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Technologies in practice

This module provides an opportunity to sample some of the key areas in computing and information technology. You will be introduced to three topics as tasters for your future studies and career: networking, Linux and robotics. Studying these topics will enable you to develop essential skills if you are considering future employment in the computing and IT industry. You will be applying what you learn to develop a portfolio, to demonstrate your skills and understanding in these areas to potential employers. By studying this key introductory OU level 1 module you can also begin to explore where your future career ambitions or interests might lie.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
TM129
Credits
30
Study level
OU SCQF FHEQ
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

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What you will study

The module is structured into three study blocks, each based upon a key area in computing and IT, followed by the development of a portfolio on which your final assessment will be based.

You will study both OU materials and third party materials that support your learning in the three key topics.

Block 1 – Linux: an introduction introduces you to one of the most extensively used operating systems worldwide. You’ll examine the many similarities that exist between Linux and other popular operating systems and also the diverse technology available in the Linux community. The study materials for this block are all online and you’ll be provided with tools to access free versions of Linux to install on your computer in order to carry out associated practical activities.

Block 2 – Networking computers provides a sound grounding in the basic principles of computer networks and the challenges in setting these up and maintaining them. Topics covered include protocol models and layering; IP addressing; basic network design and network devices. A third party source will be used to introduce these concepts and your learning will be supported through computer-based practical exercises.

Block 3 – Robotics will introduce you to robotics and the design of intelligent machines. Robots are no longer the stuff of fiction: they are found not just in factories, but on the battlefield and in our homes. You will learn how robots work and how to program and control robots using the specially written software we provide. (This software was written for Microsoft Windows but will run under emulation on recent Apple Mac and Linux computers after the installation of additional software – instructions will be provided.) You will also examine the relationships between humans and robots, the enormous impact they will have on our lives, and the ethical issues surrounding robots.

As you progress through the module, you will develop a portfolio of your work for the various practical activities which relate to each block. This will help demonstrate to potential employers your skills and understanding in the areas you have studied. The portfolio will also be the main component of the end-of-module assessment. Working on the portfolio will help you to think about your future career interests and will inform decisions you need to make on your future areas of study.

You will learn

This module will enable you to:

  • increase your knowledge of operating systems (in particular the Linux operating system); computer networks, robotics and intelligent machines
  • develop a variety of skills appropriate to a career in the computing and IT industry
  • demonstrate your understanding of technical subjects and technical skills through the development of a portfolio.

Vocational relevance

This module has a vocational relevance to those wishing to develop a career in the IT industry as you have the opportunity to demonstrate practically, how operating systems allow robots to be programmed and computers exchange information.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and who will mark and provide feedback on your written work. Your tutor is the first point of contact for any queries on the module and you can ask them for advice and guidance.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014 and February 2015. We expect it to be available twice a year.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school


Entry

This is a key introductory OU level 1 module providing you with the core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning and to help you progress to modules at OU level 2.

You will need to be able to carry out all the following activities on your computer as part of studying this module: writing with a word-processor; saving and locating files; installing software; following basic instructions that enable you to explore your computer and undertake basic computing tasks; and accessing a website. You should also be able to read and understand written English and write clearly in English.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

You will need to ensure you have a broadband account with an internet service provider (ISP) before the module begins.

Register

Start End England fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015 £1316.00

Registration closes 11/09/14 (places subject to availability)

Register

You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015 £1316.00

Registration closes 08/01/15 (places subject to availability)

Register

You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later - OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your annual fees and spreads them out over up to a year, enabling you to pay your fees monthly and walk away with a qualification without any further debt. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

For more information about employer sponsorship speak to an adviser or request a call back.

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Gift vouchers

You can pay for part or all of your tuition fees with OU gift vouchers. Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations, £10, £20, £50 and £100. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. You may, for example wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or request a call back.


Note: Your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is based upon current details for  year 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2015.
This information was provided on 01/08/2014.

What's included

Study texts, some of which will be online, website, specialised software, a DVD and online discussion forums.

You will need

Broadband internet access and a headset with a microphone and earphones to take part in online tutorials.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, for use with a web browser. There is also software to download and install on your computer.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2008 you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device it will probably not be suitable for the downloaded software; check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this module by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

If you have a disability

The module includes significant amounts of work with a computer. The module team is aware that disabled students may be using additional hardware or software; some of this may not work effectively with the module software. Every effort is being made to collect information about this and to make as many components as possible accessible. See our Accessibility Guide: students with disabilities for more information.

Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.