What you will study
IT systems are a complex sociotechnical mixture of technology (including hardware, software and networking), organisations, and people. IT systems: planning for success (TM353) teaches skills for understanding and enabling success in each of these areas. The foundation of the module is systems thinking: concepts and tools for making sense of the whole of a complex system, including the emergent relationships between its interconnected parts.
This module consists of three blocks.
In Block 1 you will look at:
- the sociotechnical nature of IT systems
- how we understand success and failure in IT systems
- how to analyse and avoid systems failure; and the complex nature of systems.
Block 2 looks at how to create conditions for success in IT systems through:
- the use of effective sociotechnical systems design
- an understanding and use of appropriate methodologies
- an understanding of reliability and dependability in IT systems
- an analysis of security and privacy.
In Block 3 you will examine how to ensure continued success in established IT systems through:
- exploring the maintenance and evolution of IT
- an understanding of future strands, including scenario planning
- disaster recovery
- a deeper appreciation of the digital divide.
The theme of project management of IT systems, and how this links with legal, social, ethical and professional issues, runs throughout the module.
The three main teaching blocks cover key aspects of systems thinking. Each block includes a blend of printed and online text, pictures, animations and practical activities. Accompanying the teaching material are specially recorded audio and video material, including interviews with leading researchers, experts, companies and users from a wide range of countries.
IT systems: planning for success (TM353) isn’t just about reading – it’s about learning through hands-on experience.
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.
You will learn
This module will help you to understand the:
- nature of success and failure in IT systems
- sociotechnical nature of IT systems
- legal, social, ethical and professional contexts in which IT systems exist
- issues around IT systems reliability, dependability, security and privacy.
It will give you the skills to:
- analyse IT systems in a complex sociotechnical context
- observe and analyse features relating to IS failures in a given situation
- work with effective IT development and project management methodologies
- successfully enable the maintenance and evolution of IT systems
- future proof IT systems, including the use of scenario planning and disaster recovery.
This module provides many skills of vocational relevance in addition to the above, including the ability to:
- analyse the professional/ethical issues involved in the development and use of IT systems
- extract useful information from highly technical documents
- investigate, analyse, think critically, evaluate and synthesise information from appropriate sources
- learn independently from third-party materials
- learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations and to translate that knowledge to other situations
- communicate effectively using written and graphical presentations as appropriate.