This module provides an opportunity to sample some of the key areas in computing and information technology. You will be introduced to three topics as tasters for your future studies and career: robotics, networking, and Linux. Studying these topics will enable you to develop essential skills for future employment in the computing and IT industry. You will be applying what you learn by developing a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and understanding in these areas. By studying this OU level 1 module you can begin to explore where your future career ambitions or interests might lie.

## What you will study

The module is structured into three study blocks, each based upon a key area in computing and IT, and the development of a portfolio which forms part of your final assessment.

You will study both OU materials and third party materials that support your learning in the three key topics. The module is practical and activity-based, and much of the study material is delivered online. You will therefore be working at your computer for significant periods of time.

#### Block 1 – Robotics and the meaning of life

This first block will introduce you to robotics and the design of intelligent machines. Robots are no longer the stuff of fiction; they are found in factories, on the battlefield and in our homes. You will learn how robots work and how to program and control robots using the specially written software we provide. You will also examine the relationships between humans and robots, the impact robots will have on our lives, and the ethical issues surrounding the use of robots.

#### Block 2 – Introduction to computer networking

Networking computers provides a sound grounding in the basic principles of computer networks and the challenges in setting these up and maintaining them. Topics covered include protocol models and layering; IP addressing; basic network design and network devices. A third party book will be used to introduce these concepts and your learning will be supported through computer-based practical exercises.

#### Block 3 – Introduction to Linux

Finally, this block introduces you to one of the most extensively used operating systems worldwide. You will examine the many similarities that exist between Linux and other popular operating systems and also the diverse technology available in the Linux community. You will be provided with tools to use free versions of Linux on your computer to carry out practical activities.

As you progress through the module, you will develop a portfolio of your work for the various practical activities which relate to each block. This will help demonstrate your skills and understanding in the areas you have studied. The portfolio will also be a significant component of the end-of-module assessment. Working on the portfolio will help you to think about your future career interests and will inform decisions you need to make on your future areas of study.

I think that this module will get my brain working towards learning more about networking as that is the career I want to pursue.

Technologies in Practice is a 30 credit module so I have to enrol in another one which is also 30 credits, unfortunately it is a mathematics module called **"Discovering Mathematics" **as I have said in my last post, I am not looking forward to this as I have not got any confidence in my mathematical abilities, I find the subject very difficult. below is the full module description...

# Discovering mathematics

This key introductory OU level 1 module provides a gentle start to the study of mathematics. It will help you to integrate mathematical ideas into your everyday thinking and build your confidence in using and learning mathematics. You'll cover statistical, graphical, algebraic, trigonometric and numerical concepts and techniques, and be introduced to mathematical modelling. Formal calculus is not included and you are not expected to have any previous knowledge of algebra. The skills introduced will be ideal if you plan to study more mathematics modules, such as *Essential mathematics 1* (MST124). It is also suitable for users of mathematics in other areas, such as computing, science, technology, social science, humanities, business and education.

Course facts |

About this course: |

Course code |
MU123 |

Credits |
30 |

OU Level |
1 |

SCQF level |
7 |

FHEQ level |
4 |

Course work includes: |

**4** Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) |

**5** Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs) |

End-of-module assessment |

No residential school |

## What you will study

In order to study this module successfully you should expect to be actively doing mathematics, rather than just reading it. You will also be encouraged to develop skills in interpreting and explaining mathematics, and this aspect will be assessed in some of the assignment questions.

Samples of the study materials, including example assessment questions, are available from our MathsChoices website.

Providing you have the appropriate background knowledge, you should expect to study for about eight hours a week. Many of the topics covered in the module depend on your understanding of topics in earlier units. So, if you have not fully understood earlier material, you may find later material more difficult and time consuming. This is particularly true of graphs, formulas and algebra. Naturally, the study time required for the module tends to increase before an assignment deadline.

### You will learn

Successful study of this module should begin to develop your skills in working with mathematical concepts and using them to solve problems.

You will learn about:

- key ideas in mathematics, including some statistics, algebra, geometry and trigonometry
- mathematical vocabulary and notation introduced and developed in the module
- selection and use of mathematical techniques for solving problems
- interpretation of results in the context of real life situations
- simple mathematical arguments
- how to explain mathematical ideas from the module in writing
- development of skills in learning mathematics
- use of relevant ICT tools for learning and for working on mathematical problems
- describing problems mathematically
- analysing mathematical reasoning.

The module contains many real world contexts such as journey planning, glaciers, supply and demand, depreciation, poverty levels, chance events, and medical conditions (such as cancer), to help illustrate mathematical topics.

## Entry

This is a key introductory OU level 1 module. OU 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 are advised to have previous experience in mathematics, before commencing this module. In particular, you should be confident with the following topics:

- arithmetic of numbers, including negative numbers and fractions
- scientific notation for numbers (sometimes known as standard form)
- powers of numbers including square roots
- using your scientific calculator effectively for the above topics, and for working with brackets and π
- using simple word formulas
- drawing and interpreting simple charts and graphs.

You are *not* expected to have any skills in algebra before the module starts.

It is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle this module, since students who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully and get the most enjoyment out of it. You are strongly advised to follow the recommendations given in the *Preparatory work* section below.

There are two mathematics entry-level modules, this one and Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). Your choice of which one to start with depends on your mathematical knowledge, experience and on the qualification you have in mind.

For advice about where to begin your study in maths please look at our MathsChoices website. The website also contains a self-assessment quiz to help you decide if this is the right module for you.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

### Preparatory work

It is recommended that you work through some of the free and open educational resources from the Maths Help website, where there is a module to help you to refresh your knowledge of each of the following topics:

- Numbers, units and arithmetic
- Rounding and estimation
- Ratio, proportion and percentages
- Squares, roots and powers
- Diagrams, charts and graphs
- Language, notation and formulas
- Geometry.

Alternatively, you could study any textbook that covers the same topics.

I know this is only a 30 credit module but it still scares me, I know that Richard is really good at maths and he has a way of explaining to me in a way I understand, but I still am not looking forward to it. Looking at the list above it seems really difficult - I will come back to this section of this blog and add to this and tell you (or me as no one else reads this blog!) if I have been worrying about nothing, or, my worrying has been justified. Watch this space!!