Bissell, Christopher and Kear, Karen
Networked Living: a new approach to teaching introductory ICT.
In: SEFI 34th Annual Conference: Engineering Education and Active Students, 28 Jun - 1 Jul 2006, Uppsala, Sweden.
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The course T175 Networked Living is a 300 hour, multiple media, distance learning course offered by the UK
Open University. The first presentation of the course, in 2005, attracted over 1600 students. T175 introduces
students to general concepts of information and communication technology in a range of contexts, including:
communication and identity; entertainment and information; and health, transport and government. It is an
introductory (level 1) course for a variety of bachelors’ degrees, including the BSc programmes in: Information
and Communication Technology; IT and Computing; and Technology; as well as the BEng engineering
programme. The course was designed with a focus on retention of students and preparing them for further study.
Student workload and pacing was carefully planned and there is a significant study skills component. The course
uses a range of media, including: text, audio, computer animation and other software, and a website. Active
learning is encouraged by means of activities, online quizzes, animations, spreadsheets and a learning journal.
Continuous assessment is carried out via a mix of multiple-choice assignments (to test factual and numerical
skills) and written assignments (which include elementary research into new topics). The course culminates with
a written end-of-course assessment. This includes a major reflective component, as well as more traditional
questions designed to test knowledge and understanding.
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