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Understanding information


You can use the resources in this section to help you understand what 'information' is, and how we use it to make decisions in different areas of our lives including in formal learning situations, such as studying an OU module.

Being digital activities

Choosing good keywords (5 minutes)
How to focus your search using targeted keywords.
Communicating online (10 minutes)
How to get the best out of the contact you have with others online and avoid misunderstandings.
Information universe (10 minutes)
Save time and get better results by learning how to focus on the category of information best suited to the purpose of your search.
My digital identity (5 minutes)
Be aware of who your audience is when posting in online spaces, and learn the basics of presenting yourself effectively.
Scams and hoaxes (5 minutes)
This activity helps you to spot some of the signs of scams and hoaxes and avoid getting taken in.
Search slips and tips (10 minutes)
Avoid the pitfalls of searching for information online, and conduct more efficient searches.

Library activities (requires an OUCU)

Finding out about databases (Level 1: 20 minutes)
Learn how databases can be useful to you and what sources are available to you via the OU Library.
Where does scientific information come from? (Level 1: 30-45 minutes)
Learn how scientific research is communicated to the public, and about the different types of information involved.
Evaluating the quality of information (Level 2: 1 hour)
This activity will help you to understand what is meant by ‘the quality of information’ and evaluate the quality of information
Developing critical reading (Level 3: 45 minutes - 1 hour)
Learn how to critically read academic material, focusing on academic journal articles.
Evaluating websites (Level 3: 45 minutes - 1 hour)
Assess the quality and relevance of a website using a structured approach to evaluation.

Further Activities

Getting started with the online library (2 minutes)
Short video introduction to the Open University online library and its resources. Transcript available.
Podcasting in plain English (3 minutes)
Short video by Commoncraft providing a quick introduction to podcasting.
RSS in plain English (3 minutes)
Short video by Commoncraft. Find out how you can use rss to save time by having information come to you.

Original Safari content

If you would like to access the original Safari content, please download the PDF below. Please note that this is archive material, and may not be up-to-date.
Original Safari content: Understanding information