Computing

There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. However, it is assumed that students enrolling in VCE Informatics have sound design thinking skills. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Units 1 to 4 are designed to a standard equivalent to the final two years of secondary education. All VCE studies are benchmarked against comparable national and international curriculum.

Introduction

VCE Computing focuses on the application of a problem-solving methodology, and strategies and techniques for managing information systems in a range of contexts, to create digital solutions that meet specific needs. The study examines the attributes of each component of an information system including people, processes, data and digital systems (hardware, software, networks), and how their interrelationships affect the types and quality of digital solutions.

VCE Computing is underpinned by four key concepts: approaches to problem solving, data and information, digital systems and interactions and impact. Together these form the conceptual framework of the study and the organising elements for its key knowledge.

An important component of the study is the opportunity for students to develop social capital, that is, the shared understanding in social networks that enable cooperation and a cooperative approach to problem solving.

VCE Computing provides students with opportunities to acquire and apply knowledge and skills to use digital systems efficiently and effectively when creating digital solutions both individually and as part of a network. Students investigate legal requirements and ethical responsibilities that individuals and organisations have with respect to the security and integrity of data. Through a structured approach to problem solving, incorporating computational, design and systems thinking, students are equipped to orient themselves towards the future, with an awareness of the technical and societal implications of digital systems.

At present, Diamond Valley College does not offer the Software Development course at Units 3 & 4, although this may be offered in the future if there is sufficient interest.

For more information, refer to the Study Design: VCE Computing

Unit 1 Computing

In this unit students focus on how data, information and networked digital systems can be used to meet a range of users current and future needs.

Areas of Study

  1. Data and graphic solutions
    Students collect primary data when investigating an issue, practice or event and create a digital solution that graphically presents the findings of the investigation.
  2. Networks
    Students examine the technical underpinnings of wireless and mobile networks, and security controls to protect stored and transmitted data, to design a network solution that meets an identified need or opportunity. They predict the impact on users if the network solution were implemented.
  3. Collaboration and communication
    Students acquire and apply their knowledge of information architecture and user interfaces, together with web authoring skills, when creating a website to present different viewpoints on a contemporary issue.

When creating solutions students need to apply relevant stages of the problem-solving methodology as well as computational, design and systems thinking skills.

Outcomes

On completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  • acquire, secure and interpret data, and design and develop a graphic solution that communicates the findings of an investigation.
  • design a network with wireless capability that meets an identified need or opportunity, explain its configuration and predict risks and benefits for intended users.
  • design and develop a website collaboratively with others that presents an analysis of a contemporary issue and the teams point of view on the issue.

Unit 2 Computing

In this unit students focus on data and how the application of computational, design and systems thinking skills support the creation of solutions that automate the processing of data.

Areas of Study

  1. Programming
    Students develop their computational thinking skills when using a programming or scripting language to create solutions. They engage in the design and development stages of the problem-solving methodology.
  2. Data analysis and visualisation
    Students develop a sound understanding of data and how a range of software tools can be used to extract data from large repositories and manipulate it to create visualisations that are clear, usable and attractive, and reduce the complexity of data.
  3. Data management
    Students apply all stages of the problem-solving methodology to create a solution using database management software and explain how they are personally affected by their interactions with a database system.

Outcomes

On completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  • design working modules in response to solution requirements, and use a programming or scripting language to develop the modules.
  • apply the problem-solving methodology and use appropriate software tools to extract relevant data and create a data visualisation that meets a specified user’s needs.
  • apply the problem-solving methodology to create a solution using database management software, and explain the personal benefits and risks of interacting with a database.

Unit 3 Informatics

In this unit, students focus on how the characteristics of data and how it is acquired, managed, manipulated and interpreted to meet a range of needs.

Areas of Study

  1. Organisations and data management

    Students use relational database management system software to create a database solution and a graphics tool to represent how data flows on a website when users undertake online transactions.

  2. Data analytics: drawing conclusions

    The second area of study forms part of a School-assessed Task (SAT), and is the first part of a practical project. Students frame a hypothesis, and gather, manipulate and interpret data to draw conclusions that support or refute the hypothesis. Students use software tools to document a project plan and capture, store, prepare and manipulate data.

Outcomes

On completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  1. Design a solution, develop it using a relational database management system, and diagrammatically represent how users interact with an online solution when supplying data for a transaction.
  2. Use a range of appropriate techniques and processes to acquire, prepare, manipulate and interpret complex data to confirm or refute a hypothesis, and formulate a project plan to manage progress.

Unit 4 Informatics

In this unit students focus on strategies and techniques for manipulating, managing and securing data and information to meet a range of needs.

Areas of Study

  1. Data analytics: presenting the findings

    Students draw on the analysis and conclusion of their hypothesis determined in Unit 3, Outcome 2, and then design, develop and evaluate a multimodal, online solution that effectively communicates the conclusion and findings. The evaluation focuses on the effectiveness of the solution in communicating the conclusion and the reasonableness of the findings. Students use their project plan to monitor their progress and assess the effectiveness of their plan and adjustments in managing the project.

  2. Information management

    Students explore how different organisations manage the storage and disposal of data and information to minimise threats to the integrity and security of data and information and to optimise the handling of information.

Outcomes

  1. On completion of this unit the student should be able to design a solution, develop it using a relational database management system, and diagrammatically represent how users interact with an online solution when supplying data for a transaction.
  2. On completion of this unit the student should be able to use a range of appropriate techniques and processes to acquire, prepare, manipulate and interpret complex data to confirm or refute a hypothesis, and formulate a project plan to manage progress.

Unit 3 Software Development

In this unit, students develop an understanding of the analysis, design and development stages of the problem-solving methodology and use a programming language to create working software modules. There are two areas of study: Programming practice, and Analysis and design and they draw on the four concepts that underpin the study

Areas of Study

  1. Programming practice

    Students develop skills in interpreting software designs and in creating working modules using a programming language. The programming language used is a school decision, however, it must be able to support a set of mandated programming requirements.

  2. Analysis and design
    This study forms part of a School-assessed Task (SAT), and is the first part of a practical project. Students determine a need or opportunity for a purpose-designed solution and then formally document the analysis as a Software Requirements Specification. They then generate a range of design ideas, select their preferred one and develop it as a detailed design. Students use a software tool to document a project plan.

Outcomes

  1. On completion of this unit the student should be able to interpret designs and apply a range of functions and techniques using a programming language to develop working modules.
  2. On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and document a need or opportunity, generate alternative design ideas, represent the preferred solution design and formulate a project plan for creating the solution.

Unit 4 Software Development

In this unit students focus on how the information needs of individuals and organisations are met through the creation of software solutions used in a networked environment. They continue to study the programming language used in Unit 3.

Areas of Study

  1. Software solutions

    Area of Study 1 forms the second part of the SAT. Students use specific functions of a programming language to transform the design created in Unit 3, Outcome 2 into a software solution. As part of developing the solution, students conduct a practical useability test to identify features of their solution that work and don’t work. Students also evaluate the quality of the solution and assess how well their project plan helped them monitor the progress of their project.

  2. Interactions and impact

    In Area of Study 2 students apply systems thinking systems when analysing the dependencies between two information systems and assessing the impact on the operation of an information system if shared data has been compromised. Students do not use software to demonstrate this outcome.

Outcomes

  1. On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply stages of the problem-solving methodology to create a solution using a programming language that fulfils identified requirements and assess the effectiveness of the project plan in monitoring progress.
  2. On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and explain the dependencies between two information systems and evaluate the controls in place in one information system to protect the integrity of its source data.

Assessment

Units 1 and 2

The individual school will determine levels of achievement.

Units 3 and 4

  • Unit 3 school-assessed coursework: 10 %
  • Unit 4 school-assessed coursework: 10 %
  • School-assessed task: 30 %
  • End-of-year examination: 50 %

Contact Teacher - Richard Fox