Introduction to computing and information technology 2
This module builds on Introduction to computing and information technology 1 (TM111) and prepares you for further study of computing and IT modules. You will:
- learn about a variety of information technologies – including basic computer architecture, the cloud and mobile computing – while training your numerical skills;
- develop problem-solving skills as you get familiar with the Python programming language, analyse real-world data and carry out a programming project;
- practise your communication and analytical skills as you explore the profound legal, social, ethical and security challenges posed by information technologies.
What you will study
This module consists of three themes:
- ‘Essential information technologies’;
- ‘Problem solving with Python’;
- ‘Information technologies in the wild’.
Theme 1 ‘Essential information technologies’
You’ll learn, among other things, about:
- how computers store and process data – and why they use binary;
- the hardware components of your computer;
- different types of cloud;
- the parts of a mobile device, from sensors to batteries;
- how to use latitude and longitude to look up locations on online maps;
- what happens under the bonnet when you delete a file on your computer.
You’ll also develop your numeracy skills – from using scientific notation and percentages to calculating with binary representations.
Theme 2 ‘Problem solving with Python’
- learn to use the Python programming language;
- analyse, with Python, health and well-being data from the Office for National Statistics;
- complete a small programming project.
You’ll also be introduced to a range of problem solving strategies, which you’ll practise as part of your project.
Theme 3 ‘Information technologies in the wild’
- how hackers pose a threat beyond the digital world;
- how you can secure your data;
- how the Internet is enabling crime, surveillance, and digital freedom.
You’ll also develop your analytical and communication skills – including collecting and using evidence to argue a point.
Each theme consists of parts – you’ll study one part per week. The themes are interleaved throughout the module. So, you may study a part on ‘Essential information technologies’ in one week and another part on, say, ‘Problem solving with Python’ in the next week and then another part on ‘Essential information technologies’ the following week. This allows you to revisit and strengthen your understanding of the concepts and skills of each theme over the course of the module. Problem solving and programming skills especially can’t be learned in a few weeks; they require continued practice throughout the module.
Each theme 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
- macOS 10.7 or higher
- a modern Linux version
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.
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.