75969 - Basic Informatics (1) (M-Z)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, the student will have a basic knowledge of computer science, having learned the working principles of software systems, and understanding the technical lexicon of the discipline. The student will also grasp the fundamental concepts about design and implementation of multimedia systems, especially in World Wide Web environment.

Course contents

The course is organised in 10 lectures. For each lecture, it is provided an historical context and some of the most relevant people, according to the topic of the lecture, are introduced. The topics of the lectures are:

  • Computer, computational thinking, and data structures [historic people: Charles Babbage]:
    - What is a computer?
    - Computational thinking
    - Data structures
  • Algorithms and computability [historic people: Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing]:
    - Uses of Analytical Machine
    - What is an algorithm?
    - Flowcharts
    - Our first algorithm
    - Are there limits to computation?
  • Programming languages [historic people: Noam Chomsky and Grace Hopper]:
    - What is a language?
    - Programming languages
    - Visual languages
  • What it happens when we click on a link: the World Wide Web [historic people: Vannevar Bush, Ted Nelson, Douglas Engelbart, and Tim Berners-Lee]
    - Introduction
    - The birth of hypertexts
    - The creation of the World Wide Web
    - Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
    - The browsers: what they are and why they are useful
  • What happens when we click on a link: communication protocols [historic people: Tim Berners-Lee]
    - Introduction
    - What is a communication protocol?
    - How the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) works
    - What is a web server?
  • What happens when we click on a link: the Internet [historic people: Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider]
    - Introduction
    - The birth of the Internet
    - Communication packets
    - What is the Internet Protocol (IP)?
    - Domain Name Server (DNS) and the router
  • What happens when we click on a link: Transferring information over the Internet [historic people: Claude Shannon, Vinton Cerf, and Robert Kahn]
    - Introduction
    - Byte and bit: units of information
    - What is the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)?
    - Other protocols used on the Internet
    - Full scenario describing a request of a webpage
  • What happens when we click on a link: The webpages
    - Markup languages
    - Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): a brief narration
    - Main HTML elements
    - Separation between markup and presentation: the CSS
  • Computer science technologies in the Humanities
    - Digital projects on Humanities studies
    - Markup and digital editions
    - Data collections
    - Conclusions


The lecture materials, including the lecture notes written by the professor and the related slides, will be made available on the Virtuale platform before the beginning of the course. All the material provided will be in Italian. Studying the material is sufficient to pass the exam with the maximum score. In addition, all the links related to the course material will be made available in the GitHub repository of the course .

Teaching methods

The course is structured in 10 lectures with the professor, where he will introduce the topics of the course. The topics must be appropriately studied individually using the e-learning environments shared by the professor. Each lecture with the professor will be about on one of the topics of the programme.

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of one test with questions. Each test is composed by 33 multiple-choice questions. Each question answered correctly scores 1 point, whereas an unanswered question or incorrectly answered scores 0 point. Each exam session is organised in multiple turns of one hour each. Within a turn, the student has 45 minutes to complete the test.

Teaching tools

The teaching will be in blended learning: part with the professor (10 lectures in a classroom) and part using one or more e-learning environment made available. The professor works in collaboration with a tutor.

It is possible to communicate directly with either the professor or the tutor via e-mail.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Luigi Asprino