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Student and tutor module reviews

My digital life

see module description

  • Points: 60
  • Code: TU100
  • Level: 1

Student reviews

A mix of technology and academic writing. The TMAs were ok to manage but I found that once you got used to one concept you were studying the complete opposite.

I would say this course wasn't worth 60 credits nor the cost but for a starter IT course and starter module for a degree it was ok.

The EMA was time consuming and sense was very annoying for a non programmer but overall it was an enjoyable module.

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: August 2014

I found the course itself quite easy, perhaps even a bit tedious.
I would describe it as 'The History of Computing' which is interesting at times, but with the evolution of computing and what it is today, I felt it was mainly all but applicable to what I was looking to learn.

If you have experience in computing, then the course should be a breeze for you and if you are looking to do any sort of programming as an absolute beginner, then Sense is a good foundation for what you will be dealing with. It just proves that with some hard work put into it, you can get some great results.

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: August 2014

This course covers a vast area of Digital technology and literally teaches you about all the computers components. Sense is used to teach you the basics of programming, which as a total beginner I found very useful, if at times frustrating, completely satisfying when you achieve the correct result. I would recommend this course to anyone that is curious about how IT works and if you have a great tutor like I had, it will be fun at the same time.

Course starting: February 2013

Review posted: August 2014

I took this course as I wanted to challenge myself and develop a better understanding of the technological world.

I have an adequate knowledge of IT related matters - in the sense I can turn a computer on and use social media etc. The module description indicated I did not need specific IT related skills, just a good general idea so I thought this was the course for me.

Now I have survived to the end of the course I feel quite duped. I would certainly say you need more than just a grasp of IT to do this course and I really struggled both with the technical concepts and the mathematical skills needed.
This was very stressful and I was spending every evening and all weekend reading and making notes but still struggling to really understand what I was doing. That said, the tutor was fantastic and very encouraging.

The course felt quite dry, laborious and uninspiring and I do not feel I have a greater knowledge of digital life than what I did prior to the course. A lot of the material felt dated and tasks involving working online with others were at the mercy of other students being bothered to be involved.

I would suggest you need to be quite IT savvy and/or have a considerable interest in technology to undertake TU100. I am very lucky the points from this course count towards my free-choice option for my degree so I have not wasted 9 months but do regret selecting this course in the first place.

Course starting: February 2013

Review posted: July 2014

Faculty response

Thanks for getting in touch and we're sorry you had some trouble with aspects of this module.

We tried very hard to make TU100's content suitable for all people, but a wide-ranging module such as TU100 which attracts people from all backgrounds and skill levels sometimes leaves some students needing additional support.

You can ask for help from your tutor who can give you more personal guidance to help solve your problems. I'm glad to see that your tutor was able to help you out. Many tutors will also run tutorials over the internet where you can not only work through parts of the module with fellow students, but also raise questions with your tutor. We ask our tutors to keep track of student progress and to help out if they think a student is falling behind. From this year onwards we have also introduced Student Support Teams who can provide further assistance to new students and those who might be struggling.

This module also has a large online student discussion forum where people can discuss issues regarding the module content and other aspects of technology. It's a good place to find out how other students feel about the module, the wider issues of technology and to ask questions about what you are studying. There are also dedicated forums for students who are having problems with some aspects of the materials, with the technology or need more assistance in getting started. We really recommend anyone who is having trouble with studying to get in touch with fellow students, many of whom can give useful guidance and support.

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and found it easier than the other OU level 1 course I had already studied. I received excellent comments from my tutor and the TMA's were evenly spaced.

I would highly recommend it.

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: July 2014

Having not studied for over 25 years I was quite apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. However, this module is designed to address those apprehensions and does a great job in easing you into studying at university level. Be warned though, this module is fast paced and very unforgiving so you need to be disciplined and you need to set up a robust study regime.

My Digital Life is not all about computers and IT. The module inculcates many university values and policies including plagiarism, referencing and writing techniques. You also get to learn about writing reports, drawing argument maps and putting together media clips.

My Digital Life does a great job in covering many aspects of computing from the past to the present and covers topics such as social media, the internet, the use of data (personal or otherwise) and virtual worlds. You also get to do some programming using a neat little package called SENSE. If you are used to programming this should be straight forward.

Those with little or no programming experience will find SENSE very intuitive. I have some programming knowledge and was able to quickly work through the SENSE guide. You also get a little device called a SENSEBOARD which can be programmed to carry out and feedback some basic functions like temperature readings.

I found I was spending between 16 and 20 hours a week on studying My Digital Life. This did not include time spent on doing my TMAs (Tutor Marked Assignments). You are expected to continue studying and complete your TMAs at the same time and there are 5 TMAs and 1 EMA (End of Module Assignment). This can mean a very heavy work load.

For those working and studying, I personally booked a total of two days off work, one for TMA03 and one for my EMA. Remember though, I had not studied for over 25 years and might not be typical.

Looking back, I found the module fun and informative. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction and has provided me with the necessary skills to undertake my next module. The Open University is a fantastic way to learn new skills or to gain a qualification and this module really underpins what it means to study through the OU.

Andrew Murdoch

Course starting: February 2013

Review posted: November 2013

I took this module as I had an interest in learning about how technology is used in today's world and from the module description, I thought that we'd be looking in more detail about eCommerce, Social Networking and the impacts they have on every day people but a great chunk of this course was taken up by programming and calculations.

The TMAs seemed to feature some of the most boring and uninspiring questions imaginable and as with the whole of this module, calculations and programming made up a big chunk of this, making it a struggle for anyone who does not pick up these skills easily.

I was extremely disappointed with this course and was glad when it was over.

Course starting: September 2013

Review posted: October 2013

I lived TU100 for the length of the course, dipping in two or three times a day reading and re-reading. There is an amazing amount of information but I think it is well presented and easy to follow.

Throughout the course you are walked through all the modules with your hand held and there is help from lots of places including the forums and your own tutor.

I have already had some knowledge of programming but was amazed by sense THIS IS BRILLIANT! Whoever thought of this way to teach programming needs promoting.

I would recomend this module to any one. It is well written and presented a lot of knowlege yes, but well worth every bit of time spent on it.

Paul Lawrence

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

I should preface this review by saying that I am an IT professional, holding several industry certifications, with more than ten years of experience in my field.

I thoroughly enjoyed studying TU100. I chose it for several reasons, not least of which is that I wanted a soft start to studies, which is exactly what I found in this module. The module gives its students a fairly quick overview of the history of computing, going on to introduce basic concepts within software development in object oriented code.

The module also discusses the social implications of emerging technologies, and spends time talking about security and encryption. Finally, the module talked about database theory, making it come alive for me in unexpected ways.

My tutor was active and responded to enquiries very quickly, oftenmost within the same day.

I would recommend this course for novices as well as seasoned IT pros, though the latter group would have an easier time of it than the former.

Aleksander Razumny Nordgarden Rodner

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

The one and only good moment of this course was when it was over!

I was seduced by the course description which talks at length about how we were going to learn about the social aspects of where the digital world was headed and how we got to this stage in its development.

The course materials arrived and included a DVD of an interesting BBC Series regarding the birth and growth of the internet. I watched this prior to the course starting and was very encouraged. However this was never once referred to over the length of the course. Why bother to include it?

To my surprise and huge disappointment 98% of the course is taken up with quite complex mathematics and programming / coding. The TMAs started ridiculously easy and frankly dull, with the questions concerning how to spot plagiarism... "My Digital Life?"

They then ramped up to become almost indecipherable culminating in the final EMA which was very poorly constructed. I have since shown it to a friend who works in IT who couldn't work out what the SENSE question was even asking!

The tutorials were conducted by two tutors who had combined their tutor groups. They were purely interested in programming and mathematics. When I was asked for my reasons for taking the course they laughed and said that I could read the course materials for any discussion of the social aspects of computing. They certainly wouldn't be covering these. Our tutorials were initially well attended but soon dwindled to just 2 or 3 students.

If you want to spend six months learning about Argument Maps, Report writing and computer based mathematics then possibly this is for you. If not steer well clear... It was my third OU module and I genuinely feel ripped off!

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

Faculty response

Thanks for the comments. There's 10-15% programming in the module and very little maths - definitely not 98%! Blocks 3-5 cover a lot of social issues (privacy, surveillance, encryption, DRM, etc.), and is where specific sections of the DVD are used to reinforce the teaching. That material is relevant to recent events such as the NSA PRISM programme, and the argument mapping helps to express and work through the complex issues involved.

Sorry you were disappointed in the module - anyone interested in seeing some of the teaching materials can check the sample on OpenLearn.

I am working towards The Open Degree and after starting with Spanish I wanted to try a computing course as I thought this would be interesting and would add 60 credits towards my degree.

I found this course to skim over many different subjects, some very interesting and some not so. I personally found that this course moved very fast and I didn't always have time to absorb the information before moving onto the next subject!

I did struggle with the programming but attending the face-to-face tutorials really helped.

My fellow students seemed to be really enjoying this course and I think it just wasn't for me.

I was very pleased to finish this course and also pass it.

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

This appears to be a really good course for the one who is a complete novice in the field of IT and would like to explore and learn about the basics and foundational studies of the IT world.

I found the information contained in the course very interesting, however as I am studying this degree for a specific purpose (to gain programming and graphical design skills)and I am already a little experienced in basic IT, I found that this course became tedious as time progressed. I found myself doing the bare minimum to pass this course rather than trying to achieve high marks with each assignment submission.

If I had the choice, I would have happily omitted this course but as it is a compulsory part of all IT degrees I completed it on time and got the pass I needed to move on.

Lewis James-Odwin

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

This is a great module to introduce you to the OU. Initially this module helps you with your academic skills (taking notes, referencing, etc) but with an IT theme.

The module will teach you a variety of different IT areas such as, programming, history of computing and lots about the social effects of using the internet. I personally loved the SENSE work in this module but wished there was more, although I noticed other students in this module struggled with the SENSE work so maybe a happy medium was achieved.

This is my first year at the open university and my first module. I have only some low grade GCSEs from ten years ago and have loved this module. I have always been interested in computers and found some of the material near the start of the module easy and was able to skip over some of it (binary). The work load is not too bad either, there is lots of reading and learning to do, but most of it isn't too hard so you won't have to spend long on each area.

To other people thinking about joining the open university and thinking about doing something IT related. START HERE!

Shaun Cooper

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

TU100 was an excellent introduction to my stay at The Open University. I would say it was a lot harder than I anticipated, but to be honest, I didn't really know what to expect.

In regards to content, TU100 covers a wide range of subjects, my least favourite being programming. With that being said, half way through TU100 I started TM129 which has a Robotics block that makes use of similar programming language so the TU100 material was still pretty fresh in my head which has helped my progress.

If like me, you work full time, then you really need to manage your time effectively. TU100 demands a lot of attention and A LOT of reading. The reading is a mixture of hardback books supplied by the OU and online content. As I like to have everything close to hand, I printed the majority of it off, approx 3 lever arch folders worth. The online material is also available as individual ebooks which is good. I purchased an ipad half way through and downloaded them which came in handy, and I have now for life. The reason for the online material is they have a lot of interactive videos etc.

The Tutor marked assignments (TMAs), in my opinion, were relatively tough, some questions easier than other but definitely of University level. What's key with the TMAs is to follow the Harvard referencing guide. I lost valuable marks on my first TMA for not using the correct format in regards to referencing. In hindsight, the referencing guide is pretty straightforward so have it close to hand when referencing your work.

In summary, the TU100 module has introduced me to many different areas within computing that I have never covered before, I.e, data protection, argument maps and many more subjects. Although TU100 is mandatory if your doing a computer degree, I would of probably selected it anyway.

My tutor was excellent, easy to contact and gave great feedback on TMAs. With the tutor in mind, I would recommend you attend all face-to-face classes throughout the semester. Unfortunately I couldn't always attend due to work commitments, however, the majority of things covered relate to the sense programming so if like me you struggle in this area, try your best to attend and ask as many questions as possible.

Last but not least, the final EMA (end of module assessment). This was really tough, a lot tougher than the EMAs so make sure you give it enough time to complete.

Once completed, you will indeed feel a great sense of satisfaction. Especially if you haven't studied in nearly 10 years like myself.

Darren James

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: July 2013

This is a great module to get you started in a technology-centric degree, especially IT.

Whilst some students gave TU100 a bad press, mostly for its lack of focus and emphasis on the sociological aspects of technology, I came away from TU100 knowing a little about a lot. Covering programming, hardware, ubiquitous computing, data protection, virtual words and video editing, to name but a few, this is a broad and informative course.

Be prepared for a lot of moaning from your fellow students but try to maintain perspective of the broad and introductory nature of the course.

Overall, an excellent Level 1 course preparing you for OU studies at Level 2 and introducing you to the world of IT.

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: July 2013

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 October 2011 presentation of TU100. The survey was carried out in 2012. 32.1% of our students responded to the survey covering what they thought of 10 aspects of the module. See this page for the full text of questions and more information about the survey.

Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this module 80.5 %
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 82.4 %
The module provided good value for money 71 %
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 86.3 %
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 80 %
The module met its stated learning outcomes 77.6 %
I would recommend this module to other students 72.2 %
The module met my expectations 69.8 %
I enjoyed studying this module 76.1 %
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 74.5 %
Faculty comment: "The module team would like to express their thanks to all students who took time to respond to this survey and/or posted reviews about the module. Without this valuable, honest feedback it would be very difficult to assess and implement changes to improve the student experience. We are pleased that many students have enjoyed studying TU100. The module is purposefully broad in its nature and we fully appreciate that this may not be to everyone's taste, especially those students who have studied previous modules and who are coming to the end of the studies. We also recognise that 60-credit study may overwhelm some students. It's important to note the module's place within the various qualifications relating to Computing and IT offered by the University and its function to act as an online survival guide for the 21st century. As such it is always a delicate balancing act to decide what material a module should cover and in what detail. We particularly welcome the comments regarding Sense. It is the first time a module has attempted anything like this so a few teething troubles are perhaps, to be expected. Sense is very much used in the module as a way for students to understand the key concepts and theories underlying computer programming rather than a specific language per se. However, we have been really pleased with the way that some students have developed their knowledge of Sense and the SenseKit by producing projects outside of the module materials. The SenseKit-powered teasmaid was a particular favourite! We hope that students will be able to develop the underlying programming concepts on which this module focuses more specifically in subsequent modules within the range of Undergraduate Computing and IT qualifications."
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