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Web technologies

The World Wide Web continues to provide a foundation for the development of a broad range of increasingly influential and strategic technologies, supporting a large variety of applications and services, both in the private and public sectors. There is a growing need for management and decision makers to gain a clearer understanding of the application development process, from planning through to deployment and maintenance. This module will give you an insight into architectures, protocols, standards, languages, tools and techniques; an understanding of approaches to more dynamic and mobile content; and demonstrate how you can analyse requirements, plan, design, implement and test a range of web applications.

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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 code
Study level
2 9 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

Over the last few years the internet and the World Wide Web have provided the basis for the development of a range of strategic business solutions.

As web technologies have entered the mainstream of IT development a wide range of applications in sectors such as marketing, selling, purchasing, banking and publishing have been deployed, positioning the Web in the relationship between providers and users.

This module starts with a focus on the foundations of web applications, including protocols, standards and content handling. It builds on these by exploring application architectures, components and alternative application designs before considering how applications and content can be made more dynamic and mobile.

The module is made up of four blocks and a project.

Block 1 Foundations of web technology

The first block covers the basic technologies on which the Web is founded. Aspects covered include: historic development of the Web; 'architecture' and basic client server architecture; protocols such as HTTP; content markup (HTML, XHTML, CSS, XML) and issues of accessibility and usability; standards and standardisation organisations (W3C, Internet working group); and security (firewalls, HTTPS, certificates).

This block of the module covers all of the basic foundations on which the remainder of the module builds.  You may already be familiar with some of these areas, especially if you have studied My digital life (TU100), but this block ensures that all students can gain comparable insight.

Block 2 Web architectures

Next, Block 2 develops 'architecture' by exploring different approaches and their properties as well as considering components (databases, registries etc.) which are used in different approaches and examining the nature of different server and client side languages. In addition, in this block you’ll consider other aspects related to architecture such as scalability and reliability.

These aspects include; tiered, service orientated, and network architectures; the role of the database; web services; registries; scalability; reliability; approaches to security (cookies, certificates etc); and server and client side implementation languages (proprietary and open source).

While this block considers a range of programming languages and their roles in developing applications, it does not teach programming and you are expected to have already acquired these skills.

This block includes both JavaScript and PHP programming activities. All the code required to produce a simple web application is provided and explained, but you should be prepared to utilise and adapt the examples in simple ways.

Block 3 Mobile content

Block 3 examines the trend toward more portable content and content customisation and also explores mobile content and applications. It considers aspects such as Web 2, content streaming (RSS), content manipulation (DOM, XSLT etc) and approaches to delivering content to mobile devices. You will also undertake the development of a mobile application using Google App Inventor.

Block 4 Developing applications

The final block explores how applications are planned, designed and developed by IT professionals, examining project planning, application design, development environments and tools as well as application deployment and maintenance.


At the end of the module, you will carry out a substantial project drawing on earlier work on case studies and applying the skills and techniques from each block.

In addition, using three case studies, you’ll examine aspects of real world web applications.

  1. The Open University Running Club (OURC) – in the first case study you’ll follow the development of a web presence for a small professional organisation, from the requirements collection stage to deployment of the finished application.
  2. parkrun – next, you’ll examine the more challenging requirements and approach adopted by a not-for-profit organisation which helps community volunteers organise timed 5km runs in public spaces across the UK and beyond. This decentralised organisation has a web presence for organising and publicising events as well as receiving and publishing race results.
  3. London 2012 Olympics – in this final case study you’ll examine the provision of an internet presence for this high profile event that posed a particular set of problems in terms of meeting the expected level of demand for event information, results, news and multimedia feeds. The provision also had to support a diverse audience with differing needs; those attending events, the English speaking nation and a very large world-wide audience.

All three case studies are provided as multimedia content with text, diagrams, pictures and video (transcripts are also provided).

Web technologies is one of the modules listed as a possible prerequisite for the Accreditation of Certificated Practitioners 2 (TM227).

Vocational relevance

The module helps develop important skills which are particularly relevant to the workplace, such as written communication skills, information literacy, independent learning and critical analysis.

In an IT context the module will provide practitioners with relevant experience, skills and insight into a range of important aspects, such as the source and appropriate use of standards, appreciation of the application life cycle from design to decommissioning, and the range of current approaches to web application design and implementation.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

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


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) is an individual project.

Future availability

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


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


This is an OU level 2 module and you need to have a good knowledge of the subject area, obtained either through OU level 1 study, from equivalent work at another university or from experience as an IT professional.

You should be experienced in using a computer for working with documents, spreadsheets and accessing the internet and you should be able to install software on your computer. You will also need a good standard of academic English appropriate for this level of study.

You must be familiar with basic programming concepts (conditionals, loops, functions,arrays etc) and writing small programs in some language. The  programming skills developed in the OU level 1 module My digital life (TU100) or the OU level 2 module Object-oriented Java programming (M250) would be ideal preparation if you are not familiar with basic programming.

If you would like to know more about this module please see our sample materials. These pages provide some insight into a small part of this module and will allow you to be better informed about the content prior to enrolling.

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

Preparatory work

If you are returning to study you may find it helpful to look at the Study strategies section of our Skills for OU Study website and to read a suitable book such as The Good Study Guide by Northedge, (The Open University, 2005).


Start End England fee Register
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £1350.00

Registration closes 10/09/15 (places subject to availability)


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 2016.

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 you register.

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 03/08/2015.

What's included

This module is presented fully online within The Open University's virtual learning environment (VLE), 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 three hours a week). 

In order to successfully run the module software, we recommend that you have a minimum of 1GB of memory (RAM) on the computer that you will use for your studies.

If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that for Block 4 and the end-of-module assessment (EMA) of this module you can only use it by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

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. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

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

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and some mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet.

Students with hearing or sight impairments may find some of the practical-based computer work challenging, or may need additional study support, as the activities involve accessing on screen text, viewing and creating colour images, and creating audio and video material. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer and have concerns about accessing or creating these types of materials you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

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.