Demystifying Computers

How They Really Work

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Scott Badman, Instructor

217 979-1384 -- please feel free to call any time


Eight Sessions: Mondays at 5:30 pm until 7:00 pm, from September 16, 2013 to November 4, 2013.
Ninety minutes per session with a 10 minute break in the middle.

You are encouraged to bring your laptop computer to class if you have one, but there is no necessity for one. You will have access to all materials and class participation without one.

All course material I use in class will be available to you anytime at

I will also have a flash drive with all the material I use in class, so you can copy the files to your computer. Alternatively, I'll have burned CD-ROM's you can have to take home.

Please feel free to talk quietly with other students in class to help you understand and clarify the material presented.

Please feel free to take cell phone calls, if they are important for family or professional reasons. I ask only that you leave the room to talk, and you keep any disturbance for the other members of the class to a minimum.

There are no additional readings for this class, although I always encourage using Wikipedia if you want to explore the topics in more depth. We will talk about how to best use Wikipedia for technical subjects.

As with all OLLI courses there are no tests or grades. Just come to class, participate as you like, and enjoy!

Schedule of Topics

Please be aware that the pacing and depth that we cover these topics may vary significantly, depending on the needs and desires of the class members.

The topic distribution below is listed as anticipated at the beginning of the course. It will most likely change as the course progresses. Please refer to for the latest information.

Sept. 16, 2013       Session 1     Definition of "Data", Computer Hardware 
Sept. 23, 2013       Session 2     Binary Arithmetic
Sept. 30, 2013       Session 3      Simple Logic and The Central Processing Unit (CPU) - Part 1
Oct. 7, 2013       Session 4     The Central Processing Unit (CPU) - Part 2
Oct. 14, 2013       Session 5     Programming, Algorithms, and Logical Equivalence of Hardware and Software
Oct. 21, 2013       Session 6     The Operating System (Windows)
Oct. 28, 2013       Session 7     Peripherals and The Internet - Part 1
Nov. 4, 2013       Session 8     The Internet - Part 2