What you will study
The module is structured into six study blocks that lead you from how digital technologies relate to us as individuals, through how computers and networks allow us to interact with others, and finally to computing technologies as applied across the world. Throughout the module, you will develop your programming skills and study skills.
The blocks are:
Block 1: Myself
Starting with our own activities in consuming, processing and publishing information, you’ll learn the basic concepts of data and information. You will move on to look at the underlying structure of the internet and the software that interacts with it. You’ll also create simple web pages, and learn some basic programming skills.
Block 2: My stuff
You’ll investigate the development of the hardware and software at the heart of the many everyday devices that contain a computer, from smart meters to cars. You’ll be introduced to the skills you will need to interpret data, and you’ll learn how to find, assess and discuss material on the Web and elsewhere.
Block 3: My place
Computing power is present in a wide range of everyday objects and environments, from mobile phones and satellite navigation devices to health monitoring and central heating systems. Using examples from these areas, you will see how large- and small-scale networks are used to link devices and allow information to flow between individuals, networks and countries.
Block 4: My friends
You’ll study the social aspects of computer technology, looking at how we communicate using social networking, real-time chat, forums, virtual worlds and computer games. You will learn how to create and share audio-visual content, and how the skills you are developing –working and communicating with others online – can be of value in the workplace.
Block 5: My society
You will study how the growth of the electronic society affects us all, positively and negatively, using five perspectives – governmental, individual, technical, commercial and ethical. You’ll use case studies that focus on the legal and ethical aspects of a digital life, such as encryption and copyright. You will learn how to form arguments from conflicting evidence and produce your own researched opinion on a controversial topic.
Block 6: My world
This final block will draw together the various themes you have studied so far and use them to look at how the world is rapidly changing, as computing technologies are being developed and applied. Using several case studies, you will examine the implications of the 'digital divide', and how it might be overcome.
Throughout your study of the module you will develop a wide range of skills that you will need for higher-level study. This includes programming via a purpose-built graphical programming environment. You will use this environment to control the SenseBoard hardware included in the module materials.
The study material is available online, with some also provided in print and some on DVD. The module is also available in several ebook formats for offline use on desktop computers, ebook readers, and mobile devices. You will be able to study much of the module on mobile devices, but some of it will require a desktop or laptop computer.