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Web, mobile and cloud technologies

Cloud computing and mobile technologies offer new possibilities for the production and distribution of IT applications and services. Rapid, elastic and scalable provisioning of IT resources allows organisations to be more innovative, agile and cost effective. In our personal lives, cloud and mobile technologies allow us to store, access and share information online. Storing and processing information with no clear physical location or legal authority raises important concerns around governance and security. In this online module you will learn about the technical and social aspects of cloud computing and mobile technologies, and you will gain hands-on experience of these technologies.

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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
TM352
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
3 10 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

This online module will provide you with an understanding and practical experience of cloud technology and the web technology which under pins it, as well as the role that these have in the provision of modern mobile applications. You will gain both a technical and business perspective of the advantages, problems and risks of using these technologies. A number of case studies demonstrate the application of the technology in different contexts, such as start-ups, established organisations and collaborations.

The module is organised into three blocks:

  • Web Foundations
  • The Cloud
  • Mobile Applications.

The principles behind cloud technology and its utilisation in different contexts are the main focus of the module with Web Foundations providing an appropriate grounding in the enabling technology and Mobile Applications demonstrating how to further capitalise on cloud infrastructure in developing flexible mobile applications.

Trust and security are important themes running through the module, alongside the social, political, technical and legal issues which these recent developments in IT raise. Case studies draw together key features from each part, setting the scene for a project where you will use your new skills to specify, prototype and demonstrate cloud and mobile solutions for an organisation.

Block 1 – Web Foundations

This first block sets the scene for the module by exploring how networks, and especially the internet, support access to networked services and applications. The block first provides a brief overview of the underlying standards and protocols of the web (HTTP, XML, CSS, etc.), including secure protocols (HTTPS, TLS, SSL, SSH) and then reviews the development of modern distributed architectures and different approaches (REST, SOAP) that are used to access web services and how these relate to cloud approaches. The block also includes a range of practical activities using NetBeans to develop and deploy web services to an application server (Glassfish) as well as testing and consuming services.

Block 2 – The Cloud

The second block introduces the cloud model and the types of resources (processing power, databases, general storage and networking) that can be provided by a typical cloud infrastructure. Different levels of cloud model are investigated, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), and contrasted with the web services model.

The block briefly reviews consumer cloud offerings, such as Dropbox and Google Drive for storing assets, before moving on to more sophisticated commercial offerings of cloud infrastructure, such as OpenStack and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Virtualisation and the use of hypervisors are outlined with a focus on the common facilities of the dominant mainstream platforms, including monitoring resource usage, load balancing and automatic scaling of resources to meet demand.

As well as technical aspects, the block considers the business case for cloud in different contexts (start-up, corporate, projects, collaborations) and different approaches to distributing cloud infrastructure (private, public and collaborative) as well as considering security and legal implications for each approach.

A range of cloud operations are demonstrated and included in a set of practical activities to provide hands-on experiences. These activities include:

  • using a cloud dashboard to create resource constraint descriptions in which to run virtual machines and other components
  • creating security rules to control access to cloud resources
  • launching, accessing, monitoring and destroying cloud resources
  • scripting and testing an auto-scaling scenario so that an application which comes under a high load is automatically replicated with the load shared between the existing and new resources
  • use of a programmatic REST API to perform cloud operations.

Block 3 – Mobile Applications

Finally, this block explores the current state of the mobile market and the prospects for mobile technology as well as its combined use with cloud technology. The block commences by investigating a range of challenges facing developers of mobile apps, including dealing with the multiplicity of:

  • users’ devices (tablets, mobile phones etc.)
  • framework technologies (Java, Microsoft, Android, iOS)
  • communication technologies (Web services, HTTP, and TCP sockets).

The block examines a range of considerations in developing a mobile application including deployment and upgrading, user interface design, performance and memory management as well as connectivity, back-end storage and security. The block also includes a case study element, exploration of toolkits for developing applications and the practical development of a mobile application which is subsequently extended to exploit cloud facilities.

Each of the three blocks includes a tutor-marked assignment (TMA), which has a practical and written element. After completing the three blocks you will undertake an end-of-module assessment (EMA), which takes the form of an individual project. This requires that you produce a considered assessment of cloud and mobile technology for use by an organisation and also apply the methods and tools used during the module to provide a technology demonstration for the organisation.

The duration of this 30-credit online module is 31 weeks requiring around ten study hours per week. These hours are only a guide and you may take more or less time according to your study pace.

If you are considering progressing to The computing and IT project (TM470), this is one of the OU level 3 modules on which you could base your project topic. Normally, you should have completed one of these OU level 3 modules (or be currently studying one) before registering for the project module.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be allocated to a tutor who will offer support through electronic communication and online group tutorials. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your assignments and project individually with your tutor.

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). The end-of-module assessment (EMA), which takes the form of an individual project, must also be submitted electronically.

Future availability

Web, mobile and cloud technologies (TM352) 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 2022.

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)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school

    Course satisfaction survey

    See the satisfaction survey results for this course.


    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at levels 1 and 2. They are only intended for students with recent experience of higher education in a related subject.

    To study this module you will require competence and experience in programming along with some familiarity with web technology. Normally, you should have completed the two OU modules Object-oriented Java programming (M250) and Web technologies (TT284).

    If you have appropriate experience you may be able to study this module without completing these two prerequisite modules.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.

    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 22/10/2018.

    What's included

    This module is presented fully online via the module website, which gives access to the study materials in electronic format, online forums and other online resources. There are no printed texts: all the study materials will be available online from the website.

    You may wish to use a headset, with a microphone and earphones, to talk to your tutor and other students online during some of the module activities.

    You will need

    You should be prepared to spend significant amounts of time online (at least six hours a week, if not the majority of your study time).

    In order to successfully run the module software, we recommend that you have a minimum of 4GB of memory (RAM) on the computer that you will use for your studies.

    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 10.7 or higher
    • a modern Linux version

    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 TM352 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.