by Mark Kelly - VCE Applied Computing, VCE Data Analytics, VCE Software Development


('Terms used in this study')

The definitions of terms in the glossary are examinable.

You are very unlikely to be asked to define a term in an exam, but these terms may well be used in questions and you will be expected to interpret and respond to them correctly.

If your personal definition of a term does not agree with VCAA's, suck it down and don't argue. You won't win. Use VCAA's definition.

BTW, the study design doesn't use the word "glossary". It calls it "Terms used in this study" - apparently because VCAA gets upset when a study design includes a glossary. LOL.

The emphases below are mine.



Computational thinking

The process of recognising aspects of computation in the world and being able to think logically, algorithmically, recursively and inferentially.

It typically involves inferential thinking, defining problems through decomposition, documenting steps and decisions through algorithms, the use of programming languages and software, and evaluating the resulting solutions.


General or formal agreements to ensure consistency and clarity when working with digital systems. Program names and file names are examples of conventions to be used during software development.

Conventions can be mandatory, such as when passwords must have specific characters, and recommended, such as including a subject line in emails.

Cybersecurity An interdisciplinary field, which includes aspects of ethics, government, law, organisational policies and risk management. It consists of defensive methods used to detect and stop would-be intruders and to enable the unimpeded operation of digital systems and technologies.
Data analytics The processes and tools that allow organisations to acquire and/or extract data in various forms, analyse the data to identify patterns or trends, draw inferences about the data and present findings using visual methods that provide clear and unambiguous conclusions.
Data structures

The way data is stored to enable efficient algorithms to be used to optimise program execution time and memory usage.

Types of data structures include:

  • arrays,
  • associative arrays,
  • classes,
  • fields,
  • files,
  • hash tables,
  • linked lists,
  • queues,
  • records
  • stacks.
Data types

The forms that an item of data can take, including

  • binary (as represented in images and sound),
  • Boolean,
  • character and
  • numeric

characterised by the kind of operations that can be performed on it. Depending on the software being used, these data types can be divided into more specific data types, for example integer and floating point, which are numeric types. More sophisticated types can be derived from them, for example a string of characters or a data type, and their names may vary, such as text data type versus string data type.

Data visualisations The result of a process of using software tools to select and access data from large repositories to present the data as a graphic representation usually in the form of charts, histograms, graphs, maps, network diagrams and spatial relationships diagrams. Data visualisations help to identify patterns and relationships in large amounts of data. Data visualisation tools allow graphic representations to be static or dynamic and can incorporate virtual reality and augmented reality.

Design principles

Design principles are accepted characteristics that contribute to the functionality, usability and appearance of solutions. In this study the principles related to usability include

  • ease of use,
  • flexibility and robustness, and
  • accessibility, including navigation and error tolerance.

Design principles related to appearance are

  • alignment,
  • balance,
  • contrast,
  • image use,
  • space, and
  • text and table formatting.
Design thinking A way of thinking critically and creatively to generate and evaluate innovative ideas, and precisely define the preferred solution so it can be created using a digital system. It involves an understanding of the needs of users and of ways of creating solutions that are more efficient or effective than existing ones. When designing, students use both divergent and convergent thinking skills: divergent thinking supports creativity and the generation of a range of ideas, and convergent thinking supports the selection of a preferred solution and the preparation of accurate and logical plans and instructions to digitally create the solution.
Digital system Refers to elements such as hardware and software, and their interconnectedness, used to create digital solutions. When digital systems are connected they form a network.

A measure of how well a solution, information management strategy or a network functions and whether each achieves its intended results. Measures of effectiveness in a solution include

  • accessibility,
  • accuracy,
  • attractiveness,
  • clarity,
  • communication of message,
  • completeness,
  • readability,
  • relevance,
  • timeliness, and
  • usability.

Measures of effectiveness of an information management strategy include

  • currency of files,
  • ease of retrieval,
  • integrity of data and
  • security.

Measures of effective networks include

  • maintainability,
  • reliability and
  • the security of data during storage and transmission.

A measure of how much

  • time,
  • cost and
  • effort

is applied to achieve intended results.

Measures of efficiency in a solution could include the cost of file manipulation, its functionality and the speed of processing.

Measures of efficiency in a network include its productivity, processing time, operational costs and level of automation.


The physical appearance in which data and information can be presented. These include

  • images,
  • graphs,
  • tables,
  • text and
  • web pages.

Formats specify characteristics such as presentation style or arrangement, shape and size.


Graphical representations of complex data or information. They rely upon visual elements to quickly and clearly communicate patterns or trends in data or information. These include

  • complementary colour schemes,
  • easy-to-read fonts,
  • graphs,
  • simple charts and
  • statistics.
Information system

The combination of

  • digital hardware,
  • software and network components (digital systems),
  • data,
  • processes and
  • people

that interact to create, control and communicate ideas and data in digital solutions.

Internet of Things
The network formed by ‘smart devices’ such as mobile phones, wearable devices, headphones, and other devices that communicate and interact over the internet and/or to other IoT devices. These devices must have a method of connecting to the internet, whether by a wireless or wired technology for the purposes of data transmission.
Legal requirements

Individuals and organisations are expected to comply with legal requirements, with respect to the ownership and privacy of information, and freedom of expression. For the purposes of this study, the key provisions of the following acts are relevant:

  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) (sections 13, 14 and 15),
  • Copyright Act 1968,
  • Health Records Act 2001,
  • Privacy Act 1988, including
    • Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012
    • Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act 2017,
  • Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
  • Spam Act 2003 (Part 1.3, Simplified outline).
Managing files

File management includes the naming, storing and handling of files.

Strategies to manage files should have a consistent and descriptive naming convention and a clear directory structure.

Files should be easily identified and accessed.

File management also includes procedures for backing up, archiving and deleting files.

Naming conventions

A set of guidelines for providing consistency in the naming of entities in software development and data management. These include

  • program names,
  • function names,
  • variable names,
  • table names,
  • file names, and
  • document names.

Naming conventions can minimise the effort needed to read and understand source code.

Physical security controls

The equipment and procedures used to assist in the protection of information systems and the files created, communicated and stored by individuals and organisations. Equipment controls include

  • zoned security strategies,
  • barrier techniques and
  • biometrics.

Physical procedures include

  • backing up,
  • shredding confidential documents and
  • checking authorisation credentials.

Also see Software security controls.

Processing features

The distinctive or characteristic parts of a programming language. These include

  • classes,
  • control structures,
  • functions,
  • instructions and
  • methods.
Project management

The practice of applying techniques, processes, tools, knowledge and skills to deliver a solution.

Features of project management include

  • identification of tasks,
  • sequencing,
  • time allocation,
  • dependencies,
  • milestones and
  • critical path.

A series of English-like statements used to represent an algorithm that will solve a problem. Though there is no standard to pseudocode, there are a number of conventions. These include the use of

  • START/BEGIN and FINISH/END to indicate the beginning and end of a program,
  • IF…ELSE and SELECT to represent decisions, and
  • REPEAT…UNTIL/WHILE…DO for loops.
Security threats

The actions, devices and events that threaten the integrity and security of data and information stored within, and communicated between, information systems.

The threats can be

  • accidental, such as losing a portable storage device containing files;
  • deliberate, such as malware, phishing; and
  • events-based such as a power surge.
Software requirements specification

The intended purpose and environment of a software solution. It documents the key activities associated with the analysis stage of the problem-solving methodology. Features of an SRS should include

  • a description of the functional and non-functional requirements,
  • system and technical requirements,
  • constraints,
  • scope and
  • assumptions.
Software security controls

The software and procedures used to assist in the protection of information systems and the files created, communicated and stored by individuals and organisations. These include

  • usernames and passwords,
  • access logs and audit trails,
  • access restrictions,
  • encryption,
  • firewalls and system protection, and
  • security protocols such as Transport Layer Security (TLS).
Solution (digital)

The method of creating required digital output through the application of digital systems and processes that transforms data into information.

The output of a solution may take the form of an information product, such as a website, instructions to control a game, an abstract piece of art or a soundscape.

Solutions can be interactive or non-interactive, online (internet connected) or not, multimodal or not.

Systems thinking A holistic approach to the identification and solving of problems. Systems thinking involves analysing the interactions and interrelationships between components of individual information systems (data, processes, people and digital systems) to identify how they are influencing the functioning of the whole system. This approach enables students to understand whole systems and work with complexity, uncertainty and risk.
Testing techniques

Techniques to ensure that a solution is operating as intended.

Test data should include data types and values that rigorously test software functions.

Testing tables can be used to record the outcomes of tests.

Types of data

Types of data are general categories of data, including

  • image (still and moving),
  • number and
  • text.
Unified modelling language

A visual modelling language that describes the interfaces between solutions, users and networks.

An example of this is a use case diagram (UCD) that models the requirements of an information system.


The checking of data for its reasonableness and completeness.

Validation of data includes:

  • existence or presence checking, which verifies that a required field has a value entered and is not empty or blank;
  • range checking, which involves ensuring that data entered falls within a certain range; and
  • type checking, which confirms that data entered is of a particular type.
Verification The checking of data after data entry. This can include proofreading to ensure that the data entered matches the source data.
W00T a slang interjection used to express happiness or excitement. I'm so glad you read this far. W00T!


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This page was created on 2022-01-20
Last modified on Saturday 12 March, 2022 12:29