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Educational aims

Professionals working in the IT sector bring many different kinds of expertise to their work. The aim of this diploma is to equip you with the knowledge and skills you will need to underpin a career in this sector. As well as developing your knowledge and understanding of the fundamental technologies and techniques. and the issues involved in their application, it will also:

  • prepare you to keep ahead in a rapidly changing subject area by helping you to develop as an independent learner
  • develop relevant skills in communication, numeracy, and collaborative working
  • enable you to apply your learning in your private, social and professional life.

And, depending on the pathway you choose through the qualification, you may gain:

  • practical experience in the use of information and communication technologies
  • an understanding of the types of software and ICT systems that are now being constructed and used, such as distributed internet systems, intelligent systems and databases, and the digital network that underlies the internet itself
  • a grasp of the key concepts of computing and of modern computer systems
  • skills in the main tasks that are carried out as software is built and maintained, such as analysis, design, programming and evaluation.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant principles and concepts underlying computing and IT
  • apply correctly common techniques for the design and development of computing and IT systems
  • demonstrate awareness of the range of situations in which computing and IT systems are used in the workplace and the ways in which people interact with them
  • demonstrate an appreciation of the ethical, social and legal issues that can be associated with the deployment of computing and IT systems in the workplace
  • understand the principles and benefits of personal career development planning.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • apply correctly key computing and IT concepts in a range of contexts, including your workplace
  • apply appropriate techniques and tools for abstracting, modelling, problem-solving, designing and testing computing and IT systems in your workplace
  • compare and contrast, specifications and implementations of software systems and/or simple hardware systems in your workplace
  • reflect on what you achieve in your studies and your work, and how you might improve your performance.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • analyse, design, evaluate and/or test information technologies in your workplace
  • engage effectively in planning your personal career development
  • plan, monitor and review your progress as an independent learner
  • identify and explain the ethical, social and legal issues that may arise during the development and use of computing and IT systems in your workplace
  • use ICT tools and numerical skills, as appropriate, to help you work effectively.

Key skills

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • communicate information, arguments and ideas effectively, using the styles and language appropriate to your subject, purpose and audience
  • work in a group, communicating effectively in a distance setting where the communication is computer-mediated
  • work independently, planning, monitoring, and reviewing your own learning
  • find, assess and use information from a variety of sources, using information technology where necessary
  • use appropriate numerical and analytical techniques to solve problems
  • understand a range of technological problems and apply suitable techniques for solving them.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will learn independently, using the following types of material, provided by us:

  • printed teaching texts
  • multimedia packages, on CDROM, DVD and the Web
  • directed readings from textbooks and papers
  • specialised software tools.

We will support your learning with:

  • self-assessment questions and exercises, included in the teaching texts
  • programming tasks, computer-based investigations and open-ended project work
  • feedback and guidance from a tutor; tutorials, revision and day schools
  • email and computer conferences
  • study guides.

We will assess your learning with:

  • tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
  • multiple-choice computer-marked assignments (CMAs)
  • formal examinations
  • progress reports.

Cognitive skills are promoted in the teaching materials via a range of activities including self-assessment exercises, multi-media tasks and computer-based investigations. They are supported by tutor led discussions and activities at regional tutorials and day schools. Online forums provide an environment for interaction bringing students, tutors and module teams members together for critical discussion and guidance. Tutor feedback aids the development of these skills.
Cognitive skills are assessed by questions asking for the application of concepts in new situations, for analysis, for synthesis, etc., (TMAs and examination) and also by more open-ended design, investigative and project activities (TMAs and examinable component).

Key skills are explicitly taught and developed within the teaching materials and are supported by tutor feedback and guidance on TMAs. There is a progressive development of key skills through the levels of the qualification.
Key skills are assessed by TMAs, by examinations where practicable and by examinable components.

Practical and professional skills are developed through the teaching materials and are supported by tutor feedback and guidance on TMAs.
Practical skills are assessed by TMAs and examinable components. Some professional skills are developed but not assessed.