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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: robotics, networking, and Linux. Studying these topics will enable you to develop essential skills for future employment in the computing and IT industry. You will be applying what you learn by developing a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and understanding in these areas. By studying this OU level 1 module you can 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?

Student Reviews

A good first year module I'd say. The first TMA basically lets you know how assignments are going to get...
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I think the idea behind this module is very good. However the practical activities were just awful. It is expected...
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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, and the development of a portfolio which forms part of your final assessment.

You will study both OU materials and third party materials that support your learning in the three key topics. The module is practical and activity-based, and much of the study material is delivered online. You will therefore be working at your computer for significant periods of time.

Block 1 – Robotics and the meaning of life

This first block will introduce you to robotics and the design of intelligent machines. Robots are no longer the stuff of fiction; they are found in factories, 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. You will also examine the relationships between humans and robots, the impact robots will have on our lives, and the ethical issues surrounding the use of robots.

Block 2 – Introduction to computer networking

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 book will be used to introduce these concepts and your learning will be supported through computer-based practical exercises.

Block 3 – Introduction to Linux

Finally, this block introduces you to one of the most extensively used operating systems worldwide. You will examine the many similarities that exist between Linux and other popular operating systems and also the diverse technology available in the Linux community. You will be provided with tools to use free versions of Linux on your computer to carry out practical activities.

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 your skills and understanding in the areas you have studied. The portfolio will also be a significant 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 robotics, computer networks and the Linux operating system
  • develop a variety of skills appropriate to a career in the computing and IT industry
  • demonstrate your understanding of technical subjects and your technical skills through the development of a portfolio.

Vocational relevance

This module has particular vocational relevance to those wishing to develop a career in the IT industry. It provides many opportunities to demonstrate relevant technical knowledge and practical IT skills.

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 us 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 2015 and February 2016. 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 an 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.

Technologies in practice builds on the skills developed by the study of a key introductory module, such as My digital life (TU100).

You will need to be able to carry out all the following activities on your computer: 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 speak to an adviser.

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
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £1350.00

Registration closes 10/09/15 (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.

30 Jan 2016 Sep 2016 £1350.00

Registration closes 07/01/16 (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.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

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 monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. 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 ten 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.  

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. 

Mixed payments

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

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time that is convenient to you.


Please 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 valid for modules starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 29/03/2015.

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 the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. You may also be required to perform other tasks, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment. The additional software for these tasks will either be provided or is freely available.

A Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system is suitable for this module. You will be required to install Microsoft Windows specific software.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

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. 

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.