a traditional classroom setting where a faculty member delivers instructions to a group of learners. This could include lectures, workshops, presentations, tutoring, conferences and so on.
It provides the flexibility to learn according to the availability of learners’ own time and pace. It occurs in a variety of ways, such as reading specific chapters from the text book, studying the course material presented through web-based or CD-based courses, attending pre-recorded classes or sessions, reading articles referred by the faculty members, working on assignments and projects, and searching and browsing the internet.
Online Collaborative Learning
It involves interaction between the learners and the faculty members through the web. This interaction can occur in one of the following modes, such as through
1. synchronous interaction and 2. asynchronous interaction, which have been discussed earlier.
It is a type of education, where students work on their own at home or at office and communicate with the faculty and other students through e-mail, electronic forums, video conferencing, chat rooms, instant messaging and other forms of computer-based communication.
It is also known as open learning. Most distance learning programmes include a computer-based training (CBT) system and communications tools to produce a virtual classroom. As the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) are accessible from virtually all computer platforms, they are increasingly serving as the foundation for many distance learning systems.
ICTs also allow for the creation of digital resources, like digital libraries where the students, teachers and professionals can access research material and course material from any place at any time. Such facilities allow the networking of academics and researchers.
Hence, sharing of scholarly material leads to quality enhancement in teaching and learning.
Digital Initiatives in Higher Education
Digital revolution has brought many changes in the Higher Education. In fact, every institute is taking various initiatives in promoting digital education. Various initiatives have been taken up such as SWAYAM (India’s own MOOCs), Swayam Prabha, National Digital Library (containing more than 6.5 million books), and National Academic Depository. UGC is in the process of developing Online Education Regulation.
MHRD has also taken measures such as “Cashless Campus” and Digital Financial Literacy of community by students. The aim to raise the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in the higher education is to be taken to 30 by 2020. The physical expansion of facilities requires both infrastructural and human resource limitations. The technology can be leveraged to address twin concerns of enhancing access and quality. The use of technology becomes imperative due to the following factors:
1. Affordable 2. High Quality 3. Inclusive – specifically to cover up rural-urban and gender bias issues.
4. Employability 5. Uses internet 6. Smart Phones 7. Higher spend 8. Skilling the unskilled – The Skill India Mission To democratise the opportunities of quality education, the Government has launched the National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT) to translate the power of IT into expanded learning opportunities.
Over a period of time, NMEICT has made significant gains by developing IT interventions that have potential to change the higher education scenario.
Now we can discuss various points for discussion of other points:
1. National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT): NMEICT is a centrally sponsored scheme to realize the potential of ICT in teaching learning process for the benefit of all the learners in higher education institutions anytime and anywhere.
Content generation and connectivity along with provision for access devices for institutions and learners are the main objectives. Now many universities have been provided 1 Gbps connectivity and more than 14,000 colleges have also been provided VPN (Virtual Private Network) connectivity.
A-view software has been developed under the NMEICT for teacher training. This could become the basis for successful implementation of the proposed National Mission on Teachers.
Under the N-list program of INFLIBNET (under NMEICT), lakhs of e-books and thousands of high quality paid e-journals have been made available to colleges and universities with a view to inculcate research culture in teachers and students. The model needs to be scaled up for maximizing coverage and for productive usage of the available resources.
2. National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL): NPTEL was initiated by seven Indian Institutes of Technology (Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati and Roorkee) along with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 2003. Five core disciplines were identified, namely, civil engineering, computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, electronics and communication engineering and mechanical engineering and 235 courses in web/video format were developed in this phase. The main goal of NPTEL Phase II (2009-14) was to build on the engineering and core science courses launched previously in NPTEL Phase I. An additional 600 web and video courses were created in all major branches of engineering, physical sciences at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and management courses at the postgraduate level. Several improvements such as indexing of all video and web courses and keyword search were implemented.
3. SWAYAM: It is an indigenous (Made in India) IT Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Platform for providing best quality education that can be accessed by anyone, anytime and anywhere using the IT system. It was launched by Government of India to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education – access, equity and quality. Access means to take the best teaching learning even to the most disadvantaged. It seeks to bridge the digital divide for the economically disadvantaged students, at all levels. It is taught in classrooms from 9th class till post-graduation to be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time. The sessions are developed by best faculty and available free of cost. There are more than 1,000 specially chosen faculty members. The courses hosted on SWAYAM are in 4 quadrants: (a) Video tutorials covering a whole course – normally of 20 hours, each lecture not exceeding 30 minutes.
(b) E-Content: added to the learning imparted through the video tutorials.
(c) Self Assessment: Quizzes/assignments that intersperse the course (d) Discussion forum for posting queries Features of SWAYAM (a) High quality learning experience using multimedia on anytime, anywhere basis.
(b) One-stop web location for interactive e-content for all courses from School to University level.
(c) State of the art system that allows easy access, monitoring and certification.
(d) Peer group interaction and discussion forum to clarify doubts (e) Hybrid model that adds to the quality of class room teaching. Thus all this happens through by using audiovideo, multi-media and state of the art pedagogy / technology. Nine National Coordinators have been appointed: They are AICTE for self-paced and international courses, NPTEL for engineering, UGC for non technical post-graduation education, CEC for under-graduate education, NCERT & NIOS for school education, IGNOU for out of the school students, IIMB for management studies and NITTTR for Teacher Training programme.
Students looking for certifications shall be registered and be offered a certificate on successful completion of the course, with a little fee. The assessment takes place through proctored examination and the marks/grades secured in this exam could be transferred to the academic record of the students. UGC has already issued the UGC (Credit Framework for online learning courses through SWAYAM) Regulation 2016 advising the Universities to identify courses where credits can be transferred on to the academic record of the students.
SWAYAM platform is indigenously developed by MHRD and AICTE with the help of Microsoft and would be ultimately capable of hosting 2000 courses and 80000 hours of learning: covering school, under-graduate, post-graduate, engineering, law and other professional courses.
4. SWAYAM Prabha – The 32 educational DTH channels: The SWAYAM PRABHA has been conceived as the project for telecasting high quality educational programmes through 32 DTH channels on 24X7 basis. Every day, there will be new content of at least (4) hours which would be repeated 6 times a day, allowing the student to choose the time of his convenience. The DTH Channels cover:- (a) Curriculum based course contents covering diverse disciplines such as arts, science, commerce, performing arts, social sciences and humanities subjects, engineering, technology, law, medicine, agriculture etc. in higher education domain (all courses would be certification- ready in their detailed offering).
(b) School education (9-12 levels) modules (c) Curricula and courses that can meet the needs of life-long learners or Indian citizens in India and abroad.
(d) IIT-PAL – to assist the students in the Classes 11 and 12 aspiring to join IITs – Tthe four channels under this would be on Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The project was conceived and completed within 3 months with the active participation of the Bhaskaracharya Satellite Application Centre and Geoinformatics (BISAG) Gandhinagar and ECIL Hyderabad.
5. National Digital Library (NDL): A Project titled “Development of National Digital Library of India, Towards Building a National Asset” has been sanctioned to IIT, Kharagpur under NMEICT by MHRD.
NDL project aims to develop (a) overall framework to collate large number of e-contents, virtual library, covering needs of learners with differing abilities for different levels of education (b) Design & development of “OAI-PMH” Server for Metadata Harvesting, Indexed etc.
(c) Pan-India virtual teaching-learning-evaluation- knowledge platform and for key national asset and (d) Collect resources from other Ministries. There are more than 72 lakh digital books available through the NDL and available through mobile also.
6. National Academic Depository (NAD): It is an initiative of MHRD to facilitate digital issuance, storage, access and verification of Academic Awards issued by Academic Institutions. NAD is a Unique, Innovative and Progressive initiative under “Digital India” theme towards achieving Digital enablement of the Education Records. NAD aspires to make the vision of Digital Academic Certificates for every Indian a reality.
7. e-Shodh sindhu: More than 15,000 international electronic journals and e-books are made available to all the higher educational institutions through the e shodh Sindhu initiative. This allows access to be best education resources in the world using digital mode. The INFLIBNET, Gandhinagar, Gujarat is implementing the Scheme.
8. Virtual labs: The physical distances and lack of other resources make us unable to perform experiments, especially when they involve sophisticated instruments. Good teachers are always a scarce resource. Web-based and video-based courses address the issue of teaching to some extent. They learn basic and advanced concepts through remote experimentation. Now it is possible to design good experiments around some of these equipments, which would enhance the learning of a student.
Internet-based experimentation further permits use of resources – knowledge, software, and data available on the web, apart from encouraging skillful experiments being simultaneously performed at points separated in space (and possibly, time).
9. e-Yantra: An MHRD initiative under NMEICT Programme, named “e-Yantra” is implemented to incorporate Robotics into engineering education with the objective of engaging students. This needs exciting skills of mathematics, computer science, and engineering principles.
eYantra creates projects that are based to train teachers. MHRD sees the core skills developed by IITB. All the projects and code are available on the e-Yantra web-site www.eyantra.org as open source content.
10. Campus connectivity: Establishment of 1 GBPS Connectivity to universities and 20 512 Kbps broadband connectivity to colleges has been provisioned under NMEICT.
On guidelines from ‘Digital India’ initiative of PMO, now the MHRD has now decided that campuses of Universities, (having 1 Gbps bandwidth) shall be made WiFi enabled campus. All IITs, IIMs, and NITs have established WiFi campuses. The process of laying the optical fibre and provision of the WiFi in Central Universities is currently underway.
11. Talk to a teacher: Talk to a Teacher developed by IIT Bombay, is an initiative of the National Mission on Education through ICT. It has been funded by MHRD to provide free access to a few selected graduate and postgraduate courses, taught at IIT Bombay by distinguished faculty members and scholars at large. It uses A-View collaboration tool developed by Amrita University for providing virtual classrooms to the faculty across the country. These courses can be viewed absolutely free of charge at lower bandwidths on a personal computer/ laptop having a headphone and Internet connection.
12. e-Acharya: e-Acharya also called ‘Integrated e-Content Portal’ of NMEICT, is the official repository of NMEICT e-content and all content produced under NMEICT is being put at this Repository platform at INFILIBNET Centre Gandhinagar. The basic tenets of preservation for digital content, implement standard Metadata schema are provided.
Contents are mostly provided by NCERT.
13. e-Kalpa: It’s another MHRD/ NMEICT initiative named as “e-Kalpa”. It creates Digital-Learning Environment for Design in India. It has successfully achieved following objectives: (a) Digital online content for learning Design with e-Learning programs on Design (b) Digital Design Resource Database including the craft sector (c) Social networking for Higher Learning with collaborative Learning Space for Design (d) Design inputs for products of National Mission in Education through ICT 14. The Free and Open Source Software for Education (FOSSEE): FOSSEE project sanctioned to IIT Bombay has been promoting use of open source software in educational institutions (http:// fossee.in). It does through instructional material, such as spoken tutorials, documentation, such as textbook companions, awareness programmes, such as conferences, training workshops, and Internships. Textbook Companion (TBC) is a collection of code for solved examples of standard textbooks. Scilab and Python TBCs are also on the cloud.
15. e-Vidwan: The ‘Information and Library Network’ (INFLIBNET) Centre took the initiative called “Vidwan: Expert Database and National Researcher’s Network” with the financial support from NMEICT. The objectives of VIDWAN is to (a) collect academic and research profiles of scientists, faculty and research scientists working in leading academic and R&D organizations in India and abroad; (b) quickly and conveniently provide information about experts to peers, prospective collaborators, funding agencies, policy makers and research scholars in the country; (c) establish communication directly with the experts who possess the expertise needed by research scholars; (d) identify peer reviewers for review of articles and research proposals; and (e) create information exchanges and networking opportunities among scientist.
16. Central cloud infrastructure: The MHRD under NMEICT has awarded a project to IIT Delhi, to set up a robust 24X7 backed Data Centre and the activities have been put up at NIC / NKN Data Centre, and the cloud is called ‘Baadal’. The IIT Delhi cloud is hosting e-content and video content of e-Acharya.
Other Major Digital Initiatives in Higher Education
1. Lekhika 2007: It was developed by the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) under India’s IT Ministry and Israel’s FTK Technologies. The objective of this project is to spread computer literacy to the masses in India who do not know English.
2. National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL): It is a joint initiative of the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology and IISc (Indian Institute of Science) to provide e-learning through online web and video courses in engineering, science and humanities streams, which is aiming to enhance the quality of engineering education in the country by providing free online courseware.
3. National Knowledge Network (NKN) and Connected Digital: An initiative has been undertaken to cover 1000 institutions besides providing digital campuses, video-conference classrooms, wireless hotspots, laptops/desktops to all students of professional/science courses and Wi-Fi connectivity in hostels.
4. Centre for Distance Engineering Education Program (CDEEP): CDEEP is an emulated classroom interaction programme by using real-time interactive satellite technology. This was launched by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay.
5. EDUSAT: The launch of EDUSAT brought satellite connectivity to large parts of rural India. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is leveraging satellite, TV and internet technologies to offer online courses.
6. IIMs: IIM-C, IIM-B, IIM-K, XLRI and other management institutes have started offering courses (in association with private players like Hughes Global Education, Reliance, NIIT and so on.) after the Distance Education Council (DEC) allowed them to do so in 2007.
7. Brihaspati: This open source e-learning platform has been developed by IIT-Kanpur.
8. Private players: An increasing number of private players, like Hughes Global Education, Manipal Education Group, Centum Learning, UEI Global, Shiv Nadar University and so on are offering online education courses in association with leading central and state universities having with good ICT infrastructure.
9. Digitization of books (e-text books): There is an increased trend towards creation of a digital repository of books to create a digital learning environment for students. The digital version of the books embedded with text, pictures along with video, simulations and visualizations help the students to learn the concepts in an interactive way. The National Mission on Education, through ICT, plans to generate a new online course content for UG, PG and doctoral education. Efforts are already underway to prepare the course content for 130 courses (UG and PG).
10. Content delivery using IT/ICT: Higher education is purely a content-driven play where educational content is delivered through innovative use of ICT. There is an increased trend in higher education institutes to render content through radio, TV, and satellite.
11. Open education resources: Many Indian universities are contemplating technology-enabled free access to educational resources. All India Council for Technical Education-Indian National Digital Library in Engineering and Technology (AICTE-INDEST) is a consortium set up by the Ministry of Human Resource to enhance greater access and generate annual savings in access of bibliographic databases. UGC has also launched its Digital Library Consortium to provide access to peer reviewed journals and bibliographic databases covering subjects, such as arts, humanities, technology and sciences.
12. Virtual Technical University (VTU): The National Mission on Education through ICT is working hard to establish a VTU to impart training to UG/PG students along with new teachers. It focuses on science, technology, management and other related areas.
13. Gyan darshan: Launched in 2000, Gyan Darshan is a joint effort of IGNOU and the IITs. It is a bouquet of channels that broadcasts educational programmes for school kids, university students and adults. The courses are contributed by IGNOU, UGC Consortium for Educational Communication (UGC – CEC), IITs and so on. CEC is an inter-university centre of UGC.
14. Gyan vani: It is a bouquet of frequency modulation (FM) radio channels which broadcast programs contributed by institutions, such as IGNOU and IITs. Under UGC Countrywide Classroom initiative, education programmes are telecast on Gyan Darshan and Doordarshan’s National Channel (DD1) every day.
15. e-Gyankosh: It is a knowledge repository launched by IGNOU in 2005 which aims at storing and preserving digital learning resources. Almost 95% of IGNOU’s printed material has been digitized and uploaded on the repository.
16. Education and Research Network (ERNET):
It is promoted by the Department of Information Technology, Government of India. It provides communication infrastructure and services to academic research institutions in India. It is undertaking networking projects, such as AICTE-Net, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Net and UGC-Infonet to provide internet and intranet facilities.
17. Sakshat portal: Launched in 2006, Sakshat is a one-stop education portal for addressing all the education and learning related needs of students, scholars, teachers and lifelong learners. It has been developed at IGNOU. The portal was developed by NIC and it provides links to vast knowledge resources, educational news, examination alerts, sample papers and other useful links are available on the web. It has an in-built repository of educational resources and online testing facility.
Nowadays, mobile phones play a crucial part for its unique feature as they provide more than just voice calls.Technical gadgets such as Smartphones, iPhones, Kindle, etc., have internet access and it allows students and faculty to perform a wide range of assignments. Tasks like administration, sharing class notes, downloading lectures, instant messaging and so on are possible wherever cell phone services are available.
Mobile phones can now access computer files from remote locations. With services like Soonr, students who forget to bring an assignment to class can use their cell phone to access the completed work on their home computer and show it to the professor.
Concept of Social Learning
Web 2.0, social networking such as blogs and Wikis, YouTube, iTunes and Big Think are influencing a new trend in higher education. The emergence of Smartphones, such as the iPhone and other intelligent devices has enhanced mobile learning (referred to as m-learning). These technologies create new channels for content delivery, online video expansion and podcasting. The adoption of virtual reality websites, such as Second Life has provided higher education institutions with new venues for virtual class learning.
A combination of Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, Wikis, podcasts, mashups and social networking communities have made traditional learning more social and personalized. To begin with, the initial learning management systems (LMS) like Blackboard, Sakai, Moodle or Web CT (Course tool) were course-centred and teacher-driven.
In the recent past, it is becoming more and more learner-centric.
18. GRID GARUDA: It is India’s first national grid bringing together the academic, scientific and research communities for developing their data and other applications. It is connected with National Knowledge Network (NKN).
19. Shruti-drishti: It is basically created for visually impaired women empowerment (VIWE).
20. IIT Madras: It has been assigned the task to develop e-contents for 996 courses. These courses belong to engineering, sciences, technology, humanities and management.
21. Consortium for educational communication:
It has been tasked with the creation of e-content for 87 undergraduate courses (UGC). UGC has cleared a proposal to publish e-content for 77 postgraduate courses (PGC).
1. AICTE-INDEST is a consortium set up by the Ministry of Human Resource to enhance greater access and generate annual savings in the access of bibliographic databases.
2. UGC has also launched its Digital Library Consortium to provide access to peer reviewed journals and bibliographic databases covering subjects, such as arts, humanities and sciences.
Key Challenges in IT/ICT Adoption in Indian Universities
The key challenges affecting the utilization of IT/ICT in Indian Higher Education falls broadly into the following categories.
1. Lack of desired level of knowledge and technology readiness. Low technology and people’s readiness in order to realize the true potential of ICT in higher education with the penetration of computers and the internet, especially in the rural areas being extremely poor.
2. Poor implementation.
3. Linguistic barriers.
PAL, NTSC and SECAM
There are three video formats used in the world, where each one is incompatible with the other and these are PAL, NTSC and SECAM.
1. Phase Alternating Line (PAL): PAL is a video signal standard. Its increased bandwidth allows for better picture quality. It is the analogue TV format which is used in majority of western Europe and other major areas, such as China, India, Australia and South America.
2. National Television System Committee (NTSC):
It is mainly used in North American countries, such as USA and Canada. This was the first coloured TV broadcast system. NTSC is also used in Asia, including Japan.
3. Sequential Couleur Avec Memoire (SECAM):
It is also known as sequential colour with memory.
It is used mainly in France and many other western European countries. SECAM uses the same bandwidth as PAL but transmits the colour information sequentially.
Frequency Modulation (FM) is a form of modulation that conveys information over a carrier wave by varying its frequency (contrast this with amplitude modulation, in which the amplitude of the carrier is varied while its frequency remains constant).
It is a statutory autonomous body established under the Prasar Bharati Act. The board came into existence in 1997. Prasar Bharati is the public service broadcaster of the country. The objective of public service broadcasting is achieved through All India Radio (AIR) and DD which were earlier working as independent media units under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB).
All India Radio (AIR)
Broadcasting started in India during 1927 with two privately owned transmitters, one at Bombay and the other at Calcutta, which were taken over by the Government in 1930. These operated under the name Indian Broadcasting Service until 1936 when it was given the present name AIR. It came to be known as Akashvani from 1957 onwards. The AIR network comprises of national channels, regional stations, local radio stations, Vividh Bharati centres, FM stereo services, external services and north-eastern services.
The experimental telecast started in Delhi in September 1959 with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. The regular daily transmission started in 1965. The TV service was extended to a second city, Bombay, only in 1972. Till 1975, only seven cities were covered by the TV. TV was separated from radio in 1976 and DD came into existence, National programme was introduced in 1982 and from then onwards, there has been a steady progress in DD. Swasth Bharat is the world’s biggest health communication initiative launched on DD.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has established two major space systems. Firstly, it is Indian National Satellite System (INSAT), i.e., Geo-stationary satellites for communication, TV broadcasting. Secondly, it is Indian Remote Sensing Satellites used for resource monitoring.
A transponder is a wireless communication device that picks up and responds to incoming signals.
India’s first EDUSAT (GSAT-3) was launched in 2004. Ku bandwidth (12-18 Ghz) is mostly used for satellite TV and VSAT systems. Ka bandwidth (26.5–40 GHz) is used in high-definition satellite TV. D band has the highest bandwdith and L band has the lowest bandwidth. India’s first moon mission Chandrayan-I was launched in the year 2003. Meteorological satellites (METSAT-I, II, etc.) have been named after Kalpana Chawla (Kalpana-I, Kalpana–II).
Community Radio Stations
In December 2002, the Government of India approved a policy for the grant of licenses for setting up of community radio stations to well-established educational institutions including the IITs and IIMs.
It is a global service that enables students, researchers and staff from the participating institutions to obtain internet connectivity across campuses and when visiting other participating institutions by simply opening their laptop or activating their smartphone or other portable device through Wi-Fi.
The Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)
It is a digital TV (and not PC) that is delivered through high-speed internet (broadband) connection. In this service, channels are encoded in IP format and delivered to the TV through a set-top box that is required at the customer’s location.
IPTV services also include video on demand (similar to watching video CDs/DVDs using a VCD/DVD player). The quality of digital video and audio is much better compared to the traditional analogue TV. With additional features, it can become interactive as well.
1. Doordarshan: Being one of the largest TV networks, it started its services in 1959 in Delhi with the transmission of educational and developmental programmes. The second TV centre was started in 1972. DD is presently operating 31 TV channels besides free direct-to-home (DTH) services. DD National is the largest terrestrial network in the world and also the flagship channel of DD. Satellite transmission of all 31 DD channels is in digital mode. DD’s DTH service called DD Direct Plus was started in 2004. DD also started its mobile TV service (DVB-H transmission) at Delhi in 2007.
2. Headend in the Sky (HITS): It is Comcast’s satellite multiplex service that provides cable channels for cable TV operations. At a traditional cable TV headend, multitudes of satellite dishes and antennas are used to grab cable stations from dozens of communication satellites. In contrast, HITS combines cable stations into multiplex signals on just a few satellites, where cable TV companies can then pull in hundreds of channels at the local headend with relatively little equipment. The HITS feed effectively replaces more complex traditional headend operations.
Press and Print Media
Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI)
The office of RNI came into being in 1956. It is mandatory for all newspapers and magazines to get them registered with RNI. Its head office is in New Delhi.
Press Information Bureau (PIB)
It is the nodal agency of the Government of India to disseminate information to the print and electronic media on government policies, programme initiatives and achievements. It has its headquarters in New Delhi and has eight regional offices. Activities of PIB can be classified into three categories, such as Information, Education and Communication abbreviated as I.E.C.
and mean publicity. Apart from these, feedback, accreditation, etc., are the other services dealt by PIB. The National Media Centre is located in New Delhi.
PIB also has seven sister websites in seven different languages, such as in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Mizo.
Public Information Campaigns (PICs)
PICs are held to disseminate information directly to the target beneficiaries on the flagship programmes of the Union Government.
Main News Agencies in India
Questions have been asked earlier about the news agencies in UGC NET Paper I Exam.
Press Trust of India (PTI): PTI was founded in 1947 and started its services in 1949. PTI is a non-profit sharing cooperative owned by the country’s newspapers with a mandate to provide efficient and unbiased news to all the subscribers.
United News of India (UNI): UNI was incorporated in 1959 and started its functioning in 1961. It started its first news agency in India, a full-fledged Hindi wire service called Univarta in 1982 and also started the firstever service in Urdu. UNI distributes world news from Reuters, the world’s largest information company.
Press Council of India (PCI): PCI is a quasi-judicial authority mandated by the Parliament to preserve the freedom of press and maintain and improve the standard of newspapers and news agencies in India. PCI Act, 1978, provides for the reconstitution of the council in every three years.
NAM News Network (NNN): NNN is the internetbased news and photograph-exchange arrangement of news agencies of non-aligned movement countries.
Basic Computer Terms
A computer is a programmable machine. It allows the users to store all sorts of information and then process that information, or data, or carry out actions with the information, such as calculating numbers or organizing words.
A computer can be defined as an electronic device that is capable of (i) accepting, storing and logically manipulating data or text that is input and (ii) processing and producing output (results or decisions) on the basis of stored programs of instructions. Some computers are also capable of processing graphics, video and voice input. Most computers include a keyboard for text entry, a central processing unit (CPU), one or more disk drives, a display screen and a printer, where these components are referred to as the hardware.
Types of Computers
The computers are classified according to 1. generation, 2. functionality, and 3. size.
According to Generation
Generation refers to the time period during which a computer has been developed. The different generations of computer are as follows. First Generation (1940–1956)
1. Used vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory.
2. High electricity consumption.
3. Programming in machine language.
Mark 1, ENIAC Second Generation (1956–1963)
1. Transistors were used.
2. First operating system and core memory were developed.
3. Programming was in machine language and assembly language.
4. Magnetic tapes and discs were used.
5. Example: Early versions of COBOL and FORTRAN, IBM 1401, IBM_1402, PDP-1, etc. Third Generation Features (1964–1971)
1. Integrated circuits developed.
2. Low-power consumption.
3. Small-scale integration (SSI) and medium-scale technology (MSI) was used.
4. High-level languages (HLL) were used.
5. The main examples are PDP-8, ICL 2900, IBM-360 and IBM-370.
Fourth Generation (1971–Present)
1. Large-scale integration (LSI) and very large-scale integration (VLSI) technology is used.
2. Development of portable computers.
3. Use of RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) technology for data storage.
4. Used in virtual reality multimedia and simulation.
5. Computers started in use for data communication.
IBM PC, Apple Macintosh.
Fifth Generation (Present and Beyond)
These computers are used in parallel processing, speech recognition, intelligent robots and artificial intelligence.
According to Function
The computers are of the following types according to the function. There are three different types of computers according to the principles of operation and they are as follows.
1. Analogue computers 2. Digital computers 3. Hybrid computers Figure 8.3 Types of Computers
According to Operations
Analogue Digital Hybrid
Analogue computers are that in which data varies continuously, i.e., the movement of data is continuous.
It is generally meant to measure the physical variables, such as voltage, pressure, temperature, speed and so on. It is mainly used for communication and broadcast transmission.
Digital computers are those computers in which data flow in discrete form. These are high-speed programmable electronic devices that perform mathematical calculations, compare values and store the results.
It uses binary number system in which there are only two digits 0 and 1 (each one called a bit). The digital computer is designed using digital circuits in which there are two levels for an input or output signal. These two levels are known as logic 0 and logic
1. Digital computers provide more accurate and faster results.
Digital computer is better suited for solving complex problems in science, engineering and technology.
Hence, they are increasingly used in the field of design, research and data processing.
Based on the purpose, digital computers can be further classified as follows.
1. General-purpose computers 2. Special-purpose computers General-purpose computers are used for any type of applications. Most of the computers are general-purpose computers. Special-purpose computer is one that is built for a specific application.
A hybrid computer combines the desirable features of analogue and digital computers. They combine the speed of analogue computers and the accuracy of digital computers. Now, analogue-to-digital and digitalto- analogue converters are used for transforming data into suitable form for either type of computation.
For example, in a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), analogue devices might measure a patient’s temperature and blood pressure. These analogue measurements may then be converted into numbers and supplied to digital components in the system for better monitoring. Hybrid computers are mainly used for specialized tasks.
According to Size and Configuration
There are four different types of computers which is classified based on their size and configuration.
1. Supercomputers 2. Mainframe computers 3. Minicomputers 4. Microcomputers
They are mostly used for applications that require intensive numerical computations, such as stock analysis, weather forecasting, nuclear energy research, electronic design and for analysing geological data. They can process billions of instructions per second. The best known supercomputer manufacturer is Cray Research.
Some of the companies which produce super computers are Cray, IBM, HP and so on. PARAM is India’s first super computer. Tata’s EKA is also an example of supercomputer.
Mainframe computers can also process data at very high speed (in million instructions per second, shortly termed as ‘MIPS’). Mainframe computers are largesized, powerful, multi-user computers that can support concurrent programs. They can accommodate more than 1000 workstations simultaneously. Normally, they are used in banking, airlines, railways and so on for their applications. The technique that allows many people at the terminals to access the same computer concurrently is called time sharing.
Minicomputers have lesser speed and storage capacity in comparison to mainframe computers. Hence, their performance is also less than that of mainframes. They are mid-sized multiprocessing computers. They can perform several actions at the same time and can support 4 to 200 users simultaneously. Some of the features of mainframes are not available in minicomputers.
In recent years, the distinction between minicomputers and small mainframes has blurred. Often the distinction depends upon how the manufacturer wants to market his machines.
Workstations are powerful, single-user computers. They have the capacity to store and process large quantities of data, but they can only be used by one person at a time. They are typically linked together to form a computer network called a local area network (LAN), which means that several people, such as staff in an office can communicate with each other and share electronic files and data. In terms of computing power, workstations lie in between personal computers and minicomputers. Workstations commonly support applications that require relatively high quality graphics capabilities and a lot of memory, such as desktop publishing, software development and engineering applications.
A workstation is similar to a personal computer but is more powerful and often comes with a higher quality monitor.
A microcomputer is also called a personal computer (PC). It is a small and relatively inexpensive computer, where it commonly consists of a display screen, a keyboard, a CPU (central processing unit), one or more disk drives and a printer with limited storage based upon a microprocessor. It is designed for an individual user. The invention of microprocessor (single chip CPU) gave birth to the much cheaper microcomputers. They are further classified into the following processors.
1. Desktop computers 2. Laptop computers 3. Handheld computers (PDAs)
It is the physical equipment which is required to create, use, manipulate and store electronic data. The hardware of a computer system can be classified into CPU and peripherals.
Central Processing Unit
Central processing unit (CPU) is a microprocessor that controls the execution of program instructions (microprocessor is programmable while integrated circuits (ICs) perform predetermined tasks only). The CPU performs the following functions.
1. Arithmetic operations 2. Logical operations 3. Input/output operations 4. Data manipulations Main CPU Components
To carry out the functions as mentioned earlier, the CPU has the following components.
1. Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU): It performs various calculations, such as addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, comparison and so on.
2. Control Unit (CU): It coordinates the operation of hardware, the flow and execution of data and instructions that are fed into memory or main storage through CPU.
3. Memory Unit (main storage): It holds data instructions, intermediate results and final results that are ready for output. The data and instructions are passed from the main store into ALU or to and from the storage device under the control of CU.
Now computers hold megabytes or even gigabytes of data. A megabyte is a unit of one million bytes, a gigabyte is one billion bytes and a terabyte is one trillion bytes. If a computer has a memory of 64 megabytes, then it can hold 64 million bytes of information.
Set of Registers
Within a CPU, there are a number of high speed, special purpose, memory units called registers. These registers carry out critical functions in the execution of programmes. They are used for storing small information.
The computer’s main circuit board contains the CPU, the memory and expansion slots for additional circuit boards known as adapters or cards.
It is a set of parallel wires for connecting the CPU of a computer to all other input-output devices. The data can be transmitted in two directions, from and to the CPU.
A peripheral device is any device that can be connected to a computer. This term includes monitors, keyboards, mouse, webcams, drawing pads, joystick, modems, printers, scanners, interactive whiteboards, drive wheel and so on.
Any device that is capable of inputting information into a computer system, for example, keyboard, microphone, mouse, scanner, webcam and so on are known as input devices.
The output devices are basically meant for anything that comes out of a computer after being processed. It includes the monitor, headphone, printers, speakers, plotters and VDUs (visual display units).
Computer data storage, often known as memory refers to the computer components and recording media which retains the digital data. Memory refers to the temporary internal storage areas within a computer. The term memory is usually used as a shorthand for physical memory and it refers to the actual chips capable of holding data. Some computers also use virtual memory, which expands physical memory onto a hard drive.
Memory is the part of a computer which stores information.
1. Random Access Memory (RAM): It is also termed as the main memory. It is the temporary memory (volatile) that allows information to be stored randomly and accessed quickly and directly (without the need to go through intervening data).
A computer can both write data into RAM and read data from RAM. Every time a user turns on his/her computer, a set of operating instructions is copied from the hard disk into RAM. These instructions, which help control the basic computer functions remain in RAM until the computer is turned off. As soon as the power is turned off, whatever data present in the RAM disappears.
2. Read-only Memory (ROM): It is the permanent memory of a computer. A set of instructions that has been built into the computer by the manufacturer and it cannot be accessed or changed by the user.
It only permits the user to read data. Computers always contain a small amount of ROM that holds instructions for starting up the computer.
3. Programmable Read-only Memory (PROM):
A PROM is a memory chip in which you can store a program. Once the PROM has been used, you cannot wipe it clean and use it to store something else.
Like ROMs, PROMs are non-volatile.
4. Erasable Programmable Read-only Memory (EPROM): An EPROM is a special type of PROM that can be erased by exposing it to ultraviolet light.
5. Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-only Memory (EEPROM): An EEPROM is a special type of PROM that can be erased by exposing it to an electrical charge. It is also termed as flash memory.
Memory is also classified as (a) primary storage and (b) secondary storage.
(a) Primary storage: It consists of RAM and ROM.
In primary memory, the data is not stored permanently, but it is stored temporarily. After accessing the information, the data is erased from the memory of computer. Such types of data are considered as short-term memory.
(b) Secondary storage: It is also termed as auxiliary storage. The secondary memory/storage is the slowest and the cheapest form of memory. It cannot be processed directly by the CPU and it must be copied first into primary storage (RAM). The main secondary memory devices are magnetic disks, such as hard drives and floppy disks, optical disks such as CDs and CD-ROMs and magnetic tapes, they were actually the first forms of secondary memory.
In computer disk storage, any sector is a subdivision of a track on a magnetic disk or optical disc. Each sector stores a fixed amount of user-accessible data, traditionally, it consists of 512 bytes for hard drives and 2048 bytes for CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs. The storage devices can be divided into two categories and they are listed as follows.
(i) Internal: They reside within a computer. Hard disk is an example of a magnetic disk in which the computer data can be stored. They usually hold more data and are conventionally faster.
(ii) External: They are portable and are usually used as removable storage devices. USB flash drive (commonly termed as pen drive), CD, digital video disk (DVD), Blu-ray disc are certain examples.
USB flash drives look like a small flat pen. They may have large storage capacity and they can be plugged into any computer with a USB socket. Flash drives are also commonly referred to as pen drives or memory sticks.
Software is a set of programs, procedures, algorithms and associated documents that provide instructions to computer by ordering what to do, when to do and how to do. It can also be defined as computerized instructions that operate a computer, manipulate the data and execute particular functions or tasks.
When software is stored in a hardware that cannot be easily modified (such as BIOS, ROM in a PC), then it is called a firmware to indicate that it falls into an area somewhere between the software and the hardware.
System software provides the basic functions for computer usage and helps to run the computer hardware and system.
It includes a combination of devices, drivers, operating systems, servers, utilities and Windows systems.
It manages the hardware devices. It is also responsible for resource allocation. The operating system and utility software are the two major categories of system software.
Types of System Software
1. Compilers: It converts the source code (written in programming language) into another computer language called object code). The examples are ALGOL compilers, BASIC compilers, C++ compilers and FORTRAN compilers.
2. Operating System (OS): An operating system controls all other resources of a computer system.
It can be 16-bit, 32-bit or 64-bit. The main categories of operating system are as follows.
(a) Unix/BSD: Unix system V, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, IRIX, BSD distros.
(b) GNU/Linux: Linux, Google Chrome OS.
(c) Windows: 2000, XP, Vista, 7, CE.
(d) Mac OS: Mac OS X (e) Embedded and Real-Time OS (f) Experimental: Oberon/Bluebottle, Amoeba, Plan 9 (Bell Labs).
Windows was developed in 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Mac OS was the previous operating system that used a GUI. The most recent client version of Windows after Vista is Windows 8. Linux was developed by Linus Torvalds. It is a freely available multi-tasking and multi-user operating system. Since the very beginning, Linux was placed under General Public License (GPL).
It is a system software designed to help, analyse, monitor, configure and optimize the settings, and maintain the computer. Skins that customize the media player’s looks and DVD burners are examples of utility software.
Some of the utility software which is frequently used is classified as follows.
1. Anti-virus software: Antivirus is a protective software designed to defend your computer against malicious software (malware).
2. Desktop widgets: Interactive virtual tools that provide single purpose vehicles showing the latest news, time, calendar, dictionary, map, calculator and so on.
3. Backup software: The backup software are backup files, cleaning up hard disk and shredding files. Examples are Windows backup and restore centre and Net Backup made by Symantec.
It helps the user to perform singular or multiple related tasks. It can be further classified into productivity software (word processors, spreadsheets, schedulers, DBMS, desktop publishing, ERP, Mozilla Firefox) or collaborative software also referred to as groupware.
Examples include Facebook application, Etherpad.
Software can be either proprietary (also called closed) or open. Proprietary software is privately owned and controlled. The specifications of such software are not divulged in order to prevent other companies from duplicating it. The users usually prefer using open software, which is publicly accessible. Anyone can create add-on products for it because they can understand how it was designed. Freeware is the software that can be copied and used without payment to the author(s), although there may be some restrictions on distribution.
These are the rules, conventions and specific commands that are used to write a computer program.
Most programs must be converted into machine language or binary code so that the instructions can be performed on a specific computer platform.
1. Machine language: Machine language is the only language understood by a computer. Each statement in a machine language program is a sequence of bits. Each bit may be set to 0 or
1. The seies of bits represent instructions that a computer can understand. While easily understood by computers, machine languages are the most difficult for humans to put into use. It is entirely compiled by binary numbers. Programmers, therefore, use either a high-level programming language or an assembly language. Machine language is also known as first-generation language.
2. Assembly language: An assembly language is also known as second-generation language. It contains the same instructions as a machine language, but the instructions and variables have names instead of being just numbers. The advantage of assembly language is that its instructions are readable. For example, assembly language statements like MOV and ADD are more recognizable than sequences of 0’s and 1’s.
3. High-level language (HLL): High-level languages are what most programmers use. Languages such as C++ and Java are all HLLs. One advantage of HLLs is that they are very readable. The statements in these languages are in English. Programs written in HLLs are translated into assembly language or machine language by a compiler. Assembly language programs are translated into machine language by a program called an assembler.
Every CPU has its own unique machine language.
Programs must be rewritten or recompiled to run on different types of computers.
A program is a set of instructions for performing a particular task. These instructions are just like English words. The computer interprets the instructions as 1’s and 0’s. A program can be written in assembly language as well as in HLL. This written program is called the source program. The source program is to be converted into machine language, which is called an object program.
A translator is required for such translation.
1. Assembler: This language processor converts the program written in assembly language into machine language.
2. Interpreter: This language processor converts a HLL program into machine language by converting it line-by-line. If there is any error in any line, then it reports it at the same time and program execution cannot resume until the error is rectified.
3. Compiler: It also converts the HLL program into machine language. It converts the entire HLL program in one go and reports all the errors of the program along with the line numbers. After all the errors are removed, the program is recompiled and after that, the compiler is not needed in the memory as the object program is available.
How Does A Computer Process Information?
When data is entered into a computer, the numbers or words we understand are translated into a binary number system. Binary language is the language of computers.
Everything you type, input, output, send, retrieve, draw and so on in the end is converted to the computer’s native language, i.e., binary.
Binary Number System
Formally, we all know that Base-10 system is a positional system.
In decimal notation, we write a number as a string of symbols, where each symbol is one of these ten digits, and to interpret a decimal number, we multiply each digit by the power of 10 associated with that digit’s position.
It is a numerical system wherein each digit stands for a power of two. The binary system uses only two symbols, such as 0 and 1 to represent values. In decimal system, which is commonly used in most countries, each digit represents a value of 10.
Computers are built from transistors and an individual transistor can only be ON or OFF (two options).
Similarly, data storage devices can be optical or magnetic.
Optical storage devices store data in a specific location by controlling whether light is reflected off that location or is not reflected off that location (two options). Likewise, magnetic storage devices store data in a specific location by magnetizing the particles in that location with a specific orientation. Thus, the values in a binary system, such as 0’s and 1’s are called binary digits or bits. Computers use base 2 because they can only recognize two values, 1 or 0.
You should ‘memorize’ the binary representation of the decimal digits 0 to 15 as given below.
|Decimal Number||Binary Number|
Binary Digit (Bit)
It is a digit within the binary number system. A bit is the smallest unit of information held in a computer. In order to make the bits useful, they are combined into bytes of information.
A combination of bits that represent one character. A byte is usually composed of 8 bits. ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interexchange)
It assigns a specific pattern of bits to each character as described earlier. Another code that may be found, especially in IBM brand mainframe computers is EBCDIC.
EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code)
The important points to remember about these codes is that their main value is to store information so that it is readable by other computers. By using ASCII or EBCDIC, it is possible for people to retrieve and use someone else’s data using a different type of hardware or software. The main disadvantage of using ASCII is that the formatting or other special qualities of computerized information may be lost.
1. Network: A network is a system of interconnected computers. There are a number of types of computer networks.
2. Local Area Networks (LANs): LANs use cable to connect a number of computers within the same location or in close proximity.
3. Wide Area Networks (WANs): WANs use telephone lines or other telecommunication devices to link computers in widely separated locations.
4. Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN): WLAN links two or more devices using some wireless distribution method and provides connection through an access point to the wider internet.
5. Personal Area Network (PAN): PAN is a computer network used for communication among computers and different IT devices which is close to one person.
6. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): MAN is a network of computers located at different sites within a large fixed area such as a city.
7. Campus Area Network (CAN): CAN is a network of multiple interconnected local area networks (LAN) in a limited geographical area. A CAN is smaller than a WAN or MAN.
8. Storage Area Network (SAN): Is also known as storage area network or server area network.
9. Internet: The internet is a system that links existing networks into a worldwide network.
10. Intranet: It is a private network inside a company or an educational organization and used over its LAN. This can be taken as akin to local internet and it is under single administrative set-up.
11. Extranet: It is a technology that permits users of an organization’s intranet to enter portions of another organization’s intranet in order to conduct business transactions or collaborate on joint projects.
12. Virtual Private Network (VPN): It is a computer network in which some of the links between the nodes are carried out by open connections or virtual circuits in some larger network (For example, the internet) instead of physical wires.
Intranet is a private network. It was created only for the employees from one company to improve their communication. An intranet is an ideal way to communicate in a secure environment. Internet is a collection of resources to which only internal users have access. Intranets are often separated from the internet by using a firewall. Intranets help to overcome some of the limitations of existing local and wide area networks LAN’s and WANs).
An intranet provides a way to communicate with a common technology. While an intranet allows all kinds of internet connections, from telnet to FTP to Gopher, it is die web that is most commonly used on an intranet The web and its browsers offer a common interface that is comfortable and well known to most of an intranet’s intended users.
Intranet as technology enabler brings the resources to the users in a specific domain of interest. The ways to authenticate users are as follows.
1. Server Permissions based Authentication 2. Database-based Authentication 3. Firewall 4. IP-based Authentication or Some combination of the above 5. Database(s) – Access, SQL Server, MySQL 6. XML 7. HTML or XHTML based forms 8. Web scripting (ASP, PHP, ColdFusion) The basic knowledge of computers is very useful here.
Basic intranet is usually made up of a simple shared folder connected to a network. All files in the folder will be visible to other intranet members. It depends upon their permission levels also.
Intranets offer several facilities that aid knowledge sharing and they are as follows.
1. Easy-to-access and use: The use of www browsers give a low cost and easy-to-use interface to information and applications.
2. Universal access to information: Information can be kept on any ‘server’ on the network, and can be accessed from anywhere within the intranet.
3. Person-to-person interaction: Intranets simplify interaction between people in different locations, through electronic mail and computer conferencing.
4. Informal networks: Publishing information and making contact is quick and informal on an intranet.
Now the price issue has been overcome. The companies may get more private space by spending less. The intranet market has expanded to smaller businesses and organizations. The benefits of such intranet would be very limited. They would not leverage any other productivity gain from internal messaging, project management, to task assignment and shared calendars.
An extranet is conceptually the same thing, but technically, it is used when the members (in our case – company employees) are located in different places and cannot access the same local server.
The Internet Basics
Sometimes questions regarding the history of internet is separately asked. The word internet is derived from internetworking which is a collection of individual networks connected by intermediate networking devices that function as a single large network. Network is a collection of terminals, computer servers and components which allow for the easy flow of data and use of resources between one another. In simple words, a network is a group of two or more computer systems linked together.
Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve millions of users worldwide. It is probably the largest WAN in the world. The Department of Defence of USA created Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in response to the Soviet Union’s launching Sputnik in 1957. This network is popularly known as ARPANET. The complete network, including the backbone and the regional networks was called NSFNET.
Topology: The physical topology of a network refers to the configuration of cables, computers and other peripherals or simply as arrangement of computers.
Here, the workstation or node refers to computer systems which are in the network. The topology can be classified as follows.
1. Bus topology: Here, every computer is connected to a main (single) cable like a bus.
2. Star topology: There is a hub or switch box to which all workstations are directly connected.
3. Ring topology: Here, every device has exactly two neighbours.
4. Mesh topology: Every computer is connected to another, so messages can take any path.
5. Tree topology: It is a combination of two or more star networks.
Computer virus: These are the programs that spread across computers by attaching a copy of itself to the files on the infected computer. Thus, they spread from one computer to another by attaching itself to other programs. When the user runs the infected file, the virus gets into action. A virus is usually harmful and it can corrupt data, overwrite files or use up system resources. They are usually written by programmers to cause trouble. Some viruses act to cause a humorous message to appear on the screen, some cause minor glitches but others may cause serious damage to a computer’s memory or disks, some flood an organization’s website, interrupt or entirely prevent access to the organization’s customers. The number of networks, machines and users connected to the ARPANET grew rapidly after TCP/IP became the only official protocol on 1st January 1983.
Finally, a global network was created, which connected all the types of networks around the globe and it is popularly known as the internet. Technically, a machine is on the internet if it runs the TCP/IP protocol stack. It has an IP address and has the ability to send IP packets to all other machines on the internet. The software resources exist in the form of files of data, which needs to be moved between two specific computer systems for the purpose of sharing. For such type of communication, we may require two things and they are as follows.
1. Address for communication.
2. A secure means for moving data in the form of electronic signals. We need rules (protocols) for sending and receiving files. There are basically two sets of rules (protocols) for the purpose, such as transmission control protocol (TCP) and internet protocol (IP). TCP divides the data into data packets for the purpose of sending and receiving data. In addition, the rules for reassembling data and damage-free delivery are also specified. The role of IP here is to put destination—addressing information on such packets. The address can be typically written as email@example.com. The user is the name of the internet account holder. The name must be the same which is used by the user while logging in. The hosts are individual machines at a particular location. Resources of host machine are normally shared and used by any internet user.
Now discuss about an IP address. An IP Address consists of four sets of numbers that are separated by dots. These addresses are organized from left to right.
A portion of number separated by the dot is known as an Octet, i.e., 8 bits of information. Thus, IP addresses have four octets that are equal to 32 bits.
Just like our telephone numbers which include country code, city code, exchange code and the user code, the IP addresses consist of sequence of domain code and sub-domain code from left to right. Computers termed as name servers contain databases of internet host addresses. They translate word addresses or person understandable addresses into numeric equivalents.
Every host and router on the internet has an IP address, which encodes its network number and host number. Each IP Address is 32 bits long and it is used in the source address and destination address fields of IP packets. Network’s number is assigned by Network Information Centre (NIC) to avoid possibilit of any conflict. The lowest IP address is 0.0.0.0 and the highest is 255.255.255.255. The IP address specifies a computer where the information is present, i.e., the physical domain on the internet. The web server placed over internet are registered to a domain. An IP address registered to a domain is also known by the alias name. For example, a host with IP address like 220.127.116.11 can have host name as xyz and if this IP address is registered in the domain called ac.in, then the host can be identified in the network as xyz.ac.in.
One web server can serve multiple virtual web server and where each virtual server is mapped or registered to different or unique names. For example, in the web server xyz.ac.in, it is possible to defined virtual server abc.ac.in and klm.ac.in and both the server may point to different web container on the same physical system or can redirect to any server on the network. All the servers/systems on the network in different network ID communicate each other through a particular path called gateway. The physical networks are called the Internet Backbone, which is called heterogeneous systems network.
Who Governs Internet?
Let us see who governs the internet. Internet has no president or chief operating officer and it is governed by a number of authorities. The ultimate authority of internet rests with Internet Society (ISOC) a voluntary membership organization with an objective to promote global interchange of information. Another authority is a group of invited volunteers’ called Internet Architecture Board (IAB). The IAB sets standard and provides internet addresses. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) discusses the technical and operational problems in internet.
No one pays to use the internet, instead everyone pays for its part.
Main Applications of Internet
When internet started, it had five main applications and they are listed below.
1. E-mails 2. News 3. Remote login 4. File transfer 5. Research Hardware Requirements for the Internet
1. Modem (Modulator and Demodulator): Modem is a device or program which converts computer data to a signal that can be transmitted over a telephone line. It can also reconvert a signal coming into a computer through a telephone line so that it can be understood by the computer. Modems are used to connect computers with the internet.
2. Hub: A hub is a place of convergence where data arrives from one or more directions and is forwarded out in one or more directions. A hub is a common connection point for networked computers and other devices. Hubs are used to connect devices in a LAN.
3. Bridge: A bridge is a network device that connects two or more networks, such as one LAN to another LAN that use the same protocol (ethernet or token ring).
4. Router: Router is a device (or software in some cases) that determines the next network point to which data packet should be forwarded towards its destination. It is a hardware device that connects computers to a network or that connects one network with another network. Routers are now available at low prices and can be used for connecting two or more computers together in home networks, so that the data can be exchanged between the computers and all the computers in the network can access the internet.
5. Gateway: A gateway is a node on a network that serves as an entrance to another network. The computers that control traffic within an organization or at the internet service provider (ISP) are gateway nodes. Apart from the above requirements, connector, cables, adapter, circuits, switches, leased lines are other hardware requirements. In transmission media, twisted wires, coaxial cables and fibre optics can be used.
Software Requirements for the Internet
The Internet protocol (IP) is the method or protocol by which data is sent from one computer to another through the Internet. It is classified into the following types.
1. Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): It defines the format for communication between web browsers (web clients) and web servers.
2. Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP):
It defines the format for communication between e-mail servers and clients.
3. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): A protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents through the internet.
4. Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP): It is the main data transfer protocol used in the internet. It manages all the information that moves across the internet. It consists of multiple protocols, each of which transfers data across the network in a different format and with different options.
5. File Transfer Protocol (FTP): A set of guidelines or standards that establish the format in which files can be transmitted from one computer to another.
6. Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP): This protocol allows transferring of files between the network devices.
7. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP): Networkbased e-mail was initially exchanged on the ARPANET in extensions to the FTP, but it is now carried by the SMTP.
8. Telnet: A protocol that allows a computer to connect with a remote host computer on the internet. The use of Telnet has diminished as the web’s HTTP has become a dominant protocol.
9. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): It is a formatting language which is used to establish the appearance of a web page. Thus, it helps in creating pages on the World Wide Web. The HTML also enables us to insert hypertext links within one web page or to other pages anywhere on the web.
10. Standardized General Markup Language (SGML): A metalanguage that can be applied to documents in order to maintain their structure and context is called SGML.
11. Uniform Resource Locator (URL): It is an address for a specific document found on the web. It can also be termed as the location of a resource on the internet. A URL specifies the address of the computer where the resource is located, which may be the home page of a website. It is made up of several components, like a domain name, the directories and subdirectories of the site and the extension. It is also known as the web address.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company that provides a subscription service to enable the user or organization to access the internet is ISP. An ISP has a network of computers permanently linked to the internet. Dedicated lines are also provided by some ISPs. ISPs also give you an e-mail address and space on the World Wide Web for setting up one’s own website.
Main Internet Connection Options
To be specific, the following technological options are available to us in accessing the internet:
1. Dial-up connection: It uses an analogue telephone line for establishing a temporary communication.
For this connection, the computer’s digital signals must be converted into analogue signals. ISDN (integrated services digital network) is a type of digital telephone service, which is used for transferring large chunks of data to and from the internet without a modem. It is termed as wired ethernet.
2. Cable TV connections: Households with cable TVs have the option of cable modem internet access.
3. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL): It works over POTS (plain old telephone service), i.e., copper telephone lines. ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) is the type of DSL that provides different bandwidths in the upstream and downstream directions, while SDSL (symmetric digital subscriber line) provides the same bandwidth in both the directions.
4. Satellite connection: It is akin to getting TV signals directly from the satellite.
5. Bluetooth: Bluetooth is an open wireless technology for data exchange over short distances. It is a protocol that permits wireless exchange of information between computers, cell phones and other electronic devices within a radius of about 30 feet.
6. Broadband: Broadband internet access is a highspeed internet access, which is typically contrasted with dial-up access over a modem. Broadband technologies supply a minimum speed of 256 Kbps. The term broadband refers to any type of transmission technique that carries several data channels over a common wire. In home networking, broadband constitutes any form of high-speed internet access using this transmission technique. Both DSL and cable modems are common broadband internet technologies. Wired ethernet/integrated service digital network (ISDN) is a high-speed digital access for the internet. The connection speed is usually measured in Kbps (kilobytes per second) and Mbps (megabytes per second). Typically, a home user will have a broadband connection using an ADSL telephone line running at 2 Mbps up to 8 Mbps.
Other Important Internet-related Terms
World Wide Web (www)
The component of the internet that combines audio, video and graphics with text is also called the web or simply the www. It is a subset of the internet and is a collection of documents and applications residing on the internet servers around the world. The term ‘www’ was the brainchild of Tim Berners- Lee, who in 1989 invented the HTML coding language, which is the basis of the web. Thereafter, www became a public service in 1993. It opened the internet to millions of people interested in finding information. It is a huge collection of resources of information, including learning materials, which is accessed by means of a computer program known as a browser. The acronym ‘www’ is only a part of the internet, but many people treat both the terms as synonyms.
www consists of documents called web pages that contain information on a particular topic. A web page might also contain one or more links that point to other web pages. A website is a location on the www.
A web browser is a software that permits a user with the click of a mouse to locate, display and download text, video, audio and graphics stored in a host computer on the web.
A browser helps in opening up pages and in their navigation as well. It acts as an interface between the user and the inner working of the internet, especially the www. There are different browsers for different platforms with multiple features. Some popular browsers are enlisted as below.
1. Internet Explorer 2. Mozilla Firefox 3.5 3. Opera 4. Safari 4.0
They can operate in more than one platform, such as Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. SeaMonkey, Flock, K-Meleon are different examples of cross-platform browsers. A browser can be (i) graphical or (ii) text based. The main examples of graphical browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Mosaic and Opera. Lynx can be taken as an example of text-based browser. Here, it is important to mention that web browsing or internet surfing is the process of visiting different websites on the internet. The web browser can also store a list of favourite sites, often called bookmarks to permit the user to jump directly to the site they wish to see instead of having to enter its URL every time.
It is the unique name that identifies an internet site or website. Domain names always have two or more parts separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific and the part on the right is the most general.
A provided machine may have more than one domain name but a given domain name points to only one machine.
Domain names are the alphabetical names which are used to refer to computers on the internet. The suffix indicates what type of an organization is hosting the site. There are six main categories and they are as follows.
1. .com: Commercial institutions or organization 2. .edu: Educational institutions 3. .gov: Government sites 4. .mil: Military sites 5. .net: Gateways and administrative hosts 6. .org: Private organizations There are geographic names as well.
Domain Name Server
It is a special type of internet computer which converts a website’s domain name into a unique numerical IP address that identifies the computer where the website is stored. When you try to connect to a website with a domain name such as hull.ac.uk (University of Hull), a request is first made to a name server to resolve this name into an IP address, which is then used to locate the computer where the website is stored and to establish a connection with it.
Internet Protocol Address (IP Address)
It is the unique numerical address of a computer on the internet and it is expressed as four sets of numbers (maximum 3 digits each) separated by dots, for example, 18.104.22.168. Computers on the internet are nearly always referred to by more memorable domain names, which are mapped onto their IP addresses by special internet computers known as name servers.
The main page of a website is its home page. Typically, the home page serves as an index or table of contents to other documents stored at the site (i.e., the address).
A home page is similar to the title page and table of contents in a book. It identifies the site and contains links to other pages at the site called Microsoft Explorer.
An element in a hypertext document is highlighted by means of underlining or with the use of a different colour. When the highlighted element is clicked, the user is connected with another element in the same document or another document.
A firewall is a software package that sits between the computer and the internet connection keeping an eye on the traffic by going to and fro. If anything suspicious appears such as an unauthorized attempt from a remote computer to write information to the hard disc or to send information from one’s computer to a remote computer, then it will block and warn the user.
Firewalls have become essential these days because of the frequent attempts being made by hackers to grab confidential information from computers all around the world. For example, one’s bank or credit card details, which may be stored in a file somewhere on one’s computer. Any computer is vulnerable when connected to the internet.
Voice Over the Internet Protocol (VoIP)
It is another name for internet telephony.
It is a program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of documents where the keywords were found. The most popular search engines are Google and Yahoo. Baidu is a search engine developed by China.
A meta search engine is a search tool that sends user requests to several other search engines and/or databases and aggregates the results into a single list or displays them according to their source. The internet search system which locates documents that contain the keywords specified by the user is termed as wide area information server (WAIS).
Meta Search Engine
They automatically enters search queries into a number of other search engines and returns the results.
Example of it includes All4one, MetaCrawler and starting point.
Some popular search engine URLs are given here
Electronic mail or email
It is the transmission of text-based messages among networked computers. Email is one of the earliest and most basic messaging resources on the internet and in many ways it still acts as the lowest common denominator for computer communications. The features of an email are as follows:
1. Faster and more secure than conventional mail that requires less physical effort to edit and send a letter of communication.
2. An internet is free, it does not require the attention of both parties at the same time.
3. It provides time-stamped proof of an interaction.
Also, many email services (such as yahoo) collate the conversation on the same subject into single threads.
4. It is easy to archive for future recall. Most of the email services provide search facility through emails. An email can be edited and rephrased as much as it is desired before sending to the recipient(s).
5. It is easy to send the same piece of information to several people simultaneously, such as circulation of memos, agendas and minutes, or disseminate educational material.
Email address: An email address is a unique address, which identifies a location to send and receive email.
It contains username, followed by an @ symbol and then domain name, i.e., username@domainname. For example: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An email address starts with a username (abc in this case) that refers to the recipient’s mailbox. Then, sign @ followed by the host name (yahoo.co.in in this case) also known as domain name. Normally, the domain name has three parts (two parts in case of United States) separated by two period (.) symbols. Reading from the left of the domain name the first part is yahoo, is the name of a machine, which is a mail server or the computer where the recipient has an electronic mailbox. The first part of the domain name ends with period followed by rest of the part known as top-level domain (TLD). The TLD may have two parts, where the first part represents the type of organization and the second part represents country code (according to the name of the country). In the given example, co.in is the top-level domain, where .co qualifies that yahoo is a company. This part of the domain name indicates the type of organization (.com represents a commercial organization, whereas .gov refers to a governmental setup). The last part represents the country where yahoo has registered this machine or hosted. It is two characters long country code. In the given example, it is ‘.in’ which represents that yahoo has registered/ hosted this machine in India.
Types of Email Services
The email services are usually categorized into the following three parts.
1. Free web-based email services: These are the commonly used email accounts accessible through web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.). They generally use HTTP protocol for accessing mail. Example: Yahoo mail, Gmail. Almost all the major services provide secure login using HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure).
HTTPS can be identified in the URL line while signing into the account (https://gmail.com or https://mail.yahoo.com).
2. Priced web-based email services: Many of the free web-based email service providers, such as Yahoo! And Hotmail do offer premium account on payment basis. The major advantages of more secured transaction of communication services are personalized email address, better spam filtration, increased storage space, etc.
3. Private email services: Most of the institutions have their own dedicated mail server and offer mail account for free to their staff and other members of the institution. For example: email@example.com
Types of Email Account
1. POP/IMAP account: A POP account is based on Post Office Protocol and it supports ‘offline’ email management. Here, the client retrieves all the messages from the server, stores them locally and marks them as new/unread messages. An IMAP account is based on internet message access protocol (IMAP). It allows their users to work with their messages in both online and offline modes.
2. Email forwarder: This type of email accounts will forward any incoming mail to another email address.
3. Mailing list: A mailing list consists of its subscribers/ members’ email addresses. Any email sent to a mailing list account will be distributed to all the subscribers of the mailing list.
4. Auto responder: Within an email account, an auto responder can be set with a ready-made reply to any incoming email, such as message for successful receipt of mail, vacation email, etc.
5. Email blackhole: To avoid spam mails from certain addresses, a blackhole for those addresses is created so as to avoid/discard any messages coming from those addresses.
6. Email bouncer: An email bouncer enables us to send a ‘fake’ bounce message to the sender.
Structure and Features of Email
Internet email messages consist of two major sections, such as the header and body.
Header: The header of an email is structured into various fields, such as summary, sender, receiver and other information about the email. The header of an email can be easily distinguished from the body of the email. Various fields included within the header are as follows.
1. From: Contains the email address and optionally, the name of the sender.
2. To: The email address(es) and optionally, the name(s) of the receiver(s) who receives the message.
3. Subject: A brief summary of the contents of the message.
4. Date: The local time and date when the message was originally sent.
5. CC: Stands for carbon copy. It contains email address(es) of those who will receive a copy of the message in addition to the receiver(s) mentioned in the ‘To’ field.
6. Message-ID: It shows the number assigned to the message by the mail program at the host machine.
7. A series of received: These are the lines, showing details of the systems through which the email has passed (useful for troubleshooting if the mail bounces back).
8. A reply-to: It gives the preferred address for replies (usually, but not always the same as the sender’s address).
Blank spaces are not allowed in an email address. Also, an email address is not case-sensitive.
Body: The body of an email contains the message itself mostly in text form. An account may be configured to automatically assign a signature (of the user) at the end. Signature is the text appearing at the end of the body by default in each message. Normally, it is the name of the sender and other contact details.
1. Email is based on push technology, i.e., email is delivered to the recipient so they don’t have to work to get it and they just need to open their inbox to access the email.
2. Most of the email clients do offer to create MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) and HTML emails with colorful fonts, graphics and links.
3. The email account can be set to remind an upcoming event.
4. The accounts do offer facility for spell check while writing and email.
5. Any kind of document including multimedia objects can be sent through an email as attachments.
However, the maximum size of the object, which can be attached or received is fixed and set by the service providers.
6. An email collates threads of communication on a single subject. Therefore, it sometimes acts as time stamped proof of communication. Gmail of Google offers this service.
7. A message can be saved or printed along with all communication details.
8. A list of contacts (along with other details, such as phone number, fax, etc.) can be created within an account with an ease to recall any nickname associated with each email address. Hence, the user only has to enter one word for an email, instead of the full address.
9. Web-based email programs usually have a virus scan function that scans attachments before they are sent along with the main email.
10. One common feature of all email programs is the use of folders. These folders include an inbox, drafts folder, sent items folder and deleted messages folder. The users can also create other folders to sort their email better. Filters are also included in email programs to define certain words or phrases that the program will look for in a message. The programs will then delete the message, forward it to a specified address or put it in a particular folder.
Functioning of Email Systems
1. Protocols: Protocol can be defined as a set of rules to perform a specific task. They have been discussed earlier also. For example, IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is used by the client, which is used to read the email like Firebird, Outlook Express, Apple Mail, etc. (also known as Access Client). Then there are TCP/IP, SMTP, HTTP protocols, etc.
2. Delivery agent: The following parts have been mentioned here.
(a) Mail Transfer Agent Mail: Transfer Agent is a piece of software which transfers messages or mails from one host or machine to other. It is often referred as mail server.
(b) Mail Delivery Agent: A mail delivery agent or Message Delivery Agent (MDA) is a computer software used by the Mail Transfer Agent to deliver email to a particular user’s mailbox.
(c) Access Client: It is an agent acting as a client towards an email server to access an email account. It is a kind of application software.
Some of the examples of Access Client are Outlook Express, Outlook or Thunderbird.
Starting an Email Account
Then starting an email account has setting up an account option also. Most of the web-based mail services offer four standard email folders, such as the ‘Inbox’, ‘Sent’, ‘Drafts’ and ‘Trash’, where each of them are described below.
Inbox: It enlists all emails received from other email accounts. It highlights the newly received/unread mails.
Sent: A copies of messages sent are put into the ‘Sent’ folder provided that the mail account is set to save all the sent messages.
Drafts: A place for storing unfinished messages. If the writing of a message is not yet finished and needs to be stopped in between, clicking the ‘Save’ button puts the message into the ‘Drafts’ folder and it can be accessed later on.
Trash: It stores email that is deleted from other folders. The messages are not truly deleted until they are deleted from this folder.
A message can be opened by clicking its ‘Subject’.
Once the mail gets opened, at the top, various options are available to delete, print or forward a message. The messages in ‘Trash’ folder that are more than few days old will automatically be deleted.
Messaging is a method of communication between two people or organizations. It could be done using the power of internet or through cell phones. There are two types of messaging and they are explained below.
1. Asynchronous messaging: It is a method of communication between programs in which a program places a message on a message queue and leaves.
It really does not bother how the message will be delivered. It is the delivery agent or the kind of infrastructure ensures the delivery of message even if the recipient is offline. For example, delivery of emails.
2. Synchronous messaging: In this kind of communication, the sender and receiver both have to be in connectivity while transferring the message. For example, telephonic conversation. Hence, a program places a message in a message queue and then waits for a reply to its message before resuming further.
It is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text or using audio or video. The message is conveyed via devices connected over a network. Most IM messages provide these features.
1. Instant messages/Chat: Sending and receiving text/notes with an online friend.
2. Chat rooms: A common platform where two or more than two people can communicate.
3. Files/Web links/Videos/Images: It can be shared over network.
4. Talk: Instead of a phone, internet can be used to actually talk with friends. Example: Google+, Hangouts 5. Mobile capabilities: Instant messages can be sent to mobile/cell phones.
It is a combination of different media into one channel.
A user can access information into different media using a single device. Normally, unified messaging is common in mobile communication, where voice, text and fax can be accessed using one mailbox. It provides power to reach people almost anywhere at any time and the flexibility to allow people to control when they can be reached.
The major issues with messaging are spamming, privacy and security. Spamming is a collection of unwanted mails which includes threats, promotional mails and so on. These messages are called spam. There are two kinds of spams, mail lists and individual mails.
These are small programming code that users can add to their web page, personalized home page, web browser, desktop, blog or social network. Mostly, these codes are embedded within an image file and hence, it can be evoked through a mouse click or through a keyboard command by a computer or internet user.
A widget is used to enhance the look and feel of a website, i.e., to make it look more fanciful. Widgets are considered as an offering by Web 2.0 to internet users.
Along with widgets, it is important to discuss utilities also. Utilities are useful for fixing minor problems or mis-configurations and it handles day-to-day chores associated with computers.
Electronic commerce (e-commerce) has changed the lifestyle of the society. With the help of e-commerce, it is possible to buy, sell and exchange the products, services and information through computer networks, primarily through the internet. Though the definition of e-commerce is quite debatable, still it is very much useful for both individual and the corporate.
Types of E-commerce
Previously, it was assumed that e-commerce is applicable only to a business community. However, with the sufficient use of high-speed technology, the idea has been changed. At present, five types of e-commerce can be summarized here basically.
1. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce 2. Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce 3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) e-commerce 4. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) e-commerce 5. Mobile Commerce or M-commerce The characteristics of e-commerce platform has improved much after demonetization which came into existence in 2016.
Application of E-Commerce
E-commerce has various forms of applications.
1. Electronic payments: This is the best form of payment across the universe at present. Electronic payments can be done through various ways, such as through electronic credit cards, electronic cash, smart cards, electronic fund transfer (EFT) and e-wallets and purchasing cards.
2. Banking gateway: E-commerce plays a vital role in the banking sector for inter-bank transactions and building a separate gateway for the unified banking gateway.
3. E-Governance: Now the government of India has initiated total online transactions for tax payment, phone bill payment, loan EMI payment from banks, etc.
What is BHIM
Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is an initiative to enable fast, secure, reliable cashless payments through your mobile phone. BHIM is interoperable with other Unified Payments Interface (UPI) applications and bank accounts for quick money transfers online. BHIM is developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) as a part of the Digital India initiative.
BHIM is the only online payments app that you ought to have.
Security in Electronic Payment
There are two main issues which has to be considered under this topic, the foremost question is ‘what is needed in order to make EC payment safe?’ and secondly, ‘which methods can be used for?’. The security requirements needed for conducting e-commerce transactions are as follows.
1. Authentication for both the parties.
2. Integrity for unaltered transactions.
3. Non-repudiation for unjustified denial of placing orders.
4. Privacy for identity to be secured.
5. Safety for providing credit card number in the internet.
Mobile applications have invaded our society to an extent that we can’t imagine living without them. To a common person, a mobile app is a function that simplifies some work just by a click of a button of their mobile. For some tech person, mobile apps are a computer generated program or software applications which are built to run on various mobile devices, such as iPhones, Smartphones and tablets.
Apps can be broadly classified into
1. Web and 2. Mobile apps Mobile apps can further be divided into native and hybrid apps.
As web app can be used on any mobile device that has a web browser, be it iOS, Android, or Windows.
On flipside, their interactions are not so neat and responsive when compared to other apps. Device-level features like push-notification, work offline and load on the home screen are not supported.
It has two types:
1. Native App: The Native Apps are created, designed and coded for specific platforms, like iOS, Android and Window phones. They are much more complex if compared to web apps. Hence, one native app created for one Operating System will not run on the other.
If such situation of developing native apps for iOS, Android and Windows is required, then we need to create separate apps. Unlike iOS devices, Android devices have the ‘back button’ and hence, they do not need separate User Interface element for this.
Native apps are released and distributed through ‘App Store’. While the user gets access to hundreds of apps at a single location, which makes it easier to install. Each of these platforms has own publication procedure.
A computer-based communications system allows a group of computer users at different locations to conduct a ‘virtual conference’. Here, the participants hear one another as they were in the same room participating in a real conference. The audio conferencing systems do not allow the participants to see one another.
In audio conferencing, multiple callers are allowed to join in a conversation by dialing into an audio conferencing bridge. The participants are supplied with an access number, a conference ID and possibly a secure pin number to uniquely identify the participant. This also improves the security of the call. Call organizers provide the necessary information to participants through emails to provide background data or perhaps to review documents in the call.
Skype for Business includes the audio conferencing feature for just this situation. People call into Skype for business meetings using a phone, instead of using the Skype for Business app on a mobile device or PC. The organizers need to set up audio conferencing for people who plan to schedule or lead meetings. The following can be termed as the advantages of audio conferencing.
1. Audio conferencing is a cost-effective communication tool.
2. Audio conferencing is easily accessible.
3. Audio conferencing can save you a lot of time.
Disadvantages of Audio Conferencing
The following are the three obvious disadvantages of audio conferencing and its possible solutions.
1. The communication is only verbal.
2. Audio conferencing cannot keep you focused on the meeting.
3. The quality of conference call is not reliable.
Audio conferencing has brought a lot of benefits to people, especially in the business world. When the technology grows to a certain degree, it comes across its bottleneck.
Videoconferencing or Video Conferencing
A computer-based communications system that allows a group of computer users at different locations to conduct a ‘virtual conference’. Here, the participants can see and hear each other as if they were in the same room participating in a real conference.
Video conferencing can occur between two participants in a peer-to-peer call, or between multiple participants via a video conferencing bridge, sometimes called a multipoint control unit. Here, the bridge can be located within a company network, can be made available from a service provider that can be on a subscription or metered basis, or for free of cost, it may depend on the intended use and service model. Video conferencing will also include an audio channel, and may include a document or screen sharing capability. Video conferencing can also exist on a company’s internal network, although when external participants join, they generally connect over the internet using a specialized type of firewall.
Video conferencing can also be divided into three categories, that is to say, hardware-based video conferencing, software-based video conferencing and hybrid one.
Video conferencing system consists of endpoints (including main peripheral equipment for endpoints, such as cameras, microphones and other A/V processing equipment), MCU (multipoint control unit, equals to a server) and network connection. When a participant talks to the screen before us, our voice and image are going into the software in analog form. The server will transform it to the digital form when accepting the message you sent through the software and then transforms it back in analog form to the receiving end. This is the situation for point-to-point video call.
For multipoint video conference, it will be much more complicated. With the help of scalable video coding technology, the server can send each participant a set of video streams, so that every receiving ends in different locations can receive the optimized voices and images. Teleconferencing
A ‘virtual’ conference with participants in different locations, either via telephone (audio-conferencing) or video (videoconferencing). UNHCR uses a number of teleconferencing tools, including Skype for Business (Microsoft Lync) and Cisco WebEx.
ICT and Governance
In 1954, W. Howard Gammon wrote e-government research paper for writing about the use of ICT for providing good governance. The Internet, SMS and different mobile apps help people to access information quickly. The data access has become very cheap due to cost competitiveness among companies. Now they are being used in education, banking services, railway and other governance issues. The government has started utilization of internet to serve common people through e-governance.
Now governance contains information from and to both public and private sectors. It is helpful to get knowledge and deliver information utilizing the Internet and World Wide Web instantly. The government in the developed country has already started new channels arbitrated by ICT for increasing the uses of internet among the common people. States are bound to provide information and timely services due to RTI Act, 2005. The state governments have also come with such legislations.
E-Government and E-Governance
In 1954, W. Howard Gammon wrote e-government research paper for writing about the use of ICT for providing good governance. The Internet, SMS and different mobile apps help people to access information quickly. The data access has become very cheap due to cost competitiveness among companies. Now they are being used in education, banking services, railway and other governance issues. Government has started utilization of internet to serve common people through e-governance.
Now governance contains information from and to both public and private sectors. It is helpful to get knowledge and deliver information utilizing the Internet and World Wide Web instantly. The government in the developed country has already started new channels arbitrated by ICT for increasing the uses of internet among the common people. States are bound to provide information and timely services due to RTI Act, 2005. The State governments have also come with such legislations.
E-Government and E-Governance
Within the researcher people, there is an issue on the correct use of the two terms. While e-governance is the use of ICT to support in the administration or management of government, there E-government is the use of ICT to provide services in maintaining of government operations correctly.
ICT and Good Governance
The government uses ICT to make public administrations more efficient and effective by cutting red tape.
ICTs can remove unnecessary human involvement during the public service delivery processes from the government.
Government websites are mainly classified into two categories and they are explained as follows.
1. One-way communication is a process where websites provide information regulations, policies and programs to the citizens, such as downloadable forms for government services and applications.
2. Two-way communication is a system which provides policies and programs with requesting and receiving inputs from their citizens.
Some functions of ICT based governance are as follows.
1. Websites process non-financial transactions:
For the sake of e-voting, downloading and uploading forms, filing taxes online or applying for different types of certificates, licenses and permits.
2. They also handle all types of financial transactions, i.e., where money is transferred on a secure network to the government.
3. Direct Government Job-centres Plus is a job search service for people. Student loans or Jobseeker’s allowance, etc., are also being easy and flexible through online transactional services.
4. ICTs take part a vital role in the routine lives of human beings for doing qualitative works with freedom. All technologies facilitate the processing and transfer of information and communication services. The main challenge by local government is its aptitude to utilize effectively technology for its daily performance.
5. E-Governance is the solution to the ‘Good Governance’ for India to minimize corruption, provides efficient and effective quality services to their citizens. World Wide Web is the most useful medium in E-Governance. People can make use of innovative technology in commercial online services all the times. ICT can be used in various applications to go faster information distribution, get the better effectiveness of public utilities.
6. It can increase the transparency of government administration, to reduce corruption, and assist citizen contribution in local governance. In India, public service centre name as ‘Jan Suvidha Kendro, helps a lot. They started in every state of India, but till now common people suffer for doing even a simple work. All transactions such as issuing of Registration Certificate, Fitness certificate are completed by ‘Vahan’ and ‘ Sarathi’ can be used to issue a Learner’s License, Permanent Driving License and Conductor License to the applicant.
Using e-governance system reduces different direct cost.
By dial a specific number from any phone, citizens in some nations can find out how to get a loan facility from a government bank or how to get their ID cards back. They work on major festival seasons also.
On the flipside, a lot of people are unable to handle the proper way of ICT in the developing country like India; still they are dependent on the old manual process. They submit the application but don’t know whether the request is processed or not. They may never know the actual cause of rejection. So, they have to submit the same form again and again and waste their time. Thus there are many such abnormalities as well. As a result, a simple task becomes more complicated.
In some cases, inherent authority never looks into the types of ignorance and dishonesty. The proper tracking system has helped a lot to overcome such problems. Some people never know the proper office or proper unit for particular work. These types of problems are also faced by some highly educated people due to haphazard information.
Glossary of ICT and the Internet Terms
Address book: Usually, it is supplied as part of your e-mail software. An address book in this sense is used to keep a record of all the e-mail addresses of people whom you may wish to contact by e-mail.
Adware: Adware is a software that may have been installed on your computer by a remote computer, i.e., through the web.
Apache: It is the most popular web server software on the World Wide Web. Apache mainly runs on UNIX systems.
Applet: It is a small program written in the Java programming language and embedded in a web page.
When you use your browser to access a web page, an applet may run inside the web page, as it were to perform an interactive animation and make a calculation or carry out another simple task.
Archive: It is used to describe the documents or files that are not immediately needed but it won’t be completely discarded. An archive may be stored in an external hard disc, such as CD-ROM, DVD or other storage devices.
Archie: It allows the user to search files at FTP sites.
It regularly monitors hundreds of FTP sites and updates a database (called an Archie server) on software, documents and data files available for downloading.
By clicking on a list of Archie server, it will take them to another computer system where relevant files are stored. The archie server may allow users to continue their searches for files until they locate what they need actually.
Attachment: It is a term used in connection with an e-mail. An attachment can be a file of almost any kind, such as a document file, an image file, a sound file or a video clip that you can add, i.e., attach to an e-mail.
Audio-conferencing: It is a computer-based communication system that allows a group of computer users at different locations to conduct a virtual conference in which the participants can hear one another, as if they were in the same room participating in a real conference.
Unlike video-conferencing, audio- conferencing systems do not allow the participants to see one another.
Authoring package/Authoring program/Authoring tool: These terms specify the content free software packages that allows the teacher to develop interactive learning and teaching materials without having to hold a detailed knowledge about the computer programming languages. These terms may also be applied to software packages used for creating web pages, for example, FrontPage or Dreamweaver.
Bandwidth: It is the amount of data that can be sent from one computer to another through a particular connection in a certain amount of time. For example, it can be connected through a computer to the internet and vice versa. The more the bandwidth, the faster is the access to information. Bandwidth is usually measured in Kbps or Mbps.
Baud: It is a unit of measurement at which data can be transferred (i.e., the baud rate), for example, over a telephone line through a modem or from a computer to an external device, such as a printer. Baud is rarely used nowadays, as transfer rates are normally expressed in Kbps or Mbps.
Blog: A blog (short form for web log) is an online diary in which an individual records and publishes his/her thoughts on one or more subjects. A blog can contain news items, short essays, annotated links, documents, graphics and multimedia. These posts are usually in reverse chronological order and often take the form of a journal or diary. Blogger refers to someone who blogs, i.e., who regularly writes blogs.
Conferencing: Computer conferencing is a development of e-mail designed to support many-to-many communication, whereby computer users in different locations can take part in a virtual conference. A conference usually consists of a group of participants who have a common interest in the conference subject matter.
Computer conferencing software enables organizing, storing, structuring and retrieving of messages.
Course Management System (CMS): It is a type of virtual learning environment (VLE), for example, Moodle.
Crawler: A crawler is a program that searches the web for new links, new content and changes in order to keep the search engine results up to date. A crawler may also be called a bot (short form for robot) or spider.
Crawlers within the search engines perform a useful indexing function but there are also crawlers or bots that have more sinister motives, such as gathering addresses to be targeted by spammers.
Executable: This describes a program which has been converted (compiled) into binary machine code. If you double-click an executable program name in Windows Explorer, then it will immediately execute itself, i.e., run. Executables usually have the extension .exe or .com.
Extension: In computer jargon, an extension is an optional addition. Usually, it consists of a dot plus three or four letters, to the name of a file. The extension to the filename helps the computer (and the user) recognize what type of file it is and what it may contain, for example, .doc is a Word document file, .exe is a computer program, .jpg or .jpeg is a picture file and .htm or .html is a web page file.
Finger: This command allows the display of the contents of the files that are associated with particular user identifier at a particular internet site.
Gophers: It is a computer client tool that enables the users to locate the information stored on the Internet gopher servers through a series of hierarchical menus.
Most files and digital information that are accessible through FTP are also available through gophers. Each gopher server contains its own system of menus listing subject matter topics, local files and other relevant gopher sites. When the users access gopher software to search a specific topic and select an item from a menu, the server will automatically transfer them to the appropriate file on that server or to the selected server wherever it is located. Once when that server is reached, the process goes on.
Here, it is important to discuss Veronica that stands for Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Netwide Index to Computer Archives. It provides the capability of searching for the text that appears in gopher menus that is searched through thousands of gopher sites. These files are placed in a temporary menu on the local server, so that the users can browse through them.
Gopher and the World Wide Web are easy to use and it is the most popular browsing mechanisms provided in the internet.
Host: It refers to a computer that provides services to other computers that are linked to it through a local network or through the internet.
Hypermedia: It is an extension of hypertext that integrates audio, video and graphics with text (like multimedia).
Hypertext: It is the technology that links text in one part of a document with its related text in other part of the document or in other documents. A user can quickly find the related text by clicking on the appropriate keyword, key phrase, icon or button.
Interactive Whiteboard (IWB): It is a touch sensitive projection screen that allows the teacher to control a computer directly by touching the screen, i.e., the whiteboard rather than using a keyboard or a mouse.
iPod: It is the name of a portable (mobile) media player designed and marketed by Apple.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC): This service allows each participant contribution displayed on the screens to all others taking part in the conversation.
Java: It is a programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs which can be downloaded to one’s computer through the internet and immediately executed. Java is a programming language designed for programs or Applets used through the internet.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): It is a format for storing complex graphics in compressed form.
Mashup: A mashup is a web page that brings together the data from two or more web services and combines the data into a new application with added functionality.
Microblogging: It is an approach to blogging in which very short texts are posted and it contains snippets of information about events, websites and other sources.
Moodle: Moodle is an open source software, which means it is free to download, used, modified and even distribute it.
Netbook: A netbook is a small, lightweight computer that is smaller than a laptop computer with a long battery life and it is ideal for travelling. Netbook computers have built-in Wi-Fi and are optimized for browsing the web and e-mail.
Open Source: It is used to describe a software that is provided free of charge along with the original source code used to create it, so that anyone can modify, improve and work in ways that reflect their own preferences.
Moodle is the typical example of an open source software.
Optical Character Recognition: Optical character recognition (OCR) software is used in conjunction with a scanner to convert the printed text into a digital format.
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA): It is a handheld device that combines computing, audio communication, browsing and networking features and serves as an organizer for personal information.
Portable Network Graphics: Portable network group (PNG) is a graphics format that is specifically designed for use on the www. PNG enables compression of images without any loss of quality, including high-resolution images.
Pixel: A contraction of picture element.
Podcast: The term podcast takes its name from a combination of iPod and broadcasting. Podcasts can simply be downloaded to a computer and played using a standard media player program.
Pop-up: It is a small window that appears within a program or over the top of a web page to deliver additional information. Pop-ups on the web can be annoying as they are often used for unwanted advertising material.
Portal: It is a web page, website or service that acts as a link or entrance to other websites on the internet. Typically, a portal includes an annotated catalogue of websites and it may also include a search engine, e-mail facilities, a forum and other services.
Public domain: It is a material that is either copyright free or whose copyright has expired or which cannot be copyrighted. Many people think that because something is on the web, it must be in the public domain. This is not so. A work is in the public domain only if it is explicitly stated to be so.
RSS: It is a development in the internet technology that enables the users to subscribe to websites that change or add content regularly, for example, news sites (such as the BBC) and sites containing blogs, nings, podcasts and Wikis. RSS makes use of software that presents new additions.
Smiley: In e-mail messages, a facial expression constructed sideways (for the lateral-minded) with standard characters is called a smiley. It is also referred to as an emoticon (emotions with icons).
Server: It is a computer which provides services to other computers and it is known as clients.
Smartphone: A smartphone is an advanced mobile phone that offers a wide range of applications. In addition to functioning as a mobile phone, smartphones can be used as a media player, a camera, a GPS navigation device and a web browser and it can also be used in many other ways. Apple’s iPhone is a typical example of a smartphone, it is used as a touchscreen for typing and to run applications.
Social Media: It is a term used to describe a variety of web 2.0 applications that enable people to share images, audio recordings and video recordings through the web and also initiate discussions about them.
Social Networking: It is a term applied to a type of website where people can seek other people who share their interests, find out what’s going on in their areas of interest and share information with one another.
Spam: These are unsolicited e-mail advertisements, which is the internet equivalent of junk mail.
Splog: The splog site creator (i.e., a splogger) begins by finding a subject that attracts lot of visitors. Then, the splogger sets up a blog that plagiarizes content from other sites dealing with this subject. Splogs may consist of hundreds of blogs with plagiarized content, containing multiple links to selected websites.
Simultaneous Peripheral Operations Online (SPOOL): Using this technique, the output is not directly sent to the printer. It is first transferred to an intermediary storage medium such as a disk file. The output can be stored in separate files and printed at a later stage depending upon the availability of time and storage.
Spyware: It is a term that may be used synonymously with adware but implies more sinister motives on the part of the person who has dumped it onto your computer.
For example, with a view to steal private information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, passwords and so on.
Tablet Computer: A tablet computer is a compact portable computer that makes use of a touchscreen instead of a keyboard for typing and running applications.
Apple’s iPad is a typical example of a tablet computer.
Tag: Tagging has become more common in recent years as a result of widespread use of social media for sharing images, audio recordings, video recordings, website references and so on. Tags are labels that briefly describe what the media or references are all about and help other people find them quickly. Tags are also used in HTML, to define how the on-screen text is rendered by the browser.
Tandem Learning (Buddy Learning): It is a form of learning in which two language learners pair up in order to learn each other’s language. This may take place face-to-face or through the internet and it includes using virtual worlds such as second life.
Text File: A data file consisting entirely of printable ASCII characters, i.e., plain unformatted text. Text files often have a .txt extension after the filename (for example, readme .txt) and their contents can be viewed using programs such as Windows Notepad. The term text file is also used to describe files, i.e., texts, created by authoring packages such as Fun with Texts, which then manipulates the texts into a set of activities for completion by the learner.
Video-conferencing: A computer-based communication system that allows a group of computer users at different locations to conduct a virtual conference in which the participants can see and hear one another as if they were in the same room participating in a real conference.
Vodcast: It is the short form of video podcast. This podcast incorporates video as well as audio features.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): It is an audio communication using the internet instead of telephones.
Skype and Ventrilo are examples of VoIP.
Wireless Application Protocol (WAP): It is a system that enables users to browse online services, such as information about the weather, traffic conditions, shopping and so on through a special type of mobile phone. WAP is the mobile phone equivalent of www.
Newer mobile phones include WAP browser software to allow users access to WAP sites.
Website: It is an area on the www where an organization or individual stores a collection of pages of material such as the web pages. The pages are usually interlinked with one another and with other websites.
Every website has a unique web address or URL.
Wi-Fi: Wireless fidelity is also known as high frequency wireless local area network. Wi-Fi systems use highfrequency radio signals to transmit and receive data over distances of several hundred feet. Many hotels, educational institutions, railways and airports offer Wi-Fi access to people using laptops.
Wiki: It is a website or a similar online resource which allows anyone to set up a resource in which the content can be created collectively. It allows anyone who views the Wiki to add or to edit the existing content. Wiki also refers to the software used to create such website.
Wikipedia: It is the best known example of a Wiki. It is a collaboratively written encyclopaedia.
Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C): It is an international non-profit organization which acts as a resource centre for the www and it is active in setting technical standards.
Zip Drive: A type of disc drive that accepts portable zip discs. Zip drives themselves are also portable and it can be connected to almost any computer.
Zip: It is used as a verb to describe the process of compacting files or programs in order to cut down the amount of storage space they require by compressing them into one tightly-packed file. Thus, it is compressed to make it easier for them to be transported on floppy discs or transmitted electronically to other locations, for example, through the internet. Proprietary programs such as WinZip or WinRar can be used to zip data and files. Zipped files are recognized by the extension .zip or .rar (for files created with WinRar) and it has to be unzipped before they can be used, again using proprietary programs.
Other General Abbreviations and Terminology Absolute Link: It is used by web authors. In an HTML document, a relative link indicates the location of a file relative to the document, whereas an absolute link talks about the full URL.
Acceptable Use Policy (AUP): It is a set of rules that sets standards and defines the ways in which ICT facilities can and cannot be used in an institute.
Accessibility: Everyone should have access to the services provided by ICT, for example, computer programs, email and the World Wide Web, regardless of any visual, auditory, or other physical impairment they might have.
Analogue: ‘something that corresponds to something else’. For example, in the context of equipment used for recording and playing back sound, analogue refers to the way in which the sound is recorded and reproduced.
Anchor: In context of HTML, the coding system used for creating web pages. An anchor is the main target of a Hyperlink.
Animation: The display of a sequence of images in a computer program or on a Web page to give the impression of movement.
App: Application ASF: Advanced Streaming Format is a Microsoft’s own file format that stores both audio and video information and is specially designed to run over the internet.
ASR – Automatic Speech Recognition: A branch of Human Language Technologies that helps in automatic processing of human speech.
Avatar: It is a graphical representation of a real person, it is used as MUVE or MMORPG, a kind of ‘virtual world’.
AVI: Audio Video Interleave Backup or Back Up: Used as a verb, to back up means to copy a file or folder from your computer to another storage device.
BIOS: Basic Input / Output System.
Bitmap (BMP): It is a computer graphic or image composed of thousands of individual dots or pixels, each pixel being stored as a number.
BGAN: They are short for ‘Broadband Global Area Network’ are portable terminals which provide internet connectivity and voice communications in remote locations.
Blackboard: It is a commercial Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) package.
Bookmark: It is a facility within a browser, it enables a person to keep a record of web pages visited and may be visited again. Bookmarks are stored in a subdirectory of the Windows directory on computer. In Internet Explorer bookmarks are known as Favorites.
Boot: It is a verb used to start up a computer by loading the operating system into memory.
Bot: It is short for Robot, we can look at ‘Crawler’, as well.
Branching: It is the process of interrupting a sequence of instructions in a computer program so as to go to a different point.
Bulletin Board: A type of forum on the internet or an intranet, where users can post messages by email or WWW for other users to read and respond to. BBS stands for Bulletin Board Systems stands.
Bug: Not a nasty insect but a logical fault in a computer program which causes it to malfunction.
Burn: When data is written to a CD, this process is often referred to as ‘burning a CD’.
Cache: It contains the information stored by a Web Browser on hard disc, so that we don’t have to download the same material repeatedly from a remote computer. The cache is normally stored under Windows in a folder called Temporary Internet Files.
CALI: Computer Assisted Language Instruction.
Camcorder: A portable video camera, capable of recording live motion video for later replay through a videocassette recorder (VCR), DVD player or computer.
Card: An electronic circuit board, usually one which can be slotted into your computer in order to fulfil a specialised function. Examples are Sound Card, Video Card.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): Cascading Style Sheets are a feature of HTML that enables a range of styles for headers, body text, bullet points, links, etc.
Case Sensitivity: It is used to describe how a computer program, for example, a browser, interprets upper and lower case letters.
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT): An older type of computer Display Screen or Monitor, in which beams of highvoltage electrons are fired at a screen causing thousands of Red, Green and Blue (RGB) dots to glow in different combinations and intensities. It produces fullcolour image displayed on the screen.
CBT: Computer Based Training CD-ROM: Compact Disc Read Only Memory.
A CD-ROM looks much the same as an audio CD, but can contain text, sound, pictures and motion video.
It can be fixed and rendered unalterable and hence, it is called ‘read-only’, modern computers are usually equipped with a read/write CD-ROM.
CELL: Computer Enhanced Language Learning CERN: European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva. It is the largest particle physics laboratory. It is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web, which was invented there by Tim Berners-Lee.
CGI Script: Common Gateway Interface. A term used by Web authors, it processes data from an HTML form.
CUI – Character User Interface: A way in which a computer user communicates with a computer by entering commands as text.
Chat Room: A synchronous, mainly text-based communication facility, offering a web-based environment where people either drop into or arrange to meet and chat at specific times.
Client: A computer that receives services from another computer. We can refer to LAN, VAN in chapter.
Clipart or Clip Art: A collection of image files that can be embedded or inserted into web pages, word-processed documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.
Clipboard: A temporary storage area in a computer’s memory.
Clock Speed: The speed of a computer’s CPU that is normally expressed in MegaHertz (one million cycles per second) or GigaHertz (1000 MegaHertz).
Cloze Procedure: It was invented by Wilson Taylor.
It was originally conceived as a tool for measuring the readibility of a text or a learner’s reading comprehension level. It derives itself from the gestalt psychology term ‘closure’, whereby people tend to complete a familiar but incomplete pattern by ‘closing’ the gaps.
CMC: Computer Mediated Communication CMY: Cyan Magenta Yellow, the scheme used in colour printing.
CODEC: COmpressor/DECompressor or COder/ DECoder. A CODEC is a software that is used to compress or decompress a digital audio or video file.
Collaborative Writing: A process that involves the creation and editing documents using Web 2.0 tools designed for use by multiple authors, for example, Google Documents or Zoho Writer.
Colour Depth: The number of colours that can be displayed at any one time on a computer display screen.
Combination Drive: A Disc Drive that is capable of reading and writing to CD-ROMs, audio CDs and DVDs.
Compatiblity: Pieces of hardware and/or software which are capable of being used together are described as compatible.
Compression: A technique which reduces the amount of space required to store data.
Concordance Program: It operates on a body of texts (a corpus) and is commonly used for compiling glossaries and dictionaries.
Condenser Microphone: This type of microphone is probably the best type to use in multimedia CALL programs as it provides a stronger signal when the learner is recording his/her own voice.
CLIL – Content and Language Integrated Learning:
If a foreign language is to be used.
Content-Free: Used to describe a computer program which is supplied as an ‘empty shell’, i.e., without content such as texts, images, audio recordings, or video recordings.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD): It can take the form of seminars, research, training courses, etc.
Copyright: New technologies have raised all kinds of new issues relating to copyright mainly because it has become so easy to copy materials from a variety of digital sources.
Crash: A term describing what happens to hardware or software when it suddenly fails to work properly. In ‘frozen screen’, the keyboard and/or mouse go dead with the result that nothing can be typed and the cursor cannot be moved around the screen.
DDL – Data Driven Learning: It was pioneered by Tim Johns, whereby learners of a foreign language gain insights into the language that they are learning by using concordance programs to locate authentic examples of language in use.
Debug: To test a program and remove all the bugs.
Permanent bugs that defy eradication are often referred to ironically as ‘features’.
Default: A setting or value automatically assigned to a computer program or device in the absence of a choice made by the user.
Desktop Publishing (DTP): An application for laying out text, graphics and pictures in order to produce a professional-looking publication.
Diacritic: A mark such as an acute, grave or circumflex accent, a cedilla, or an umlaut, which is added to a letter to give it a special phonetic value.
Digital: It is ‘based on numbers’. The modern computer is a typical example of digital technology, so are CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, audio CDs and video DVDs, on which numbers are coded as a string of tiny pits pressed into a plastic disc.
DVD: Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc Directory: A group of files and subdirectories grouped together for organizational purposes . The term is used synonymously with Folder.
Discussion List: An electronic discussion list also known as a Forum is a way of sharing emails with the members of a group of people with a common interest.
Dithering: This technique of combining dots of primary colours is used to give the appearance of intermediate colour.
Dpi: Dots Per Inch Dynamic Microphone: It is used when a learner has to record his/her own voice.
Encryption: A system of coding that helps prevent access to private information on computer networks or on the web.
EPS: Encapsulated Postscript Error Diagnosis: A feature of CALL programs whereby the computer attempts to diagnose the nature of errors the learner makes and to branch to remedial exercises.
Favorites: A facility within the Internet Explorer browser that allows to keep a record of web pages that you have visited and may like to visit again. These are also known as bookmarks.
Feedback: Feedback is an automatic response from a computer, which may take the form of text, image, audio, video or any combination of these, to a learner’s input.
Firewall: A firewall is a software package that sits between your computer and your internet connection, keeping an eye on the traffic going to and fro.
Otherwise hackers can use them to their benefits.
Firewire: It allows a person to transfer video recordings from one device to another in fast manner. That is from a camcorder to a computer, using a special cable.
Firmware: It is a software that has been written to a ROM (Read Only Memory) chip by the manufacturers.
Flame: When we use Discussion List, Forum or Blog, Flame is used to describe a language that is rude, sarcastic or condescending.
Flash Drive: A portable storage device. Their storage capacity is impressive.
Fuzzy Matching: A matching technique which is used in programs when allowances have to be made for inaccuracies in spelling on the part of the learner.
Gap-filler: It consists of two parts, such as (i) a teacher’s program which allows him to input a text, then specify words, parts of words, or phrases that are to disappear, and (ii) a student’s program which enables the learner to interact with the computer by filling in the gaps.
Geek: A term to describe someone obsessed with computers, it uses them at every opportunity in their free time, mainly for ‘social’ purposes.
Generic Software/Application: They may be used in many areas, but not specifically for use in a specific subject area, for example, a word-processor (Word), spreadsheet package (Excel), presentation software (PowerPoint) and database package (Access).
GIF: Graphic Interchange Format. It is a file format used for storing simple graphics.
GUI – Graphical User Interface: It consists of graphical elements known as icons and allows the user to run programs and also to carry out other operations. Icon is a small symbol or picture used in a GUI.
Hacker: A person who spends time to gain access to information stored on other people’s computers all around the world. Some hackers are harmless and some harm others.
Hub: A common connection point for networked computers and other devices. Hubs are used to connect devices in a Local Area Network (LAN).
HF High Frequency: ‘High Frequency’ is the designated term for the range of radio waves between 3 and 30 MHz.
ICALL – Intelligent CALL: It mimics human intelligence.
ILS – Integrated Learning System: It is a computerdriven system of learning in which the content is presented in tutorial format and which monitors and records the progress of the learner.
IWB – Interactive Whiteboard: It is a touch-sensitive projection screen that allows the teacher to control a computer directly by touching the screen, i.e., whiteboard, rather than using a keyboard or mouse.
Interface: It is a connection between two systems. It can be Hardware or Software. It may take the form of a plug, cable or socket or all the three.
LCD: Liquid Crystal Display is a type of flat panel computer display screen.
Learning Object: It is capable of being reused in a variety of applications and may be described as a Reusable Learning Object (RLO).
Learning Platform: A term used to describe the software and systems that are used to deliver E-learning.
Sometimes it is Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and sometimes with Managed Learning Environment (MLE).
Leased Line: It is also known as a private circuit, is a dedicated communications link between two sites.
It is separate from the public telephone network and reserved exclusively for the use of the owner, usually at a fixed tariff regardless of usage levels.
Linkrot: It describes the tendency of hypertext links from one website to another to die as other sites cease to exist or remove or restructure their Web pages.
Linux: A Unix-type Operating System, which is similar to Windows and the Apple Mac operating system.
Lurker: It is mainly used in connection with a Discussion List, Forum or Blog. This term describes someone who prefers to read other people’s messages rather than posting their own views.
Machine Assisted Translation (MAT): They assist us in the process of translating natural language.
Maze: The maze is divided into action mazes and text mazes that have been used by language teachers for many years for reading and comprehension activities and to stimulate conversation in the classroom.
Menu: A list of options from which a computer user makes a selection in order to determine the course of events in a program. Menu bar helps in it.
MLAT: Modern Language Aptitude Testing MLE: Managed Learning Environment Moblog: A contraction of mobile and blog.
MOO: Multi–User–Domain Object Oriented MP3: A file format for storing high-quality audio files.
MP4: There are two basic types, namely MP4 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) and MP4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding).
MPEG or MPG: Motion Picture Expert Group Multimedia: The integration of two or more types of information (text, images, audio, video, animation, etc.) in a single application.
Multitasking: This is the execution of more than one program, apparently at the same time, on a computer.
Narrowband: A term used to describe a slow-speed connection to the Internet, normally via a Modem and less than or equal to 64 Kbps.
NLP – Natural Language Processing: A general term used to describe the use of computers to process information expressed in natural human languages.
Navigation: This describes the process of finding your way, i.e., navigating, around a series of menus within a computer program or finding your way around the World Wide Web by means of a browser.
Netiquette: Etiquette on the Internet is a code of behaviour for people communicating by email via the internet.
Netizen: It is a term used to describe someone who uses networked resources.
Netscape: An early web browser, which first appeared in 1994, shortly after the World Wide Web went public.
Ning: A platform that enables you to create your own social network.
Online Learning: The use of the internet to follow a course that usually results in the award of a diploma or certificate.
Open and Integrated Learning System (OILS):
A variant of Integrated Learning System. The word Open means extra dimension.
Pathname: The pathname of a file on a computer specifies exactly its position on disc and it consists of at least three parts: (i) drive letter, (ii) directory and (iii) filename, e.g. c:\windows\user.exe.
PDA: Personal Digital Assistant.
PDF: It is Portable Document Format, a file type created by Adobe that allows fully formatted, documents to be transmitted across the Internet and viewed on any computer that has Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
Phishing: An illicit attempt to trick individuals into handing over personal, confidential information.
Phishing requests often seem legitimate. For example, they carry an official-looking logo of a known service like VISA and may be perpetrated by phone, email, or the internet.
Platform: Often used as an alternative term for a computer system, including both the hardware and the software. Platform–independent is used to describe software means that the software can be run on any computer.
Pointing Device: It is a device which allows to control the position of the cursor on a computer screen by physical manipulation of the device in different directions.
Presentation Practice Production (PPP): A longestablished approach to language teaching, consisting of three main phases, such as (i) presentation phase (ii) practice phase (iii) production phase.
PVP: Portable Video Player QR Code: Quick Response Code. It is a two-dimensional barcode that can store a variety of different types of information, such as a text, a website URL, a telephone number, an SMS message, an email address and so on.
Relative Link: A term used mainly by Web authors. In an HTML document a relative link indicates the loca- tion of a file relative to the document, whereas an absolute link specifies the full URL.
Repurpose: To reuse content in a different way from that which was originally intended.
Response Analysis: A feature of CALL programs whereby the computer attempts to diagnose the nature of errors the learner makes and to branch to remedial exercises.
Rip: To extract or copy data from one format to another.
Root Directory: The topmost directory in the directory hierarchy, from which all other directories are descended.
RTF: Rich Text Format is an alternative way of storing a document created with a word-processor.
Sampling: This term refers to taking the value of a waveform (for example, a sound wave or video signal).
Scroll: To move up and down or from side to side through a document or a Window to view or access all of its contents.
Search Engine: A search facility provided at a number of sites on the World Wide Web.
Semantic Web: The Semantic Web allows the user to search the Web in a more sophisticated way Server: A computer which provides services to other computers, which are known as clients.
Setup Program: A program that enables the user to set up a program.
Shockwave Player: Software developed by Adobe that helps in containing interactive multimedia materials to be played on the web.
Silicon Chip: An encased piece of extremely pure silicon on to which electronic circuits are etched.
Spambot: A spambot program is designed to collect email addresses from the internet in order to build mailing lists for sending spam.
SVGA: Super Video Graphics Adaptor. This is used to control the output on a computer display screen.
Task Based Learning (TBL): An approach to learning in which the learner acquires knowledge of the subject that is being studied by focusing on a specified task.
TELL: Technology Enhanced Language Learning.
Telnet: A program which allows you to log in to a remote Host computer and carry out the same commands as if you were using a terminal at the host site.
TIFF or TIF: Tag Image File Format Toolbar: A toolbar is a kind of Menu Bar. It is mostly located at the top of a computer screen, that contains icons for the most commonly-used commands in an application, for example, in a word-processor or browser.
Total Cloze: An activity in which a complete text is reduced to sets of blanks.
Touchscreen: A display screen which enables a computer system to react to the touch of a finger, examples are smartphones and tablet computers.
Trainspotter: A colloquial term that is often used to describe someone who is fascinated by the technology of computers but not particularly interested in their applications.
Trojan: Usually, malicious programs that install themselves or run surreptitiously on a victim’s machine.
Troll: A troll intentionally posts derogatory or provocative messages in an online community such as a Discussion List, Forum and Blog to bait other users into responding.
Thuraya IP+: These are portable terminals which provide internet connectivity and voice communications in remote locations, using satellite connections. They are similar to BGAN in many respects.
Unicode: The Unicode Worldwide Character Standard is a character coding system designed to support the interchange, processing and display of the written texts of the diverse languages of the modern world.
USB – Universal Serial Bus: It is a means of connecting a wide range of devices, such as Digital Cameras, Camcorders, iPods, mobile phones, Scanners and Printers, through a cable to a computer.
Unix: An Operating System widely used on large computer systems in institutions on which many web servers are hosted. A PC version of Unix is called Linux. It has become popular as an alternative to Windows.
URL: Uniform Resource Locator. It is also known as a web address. A URL contains the location of a resource on the internet.
Vector Graphic: It is a method of creating graphic images on a computer. It tells to draw lines in particular positions.
Video Memory: The dynamic memory available for the computer’s display screen. The greater the amount of memory, the greater is the possible colour depth and resolution of the display.
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): A VLE is a webbased package designed to help teachers create online courses, together with facilities for teacher-learner communication and peer-to-peer communication.
Virtual Reality: The simulation of an environment by presentation of 3D moving images and associated sounds, giving the user the impression of being able to move around with the simulated environment.
VHF Very High Frequency: ‘Very High Frequency’ is the designated term for the range of radio waves between 30 and 300 MHz. VHF radio covers short distances, extendable through VHF repeaters.
VPN Virtual private network: A VPN allows remote offices or users to enjoy secure access to their organization’s network using the internet or other public telecommunications systems.
VSAT Very Small Aperture Terminal: Typically, 1.8 m to 3.8 m in diameter, a VSAT is a fixed satellite communication system or earth station with an antenna, that access satellites to provide internet connectivity in remote locations.
VRML: Virtual Reality Mark-up Language allows the display of 3D images VSAT Calling: UNHCR maintains a global VSAT network that allows cost-effective voice communication between offices, from HQ to the field as well as between field offices.
W3C: It is the abbreviation for World Wide Web Consortium. An international non-profit organization which acts as a resource centre for the World Wide Web, and is active in setting technical standards.
Webmail: A facility for creating, sending and receiving messages through the internet.
Webquest: A webquest is a task-oriented activity. Here, the learner draws on material from different websites in order to achieve a specific goal.
Webserver: A computer or a software package running on a computer that delivers, i.e., server, web pages to its clients.
Web whacking: This involves saving entire websites for offline use.
Windows: The name of a range of several different Graphical User Interface (GUI) operating systems produced by the Microsoft Corporation.
Wizard: It is a software that guides the user step-bystep through a complex task, such as setting up software on a network or configuring a printer to output data in a special format.
WMA: Windows Media Audio WorldCALL: It is basically the worldwide umbrella association for CALL (http://www.worldcall.org). It helps the countries that are currently not derserving in the applications of ICT.
Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C): An international non-profit organization which acts as a resource centre for the World Wide Web and is active in setting technical standards.
XML: The abbreviation for XML is eXtensible Markup Language. This specification is as per demand from the WWW Consortium (W3C). It allows web designers to create their own language for displaying documents on the web.