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Technologies for digital media

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Downloading mp3 music files; exchanging digital photos; reading, watching and listening to news and entertainment on the web or your mobile phone … digital technologies are changing the way we conduct our private, social and business lives, and transforming our experience of media out of all recognition. This module investigates how this has come about, looking at the technologies behind digital media as well as some of the social, ethical and legal issues they raise. By the end of your studies, you’ll understand the possibilities and limitations of the technologies, the direction in which they’re taking us, and how to keep on top of future developments.

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
£505.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1050.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£930.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

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 2016.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This module makes extensive use of third-party material, requiring you to understand and integrate information from a range of sources.

The module structure is as follows:

Block 1: Enabling technologies. Digital media applications appear on a wide range of devices. The success of these applications depends on the efficient operation of some basic technologies. You will be presented with materials on hardware, such as disk drives, flash memory, batteries, display screens and capture devices, and supporting technologies, such as MPEG compression techniques.

Block 2: Intellectual property and security issues. What you can do legally with digital media is governed by copyright laws and licences. It is possible to impose these restrictions by technological measures, but this has implications on business models and the social acceptability of these restrictions in an age of digital communications. You will be presented with materials on the technologies associated with digital rights management, but the social and business aspects of intellectual property will also be addressed.

Block 3: Mobile broadband. There are many competing factors pushing the ability of you being able to communicate at high bit-rates wherever you are. In this block, you will be presented with materials on developments designed to support broadband applications in a mobile world. In addition to the technology, you will be encouraged to think how technology develops.

You will learn

After completing this module you should, among other things:

  • understand the basic principles of a range of technologies for digital media
  • understand the technologies of data storage, display and capture devices
  • be aware of how the characteristics of human perception influence the coding of digital media
  • have a knowledge of intellectual property issues for digital media
  • be aware of the basic security issues associated with digital media
  • understand the technological factors relevant to broadband mobile
  • understand how the adoption of digital media technologies is influenced by their social, cultural and political contexts
  • be able to extract and integrate useful information from documents, including journal articles, product information, websites, etc.
  • be able to learn independently from such materials in order to keep up to date in technologies for digital media
  • have improved your written communication skills in a range of 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 computer and information technology and the language and modelling techniques used by technologists that you can get from modules at Level 2, such as 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.

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. The ICT CD-ROM (T529), 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 Open University study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical expressions may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability. You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet.

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 forums, website.

Note that some (assessable) material may only be provided in electronic form online or via a virtual learning environment.

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. 

Assessment is an essential part of the teaching, so you are expected to complete it all.

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

“Overall this module is very interesting and varied. Block one on enabling technologies goes through a variety of technologies from ...”
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“I have to say this course was tough going and I come from an IT background. If you are studying ...”
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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 T325
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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