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Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies

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Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies (ICT) not only means keeping up to date with rapidly changing technologies. It also means successfully using these new technologies in complex systems in which people play a major part. Therefore this module addresses the two important questions: How do you keep up to date and how can you analyse ICT systems and take account of social factors? This module will equip you with the skills to tackle these questions, in the context of studying several contemporary ICT systems. By the end, you should be well-placed as an independent learner to ‘keep ahead in ICT’.

There is a £500 prize for the best performing student on each presentation of this module. This prize honours the memory of Rory Bailey, an Open University student and lecturer.

Modules at Level 3 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1050.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£930.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

The module consists of three 10-credit Blocks, with the precise content changing from year to year as the technology changes. In addition to studying some specially written material you will research the subject for yourself. The module structure is as follows:

Block 1: Wireless technologies. The rapid development of mobile digital wireless communications (which includes wi-fi, Bluetooth etc.), is made possible by a range of factors ranging from scientific principles to economic and regulatory constraints. Block 1 looks at some of these factors - specifically, electromagnetic radiation and its spectrum, modulation and multiplexing, spectrum regulation and networking protocols.

Block 2: Wireless sensor networks: an investigation. This block guides you through a search for technical documents and provides an opportunity for and help in reading specialist, technical articles and reports. The focus for the enquiry is on systems that use large numbers of wireless sensors, their applications and technical issues that arise in deploying them. The in-depth reading will not only update your technological knowledge and understanding, it will also help you develop your researching skills.

Block 3: ICTs in context. In this block you will investigate how social, cultural and political environments influence the ways ICTs have evolved and are used. You will develop your skills of critical analysis of ICT systems, including an examination of why so many large-scale systems fail, and you will also look at ICTs in the developing world.

You will learn

After completing this module you should, among other things:

  • understand the basic principles of wireless technologies
  • have a knowledge of one or more emerging standards in the wireless area
  • understand the technologies of large-scale wireless sensor systems
  • understand how ICT systems are influenced by their social, cultural and political contexts
  • understand the structure of a typical specialist document dealing with an ICT topic
  • be able to extract useful information from highly technical documents, including journal articles, product information, websites, etc.
  • be able to learn independently from such materials, in order to keep up to date in ICT
  • be able to evaluate critically a range of resource materials originating from third parties, including news items and general interest publications
  • have improved your written communication skills in a range of ICT topics.

Entry

This is a Level 3 module. Level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at Levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU. 

You need familiarity with the language and modelling techniques used by technologists, such as you would get from Level 2  technology modules, for example Communication and information technologies (T215).

You should be experienced in using a computer for working with documents, spreadsheets and accessing the internet. You also need basic mathematical skills so that you can work with algebraic equations and carry out numerical calculations.

T324 assumes that you are already familiar with communication technology at a level equivalent to successful study of T215.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

You should revise the material on communication technology in any Level 2 modules you have already taken. T529, the ICT CD-ROM distributed with a number of ICT modules, is also a useful source of revision material.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The module uses complicated diagrams extensively, so it could be demanding if you have impaired sight. Text descriptions of graphical material developed by The Open University are provided, but these will not necessarily be available for third-party materials. Written transcripts are available for audio material. The printed study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Nevertheless, not all components may be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical expressions may be particularly difficult to read in this way. You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Module books, other printed materials, DVD, online forum, website.

N.B. Some (assessable) material may be provided only in electronic form via the website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some course software provided on disk.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007 you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • A netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device is not suitable for this course – check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

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

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code T324
Credits 30
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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