Decisions!

My two modules started officially on Saturday, I have done some work over the last week as I have been able to access the module material. I have finished the first week on Web technologies and so far it has been ok, just a plethora of information and no practical work yet, so I can't say much about it yet. However, TM257 Cisco Networking is a lot to take in.

I am just over half way through chapter 1 and there is so much to do, The chapter sections are quite long and there are quite a few activities to do that takes a lot of time, also there are Lab sessions to do, the lab I am doing at the moment wants me to search the internet for ISP's that give a convergence service! I don't see why that is even relevant!

I know it may sound like I'm just bitching and whining about how much work I need to do, but on a more serious note, I can't see how I am going to fit it all in as well as work 5 and a half days week.

I have this week off thankfully,  so I am going to be concentrating on getting a good head start on both the modules, I will have to see how it goes and if needs must, I will have to defer one of the modules, I would prefer to add an extra year to my studies than to get bad marks in my assessments and overall module score. So if I have only one module to concentrate on it will take the stress off a bit.

Another plan would have been to start one module in October and then start the second one in February but then I would not next summer off from studying! If I start to get behind on one of the modules I will talk to my tutor and student support to find out what my options are.

 

The start of my studies

I haven't written anything on here for a month of so, I have been enjoying the summer, free from any study. It is coming to the end of September and the module website for the two modules I have enrolled in is open.

I have had a look at the Cisco Networking module and as I haven't been assigned a tutor yet I can't really access the learning material as it is on a separate site owned and run by Cisco its self. So in essence, nothing much to write about there!

However, with the module Web Technologies, I can access most, if not all of the learning material. I have read the module guide and I'm about part way through the introduction of the block. I am getting nervous with this module as it requires a lot of code especially HTML and CSS, I learned a bit about HTML in TU100 but it wasn't really in depth, I have enrolled in a free course that starts tomorrow (Saturday 22/09/18, this should hopefully brush up and give me a refresher course in programming.

I can also see and read what the first TMA is going to be for Web Technologies, by the looks of it I have to change some HTML code to work properly and to be able to produce a static webpage, I think that the 3 TMA's collectively will be to arrange and publish a new website for the OURC (Open University Running Club).

Cisco Networking has a compulsary day school which I have to attend in April, and as far as I can see we have a test at the end of that school! I really hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew, for anyone who is actually keeping up with this blog will know that I am always full of self-doubt, I can't help it, I have always been like that and I can't see me changing any time soon.

pexels-photo-1148820

I have realized that there is so much that goes into computer networking and its not just the case of getting a network switch and a few ethernet cables and computers and plugging them together. it is far more complicated than that, of course, it can also be that simple for, let us say, a home network setup. But for a corporate office setup there is more to consider like how many subnets you need, whether you will use static IP addresses, firewalls, network resources such as file server services and web server services, as well as managing the deployment of applications and software updates.

I think once I start the free programming course I will remember what I have done in terms of HTML and CSS and I am hoping it all comes flooding back to me.

I'm a member for Facebook groups for the Cisco Module and the Web Technologies module, I have also joined the Whatsapp groups as well so I will have plenty of support not forgetting the resources that the OU supply.

 

My next modules starting in October 2018

I have just enrolled in my next two modules. They are Cisco Networking (CCNA) part 1 (TM257) and Web Technologies (TT284) I am looking forward to starting these two modules, the CCNA will help me to understand the fundamentals of computer networking mainly working with LANs.

It has two TMA's, an EMA and a residential school which gives me hands-on experience in working with networks, using Cisco equipment. There is also going to be an assessment at the end of the day school which scares me a little! However, I do get completion certificates from Cisco if I successfully finish the course. and these are widely recognized in the industry.

The other module, Web Technologies is separated into blocks 1 - 4. Starting with the Foundations of web technology, this will give me an understanding of basic web technologies such as the historical development of the web, and basic client-server architecture protocols such as HTTP HTML, CSS and XML.

This module as 3 TMA's and an EMA.

Below is the full description of each of the modules I will be studying this year this is straight from the OU website.

Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1

As a Cisco Networking Academy Support Centre, The Open University offers the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) version 6 curriculum that provides the foundational knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to configure a small-scale LAN/WAN using Cisco equipment. As part of your studies, you'll complete CCNA 1 Introduction to Networks and CCNA 2 Routing and Switching Essentials and gain hands-on experience of configuring networks at a compulsory day school.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code TM257
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 9
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
Includes residential school

What you will study

The full Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) curriculum consists of four parts, sometimes referred to as CCNA 1–4. This module covers CCNA 1–2.1

Part 1: Introduction to Networks (CCNA 1)
This part will provide you with a strong theoretical and practical grounding in all aspects of networking, with a particular focus on local area networks (LANs). It will introduce you to the key networking hardware and software and give you your first insight into the importance of internet addressing.

Part 2: Routing and Switching Essentials (CCNA 2)
Routers and switches are used extensively in wide area and local area networks. Their basic function is to forward data packets across networks and between networks. Part 2 focuses on how you can configure routers to operate in computer networks as well as their switch counterpart.

Each part consists of a number of chapters. Most chapters have an online exam, and each of the two parts has an online final exam.

1Module Cisco networking (CCNA) part 2 (TM357) covers CCNA 3–4.

You will learn

This module will:

  • help you develop an understanding of how computer networks work, and the principles behind them
  • help you develop the practical skills needed to configure network devices such as routers and switches
  • provide you with an opportunity to go on and gain an industry-recognized qualification (CCENT/CCNA certification).

Vocational relevance

You'll learn both theory and practical elements of network addressing and management, router configuration, switch management and securing a local area network.

In addition, this module will thoroughly prepare you for the industry-standard ICND1 examination.

You must make your own arrangements to sit ICND1 – there are exam centres all over the world

Residential school

The day school is a practical experience with Cisco Networking technologies and a Cisco assessment at the end. Your work during the day school will be linked to the end-of-module assessment. You must satisfactorily attend a day school to pass this course and gain the completion certificates from Cisco.

We'll hold the day schools at specific venues on Saturdays (and some Sundays) near the end of the module. We'll offer a choice of dates – usually over two different weekends at each venue.

The cost of day schools is included in the module fee, but you must make your own travel arrangements.

In exceptional circumstances, we can provide an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE). Exceptional circumstances include students who are registered disabled; the carer of a registered disabled person; members of HM Forces (or their dependents) serving abroad; or HM Government employees (or their dependents) working abroad. We will consider other applications for the ALE on an individual basis

Entry

There are no formal entry requirements to study this module.

However, as this is an OU level 2 module you'll need a good knowledge of the subject area obtained through any of the following:

  • OU level 1 study
  • equivalent work at another university
  • experience as an IT professional

Outside the UK

This module is available outside the UK; however, unless you must study this course as part of your OU qualification, do not choose it if you will be unable to travel to the day schools. Students resident outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland might prefer to study for Cisco certification at a local academy.

Synchronous tutorials and communications could be difficult to deliver to students outside the UK due to time differences. If you can't attend the synchronous tutorials or make synchronous communications, you'll have to use asynchronous alternative methods, such as watching recorded tutorials and emailing questions.

Preparatory work

Introduction to computing and information technology 1 (TM111) and Introduction to computing and information technology 2 (TM112) would be ideal preparation for this module.

When you register on TM257, we'll send you details of a free course – Packet Tracer 101. This short (2-hour) course offers you:

  • some familiarisation with the Packet Tracer network simulation software used on the module
  • exposure to some basic networking principles and practices
  • the opportunity to reflect on networking as a potential pathway and career choice; and the opportunity to consider the demands of the Cisco modules.

If you're returning to study, you might find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study website and to read The Good Study Guide by Northedge, (The Open University, 2005).

Study materials

What's included

  • Access to the Cisco study materials, and additional supplementary material, via the module website
  • One practical day-school

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either:

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You'll have a named tutor who will support your studies and mark and comment on your assignment work; you can also seek academic advice and guidance from them. Your tutor will offer support through email, telephone and online forum discussions. Additionally, there will be face-to-face and online tutorials. We will advertise tutorials before the module starts; TM257 tutors will take them, but depending on the tutorial, not necessarily your own named tutor. We recommend you book online to attend these tutorials.

Assessment

You can find the assessment details for this module in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone. The Accessibility Statement below outlines what studying this module involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Mode of study

All of this module's study materials are online. Online materials are composed of pages of text with images; audio/video clips of 3–10 minutes (all with transcripts/subtitles); diagrams; interactive media; animations; and multiple-choice self-assessed quizzes. Online materials also include links to external resources, online forums and online tutorial rooms.

Tuition strategy

This module provides two online tutorials and a compulsory face-to-face day school/workshop. The face-to-face day school offers an online (or other) alternative (see Practical work section). Although not compulsory, tutorials will help you consolidate your learning.

Working with others

You will be required to work with other students and we assess this. This includes looking at, and commenting on, others' work; reflecting on others' comments on your work; and/or working together with fellow learners on a project/task.

Practical work

TM257 includes a compulsory face-to-face day school. Day schools are held at a range of venues around the United Kingdom and Ireland and all meet OU physical and educational accessibility requirements. Day school laboratory-based practical work forms a required component of assessment. This includes some collaborative group work. Students who are disabled or who are the carers of disabled persons may choose to take the Alternative Learning Experience (ALE), which is based on the same experience as the face-to-face day school. Students should contact Residential Schools (phone 01908 653235 or email residential-schools@open.ac.uk) for more information and also to register for the ALE.

Diagrams and other visual content

The study materials contain a significant number of diagrams. Producing your own version of one of these of these is an important part of the module assessment. Figure descriptions are provided for all figures by Cisco as part of their content – there is a 'switch' to access these within the online content context menu.

Finding information

You will be required to search for, and make use of, third-party material online, and we assess this. We can provide alternatives for required/assessed research material to enable you to meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Assessment

This module has two Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs), which you must submit online via the OU electronic TMA system, and an end-of-module assessment submitted online. There are also two Cisco self-assessment exams: one taken at the day school, and the other online.

Feedback

You'll receive feedback from your tutor on your submitted Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs). This will help you to reflect on your TMA performance. You should refer to it to help you prepare for your next assignment.

Schedule

We structure all University modules to a set timetable and you'll need time-management skills to keep your studies on track. We'll support you in developing these skills.

Specialist software

The module materials and assessment ask you to use the following specialist software: Packet Tracer network simulator, and may not be fully accessible as a result. The curriculum has been adapted to enable students to complete the content; however, the type of screen reader that works with the content and the network simulator is very specific and requires pre-configuration.

Future availability

Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1 (TM257) starts once a year in October (places are limited and in high demand, so enrol early). This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2023.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2023.

Professional recognition

Those within the networking technician and engineering discipline consider Cisco certification professional recognition and personal accreditationCCENT certification is an invaluable entry accreditation for the network engineering profession.


Web technologies

The World Wide Web continues to provide a foundation for the development of a broad range of increasingly influential and strategic technologies, supporting a large variety of applications and services, both in the private and public sectors. There is a growing need for management and decision makers to gain a clearer understanding of the application development process, from planning through to deployment and maintenance. This module will give you an insight into architectures, protocols, standards, languages, tools and techniques; an understanding of approaches to more dynamic and mobile content; and demonstrate how you can analyse requirements, plan, design, implement and test a range of web applications.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code TT284
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 9
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

What you will study

Over the last few years the internet and the World Wide Web have provided the basis for the development of a range of strategic business solutions.

As web technologies have entered the mainstream of IT development a wide range of applications in sectors such as marketing, selling, purchasing, banking and publishing have been deployed, positioning the Web in the relationship between providers and users.

This module starts with a focus on the foundations of web applications, including protocols, standards and content handling. It builds on these by exploring application architectures, components and alternative application designs before considering how applications and content can be made more dynamic and mobile.

The module is made up of four blocks and a project.

Block 1 Foundations of web technology

The first block covers the basic technologies on which the Web is founded. Aspects covered include: historic development of the Web; 'architecture' and basic client-server architecture; protocols such as HTTP; content markup (HTML, CSS, XML) and issues of accessibility and usability; standards and standardisation organisations (W3C, Internet working group); and security (firewalls, HTTPS, certificates).

This block of the module covers all of the basic foundations on which the remainder of the module builds.

Block 2 Web architectures

After examining the different approaches to web application architecture, Block 2 focuses on how the components of the client-server architecture can deliver dynamic content to web pages.

This block covers web application architectures, including cloud technology; server and client side components (web browsers, databases) and programming languages (JavaScript, PHP, and SQL).

While this block considers a range of programming languages and their roles in developing applications, it does not teach programming and you are expected to have already acquired these skills.

This block includes both JavaScript and PHP programming activities. All the code required to produce a simple web application is provided and explained, but you should be prepared to utilize and adapt the examples in simple ways.

Block 3 Mobile content

Block 3 examines the trend toward more portable content and content customization and also explores mobile content and applications. It considers aspects such as Web 2, content streaming (RSS), content manipulation (DOM, XSLT, etc.) and approaches to delivering content to mobile devices. You will also undertake the development of a mobile application using specialized mobile content and applications software.

Block 4 Developing applications

The final block explores how applications are planned, designed and developed by IT professionals, examining project planning, application design, development environments, and tools as well as application deployment and maintenance.

Project

At the end of the module, you will carry out a substantial project applying the skills and techniques from each block.

Vocational relevance

The module helps develop important skills which are particularly relevant to the workplace, such as written communication skills, information literacy, independent learning and critical analysis.

In an IT context, the module will provide practitioners with relevant experience, skills, and insight into a range of important aspects, such as the source and appropriate use of standards, appreciation of the application lifecycle from design to decommissioning, and the range of current approaches to web application design and implementation.

Entry

There are no formal entry requirements to study this module.

However, as this is an OU level 2 module you'll need a good knowledge of the subject area obtained through any of the following:

  • OU level 1 study
  • equivalent work at another university
  • experience as an IT professional

You must be familiar with basic programming concepts(conditionals, loops, functions, arrays, etc.) and writing small programs in a language such as Java, Python, PHP or JavaScript.

Preparatory work

The programming skills developed in Introduction to computing and information technology 1 (TM111) and Introduction to computing and IT 2 (TM222), or Object-oriented Java programming (M250), would be ideal preparation, especially if you're not familiar with basic programming.

TT284 covers a range of web technologies at a depth appropriate for an OU level 2 module. We'll expect you to engage with the whole networked learning environment: online module materials, tutorials, module forums and practical activities on the server.

You must be prepared to spend significant amounts of time online each week. The stop-start nature of the work could make it difficult for you to measure how much time you're actually devoting to the module. Also, students work at different rates, and some students need longer than others to get up to speed.

Attitude is extremely important – you'll inevitably discover some dead ends and these can be demoralizing unless you cope with them constructively. Have an open mind: if one approach isn't working, try another; if you think you're on the wrong track, contact your tutor or post to the forums.

If you're returning to study, you might find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study website and to read The Good Study Guide by Northedge, (The Open University, 2005).

Study materials

What's included

This module is presented fully online within The Open University's virtual learning environment (VLE), which gives access to the study materials in electronic format, online forums and other online resources. There are no printed texts: all the study materials will be available online from the website.

You may wish to use a headset, with a microphone and earphones, to talk to your tutor and other students online during some of the module activities.

You will need

In order to successfully run the module software, we recommend that you have a minimum of 1GB of memory (RAM) on the computer that you will use for your studies.

If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that for Block 4 and the end-of-module assessment (EMA) of this module you can only use it by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either:

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • macOS 10.7 or higher

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

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 us 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 must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) is an individual project.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone. The Accessibility Statement below outlines what studying this module involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Mode of study

All of this module's study materials are online. Online materials are composed of pages of text with images, animation, portions of code, and short videos all with transcripts/subtitles. Online materials also include links to external resources, online forums and online tutorial rooms. The majority of the module resources have been designed to be as accessible as possible: they can be navigated using a keyboard rather than a mouse, the text they contain is accessible by screen readers, and alternative long descriptions are provided where appropriate. Due to the changing graphical display of some of the activities, some students benefit from the support of a sighted helper.

Tuition strategy

This module provides online tutorials. Although not compulsory, attendance at tutorials will help you consolidate your learning.

Working with others

For some of the activities, you may be asked to come up with your own answer to a particular question and then share your answer with other students in the module forums. This will help you to look at a topic from different perspectives and gain a broader understanding of the subject.

Practical work

Computer practical work forms a required component of assessment. You will be asked to carry out practical activities using specialized software. Given the nature of the activities, some students may need a sighted helper.

Mathematical and scientific expressions and notations

Mathematical and scientific symbols and expressions are used in some parts of the module. You will not be required to use such notation within assessments.

Diagrams and other visual content

The study materials contain a number of diagrams and graphs and a considerable number of code portions. Reading and interpreting the diagrams, and interpreting and producing code is an important part of the study of this module, and are assessed. Figure descriptions are provided for all figures. If you have any concerns about this aspect of the module, please contact us for further advice.

Finding information

You will be required to search for, and make use of, third-party material online and this is assessed. Alternatives for required/assessed research material can be provided to enable you to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module.

Assessment

This module has Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs), which must be submitted online via the OU electronic TMA system, interactive Computer-Marked Assignments (iCMAs) completed online, and an End-of-Module Assessment (EMA) submitted online.

Feedback

You will receive feedback from your tutor on your submitted Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs). This will help you to reflect on your TMA performance. You should refer to it to help you prepare for your next assignment.

Schedule

All University modules are structured according to a set timetable and you will need time-management skills to keep your studies on track. You will be supported in developing these skills. If you are concerned about the time management required at undergraduate level, please contact us before you register on the module to find out what we can do to support you.

Specialist software

To do your practical work you will need a simple editor that you will use to develop your code, and a suitable web browser. The module has been developed using the 'Brackets' editor, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox browsers, but other modern text editors and browsers can be used.

Future availability

Web technologies (TT284) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2020.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020