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Communication and information technologies

It’s inconceivable to think of our world without communication and information systems. They’ve influence in almost every aspect of our lives and develop at a pace that’s difficult to keep abreast of. This module will teach you to understand key technologies that underpin these systems; and introduce you to a range of issues that arise from their deployment. You’ll develop your skills in the management and use of communication and information technologies; your ability to communicate ideas and information about them; and your ability to keep updated with new technological developments.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate 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
TM255
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

The module consists of three blocks – each covering a key area in communication and information technologies – and an individual project:

Block 1: Enquiring and communicating
The first block covers technologies that enable wireless and mobile communications such as Wi-Fi, mobile cellular networks and for the Internet of Things. You’ll develop study skills such as finding information online; and reading, evaluating and writing technological materials. You’ll use and further develop these study skills in Blocks 2 and 3. You’ll also learn some practical skills through using network simulation software.

Block 2: Interacting and collaborating
This block covers principles and technologies for collaborative work and interaction design. You’ll work in a group on a collaborative project: using the collaboration and interaction design principles studied in this block, you’ll design and build a web site. Collaborative work is the key study skill you’ll develop in this block.

Block 3: Protecting and prying
Block 3 covers technologies for computer security and discusses privacy and ethical issues around the use of these security technologies. You’ll further develop your writing skill, especially for writing reports. You’ll also learn practical skills through activities on computer security.

Individual project
This project will form part of your final assessment. Using the knowledge and skills you’ll develop in Blocks 1–3, you’ll create a small web site explaining new developments in an area of communication and information technologies. This will include conducting a small literature survey to keep yourself updated with developments in the given topic.

You’ll develop digital and information literacy skills – which are very important for your study – throughout the module. You’ll develop academic and technical writing skills progressively from Block 1 to Block 3. You’ll also develop some practical skills in using specialist software, which can improve your employability.

You will learn

This module will:

  • increase your knowledge of the basic principles of communication and information systems and technologies, and the issues relating to their use
  • develop your ability to apply your understanding of communication and information technologies to learn about new or unfamiliar systems and technologies
  • develop a variety of skills appropriate to a practitioner in information and communication technologies
  • teach you work as a group, where the collaboration is via communication technologies.

Vocational relevance

The practical activities require the use of specialised software. The practical skill developed has a high vocational relevance.

In addition, the module develops important skills that are particularly relevant to the workplace, such as written communication, information literacy, numeracy, independent learning, critical analysis and team working.

Outside the UK

Synchronous tutorials and communications could be difficult to deliver to students outside UK due to time differences. If you can’t attend the synchronous tutorials or make synchronous communications, you’ll have to use asynchronous alternative methods, such as watching recorded tutorials and emailing questions.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll have a named tutor who will support your studies and mark and comment on your assignment work; you can also seek academic advice and guidance from them. Your tutor will offer support through email, telephone and online forum discussions. Additionally, there will be face-to-face and online tutorials. We will advertise tutorials before the module starts; TM255 tutors will take them, but depending on the tutorial, not necessarily your own named tutor. We recommend you book online to attend these tutorials.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

You can find the assessment details for this module in the facts box above.

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

Future availability

Communication and information technologies (TM255) starts once a year in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2023.

Regulations

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

    Course work includes:

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


    Entry requirements

    There are no formal entry requirements to study this module.

    However, as this is an OU level 2 module you’ll need a good knowledge of the subject area obtained through any of the following:

    • OU level 1 study
    • equivalent work at another university
    • experience as an IT professional

    You should have some basic understanding of data communication and information technologies such as how you can digitally represented data, manipulate it for security purposes, and transmit it over different media. You should also have numeracy skills, equivalent to that gained through studying an OU level 1 mathematics module; and have a standard of academic English appropriate for this level of study.

    If you’re not sure you’re ready, talk to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    Introduction to computing and information technology 1 (TM111) and Introduction to computing and information technology 2 (TM112) would be ideal preparation for this module.

    If you’re returning to study, you might find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study website and to read The Good Study Guide by Northedge, (The Open University, 2005).

    Register

    Start End Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2023.

    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.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    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.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

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

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. 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 module 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 module.  

    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 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 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 15/11/2018.

    What's included

    • Access to the module study materials, including specialised software, via the module website
    • Three printed textbooks

    You will need

    • A headset with a microphone and earphones to take part in the online tutorials.
    • You will need to ensure you have a desktop or laptop computer and a broadband connection before the module begins.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying TM255 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.