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Student and tutor module reviews

Web technologies

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: TT284
  • Level: 2

Student reviews

TT284 was enjoyable, interesting and very challenging. It's a whistle-stop tour of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL and app creation.

Getting to grips with all the different programming languages and learning how to put them together was very confusing. The delivery of the course wasn't always as clear as it could have been, but some additional tutorials on the forums were invaluable and the help from the forums and tutors was also good.

However, I did have to put in many hours of 'leg-work' - additional reading and tussling with the concepts - in order to get full understanding.
The requirements of TU100 level of programming experience is, in my opinion, the bare minimum *but* it is doable.

The final TMA is like a major project - with project management skills required to keep it on track!

From a background of just TU100 plus a tiny amount of previous knowledge (I have a WordPress website so I've seen a bit of HTML etc. and done some very basic tinkering under instruction) I did, with a lot of work, get a distinction in the end.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: April 2016

An interesting module which covers web design, mobile applications and application development.

We learned the basics of HTML, JavaScript, PHP and software development using version control systems (Subversion). None of these topics are covered in depth but should be considered as more of a "taster" to give some idea of the topic and maybe see which areas you wish to pursue further.

I did find some of the material slightly outdated - discussing XHTML when the world is moving onto HTML5; using an old version of Google App Inventor; the 2012 Olympics as a case study - but that is to be expected when covering a fast-changing subject.

Overall a positive experience and a useful module for anyone considering employment in the world of web development.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: October 2015

This has been my favourite module so far (and I've been going since 2010).

TT284 is a lot more technical than TU100 and you have to learn the basics of a number of languages quickly. They are similar though and there is plenty of guidance on the web. The module also provides a lot less guidance than you may be accustomed to - you have to be happy figuring out a solution for yourself in the majority of cases.

My tips for TT284:

- bullet point the TMA/EMA requirements with a good old fashioned pen and paper. Stick this in your eyeline on the side of your computer. It's easy to get carried away with the freedom the module offers and start working on something unnecessary.

- The forums are full of people complaining. Develop decent scan reading skills so that you can find the posts that are actually helpful! In my year there were a group of really decent people who were pretty dedicated to helping each other.

- Peter Thomson's tutorials are amazing, relevant to the assessments and very, very useful. Download them all for future consumption as soon as they appear.

- When you first open the EMA, it looks horrifying. I was seven months pregnant at time of receipt and it actually made me cry. Put it down for a day or two then come back to it - it's not as bad as it seems and a distinction is perfectly possible!

- Factor in an extra five hours study time a week for research.

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: February 2015

Great course. Top marks to the course team for this comprehensive and up-to-date course that provides students with everything they need to get to grips with modern web applications.

I had previously studied and passed T183 Design and the Web and the C39 Web Application Development certificate and was pleased to see that all the creases from those modules had been ironed out in this eclectic selection of elements from those particular modules.

If the student has completed the necessary Level 1 course then they will find TT284 a natural progression. However, I strongly advise students not to underestimate the breadth and depth of the EMA which not only covers the usual web design skills but also time and project management skills. There's tons of time allocated to the EMA but the student needs to plan and be organised to keep on top of the project and obtain a good grade.

Anthony Peter Jones

Course starting: April 2014

Review posted: September 2014

I was really disappointed with this course as I had looked forward to gaining new skills and knowledge but it turned out to be more of a tour through the subject and no real time to absorb new skills. The moderators on the course forums would block any discussion of techniques and just advise the course notes are reread. When someone complained about the attitude a reply along the lines of not being paid to have a customer oriented manner was given. The course software is flakey to say the least and lost part of my work between submission and marking. I think its perhaps as well this course is being retired.

Phil Morris

Course starting: February 2013

Review posted: September 2014

Faculty response

The Module Team are saddened to hear of this disappointment. To avoid this, students are advised to read the module description carefully before enrolling, to review the online sample materials and to ensure they have the pre-requisite skills. TT284 covers a range of web technologies at an appropriate depth for a second-level module. The software used has been provided by well-known professional organisations. Forum moderators provide extensive support to students but have to avoid discussion of, for example, the solutions to assessments so that these are not compromised. TT284 will continue to be offered until October 2016.

I managed to get a Grade 1 on TT284 in its first chaotic year of presentation (2012) but only because:
(a) I was already familiar with the basics of JavaScript (M150 helped to some extent);
(b) I made sure not to get too distracted by the numerous links provided in the module materials, remaining focused on the requirements of the TMAs/EMA;
(c) I avoided going too deeply into PHP. TT284 does not require it;
(d) I quickly developed god-like levels of patience whilst using App Inventor;
(e) I spent a lot of time on each assignment.

The chaos primarily stemmed from the number of students panicking when they were thrown in the JavaScript deep end. Furthermore, the late delivery of PDF module texts, the sheer number of links to external websites and the vague nature of the TMAs/EMA all made the module more challenging than intended.

However, despite the problems, I must say that I personally enjoyed the practical aspects of TT284. Hopefully, the necessary improvements will be made for future presentations.

Jeremy Luke Phipps

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: August 2013

Faculty response

This review demonstrates exactly that a student can expect to do well if equipped with the recommended previous learning as listed in the module description.

The first presentation of TT284 did suffer minor problems in the delivery mechanism but this did not affect the running of the presentation significantly.

Links to third party materials, chiefly reference texts and standards, are provided throughout the module but it is made clear in each case if these are for further reading outside the module or are required reading.

TT284 does not cover PHP or JavaScript in a broad sense but focuses on elements required to gain practical experience developing web and mobile applications. Some students fail to gather that they do not need more than is provided within the module in terms of coding or come to the module with no programming experience which means they do not focus on the module itself.

The TMAs and EMA are very well specified but from a large cohort there are bound to be a number of students who require clarification for which online forums and tutor support are, of course, readily available. In response to questions put by students in forums some clarifications have been added.

Students who do focus on the module and especially those who follow the guides carefully, do usually do very well and echo the sentiment that they enjoyed TT284 and gained valuable insight and other skills for further study at Level 3.

I personally liked it but a lot of people didn't particularly enjoy programming or coding. There's plenty of material on JavaScript and PHP on the web so just make sure you have a go at it and it's for you before you start the course.

It is a time demanding course though. I think it took twice as long as I thought it would but now its done and dusted I am happy I did it!

Theres no examination so if you work hard enough on the final assessment (EMA), a distinction is achievable.

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: July 2013

Faculty response

TT284 is a challenging module which is intended to cover a range of internet technologies and which imparts a valuable set of skills and insights into essential concepts combined with practical experience.

Achieving these aims requires that a student works at the level expected at Level 2 and to properly focus on the module content. Students that do achieve these ends generally express their satisfaction and appreciate what they have gained. During study of any module students can face problems and should seek support if appropriate from their tutor or in the online forums.

TT284 was a disappointing and poorly organised course.

In the most recent course description students are advised that they are expected to have already acquired programming skills, which is a fairly broad prerequisite considering the number of programming languages in use. I have programming experience from an earlier module and found the course materials to be completely inadequate. Students will require significant experience of PHP, JavaScript, CSS and MySQL to achieve high marks on this course. In my opinion this has been very much understated in the course description.

Presenting code without an accompanying explanation of the syntax is not only wrong, it is irresponsible. It is quite disheartening to read forum comments from other students who had given up because they thought they were not suited to coding - when in actual fact it was due to the deficiencies in the course material and description.

While the use of external materials may be perfectly legitimate, there is so much of it on this course that at times it felt like an exercise in DIY web technology. This was further compounded by having to scour a myriad of forums for answers to activities that should have been in the materials.

The PDF texts were often delivered late and so many had to resort to producing their own files from the web pages. I would also agree with other comments here regarding the web site; it was more than a little ironic that a course on web technologies would be presented in such an extremely inaccessible and user-unfriendly manner.

I would not be nearly so critical of this course and the OU if they had set expectations with an accurate course description. And while it was the first presentation of the course it does not excuse the problems experienced by so many students.

Although I enjoyed the introduction to lots of new concepts and technologies, unfortunately I can't recommend TT284 to anyone other than those who are already accomplished programmers or web designers.

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: June 2013

Faculty response

TT284 does not teach PHP or programming in a broad sense. Various technologies are
examined in terms of their roles in web architecture and applications. All the code required to complete the module is given in the materials. The activities that are not part of assessment have solutions also given in the materials.

TT284 is not a first level module and is designed to help students make the transition from level 1 toward level 3. A number of students find this difficult. Other students feedback reports that they found TT284 'hard' but very rewarding.

You will need a basic understanding of xHTML and CSS plus a good working knowledge of Javascript and PHP to complete this course.

Be prepared to put in a lot of work, you will need to read a lot of external material and articles on websites, at one point I had ten tabs open in Firefox.

The TMAs are very intensive and require a lot of extra study and time to complete.

The case studies are fascinating and well presented, I enjoyed studying them.

One of the blocks required us to use a programme that was still in Beta, it was quite frustrating to use on occasion.

My tutor was excellent, helpful, and friendly, special kudos to the moderators on the forums for their prompt help and advice. A tutor also stepped in and posted youtube videos and forum tutorials which were very helpful indeed, the guy deserves a medal!

The TT284 website was incredibly hard to navigate and it took a lot of time to find anything, I bookmarked a lot of pages in the end just so I could keep up.

Overall I enjoyed the course and I obtained a grade 3 pass which I was delighted with.

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: April 2013

I would first like to say I work in IT but I'm not a programmer.

I found this course interesting but it lacked clarity and the programming side jumped from very easy to understand to very hard to understand in the next paragraph.

If you don't have any experience in programming, especially JavaScript this course will be a slog.

All the information looks like it was cut and pasted straight from the internet and there are no books, PDFs all the way.

I have done numerous courses with the OU and this was very poor by their standards.

I would recommend only doing this course if you have some knowledge in programming and can see your way through the jumps in difficulty from one part to another.

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: April 2013

Faculty response

Students taking TT284 are expected, as stated in the module description, to have previous programming experience such as provided by modules such as TU100.

The use of third party materials such as reference texts and standards is entirely appropriate in the educational context, especially where these are provided by an authority in the field such as the W3C.

This module is presented online and there are no printed materials provided.

TT284 Module Team

To start with, I've developed several Commercial websites and am used to using professional Development environments with a significant number of years of experience working in IT.

Good points:
The Tutors were good. They tried helping and guiding Students. A number of them provided support through the Forums.

The Forums were excellent, with a lot of mutual support provided by Students.

The Course does cover a wide range of subjects and will give a beginner a grounding in the field of Web Design and technologies.

Bad Points.
The Course website. Awful. Not user friendly and difficult to navigate. A significant amount of time is wasted just trying to find items on it.

The course documentation seemed to be written just before it was supposed to be studied. This meant you couldn't read ahead and then plan for time out or other courses.

A lot of the course material seemed to be ripped out of various websites and marketing material.

No hard-copy was provided. The only way to read up off line was to make PDFs of the online material. It would have been good to have a full searchable PDF of all the content for revision/reference.

The Development environment was basically a text editor. Nothing like a modern IDE. This lead to a lot of time being wasted by simple typing/Case-senstive errors by Students not familar with programming.

The empathis on programming was changed whilst the course was run which led to the final Course Project being modified.

The software used to program a mobile phone was in Beta and crashed regualarly.

The TMAs were quite "wooly". It was hard to figure out what was actually required.

THe Project was a nightmare. There was a lot of questioning by students as to what was actually being asked for. There was little guidance on just what level of work was needed.

Basically, the course material/TMA/Project wasn't up to the level I normally expect from the OU.

I actually enjoyed the module because of the forums and support of other students/Tutors.

John Michael Sparks

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.


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 October 2015 presentation of TT284. The survey was carried out in 2016.

125 students (a response rate of 22.8%) 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 57.3 71
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 63.4 78
The module provided good value for money 49.6 61
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 82.1 101
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 48.4 60
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 77.4 96
I would recommend this module to other students 55.6 69
The module met my expectations 52.8 65
I enjoyed studying this module 60.2 74
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 73.2 90
Faculty comment: The TT284 module team are grateful for the feedback received from the student on the October 2015 presentation. Many students were satisfied with the level of support provided and their study experience. There were however concerns about quality of the materials and value for money. Online-only modules might be perceived to be of lower value and quality than those with printed materials. This module has been around for a long time and some parts look dated such as the reference to outdated standards. It is due for revision and its replacement will provide an insight on the new web technologies and standards.
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