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Student and tutor module reviews

The computing and IT project

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: TM470
  • Level: 3

Student reviews

I was able to research a topic I was not familiar with, and my tutor helped navigate the initial research on the topic.

Having a broad idea of what you want to do before starting the module is a definite advantage. The module forum opens several months early allowing you to fine tune your project plan adequately.

Course starting: February 2019

Review posted: December 2019

The module materials are confusing at best. In the beginning you are left to your own devices, you have to come up with an idea before the official start of the module, not even knowing what they want from you, so they can assign a tutor to you.
I had a tutor who kept encouraging me and who said that I should get a good mark, who never gave me any indication that my work was inadequate... well I failed, so failing the module isn't what I would call a good mark, and now I have to redo the subject, and oh yeah, I have to pay again... AH money...
I hope that my tutor this time gives me honest feedback, in time for me to actually do something about it, not 3 days before the final assignment is due.

If this wasn't a mandatory subject for my degree, I wouldn't take it.
I wish there was some other way of getting my degree other than this module.

Liam Rafferty

Course starting: February 2018

Review posted: February 2019

Faculty response

We’re sorry to hear of your experience of studying TM470. The Computing and IT project module differs from other OU level 3 modules. As clearly stated in the website, TM470 is the module where you carry out, independently, a project in a topic of your choice that allows you to apply and extend your learning in Computing and IT.
The emphasis is on the student to be a reflective practitioner, developing not only the technical aspects of a project but also justifying their approach and reviewing and thinking about what they have learnt.
The role of the tutor is also different from that in other modules; a
TM470 tutor advises and guides students, but does not necessarily get involved in the technical details of the project.

Students are advised to start thinking about their project before the official start of the module. To help students in this process, the
TM470 module website does open approximately 2 months before the official start date; there is also an online forum to help students prepare for the project and where they can discuss possible project topic ideas with an experienced tutor. Also, students studying OU level 3 modules are offered presentations, specific to each of those modules, to help them relate their interests in those modules with possible ideas for TM470 projects.

It is worth noting that the project is marked by your tutor but also by another tutor who has no knowledge of what you did in your TMAs and can only assess the project by what is reported in the End of Module Assessment.

Not the best experience in the world. If it hadn't been a requirement of my degree I think I would have given it up. Wall to wall project management with confusing materials which failed to explain properly what was required from the module. I had a very helpful tutor but unfortunately my second marker didn't agree with her way of thinking.

Monette Allyson Gordon

Course starting: January 2016

Review posted: March 2017

Certainly the most challenging module as you would expect. I have used modules M363 and M362 for this project and I would have expected that tutor would be familiar with programming and current technologies. Unfortunately this wasn't the case as I found out soon my tutor had very little knowledge of software development, and I had to tackle the design without any help or guidance.
My project was a software application, solving particular problem using Java, web-services, DB and other programming technologies.
OU should care more to appoint better qualified tutors for IT projects, simply marking your TMA against learning outcome results could really be done by almost anyone.

Course starting: January 2015

Review posted: March 2016

Faculty response

Whilst we try hard to allocate tutors who have experience in the specific area of a project proposal this is not always possible. Tutors are not expected to deal with technical details of the projects.
“An important aspect of the project is that it is an individual piece of work. This means that the work in the project must be entirely your own. (from TM470 Study Guide).”
The overall advice given by a tutor is usually fairly broad, and it will rarely be prescriptive. Students should research the technical aspects of their project by themselves to identify and build a solution to the problem they set. They are also encouraged to select a problem that they are reasonably familiar with.
Our tutors on TM470, however, are experienced at supporting students through undergraduate computing projects.

Really enjoyed this module. Students are given freedom to pick a project relevant to a module they have studied, and I chose a combination of M363 and M364.

I struggled to really get going at first but my tutor was fantastic, and really helped me. I'm guessing most people are like me and will need to take TM470 to meet the requirements for a BSc with honours, but if you put the effort in it can be a very rewarding module.

Overall I was very pleasantly surprised by this.

Course starting: February 2014

Review posted: April 2015

This module was an enlightening experience and will really make you think about how you work and manage tasks. I learned a lot about what I'm good at and perhaps more importantly where I am weak.

There is little in the way of course materials, just guidance notes and the support of your tutor. I would caution prospective students that in my opinion the work load far exceeds a standard 30-credit level 3 module and I would advise against taking this module concurrently with another module.

Overall a good but very demanding module.

Course starting: February 2014

Review posted: December 2014

Hard work to say the least. This, really, started in November and you're expected to submit project ideas over the next 2.5 months, ahead of the proper module start in February. Your fellow students and a patrolling tutor will comment on your idea(s) and in Feb your assigned tutor for the module will allow/disallow your idea. Software/app development, research and evaluation projects are allowed.

The first TMA is concerned with outlining the project idea, resources needed, identifying an appropriate lifecycle model. TMA2 and 3 concern the further development of the project and all three, of course, chronicle problems and successes. The EMA should in theory = TMA1+2+3 + more.

You work alone. Support is there from your tutor, but minimal, and the forums won't help you hugely since everyone's doing something different. That destroyed the usual module camaraderie, which was a problem for me. The course materials needed a tweak for clarity too.

Your approach (doing all the navel-gazing) outweighs the success of your project idea in terms of marks.

I found thinking up an acceptable project idea quite tricky and I (like many others it would seem) would have preferred a set module to finish my degree. Still, it's doable and your best chance of success is to have a well defined project, with set boundaries, a chosen lifecycle model, a list of required resources and an idea of how you will proceed, well before the February start date. There isn't much time for wishywashyness!

I'm afraid that I found this too lonely and too tough to really be enjoyable. Sorry!

Course starting: February 2014

Review posted: December 2014

I found this module to be very enjoyable with excellent support on offer. There were a couple of small questions raised from the material in the guides, but these were quickly answered by the team on the course forums and I would presume this will be further enhanced for future presentations.

If you have the discipline to stick to the workload you should enjoy the possibilities this module offers.

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: December 2012

This is a very challenging module and demands clarity on your choice of project from the start. It cannot be stressed enough that the focus for scoring the module is on the student's approach rather than the end product. It seems likely that tangible projects rather than research projects would be easier to fit to the requirements(my opinion.)

Guidance is available as required, although one is expected to work alone and handle the rough with the smooth. To re-iterate, keep all of the ups and downs well documented in preparation for the TMAs/EMA.

An excellent but demanding module with a strong list of learning outcomes.

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: December 2012

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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Module satisfaction survey

The figures below are taken from a survey of students who sat the exam/completed the end-of-module assessment for the February 2016 presentation of TM470. The survey was carried out in 2016.

123 students (a response rate of 25.6%) responded to the survey covering what they thought of 10 aspects of the module.

Please note that if the percentage of students who responded to this module survey is below 30% and/or the number of responses is below 23 it means that only a small proportion of students provided feedback and their views as shown here may not be fully representative of all students who studied the module.

See this page for the full text of questions and more information about the survey.

% Count
Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this module 65 80
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 66.7 82
The module provided good value for money 47.9 58
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 80.2 97
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 48.6 51
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 72.1 88
I would recommend this module to other students 53.8 63
The module met my expectations 53.7 65
I enjoyed studying this module 56.1 69
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 70.7 87
Faculty comment: "We are pleased the majority of respondents were satisfied by the support they received from their tutor, as tutor support is of particular importance on this module. A characteristic of project modules is they include a limited amount of teaching material to be used for reference purposes. This is because students work independently on their chosen projects. This may explain the lower scores for value for money and teaching materials. From February 2017, to support weaker students, we developed ideas for projects and areas where OU Level 3 knowledge can be taken forward by the project. We hope this will increase scores for teaching materials."
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