T324 - Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies - Open University Page 1 of 5
Keeping ahead in information and communication
Course code Credit points OU Level
T324 30 3
SCQF level QAA level
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination No residential school
Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies (ICT) not only means
keeping up to date with rapidly changing technologies. It also means successfully using
these new technologies in complex systems in which people play a major part.
Therefore this course addresses the two important questions: How do you keep up to
date and how can you analyse ICT systems and take account of social factors? This
course will equip you with the skills to tackle these questions, in the context of studying
several contemporary ICT systems. By the end, you should be well-placed as an
independent learner to keep ahead in ICT .
The course consists of three 10-point Blocks, with the precise content changing from
year to year as the technology changes. In addition to studying some specially written
material you will research the subject for yourself. The course structure is as follows:
Block 1: Wireless technologies. The rapid development of mobile digital wireless
communications (which includes wi-fi, Bluetooth etc.), is made possible by a range of
factors ranging from scientific principles to economic and regulatory constraints. Block 1
looks at some of these factors - specifically, electromagnetic radiation and its spectrum,
modulation and multiplexing, spectrum regulation and networking protocols.
Block 2: Wireless sensor networks: an investigation. This block guides you through a
search for technical documents and provides an opportunity for and help in reading
specialist, technical articles and reports. The focus for the enquiry is on systems that
use large numbers of wireless sensors, their applications and technical issues that arise
in deploying them. The in-depth reading will not only update your technological
knowledge and understanding, it will also help you develop your researching skills.
Block 3: ICTs in context. In this block you will investigate how social, cultural and
political environments influence the ways ICTs have evolved and are used. You will
develop your skills of critical analysis of ICT systems, including an examination of why
so many large-scale systems fail, and you will also look at ICTs in the developing world.
T324 - Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies - Open University Page 2 of 5
You will learn
After completing this course you should, among other things:
understand the basic principles of wireless technologies
have a knowledge of one or more emerging standards in the wireless area
understand the technologies of large-scale wireless sensor systems
understand how ICT systems are influenced by their social, cultural and political
understand the structure of a typical specialist document dealing with an ICT topic
be able to extract useful information from highly technical documents, including
journal articles, product information, websites, etc.
be able to learn independently from such materials, in order to keep up to date in
be able to evaluate critically a range of resource materials originating from third
parties, including news items and general interest publications
have improved your written communication skills in a range of ICT topics.
This is a Level 3 course. Level 3 courses 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 the language and modelling techniques used by technologists,
such as you would get from appropriate courses at Level 2 offered by the Technology
Faculty. Communication and information technologies (T215) (or the discontinued
courses T209, T293) would be particularly useful.
You should be experienced in using a computer for working with documents,
spreadsheets and accessing the World Wide Web. You also need basic mathematical
skills so that you can work with algebraic equations and carry out numerical
T324 assumes that you are already familiar with communication technology at a level
equivalent to successful study of T215, T209 or T293.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student
Registration & Enquiry Service.
Unless you have studied the discontinued course T305 you should revise the material
on communication technology in any Level 2 courses you have already taken (Modules
1 and 2 in T209 and Block 2 in T293). T529, the ICT CD-ROM distributed with a number
of ICT courses, is also a useful source of revision material.
T324 is a compulsory course in our
BSc (Honours) Information and Communication Technologies (B38)
BA (Honours) Business Studies (B04) (with Information and Communication
T324 - Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies - Open University Page 3 of 5
T324 is an optional course in our
BSc (Honours) Information Technology and Computing (B13)
Diploma in Information Technology (D39)
BSc (Honours) Technology (B20)
It can also count towards most of our other degrees at bachelors level, where it can help
to weight your degree towards a BSc. We advise you to refer to the relevant
qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this course can
count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and
requirements may change.
If you have a disability or additional requirement
The course 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 course
materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Nevertheless, not
all components may be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and
mathematical expressions may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Large print
versions of the course material can be provided on request. You will need to spend
considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet. Our Services
for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.
If you are a new student, or new to courses using a computer or the internet, you will
need to inform us of your particular needs as soon as possible, as some of our support
services may take several weeks to arrange. Details of how to do this and our range of
support services are described in our booklet Meeting Your Needs which you can
download or request from our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.
You can also find information about accessible course materials, financial support and
the Disabled Students' Allowance, equipment and other services, on our Services for
disabled students website. It also includes our contact details for advice and support
both before you register and while you are studying.
Course books, other printed materials, DVD, online forum, course website.
N.B. Some (assessable) material may be provided only in electronic form via the course
This course includes online computer activities you can access these using a web
browser that can play Flash and Shockwave. Some of your course software will be
provided on disk.
T324 - Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies - Open University Page 4 of 5
You will need internet access and a computer. If you have purchased a new Windows
computer since 2002 it should meet your course computing requirements. Check our
Technical Requirements section if your computer is older than this or is otherwise
unusual. Please note that you cannot use an Apple Mac or Linux computer unless it is
running windows Boot Camp or similar.
Teaching and assessment
Support from your tutor
You will have a tutor who will help you with the course 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
Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about
study with The Open University before you register.
The assessment details for this course 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.
Substitution does not apply in T324.
This course may help you to gain recognition from a professional body. Ask our Student
Registration & Enquiry Service for Recognition leaflets 3.3 Professional Engineering
Institutions or 3.7 Computing.
Students also studied
Students who studied this course also studied at some time:
Computers and processors (T224)
Data, computing and information (M150)
Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies (T175)
Technologies for digital media (T325)
The details given here are for the course that starts in February 2011. We expect it to
be available at the same time once a year.