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Web, mobile and cloud technologies

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Cloud computing and mobile technologies offer new possibilities for producing and distributing IT applications and services. Rapid, elastic and scalable provisioning of IT resources allows organisations to be more innovative, agile and cost-effective. In our personal lives, cloud and mobile technologies let us store, access and share information online. Storing and processing information without apparent physical location or legal authority raises concerns around governance and security. In this module, you’ll learn about the technical and social aspects of cloud computing and mobile technologies and gain hands-on experience.

What you will study

This online module will provide you with an understanding and practical experience of cloud technology and the web technology which underpins it, as well as the role that these have in the provision of modern mobile applications. You will gain both a technical and business perspective of the advantages, problems and risks of using these technologies. A number of case studies demonstrate the application of the technology in different contexts, such as start-ups, established organisations and collaborations.

The module is organised into three blocks:

  • Web Foundations
  • Mobile Applications
  • The Cloud

The principles behind cloud technology and its utilisation in different contexts are the main focus of the module with Web Foundations providing an appropriate grounding in the enabling technology and Mobile Applications demonstrating how to capitalise on cloud infrastructure in developing flexible mobile applications.

Trust and security are important themes running through the module, alongside the social, political, technical and legal issues which these recent developments in IT raise. Case studies draw together key features from each part, setting the scene for a project where you will use your new skills to specify, prototype and demonstrate cloud and mobile solutions for an organisation.

Block 1 – Web Foundations
This first block sets the scene for the module by exploring how the internet supports access to networked services and applications. The block first provides an overview of the underlying standards and protocols of the web (HTTP, HTML, CSS, etc.), including the security features (TLS, HTTPS, Certificates) that underpin modern web services. Based on this it then reviews distributed architectures and protocols that are used to both deliver and consume web services. The block also includes a range of practical activities using a range of tools to develop, deploy, consume, and test a variety of web services.

Block 2 – Mobile Applications
The second block explores the current state of the mobile market and the prospects for mobile technology as well as its combined use with cloud technology. The block commences by investigating a range of challenges facing developers of mobile apps, including dealing with the multiplicity of:

  • users’ devices (tablets, mobile phones etc.)
  • framework technologies (Java, Microsoft, Android, iOS)
  • communication technologies (Web services, HTTP, and TCP sockets).

The block examines a range of considerations in developing a mobile application including deployment and upgrading, user interface design, performance and memory management as well as connectivity, back-end storage and security. The block also includes a case study element, exploration of toolkits for developing applications and the practical development of a mobile application which is subsequently extended to exploit cloud facilities.

Block 3 – The Cloud
The Cloud The third block introduces the cloud model and the types of resources (processing power, databases, general storage and networking) that can be provided by a typical cloud infrastructure. Different levels of cloud model are investigated, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), and contrasted with the web services model.

The block briefly reviews consumer cloud offerings, such as Dropbox and Google Drive for storing assets, before moving on to more sophisticated commercial offerings of cloud infrastructure, such as OpenStack, Kubernetes and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Virtualisation and the use of hypervisors are outlined with a focus on the common facilities of the dominant mainstream platforms, including monitoring resource usage, load balancing and automatic scaling of resources to meet demand.

As well as technical aspects, the block considers the business case for cloud in different contexts (start-up, corporate, projects, collaborations) and different approaches to distributing cloud infrastructure (private, public and collaborative) as well as considering security and legal implications for each approach.

A range of cloud operations are demonstrated and included in a set of practical activities to provide hands-on experiences. These activities include:

  • using a cloud dashboard to create resource descriptions to run application images and other components
  • controlling access to cloud resources
  • launching, accessing, monitoring, and destroying cloud resources
  • creating infrastructures that automatically scale up and down to handle different processing loads.

Each of the three blocks includes a tutor-marked assignment (TMA), which has a practical and written element. After completing the three blocks you will undertake an end-of-module assessment (EMA), which takes the form of an individual project. This requires that you produce a considered assessment of cloud and mobile technology for use by an organisation and also apply the methods and tools used during the module to provide a technology demonstration for the organisation.

This module aims to give you the knowledge and skills to use web, mobile and cloud technologies from a technical and business perspective. The teaching material introduces a range of business scenarios and technologies, highlighting key decision-making points that you must consider. The module teaches key threshold concepts associated with using the technologies and how to program them but does not teach programming fundamentals. This teaching will help you complete the assessment, but if you aim to become proficient, you’ll need additional study time and use the documentation provided by the developers of the technologies, books (available in the OU Library) and other resources. The module points you towards these but does not require you to study them for the assessment.

The duration of this 30-credit online module is 31 weeks requiring around ten study hours per week. These hours are only a guide and you may take more or less time according to your study pace. You should be prepared to spend significant amounts of time online (at least six hours a week, if not the majority of your study time).

If you are considering progressing to The computing and IT project (TM470), this is one of the OU level 3 modules on which you could base your project topic. Normally, you should have completed one of these OU level 3 modules (or be currently studying one) before registering for the project module.

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at levels 1 and 2. They are only intended for students with recent experience of higher education in a related subject.

To study this module you will require competence and experience in programming along with some familiarity with web technology. Normally, you should have completed one of the two OU modules {Object-oriented Java programming {M250]} or Web technologies (TM252) or (TT284).

If you have appropriate experience you may be able to study this module without completing one of these two prerequisite modules.

Experience of JavaScript is recommended.

Below are links to JavaScript YouTube videos produced for the OU module TT284: Web technologies.

These will be ideal for TM352 students who need a refresher on JavaScript and for students who have not studied TT284.

The videos refer to TT284 throughout.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

This module is presented fully online via the module website, which gives access to the study materials in electronic format, online forums and other online resources. There are no printed texts; all the study materials will be available online from the website. As part of the practical activities, the module uses software appropriate to its teaching of the module’s principles.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS Ventura or higher.

Additional requirements for this module:

  • 4GB RAM (8GB recommended)
  • 20GB free disk space.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying TM352 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

Web, mobile and cloud technologies (TM352) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2026.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

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