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My digital life

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While you’re learning about tomorrow's technology why not help create it? My digital life takes you on a journey from the origins of information technology through to the familiar computers of today, and on to tomorrow’s radical technologies. You'll get hands-on experience of the ubiquitous computing approaches that will become increasingly common over the next decade. You'll also learn about the profound social and technological changes associated with information technology – changes that will affect every one of us. This key introductory Level 1 module will help you prepare for these changes – think of it as an online survival kit for the twenty-first century.

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04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£850.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1700.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1700.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1540.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1540.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
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.

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2017.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

Ten years ago there was no Facebook or Twitter. Fifteen years ago broadband access to the internet in your home was an unimaginable luxury. Just twenty years ago you still had to buy your books, music and feature films from a high street shop. The digital revolution might still be young, but it has arguably brought about the biggest change in our lifestyles in the last two hundred years.

Where did it all begin? How does it work? Where is it going? These are just some of the questions answered in My digital life.

My digital life is your introduction to the next twenty years of computers and the internet, whether you are:

  • an experienced computer user or a novice
  • enthusiastic about modern technology or somewhat scared about its implications
  • new to studying with The Open University or an experienced student
  • intending to pursue a career in a technological field or just interested in the subject.

You’ll be taken on a journey from the most familiar, personal technologies through to the computer systems that span the entire world. It will give you a view of the future in which computers stop being discrete boxes on desks and become part of almost every manufactured object. The ubiquitous computer of tomorrow promises, or perhaps threatens, to change the world beyond recognition. My digital life explains why this change is coming and the opportunities and challenges it brings.

Through six themed teaching blocks you’ll cover the key aspects of modern computer technology. Each block includes a blend of printed and online text, pictures, animations and practical activities. Specially recorded audio and video materials accompany the teaching material. These include interviews with leading researchers, experts, companies and users from a wide range of countries, including the USA, Nepal, Iceland and Switzerland.

My digital life isn’t just about reading. It’s about doing things and learning as you do them. Just some of the things you will do are:

  • use a wide range of online services to create and share documents, spreadsheets and web pages
  • create and combine images with a soundtrack to produce short audiovisual presentations
  • learn how the technologies underpinning these activities work as you use them
  • experience the benefits and limitations of a digital lifestyle and what the future might hold
  • see how the internet makes your physical location less relevant in performing many tasks
  • understand the significance of an increasing number of devices that know and respond to your location.

During the course of learning about these things you will address topics as diverse as:

  • the ownership of data
  • how the World Wide Web works
  • the privacy and security of personal data
  • online identity in virtual worlds
  • how online businesses survive (or not)
  • and many more aspects of living in the digital world of today.

My digital life is not just something you will study; it is a community you will join. You won’t be learning in isolation – you’ll be sharing your work with your fellow students, friends and family – and with the rest of the world.

My digital life wants you to feel passionately about the subjects it covers so that you will be in a position to give informed evaluations – as an employer or an employee and as a citizen. You’ll be encouraged to form – and possibly change – your own opinions, to discuss and to argue your point of view.

My digital life gives you an opportunity to develop your own rich, interactive applications running on your computer and to share them with fellow students. You’ll build your programming skills through problem-solving, through exploration of novel concepts and through play. To help you in this, you will use two specially created technologies that turn My digital life into a hands-on exploration of computer and online technologies – the specially designed language Sense and the SenseBoard.

Sense – a completely new approach to computing deserves to be taught in a completely new manner. Almost from the very beginning, you’ll be running, designing and writing computer programs. You will be using the specially designed language – Sense – so called because it can be used to sense the world.

Unlike other computer languages you may have seen or used, Sense doesn’t rely on cryptic text commands; instead you assemble Sense programs using graphical blocks. Creating a Sense program can be as simple as clicking two blocks together and pressing the Run button!

You’ll begin your work in Sense by following the first of many guided activities accompanied by text and video instructions. Soon you’ll be modifying existing programs and writing completely new ones of your own.

Sense lets you do much more than program your own computer; it lets you send information to the internet and receive it from other machines. You will use Sense to write simple online games, download news from sites such as the BBC, and even let your fellow students know what you are up to.

Sense is intended to give you the skills to design programs in any language. Once you’ve had experience with Sense you will understand how programs are designed and written. If you choose to study programming at a higher level you will see the same structures and patterns appearing in completely different languages. If you’re an experienced programmer you’ll appreciate the value of working with software objects and message passing between objects; concepts that are fundamental to modern computer programming.

The SenseBoard – the vision of the ubiquitous computer hasn’t been realised yet, so there’s plenty of opportunity for you or one of your fellow students to invent it. The SenseBoard has been designed to work with Sense and give you a few of the features of a research laboratory in something that sits in the palm of your hand.

Connect the SenseBoard to your computer, install the provided software and you’re ready to go. Use the SenseBoard on its own, or with the supplied sensors and motor to build a weather station, a home security device or a device from your imagination. Everything just clicks together – no solder, no danger and no experience needed.

You can program every feature of your SenseBoard using Sense. They have been designed to work together to allow you to concentrate on what you want to do rather than worrying about how to do it.

You never know – you might just invent the future.

Entry

This is a key introductory Level 1 module. Level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at Level 2.

You will need to be able to carry out all the following activities on your computer as part of studying this module: 

  • writing with a word-processor
  • saving and locating files
  • installing software
  • accessing a website. 

You should also be able to perform simple calculations, read and understand written English of a style and complexity characteristic of a professional magazine or quality newspaper, and write clearly in English.

The module will help you to develop your skills in all the following areas: using your computer, reading and writing about ICTs, carrying out calculations, and learning at a distance.

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

Preparatory work

Before the module starts you may find it helpful to look at the Strategic study techniques section of our Skills for OU Study website.

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 includes significant amounts of work with a computer. The module team are aware that disabled students may be using additional hardware or software; some of this may not work effectively with the module software, but every effort is being made to collect information about this and to make as many components as possible accessible. See our Accessibility Guide: students with disabilities for more information.

Written transcripts of any audio components and accessible electronic versions of printed material are available. 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.

Some aspects of this module are not fully accessible to all visually impaired students. This includes some features in the Google Apps for Education package used to meet some of the learning outcomes. Other learning outcomes are met through the writing and implementation of programming using the provided programming language (Sense) and electronic board (SenseBoard). These aspects are not fully accessible to visually impaired students and studying them will require extra time and possibly using a sighted helper. Versions with improved accessibility are planned for future presentations. An alternative approach to using Google Apps for Education is to use other software (not provided) such as Microsoft Office, which will allow most of the relevant learning outcomes to be achieved. However some optional activities will only be able to be completed by using Google Apps for Education.

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

Printed study texts, online study texts, website, DVDs, online forums, and a SenseBoard.

This module makes use of the optional Google Apps for Education account provided to all Open University students. This is subject to a privacy policy and, for registered OU students, does not include advertising. Most of the learning outcomes addressed by the use of Google services can be achieved with other software (not provided) such as Microsoft Office. However some optional activities will only be able to be completed by using your Google Apps for Education account.

You will need

You will need a headset with a microphone and earphones to take part in online tutorials and collaborative activities.

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 DVD.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007, or an Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer, 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.

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. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. 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. In addition, there will be online tutorials and other collaborative activities which will take place in your tutor group’s online forum. Throughout your study you can use this forum to keep in touch with your tutor and with other members of your tutor group.

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 that prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement before you submit your assignment on paper.

You must use the online iCMA system to submit your interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs). Assessment is an essential part of the teaching, so you are expected to complete it all. You will be given more detailed information when you begin the module.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014 and February 2015. We expect it to be available twice 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

“Having not studied for over 25 years I was quite apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. However, this module ...”
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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 TU100
Credits 60
OU Level 1
SCQF level 7
FHEQ level 4
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
7 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
No examination
No residential school

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