FdSc IT Systems and Applications

If you are a passionate learner in Computing and information technology, considering a career in IT, or interested in furthering your knowledge about networking, web development or programming, the ITSA course is the right step in your your journey from an enthusiastic learner into a professional IT developer.

Learn about IT infrastructure, networking technologies, web scripting, software development and explore areas such as cyber security, cloud computing, eBusiness with hands-on practical work, to equip you with the cutting-edge employability skills.

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Course IntroductionModulesEntry RequirementsGraduate CareersAdditional

The Foundation Degree in IT Systems and Applications is for individuals who may be preparing for a new career in information technology or already working in IT and wanting to upgrade their skills and knowledge. The aim of the Foundation Degree is to produce graduates who can keep up with technological advances and use their industry awareness and problem solving skills to meet the needs of local businesses.

The FdA IT Systems and Applications course will provide a broad basis of knowledge and skills in IT, enabling students to develop software and design and maintain computer systems. There will be significant coverage of areas which are increasingly in demand such as cloud computing and security, and students will be equipped with knowledge and skills that will enable them to solve the sort of technology problems faced by any small or medium-sized business. Security, legal and ethical issues will be covered from multiple angles in each year of the programme. Industry qualifications such as Microsoft Server qualifications and ITIL will run alongside the modules where appropriate as a method of ensuring industry relevance and to provide added value to the course.

The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Each module is worth a specified number of credits, with most modules counting for 30 or 15 academic credits, with each credit taken equating to a total amount of study time which includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Most full-time students will take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. A total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits are needed for an honours degree as a whole. Overall grades for the course and degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.

Compulsory modules enable you to cover key subject knowledge whilst and optional allow you to develop your own interests. The number of optional modules you can take depends on the number of core modules at a given level. Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

Year One (Level 4) Year Two (Level 5)

Normally 32 UCAS points* plus 4 GCSEs at grade C minimum, to include maths and English or at least one A Level or Level 3 qualification i.e. Diploma, NVQ at Advanced Level or an Access to Higher Education qualification.

For mature applicants (over 21) with non-standard academic qualifications, Admission Tutors will carry out an interview and consider the applicant’s ability to succeed on the course, taking into account their past experience in relevant areas.

*2017-18 UCAS Tariff

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Additional requirements:

  • You must provide evidence of having been in general education for at least 10 years and of having studied within the last five years
  • a face-to-face interview is required before an offer is made.

An emphasis on current industry best practice processes and standards will help to ensure that graduates are ready for the workplace. Graduates will therefore be equipped with the knowledge and skills to allow them to take up posts for jobs such as IT Support Officer or Service Desk Engineer. Students successful on this course could also progress onto year 3 of the BSc (Hons) IT Systems and Applications.

Timetables: Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week.

Teaching and Learning: You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical’s. Seminars enable smaller group discussions to develop understanding of topics covered in lectures. You will use and have access to industry-standard software and facilities throughout your course.

When not attending lectures, seminars and laboratory or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, learning zone or technical learning resources, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations

Assessment: The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

 Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Apply Full-time
Apply Part-time
FdSc IT Systems and Applications - Full-time
LevelLevel 5
LocationColchester
Duration2 years
UCAS Code1F57
Academic Year2019-2020
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2019
Fee(s)2019-20: £8,250 per year
FdSc IT Systems and Applications - Part-time
LevelLevel 5
LocationColchester
Duration4 years
Course CodeZE1FDITP01
Academic Year2019-2020
Study ModePart-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2019
Fee(s)2019-20: £4,125 per year
Year One (Level 4)

Employability and Study Skills (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

You will need specific study skills to enable you to maximise your learning potential and take advantage of opportunities available both in the academic setting and the workplace. This module will enable you to develop these skills.

What do I learn?

You will learn a range of research and communication skills including report-writing and academic referencing.  You will also work on your presentation and teamwork skills.

What’s the assignment?

There are three elements to the assessment: a Personal Development Plan, to help you assess your own learning, a written report, to help you develop your academic writing skills, and a group presentation.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Computer Architecture and Operating Systems (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

You will be introduced to the basics of computer architecture and operating systems: moving up from bits and bytes, through logic gates, representation and operations to buses and processors and the treatment of operating systems.

What do I learn?

You learn about the role of logic, data representation, and operations within a computer system architecture, then how to write a low-level programming language (assembly).  You will learn the architecture of modern computers, and the purposes and main functions of operating systems.

What’s the assignment?

There are three assessments in this module. The first is on logic gate design, the second is about operating systems and assembly programming language, and the third is an exam about general components of computer architecture.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

System Support (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module will increase your understanding of how systems and networks are monitored, managed and supported to serve the needs of clients.  It covers aspects of computer system support, including procedures, techniques, and organisation, taking into consideration legal and ethical issues.

What do I learn?

You will learn the architecture of a computer and will be able to apply client communication and support skills.  You learn the ITIL framework of best practices in IT support service management, taking into consideration legal and ethical issues.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments and one exam in this module.  Assignments 1 and 2 are related to tasks in the ITIL framework.  The exam will cover the principles and techniques of system support.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Web I – client-side development (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module will enable you to effectively use a range of web development skills, allowing you to produce engaging websites that are accessible to a range of users. This module has a strong practical focus on HTML and CSS scripting for client side web applications.

What do I learn?

You will learn how to interpret a customer’s requirements, use these to inform the design process, and then use HTML and CSS to create a website that reflects these requirements.  You will also learn how careful design and testing are essential in offering the best possible experience to the eventual end user of the website.

What’s the assignment?

You will be assessed through a design report, the construction and documenting of a website, and a presentation of your website.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Software Development I – Introduction to Programming(15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module provides you with the opportunity to learn and practise key procedural programming concepts.  You will become familiar with programming environments, languages, libraries and tools.

What do I learn?

You will learn how to design, write and test programs that solve a range of small problems. Simultaneously, you will be introduced to a range of professional practices that form a key part of the software engineer’s role, such as the industry standards for writing software and maintaining version control.

What’s the assignment?

For the first two assessments, you will complete programming exercises, documented with design diagrams and test plans.  There will also be a one hour exam on the fundamental concepts of programming.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Web II – server-side programming (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

In this module, you will learn a range of scripting skills that enable you to build interactive, dynamic websites.  You will gain an appreciation of the differences between server and client scripting environments and learn how to choose which is more appropriate for a given task.

What do I learn?

You learn to design, write and test server-side web programmes in PHP and JavaScript.  You will become aware of the risks of malicious code injection when creating dynamic websites, and will develop a sound knowledge of these dangers, learning practical strategies for protecting against them.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assessments in this module.  The first assignment is to create basic client and server scripts with code listings and test documentation.  In the second assignment, one whole application should be designed, programmed, and tested.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Database Fundamentals (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module is designed to teach you the basic tasks involved in creating, querying, and administering a database.  It is about interpreting a problem scenario and producing and evaluating a suitable relational database.

What do I learn?

You will learn how to design a relational database to fit the needs of a simple business scenario, and then create and populate that database.  You learn how to use database server administration tools such as SQL to manage a database.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assessments in this module. The first tests your knowledge of designing, creating and querying a database.  The second allows you to develop and document a relational database of your choice.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Introduction to Networks (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module will enable you to design, implement and troubleshoot a small to medium size network. It includes an understanding of routing protocols, addressing schemes, and the Open System Interconnection (OSI) reference model, the Ethernet, TCP/IP, IOS Software, LAN and WAN Technologies.

What do I learn?

You will learn the underlying principles of network protocols and will be able to design and implement an IP addressing scheme to  meet  network requirements for a small to medium size network with awareness of security policy and taking relevant safety precautions.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments documenting workshops carried out.  The final assessment is an exam on the principles of networking.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Year Two (Level 5)

Networks 2: Routing and Switching (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

The module will increase your understanding of issues related to increasing traffic on an Ethernet LAN and identification of switched LAN technology solutions to Ethernet networking issues. It covers the functions of Wide Area Networks (WANs), the major devices of WANs, and the configuration of PPP encapsulation, static and dynamic routing.

What do I learn?

You will build on Networking 1 (to design, install, operate, and troubleshoot small to medium size networks), to include the configuration of switches, connecting to LANs, Wireless LANs and WANs.  You will learn how to implement network security.

What’s the assignment?

There is one assignment in which you will produce a report documenting the design of a small network with evaluation, including demonstration of your design.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

IT Infrastructure (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

The module will give you broad experience and skills relevant to IT Infrastructure.  It will introduce you to a range of current operating systems, including new operating systems which have evolved to support mobile technologies.    The module extends knowledge beyond the view that there is a one-to-one relationship between a programme and a host.  A practical and descriptive approach is taken to complex modern architectures.

What do I learn?

You will learn to evaluate the use and features of a range of modern operating systems and be able to describe multi-machine architectures in current use. You will learn the cloud computing and related security issues, and their impact on business. You will learn to build an application that combines data or functionality from more than one server/site/source, using user-level APIs.

What’s the assignment?

There is an assignment to design an IT infrastructure and a group presentation to describe and evaluate aspects of an IT infrastructure solution.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

System and Network Management (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

In this module you will increase your knowledge of networks by understanding how systems and networks are monitored, managed and supported to serve the needs of clients and you will understand the importance and cost of reliability, resilience and scalability in networks.

What do I learn?

You will learn to evaluate different approaches to system and network management, their design and system administration tasks. You will be able to apply and justify ITIL best practices in change management and configuration management.

What’s the assignment?

There is an assignment to evaluate the network management of a company and recommend improvements, and an examination about network and service management.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Software Development II – object-oriented programming(15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module will help you to move from a basic understanding of procedural programming to the point where you can design and implement a set of classes that respects the principles of object-oriented design.  You will be introduced to the idea of integrating code with a legacy codebase, as most commercial developers are obliged to do.

What do I learn?

You will learn to analyse requirements and apply key object-oriented concepts in the design of a solution.  Then you will learn to use an object-oriented language to write and test maintainable, robust, correct software that accurately reflects the design.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments and one exam in this module.  Assignment 1 is a report documenting the design of an object-oriented application and Assignment 2 is implementing and testing of the object-oriented application.  The exam will cover the principles of object-oriented design and programming.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Web III – secure web applications (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module is about design and implementation of a web application that uses a database for storage. You will develop understanding of client and server-side scripting languages as they make use of the latest features of browsers to build highly interactive websites.

What do I learn?

You will learn how to choose and apply server and client-side programming concepts, languages and libraries in the development of the database application, and critically evaluate the choices made. You will learn to Implement and explain a range of strategies for protecting against malicious use of the web application.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments in this module. Assignment 1 is the design and partial implementation of a web application including design diagrams. Assignment 2 is completing the web application implementation and testing documents.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

IT Project Management (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

The module will help you to increase knowledge and understanding of the principles and application of project management in the IT industry. You will apply this knowledge to analyse and evaluate the impact of project management on improving the management of resources and performance.

What do I learn?

You will learn about project management principles and processes in relation to IT-related projects and make effective use of computer tools for project management, and justify their use.

What’s the assignment?

You will be assessed through a group project using project management principles and procedures.  The exam will cover theory and practice of project management techniques.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Work-Based Learning (30 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

The module aims to enable you to analyse your readiness for the workplace and to work towards improving your employability.  You will also be expected to reflect on your work practice, critically appraise your own performance and report on the experience of learning at work.

What do I learn?

You will learn to assess your employability skills as an IT professional, produce a development plan and provide evidence of executing the plan and evaluating progress.  You will obtain and carry out a work placement that is relevant to the programme and critically reflect on the work environment and the experience of learning in the workplace.

What’s the assignment?

There are three assignments in this module. The first is a portfolio showing career development plan and evidence of working towards employability.  The second assignment is a reflective log of placement activity and a written report on an aspect of IT use in an organisation.  The final assignment is a report on the self-study element.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Networks 3: Scaling Networks (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

The aim of this module is to provide a detailed practical understanding of current network routing and switching techniques. The module covers an in-depth appreciation of current routing protocols and their application, LAN switching techniques and LAN optimisation.

What do I learn?

You will learn about routing protocols, how to deploy in an enterprise-WAN, and the key requirements of a scalable network.  You learn how to evaluate and optimise LAN performance and security.  You learn about the switching technologies such as VLANs, VTP, and VLAN.

What’s the assignment?

There is one assignment in this module to assess design of a small, scalable network with written evaluation on the designed network.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Penetration Testing (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

The aim of this module is to introduce penetration techniques to test the security of an IT system within an ethical and legal framework. The module will cover the security of IT systems by various activities, for example security policy review, security audit, vulnerability analysis and penetration testing.

What do I learn?

You will learn to analyse network and system security threats,  carry out IT system reconnaissance and then select and apply appropriate network and system penetration techniques.  You learn about the ethics and legal framework for a penetration tester.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assessments in this module, the first on penetration techniques, the security of an IT system within an ethical and legal framework, and an exam about security issues, vulnerability analysis and penetration testing.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.



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All Fees and prices shown on the website are for courses starting in the 2018-19 academic year and correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes. Fees for courses starting in the 2019-20 academic year will be added to the website from December 2018.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.