Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University

Educational aims

The Computing for Commerce and Industry (CCI) programme is aimed at computer professionals, technical managers and other professionals in IT-related jobs and aims to update, broaden and provide a coherent overview of the field to serve as a firm foundation for their career developments.

The programme allows you to select modules within the broad area of computing.

The programme aims to develop:

  • multiple competencies in computing and relevant application areas at graduate level
  • an ability to analyse and evaluate problems and draw on the theoretical and technical knowledge to develop solutions
  • the required skills to further a career in computing
  • an awareness of current research in software development, the analytical skills and research techniques for their critical and independent evaluation and their application to new problems.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of the programme are described in four areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

Fundamental and advanced concepts, principles and techniques from among the following topic areas (no individual contributing module is compulsory, with the exception of the Research project and dissertation):

  • software engineering and software management
  • project management
  • requirements engineering
  • user interface design
  • object-oriented software development
  • database systems and technology
  • distributed applications and ecommerce
  • computing infrastructures
  • multi-service networks

A comprehensive understanding of research methods and techniques appropriate to defining, planning and carrying out a research project within your chosen specialist area.

A systematic understanding and a critical awareness of current problems in your field of study or area of professional practice.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • analyse new problems, sifting the irrelevant from the relevant and expressing the results using standard formalisms and notations
  • integrate knowledge and skills from various sources into a coherent whole, making the appropriate abstractions
  • critically evaluate, using proven methods, the strengths and weaknesses of a particular technology within a computing system application
  • synthesise arguments from underlying premises to produce overarching conclusions
  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making informed judgements in the absence of complete data
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
  • critically evaluate and reflect upon your own work.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • prepare cases advocating the appropriate use of computing systems technologies
  • appraise new developments in computing systems technology and assess applicability to a particular workplace scenario or area of academic or professional interest
  • demonstrate an understanding of the roles in software development and the responsibilities of those roles
  • be aware of issues relating to participation in development teams.

Depending on the options you have chosen, you may also be able to demonstrate an awareness of the legal and ethical issues associated with implementation of computing in the workplace.

Key skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • advance your own knowledge and understanding through independent learning
  • communicate clearly knowledge, ideas, and conclusions about computing systems
  • using appropriate media, for specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • develop your problem-solving skills and apply them independently to professional or equivalent level tasks/projects/functions
  • work with others to refine your ideas, leading to an improved understanding of key concepts within the computing systems context.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will acquire knowledge and understanding mainly from the module texts, with supporting material provided via reference texts, commercially available computing environments, specially developed computing environments, computer conferencing and web-based resources. Formal assessment of the taught modules is by way of continuous assessment in the form of the tutor-marked assignments (submitted at fixed points in the module) and an examination for each module.

Some modules use case study-based assignments where you will choose a project from your personal experience.

Assessment of the final research project module is based on the production of a 10,000–15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice in the area of computing for commerce/industry. Support and advice are given at all stages of the dissertation module by University staff.

Cognitive skills are also assessed in the assignments and examinations of the various modules. Assignments are carefully designed, complex pieces of work that require the skills of analysis, evaluation and integration. You will also be provided with practical activities to develop cognitive skills, using course software where appropriate. The Research project and dissertation, mandatory for the award of MSc, provides an extended opportunity for you to further develop and be assessed on these skills.

Professional skills are covered specifically in some modules, implicitly as part of the continuous assessment on each taught module and are studied and assessed specifically in the Research project and dissertation.

All teaching and assessment strategies will help you develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to your workplace, and the programme encourages a problem-solving approach to professional tasks in the assignments, key skills (many of which you will already have gained in your workplace) can be further demonstrated and developed by this programme through the in-module assignments and the Research project and dissertation.