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Introduction to computing and information technology 1

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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.

Entry requirements

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.

What's included

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.

Computing requirements

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 an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll have a tutor who’ll help you with the study material, and mark and provide feedback on your work. Your tutor is your first point of contact for any queries on the module and you can ask them for advice and guidance. Your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. We may also offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students. 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.


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).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying TM111 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Introduction to computing and information technology 1 (TM111) starts twice a year – in April and October (places are limited and in high demand, so enrol early).

This page describes the module that will start in April 2021.

We expect it to start for the last time in April 2023.

Course work includes:

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

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