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MSCI520: Technology in Context

Department: Management Science NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF7//RQF7
Study Level: Postgraduate (Masters level) Credit Points: 10
Start Date: 07-10-2019 End Date: 13-12-2019
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Dr P Benachour

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus


    The course is taught in 10 sessions, over a 10-week period. Each session will last for 2 hours and will be involve a mixture of lectures and breakout/ active learning sessions.  The proposed topics are as follows (note that the earlier sessions are concerned with fundamentals while the latter sessions will examine contemporary research issues and trends):

    Inside the Internet. Fundamentals of networking: networking and internetworking; layering and protocols. Example (inter)networks. Introducing the Internet: The Internet architecture; the TCP/IP protocol suite; names, addresses and routes. Case studies.

    Inside the World Wide Web. An examination of the WWW, how it has evolved, and the impact it has had on the design, operation and use of the Internet.

    Distributed Systems. Definition and motivation. Potential problems. The client-server paradigm. Remote procedure calls (RPC); Inside RPC technology. Open distributed processing and middleware. Styles of middleware. Focus on distributed object technology. From objects to components.

    Security. Security in distributed systems. Principles of security. Basics of cryptography: secret key encryption; public key encryption. Authentication and key distribution: the Needham and Schroeder protocol.

    Mobile Computing. The emergence of mobile computing. Impact: mobility and IP; mobility and the WWW; mobility and middleware. The seesnce of mobility. Context awareness. Example applications: applications at Lancaster; the Guide system.

    Multimedia. A look at multimedia applications and systems along with an examination of the demands these place on ICT systems.

    Ubiquitous Computing. Mark Weiser's vision; Enabling technologies: devices; communications; Case study: The Internet Alarm; Ubiquity and middleware: problem analysis; resource discovery platforms; focus on Jini.


    Note that because of the nature of the subject, the precise details will be subject to change.

  • 100% Coursework

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • Two coursework assignments will be assigned.  The questions require short essays or practical work that will challenge the student’s ability to apply what is learned in class and in the readings as well as the theoretical underpinnings of the concepts.  The students can use outside sources for the coursework as long as clear references are made.

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • The overall aim of the course is to provide students with a basic knowledge of the key Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that are being deployed in the current and emerging information industry. The technologies will be presented at an overview level, but with an attempt to teach the underlying principles so that students understand what lies behind the many acronyms and product titles in this field.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills


    At the end of the course, students should understand the fundamental concepts underpinning modern Information and Communication Technologies and the architecture of the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW); they should also have an appreciation of the related topic of distributed systems, with particular emphasis on modern middleware technologies, and have an insight into current and emerging technological developments including mobile and ubiquitous computing, and multimedia.

Contact Information

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