Introduction to computing and information technology 1
This is the first of two OU level one modules that introduce you to key concepts in computing and information technology (IT), such as digital technologies, programming and networking. This module will equip you with a comprehensive toolbox of relevant knowledge, understanding and skills and introduce you to issues encountered in computing and IT, including the profound social and ethical challenges posed by these technologies. You will also develop your key skills including communication, numeracy and digital and information literacy (DIL). This will give you a firm basis for further study, especially Introduction to computing and information technology 2 (TM112).
What you will study
This module is presented in three blocks:
- ‘The digital world’ – the digital technologies that pervade our home, work and social lives;
- ‘Creating solutions’ – programming skills for creating solutions to simple problems;
- ‘Connecting people, places and things’ – the computer networks that allow us to interact with others.
Block 1 ‘The digital world’
You’ll start with your own experience of using computing and IT systems, covering a range of topics. You’ll explore how computers and networks developed; how analogue images and sounds are converted into digital formats; and how data is stored and managed in databases. You’ll also gain practical experience of constructing webpages, and consider how interfaces help us to interact with computers successfully.
Block 2 ‘Creating solutions’
You’ll develop programming and problem-solving skills as you work within a graphical programming environment to create programs involving animation, sounds, numbers and text. Since programs don’t always work the first time they are run, or don’t work as expected, you’ll also develop skills in testing and debugging your programs.
Block 3 ‘Connecting people, places and things’
You’ll be introduced to communication networks, including the structure and operation of the Internet, and wired and wireless systems. You’ll also discover how these technologies are combined with connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). The block ends with a discussion of how people interact with each other online, and also how computing and IT systems relate to modern society.
Throughout the module, you will develop your study skills, digital and information literacy skills and employability skills.
You’ll need to be able to use a word-processor; save and locate files; follow instructions for basic computing tasks; access websites; and download and install software. No previous programming experience is required, but you will need to have an interest in using a computer for problem solving and a desire to learn how to create programs. You should expect to spend, for the duration of the module (21 weeks), about 11 hours each week working on the module and its assessment and a further 3 hours each week on self-directed study.
You should also be able to perform simple calculations; and read, understand and write clearly in English.
Are you ready for TM111? is an interactive quiz to help you decide whether you already have the recommended background knowledge or experience to start the module.
If you’re not sure you’re ready, talk to an adviser.
Each block is supported by a printed book. Your study will be guided from the module website, which includes your study calendar, software resources, interactive online activities, practice quizzes and media clips. You’ll communicate and work online with other students through online forums.
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 X 10.7 or higher
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).
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.