My Computing and IT degree

Rucksack with laptop, books, notepad and pen on wooden bench
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

To study with the Open University, you need to create an account, register on a degree and choose your modules. I created an account in February when I started looking at courses. This meant I had a bit of a wait until registration for modules starting in October opened at the end of March.

The BSc (Hons) Computing and IT degree is split into three stages. Each stage is made up of 120 credits and takes one year of full-time study or two years if, like me, you’re studying part-time.

So, for Stage 1, I must study three computing and IT modules and one of two mathematics modules.

For stages 2 and 3, I will need to select a degree route. There are four routes to choose from: software, communications and networking, communications and software, and a broad route. I don’t need to decide until I enrol on stage 2 modules, so I’ll wait and see where my interests lie in Stage 1.

More immediately, the first computing and IT module I must study in Stage 1 is TM111, Introduction to Computing and IT 1. It appears to be a broad overview of computer science and information technology topics. TM111 uses OU Build, which is the Open University’s version of Scratch, the visual programming language developed by MIT, to introduce programming concepts.

The other broad introductory computing module is TM112, Introduction to Computing and IT 2. It appears to follow on from TM111, I don’t think you can study both at the same time. Most people, like me, will study them consecutively. TM112 continues to introduce programming concepts but, unlike TM111, uses the popular Python programming language.

The third computing module in Stage 1 is TM129, Technologies in Practice. This long-standing module focuses on three practical areas; robotics, networking and Linux. I must have at least started or completed TM111 before I can study TM129. The Open University website says that TM129 will run for the last time next year. This suggests it will either be replaced or heavily updated and, so, depending upon when I start it, I might get to study a brand-new module.

Both TM111 and TM112 run for six months, from October to March or April to September. TM129 runs for nine months from October to June or February to September. They’re all 30 credit modules. However, the Open University estimates you need to spend 14 hours of study time per week on TM111 and TM112 because of their truncated length. For TM129, it’s eight hours.

I will be starting TM111 in October, followed by TM112 in April because the Open University recommends that you study them one after the other. Then, as I am studying part-time, I plan to enrol in TM129 the following year.

Doing it this way does mean no summer break after my first year of Stage 1. In fact, it’ll be something like 21 months of studying without a break. I’ll have to wait until the end of my second year before I can have a few (by then, well-earned) months off from my books.

Besides, I think if I waited until the following October to start TM112, I would really struggle with the six-month gap between computing modules. It would seem like an age and I probably wouldn’t remember a thing!

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