Information and communication technologies: software for an Open University course

Rosewell, Jonathan; Bromley, Jane; Marshall, Sam and Smith, Steve (2003). Information and communication technologies: software for an Open University course. In: Computers and Learning 2003: 21st Century Learning, 8-10 Apr 2003, Queen's University, Belfast.


T209 Information and Communication Technologies is a new Open University course studied at a distance by 2000 students each year using books, CD-ROM software, and on-line conferencing. Part of the course description reads:

“The convergence of information and communication technologies has produced radical changes in the way society, organizations and individuals function. Information can be processed and transmitted globally in fractions of a second. Mobile systems keep us in touch and informed wherever we are. Machines recognize spoken orders for our groceries through complex networks transporting encrypted data. These are profound changes to our social and economic structures. Unless we begin to understand them we will become powerless to resist, to influence the agenda, to plan alternative futures.”

In this presentation we will show some of the software that is used to illustrate these themes and to support student learning. It includes a network simulator that allows experimentation on network topologies and performance, a speech recognition and synthesis toolkit, tools for encryption and decryption, audio-visual presentations, and searchable text resource material. Some of this material was newly written for the course; other parts are bought in. We will discuss some of the issues that arose in developing and supporting the software.

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