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Hardware Systems Within An Information Technology Curriculum

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.662.1 - 9.662.10



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Paper Authors

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Michael Bailey

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1450

Hardware Systems within an Information Technology Curriculum

Michael G. Bailey, C. Richard G. Helps, Barry M. Lunt Brigham Young University


Information Technology (IT), as a discipline, focuses on the integration of various computer technologies to create working systems to meet users’ needs. Appropriately, much emphasis is placed upon core topics such as software, web systems, networks, databases and human computer interaction. Hardware systems integration is not as strongly emphasized as these core topics, but a sound understanding of hardware will significantly enhance the expertise of IT professionals as system integrators.

At BYU, hardware systems content has been incorporated into the IT curriculum. The curriculum is time constrained and hardware topics have to be balanced against other topics competing for limited credit hours. Realizing that our students are not striving to become hardware designers, much of the hardware content is taught at the conceptual level, with more depth being applied to the particular areas required for effective systems integration.

This paper presents the hardware systems content that has emerged over several years of refining it within an IT curriculum. Areas emphasized include computer systems hardware, serial and parallel busses, physical layer communications protocols, frequency response, and broadband technologies. We discuss how this content can be presented effectively using just a few credit hours of the IT program.


The emerging discipline of Information Technology (IT) has many origins, depending on the particular educational institution hosting the program1. These programs have emerged from Computer Science, Information Systems, Engineering Technology and Telecommunications departments, among others. As would be expected from such diverse backgrounds, there is considerable variability in the curricula vouchsafed at these institutions. However, there is a common body of knowledge that ties IT programs together – what has come to be called in the community the Pillars of Information Technology. These pillars are: software, web systems, networks, databases and human-computer interaction.

As has been previously asserted2, the unique approach and emphasis that IT gives to these topics is ideal for the training of networking and other computing-systems engineers – that is people who stitch digital systems together. This type of professional should have depth of knowledge in the areas conducive to digital systems integration, in addition to broad skills that will enable him

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering

Bailey, M. (2004, June), Hardware Systems Within An Information Technology Curriculum Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12938

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