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Diploma of Higher Education in Computing and IT Practice

The modern world depends on computers and IT systems to function. Gain the skills to work with them, and you’ll open up a huge variety of careers and other opportunities – from controlling processes to interfacing with customers and suppliers. This diploma is about acquiring skills and learning how to deploy them at work. Whether you want to gain confidence using and managing IT, grasp new opportunities or develop software solutions, there’s a study route for you.

Key features of the course

  • A unique work-based qualification
  • Builds on the skills you already have to provide you with a broad-based foundation in computing and IT
  • The chance to take industry-recognised Microsoft examinations
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study

This diploma will be of particular interest to students living and working in Scotland. The same programme of study is also offered as the Foundation Degree in Computing and IT Practice (X15).

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Diploma

Course code
W15
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
240
How long it takes
Part time – 4 years
Time limit – 12 years
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
For details see Am I ready?

Register for this course

Start dates

Credit transfer: apply by 04/12/2014

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Course details

This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits. Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stage 2.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

The modern world depends on computers and IT systems to function. Gain the skills to work with them, and you’ll open up a huge variety of careers and other opportunities – from controlling processes to interfacing with customers and suppliers. This diploma is about acquiring skills and learning how to deploy them at work. Whether you want to gain confidence using and managing IT, grasp new opportunities or develop software solutions, there’s a study route for you.


Compulsory modules (90 credits)

  • My digital life (TU100)

    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.

  • Career development and employability (T122)

    Use your workplace as a context for learning, and develop your ability to apply your learning to improve your practice at work - whatever your chosen career.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2, you can choose to focus on computer science, software or solutions development, digital technologies or networks, with options to study complementary modules. You can also prepare (if you wish) to take industry-recognised Microsoft examinations, choose mathematics to underpin your studies, and gain further credits for practice-based qualifications you’ve gained through your work.

Please note: If you choose the networking topic you will be required to attend four UK-based day schools to gain hands-on practical experience of configuring networks.

A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, the diploma of higher education is also equivalent to the first two thirds of an honours degree – see the Top-up BSc (Honours) Computing and IT Practice (Q68) for more information.



The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. It’s not just study completed at a university that can be considered, you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well. A full list of the qualifications and institutions we can consider for credit transfer can be found on our credit transfer website.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide original evidence of your previous study. We will compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any award.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, you will be awarded the Diploma of Higher Education in Computing and IT Practice.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.


Compare this course

Entry requirements

To successfully complete the two compulsory work-based modules for this qualification, whatever your chosen career, you must:

  • be engaged in full-time or part-time employment – either paid or voluntary
  • have permission to carry out work-based learning tasks in your work setting
  • confirm that the work you submit is based on your practice in that setting.

It’s this vocational focus that distinguishes this diploma course from our Diploma of Higher Education in Computing and IT (W36).

Study skills for this qualification

The Diploma of Higher Education in Computing and IT Practice begins with the module My digital life (TU100) which builds a solid foundation for further study. Although it’s an introductory module, to get the best from it you’ll need some basic knowledge of computing, and the ability to read and write to a good standard of English. You can use our online diagnostic tool Are you ready for TU100? to help you decide if you’re ready, or if you could do with some extra preparation.

If you’re thinking about choosing mathematics options, check that you’re ready for mathematical study at this level by visiting our MathsChoices website.

General study skills

Anyone can study with The Open University, but if it's a while since you did any academic work it's worth checking that your time management, computing and English skills are up to speed. Visit Can I do it? to find out more.

Help! I'm not sure I'm ready!

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If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! You can get started with an Access module – fascinating courses designed to introduce subject areas, build your confidence and prepare you for further study.

For this qualification, we recommend:

Science, technology and maths Access module

What you will study

This fascinating, multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. The subjects included are science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

The module is divided into three blocks:

Block 1: Life

Block 1 starts with biology and ecological ideas and uses varied examples to describe interrelationships between plants, animals and the wider environment while developing your study skills. You will learn about the unique role of humans, and explore how we have changed the environment to suit our needs through farming or conservation. You’ll consider how we can tell what effect current lifestyles have on the environment by introducing the ecological footprint model and look at sustainable living and how we can conserve declining species and habitats. This block also introduces key mathematical ideas and you will learn techniques to help you tackle everyday mathematical problems.  

Block 2: Water

Water is essential for life and fundamental to what we do. In Block 2 you’ll investigate how water has shaped our planet and our lives. You will learn and develop skills that will aid your understanding and use of a variety of tools used in science. You will also access the Open University Library and the wide variety of materials that this can offer. You will investigate the presence of water in potatoes and how water is required for yeast to respire in some home experiments, and through these home experiments, learn about how we can use experimental data to develop and refine hypotheses. Underpinning this is some essential mathematics and further computing skills to develop your study of science, technology and mathematics.

Block 3: Home

Block 3 introduces you to the subjects of design, engineering and computing around the central concept of home. You will find out how homes are designed, and can be designed better, through the use of engineering and computing. Block 3 is a practical block where you will complete a number of design, engineering, and computing activities and experiments. You’ll also be introduced to an online design studio where you will keep a portfolio of the work you do. You’ll also continue to learn mathematics and IT skills to support your developing knowledge of some computing and engineering concepts.

The module includes a DVD and website which include further study materials and resources as well as online quizzes and interactive exercises to help test your understanding.

As you study this module you will build your confidence and develop your study skills, including:

  • reading and interpreting information
  • producing written communications
  • time management and organisational skills
  • problem solving.

You will also have the opportunity to gain skills such as working with audio and video material, using online forums and searching the internet for information. This experience will provide you with a gentle introduction to using a computer to support your study, and will equip you with the basic IT skills you will need for the next step in your studies.

Please note that you will need access to the internet and a computer to study and pass this module. You will need to use a computer early on in the module but not straight away, so if you don’t currently have one you’ve got time to make arrangements. You can use your own computer or one at a library or drop-in centre.

On successful completion of this module you will receive an Open University Access Module Certificate.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
6 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Your next step

Call our Student Registration & Enquiry Service on +44 (0)1908 659253. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

How much will it cost?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

The fee information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632.
  • Our current fee is £5,264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification starts from £10,528 based on our current fees.

Additional costs

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.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable than you might think. Options include Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship. 

We’re confident we can help you find an option that’s right for you.

Just answer these simple questions to find out more about the options available to you.




How many credits are you planning to study per year? You will need [xxx] credits to complete this qualification

Part time study

Full time study


Do you already hold a degree?

Are you employed?

British Forces

  • Only currently serving members of the British armed forces, who are temporarily and unavoidably working abroad and using BFPO addresses, are eligible to pay UK course fees for the total time spent outside the UK. Other students who are able to use BFPO addresses need to contact the Student Registration and Enquiry Service (SRS) Pricing Area Team on +44 (0)845 300 6090 for UK fee eligibility to be assessed.
 

An OU qualification will always help you stand out from the crowd, now and in the future – whether you’re just starting out, developing your career, or changing direction entirely.

Skills for career development

If you work, or would like to work, with computing and IT systems in hardware, software, or systems-based contexts, this course is for you. You will learn the principles of these technologies, how to apply them, and surrounding issues to be aware of. During this course you will gain valuable experience of working in a team to tackle a small development task. You will be well prepared for further study should you decide to top up to an honours degree, and you will gain valuable transferable skills in communication, the use of IT facilities, retrieval of information, numeracy, time management and organisation, and analysing and solving problems.

Career relevance

Finance, government, business, commerce, public services such as health and education, and the voluntary sector are all critically dependent on computing and IT systems. This diploma course is an ideal starting point for a career in any of these sectors, focusing on information technology, computing, communication technology and related fields, or to enhance your existing career.

Research by e-Skills UK has shown that IT and telecommunications now employs 1 in 20 of the UK workforce. It also suggests the digital sector will need nearly 300,000 new recruits by 2020 to meet the demand for skills in this area.

Growth areas and areas of high demand include cyber security, mobile development, cloud computing and the management of Big Data, in roles such as:

  • programming
  • systems management
  • database administration
  • software engineering
  • systems analysis
  • systems design.

Other careers

A qualification in computing and IT has many applications beyond pure technology roles, such as roles in corporate or management consultancy firms, technical writing or freelance work.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser.  Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):

  • applications programmer
  • information systems manager
  • database administrator
  • information technology consultant
  • multimedia programmer
  • software engineer
  • systems analyst
  • systems designer
  • computer support specialist
  • webmaster
  • applications developer
  • web designer
  • technical consultant
  • network engineer
  • technical sales.

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.

career_explorer

Study plan - Overview
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