Feb 19, 2020  
2019 - 2020 Cowley College Academic Catalog 
2019 - 2020 Cowley College Academic Catalog



3 Credit Hours

Student Level:

This course is open to students on the college level in either the Freshman or Sophomore year.

Catalog Description:

CIS1756 - CompTIA A+ Essentials (3 hrs.)

This course will prepare students for the hardware portion of the CompTIA A+ certification.  The topics will include computer components, motherboards, processors, memory, power systems, hard drives, storage systems, I/O devices, printers, and basic networking.

Course Classification:






Controlling Purpose:

This course is designed to prepare students to work on computer hardware.  These concepts provide a foundation for further courses involving electronic hardware and preparation for the A+ certification test.

Learner Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to explain the components of computers, printers, and basic networking.  The student will be able to install/troubleshoot motherboards, processors, memory, power systems, hard drives, storage devices, I/O devices, networking, and printers.

Unit Outcomes for Criterion Based Evaluation:

The following outline defines the minimum core content, not including the final examination period. Instructors may add other material as time allows.

UNIT 1: Computer Parts and Tools

Outcomes: Demonstrate knowledge of the internal components of a computer along with the tools that are used in repair.

  • Identify the various parts inside a desktop computer case and describe how they connect together and are compatible
  • Identify the various ports, slots, and internal components of a laptop computer and explain special concerns when supporting and maintaining laptops
  • Describe various hardware components in mobile devices and types of wired and wireless connections mobile devices can make
  • Describe the purpose of various tools you will need as a computer hardware technician

UNIT 2: Working Inside Desktop Computers and Laptops

Outcomes: Demonstrate the knowledge necessary to replace the inner components of a computer and a laptop.

  • Take apart a desktop computer and put it back together
  • Explain the special considerations when supporting laptop computers that are different than supporting desktop computers
  • Take apart a laptop computer and put it back together

UNIT 3: Motherboards

Outcomes: Explain the different features of a motherboard, configure/maintain a motherboard, and install/replace a motherboard.

  • Describe and contrast various types and features of motherboards
  • Configure a motherboard using BIOS or UEFI firmware
  • Maintain a motherboard, including updating drivers, flashing UEFI/ BIOS, and replacing the CMOS battery
  • Select, install, and replace a motherboard
  • Replace a laptop system board

UNIT 4: Supporting Processors and Upgrading Memory

Outcomes: Explain the features of processors and memory as well as install/upgrade a processor and memory.

  • Compare characteristics and purposes of Intel and AMD processors used for personal computers
  • Install and upgrade a processor
  • Compare the different kinds of physical memory and how they work
  • Upgrade memory

UNIT 5: Supporting the Power System and Troubleshooting Computers

Outcomes: Describe the techniques of cooling of systems and troubleshoot different types of hardware issues of computer systems.

  • Describe the methods and devices for keeping a system cool
  • Select a power supply to meet the power needs of a system
  • Demonstrate an organized approach to solving any computer problem, especially hardware problems occurring during the boot
  • Troubleshoot problems with the electrical system

UNIT 6: Supporting Hard Drives and Other Storage Devices

Outcomes: Explain the design of hard drives and other storage devices, along with utilizing installation techniques.

  • Discuss technologies used inside a hard drive and how a computer communicates with a hard drive
  • Install and support a hard drive
  • Identify tape drives and tape cartridges
  • Support optical drives and flash memory devices
  • Troubleshoot hard drives

UNIT 7: Supporting I/O Devices

Outcomes: Install / troubleshoot I/O devices and video adaptor cards.

  • Describe the general approach technicians use to install and support I/O devices
  • Install and configure several I/O devices, such as barcode readers, biometric devices, digital cameras, webcams, graphic tablets, and touch screens
  • Install and configure adapter cards
  • Support the video subsystem, including selecting a monitor and video card and supporting dual monitors and video memory
  • Troubleshoot common problems with I/O devices

UNIT 8: Connecting To and Setting Up a Network

Outcomes: Explain how Windows use TCP/IP protocols and standards to create/manage network connections, connect a computer to a network, and set up a small network

  • Explain the TCP/ IP protocols and standards Windows uses for networking
  • Connect a computer to a wired or wireless network
  • Configure and secure a multifunction router on a local network

UNIT 9: Supporting Network Hardware

Outcomes: Explain how to support a small network and perform basic troubleshooting.

  • Describe network types and the Internet connections they use
  • Identify, compare, and contrast hardware used to build local networks
  • Set up and troubleshoot the wiring in a small network

UNIT 10: Supporting Printers and Customizing a System

Outcomes: Explain the different types of printers and troubleshoot printer problems.

  • Discuss printer types and features
  • Install and share printers and manage printer features, add-on devices, and the printer queue
  • Perform routine maintenance tasks necessary to support printers
  • Troubleshoot printer problems
  • Customize a computer system to meet customer needs

Projects Required:

Varies, refer to syllabus.


Contact Bookstore for current textbook.

Materials/Equipment Required:


Attendance Policy:

Students should adhere to the attendance policy outlined by the instructor in the course syllabus.

Grading Policy:

The grading policy will be outlined by the instructor in the course syllabus.

Maximum class size: 

Based on classroom occupancy

Course Time Frame:

The U.S. Department of Education, Higher Learning Commission and the Kansas Board of Regent, define credit hour and have specific regulations that the college must follow when developing, teaching and assessing the educational aspects of the college.  A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally-established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit or an equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time.  The number of semester hours of credit allowed for each distance education or blended hybrid courses shall be assigned by the college based on the amount of time needed to achieve the same course outcomes in a purely face-to-face format.

Refer to the following policies:

402.00 Academic Code of Conduct

263.00 Student Appeal of Course Grades

403.00 Student Code of Conduct

Disability Services Program:

Cowley College, in recognition of state and federal laws, will accommodate a student with a documented disability.  If a student has a disability which may impact work in this class and which requires accommodations, contact the Disability Services Coordinator.