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2.1 Networked devices you use every day

The next activity aims to get you thinking a bit more about how ICT systems form part of your own life and to make you more aware of how you are living in a networked world. ICT systems are embedded in many everyday experiences and we have become so used to this that we hardly notice that we are using them.

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1. Introducing the terminology

Constructing enterprise systems is a complex engineering endeavour. As with other types of engineering, e.g. the construction of aircraft or suspension bridges, a lot of effort has to be put into planning and modelling, so that the final product is what is required and is achieved on time and within budget.

Ben Kovitz (1999) makes a distinction between orderly and exploratory. Orderly engineering is characterised primarily by the application and slight variation of time-tested te
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4.3 A commercial implementation

In order to conclude this section I shall describe a commercial implementation of an object bus. It has been developed by a company known as SoftWired Ltd and is known as iBus. It is based on TCP/IP rather than UDP. The facilities offered by the iBus API provide developers with the facilities to construct objects which can subscribe to channels and to transmit any Java object to a channel. The code for a transmitter is shown below; the import statements are not shown. In
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2.7.4 Change notification sites

These sites are a variation on link checking sites. Here, the customer is notified not when a web document becomes unavailable, but when the document is changed. For example, the customer might be interested in a particular page which advertises some holiday package offers to a particular destination and wants to keep abreast of any changes to the page which might signal the fact that a new improved offer has been added.


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6.2.2 Database servers

To be able to search a website like Lakeland's requires not only a web server but a database server. Like a web server, a database server is a computer that responds to requests from other computers. Its task is to find and extract data from a database.

The web and database servers form part of a distributed system. This means that separate computers exchange data and information across a network (in this case the internet) to produce results for a user. For
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5.1.1 What is DNA?

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is frequently in the news for four main reasons.

  1. DNA can be used in crime detection to eliminate innocent suspects from enquiries or, conversely, to identify with a very high degree of probability the guilty.

  2. DNA is now used in medicine to detect the possibility that diseases having a genetic origin may occur in an individual. This enables doctors to prescribe preventative treatments.

  3. It is
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Unit image: Courtesy of banlon1964 Flickr [accessed 27 October 2006]

All other material within this unit originated at the Open University

1. Join the 200,000 students currently studying with The Open University.


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3.2 Stage 1: Finding out about the exam paper

As a first step, it is a good idea to find out as much as you can about the exam paper for your course. Find out how your exam paper is set out, the way the questions are organised, and what weight each question carries in terms of marks. Different papers adopt different formats. Some require multiple-choice answers. Others ask for essay or short paragraph answers. Some require technical or numerical answers. Reading the instructions on the exam paper is particularly important, as the followi
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1 The experience of reading

The best way to develop your understanding of the reading process is to follow the principles of the Kolb learning cycle, by doing some reading and then reflecting on your experience. To this end, Activity 1 asks you to read an extract from an article by Richard Layard (2003) titled ‘The secrets of happiness’ which appeared in the New Statesman. To keep the task manageable I have reduced the article to half its original length and, for ease of reference, paragraph num
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8.3 Academic arguments

You have looked at some examples of everyday arguments, now look at a short example of an academic argument.

Activity 25

Read the argument below. Compare and contrast it to the previous examples of arguments you have looked at ('W
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5.5 Reflecting on what I have done differently — what was the effect?

We hope that the activities in this section have helped you to bring to mind what you have learned. But we also want you to think about whether you have done anything differently from what you might have tried before starting the unit. In other words, we want you to ask yourself whether the unit has given you the confidence, or some ideas that have encouraged you, to take a bit of a risk, or, as Section 4 puts it, to step outside your comfort zone.

Do not worry if you cannot say that yo
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4.5.3 Formal routes to learning

Here we are thinking both of educational institutions (schools, colleges and universities) and work-based learning, such as National Vocational Qualifications (which accredit learning on the job), apprenticeships, and secondments which allow for rehearsal of old skills in new areas, or the development of new skills to take back to the old setting.

Hand-in-hand with the emphasis on lifelong learning, there has been a growth in flexibility and in the idea of personalised learning. It is n
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4.5.2 Thinking about knowledge and skills

As you learned in Section 3, there are various routes to acquiring knowledge and skills including formal and informal learning opportunities, and individual and social routes to learning.

We now encourage you to think first about formal approaches to acquiring the knowledge and skills you might need and then about informal learning approaches.


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4.5.1 Thinking about resources

Modern-day life often means we have so many commitments that it is hard to find the time to do all the things that we would like to do. However, instead of listing ‘not having the time’ as one of your obstacles, an alternative decision might be to ‘make time’ by temporarily dropping another activity that you currently take part in, so that you can make room for the new one. It is a question of working out where your priorities lie; how motivated you are to achieve one goal rather than
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4.4.8 Time-limited

Setting yourself a time frame for achieving your goal helps to concentrate the mind. If you say, for example, ‘By Christmas I will have …’ or, ‘In three years’ time I will be …’, it may prompt you to set things in motion. Again, be realistic about how long it will take, so that you do not set yourself up for failure.

4.4.7 Realistic

This reminds you to take into account, for example, your current knowledge, skills and qualities; the knowledge skills and qualities you are aiming for; the help and hindrances you are likely to encounter along the way; and the time you have available. Setting realistic goals can help to foster a can-do attitude – success helps to breed success, while failure can breed further failure, as you become more downhearted. So, reach for something that stretches you, but which will not overwhelm y
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4.4 Setting yourself goals

At this point, you may be feeling that you are just not the sort of person who makes plans. You may think that devising plans sounds a bit mechanical, that your preference is to just go along with whatever life deals out. It can be good to take instant decisions and be ‘spontaneous’ and we would not want you to stop doing this, especially if you know, from your past experience, that this can add fun and enjoyment to your life. However, particularly for ‘big’ and important decisions it
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7.2 Drafting reports

As you may remember from Activity 3, the three general principles of a report (whether it is of a social sciences investigation or a scientific experiment) are:

  • Why was it done?

  • How was it done?

  • What does it mean?

You will need to make some decisions, not only abo
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4.2 Reports

Let's look at reports first.

Activity 3

Note down what you consider to be the purpose of a report.

Discussion

Your answer may well depend on the subje
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8.1 Introduction to improving your skills in problem solving

This key skill develops your problem-solving skills in your studies, work or other activities over a period of time. To tackle this key skill, you will need to plan your work over at least 3–4 months to give yourself enough time to practise and improve your skills, to seek feedback from others, and to monitor your progress and evaluate your strategy.

Problem solving runs through many other activities and, rather like the key skill ‘Improving own learning and performance’, it can b
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