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My digital life

My digital life takes you on a journey from the origins of information technology through to the familiar computers of today, and on to tomorrow’s radical technologies. You'll get hands-on experience of programming and of how computing is changing. You'll also learn about the profound social and technological changes associated with information technology – changes that affect every one of us. This key introductory OU level 1 module will help you deal with these changes and develop skills for work, study and online living.

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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
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

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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.

Normally you should have successfully completed this academic OU module, if you are considering Accreditation of Certificated Practitioners 1 (MT127), to gain credit for specified, non-OU, practice-based qualifications that you already have,

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. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. 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. In addition, there will be online tutorials and other collaborative activities which will take place in your tutor group’s online forum. Throughout your study you can use this forum to keep in touch with your tutor and with other members of your tutor group.

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 will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties that prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement before you submit your assignment on paper.

You must use the online iCMA system to submit your interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs). Assessment is an essential part of the teaching, so you are expected to complete it all. You will be given more detailed information when you begin the module.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015 and February 2016. We expect it to be available twice 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:

6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
7 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
No examination
No residential school


This is a key introductory OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at OU level 2.

You will need to be able to carry out all the following activities on your computer as part of studying this module: 

  • writing with a word-processor
  • saving and locating files
  • installing software
  • accessing a website. 

You should also be able to perform simple calculations, read and understand written English of a style and complexity characteristic of a professional magazine or quality newspaper, and write clearly in English.

The module will help you to develop your skills in all the following areas: using your computer, reading and writing about ICTs, carrying out calculations, and learning at a distance.

Are you ready for TU100? is an interactive quiz to help you decide whether you already have the recommended background knowledge or experience to start the module.

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

Preparatory work

Before the module starts you may find it helpful to look at the Strategic study techniques section of our Skills for OU Study website.


Start End England fee Register
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £2700.00

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.

30 Jan 2016 Sep 2016 £2700.00

Registration closes 07/01/16 (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 February 2017.

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 04/08/2015.

What's included

Printed study texts, online study texts, website, DVDs, online forums, and a SenseBoard.

This module makes use of the optional Google Apps for Education account provided to all Open University students. This is subject to a privacy policy and, for registered OU students, does not include advertising. Most of the learning outcomes addressed by the use of Google services can be achieved with other software (not provided) such as Microsoft Office. However some optional activities will only be able to be completed by using your Google Apps for Education account.

You will need

You will need a headset with a microphone and earphones to take part in online tutorials and collaborative activities.

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. For this module you will also need to install software provided by the OU on a disk or USB stick.

We recommend one 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
  • modern Linux desktop or laptop computer.

A netbook, tablet or other mobile device 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

The module includes significant amounts of work with a computer. The module team are aware that disabled students may be using additional hardware or software; some of this may not work effectively with the module software, but every effort is being made to collect information about this and to make as many components as possible accessible. See our Accessibility Guide: students with disabilities for more information.

Written transcripts of any audio components and accessible electronic versions of printed material are available. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

Some aspects of this module are not fully accessible to all visually impaired students. This includes some features in the Google Apps for Education package used to meet some of the learning outcomes. Other learning outcomes are met through the writing and implementation of programming using the provided programming language (Sense) and electronic board (SenseBoard). These aspects are not fully accessible to visually impaired students and studying them will require extra time and possibly using a sighted helper. Versions with improved accessibility are planned for future presentations. An alternative approach to using Google Apps for Education is to use other software (not provided) such as Microsoft Office, which will allow most of the relevant learning outcomes to be achieved. However, some optional activities will only be able to be completed by using Google Apps for Education.

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.