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6 A look to the future

So what will computers do for you next? Perhaps they will be the key to solving transport problems. Driverless cars, controlled by computers, are under development. If these ever come to fruition perhaps they could help to reduce the number of road traffic accidents by automatically reducing their speed when they come too close to another car. Or perhaps journeys could be made faster and less frustrating because cars will use communicating computers to analyse traffic density and move along t
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2.3 Computer systems

So far, I have introduced the major components of a computer, namely a processor along with input and output devices, plus main and secondary memory. I now want to explore three of these components a little further, starting with input devices.

Input devices have to collect some information from outside the computer and present it to the computer as data which is in a form the processor can work with. (Strictly speaking, ‘data’ is the plural of the Latin word ‘datum’. But in the
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Introduction

There is more to computers and processors than simply PCs. In fact computers are ubiquitous in everyday life. This unit challenges how we view computers through the examples of processors in kitchen scales and digital cameras, as well as a work of art that, at heart, is a computer.

This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Computers and processors (T224) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore ot
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7 What's going on with online shopping

Most e-commerce sites are designed to mimic as far as possible the process of shopping in real life – find store, locate goods, go to checkout, pay. The only difference is that you cannot take the goods away with you, but have to wait for them to be delivered by post or courier. (Even then, there are parallels in real life – for example, when I buy a washing machine or a fridge from a department store, I do not expect to take it home with me; instead I pay and make arrangements to have th
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2.2.1 Finance

Every time you use a debit or credit card the shop till uses a terminal connected to other computers via a network. Your identification details are automatically transferred from your card to your bank or credit card company for verification, and your balance adjusted accordingly. This also applies if you are shopping online, or over the phone (when booking a cinema ticket, for example). ATMs (also known as cashpoints) allow you to check your bank balance or withdraw cash from wherever you ar
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • describe some of the architectural and programming paradigms used in distributed system development;

  • describe message passing and the role of protocols within a message passing paradigm;

  • introduce the concept of a distributed object;

  • describe how event-based architectures are used within distributed system development;

  • introduce one implementation of an event-based archite
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3.6.5 Self-help groups - revising with others

There is a great deal to be said for working with another student, or group of students, when you are revising. Other students can help you keep the whole revision process in perspective, rather than letting it make you over-anxious. At another level, there is no reason why you shouldn't share marked assignments, revision tips and plans with members of a revision group. You may find that one of your group is good at devising a manageable revision timetable, and another can share some valuable
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3.6.4 Using a computer

Besides other things, a computer offers the opportunity to organise, reorganise, and delete material, without having to write everything out every time you make a change. It also allows you to make notes as you go along, file them easily, and add and update them in your revision period.

You may even find that one of your software packages supports a facility for making notes. You will certainly have a range of layout facilities and graphics to enhance your notes.

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9.2 What is reflection?

Is reflection different to just thinking about your study? And how do we do it? Can someone teach you how to reflect or is it a matter of practice? Can everyone be reflective or are some students - and some people - more reflective than others?

There is no clear definition of reflection or precise way of describing what we mean by a reflective learner. But we can discuss some characteristics of the process, and encourage you to develop your own preferred ways of developing it.

Ref
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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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2.4.6 Your communication skills

The next activity is an opportunity to reflect on your own communication skills. Recognising which skills you already have and use is an important first step towards being able to value and develop them. If you are considering embarking on significant change then you will need to communicate with other people at some point. You may need to explain to people who are close to you what changes you are thinking about. Or you may need to use communication skills to enlist the help of other people.
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7.3.2 Identify the outcomes you hope to achieve

An outcome is the result or consequence of a process. For example, you may want to produce an accurate analysis of some survey data, and to do this you may need to improve and apply your statistical skills. In this case the result of your analysis is an outcome, and using your number skills is part of the process by which you achieve that outcome.

Try to express the outcomes you hope to achieve as clearly and accurately as possible, asking others for help and comments if necessary. To h
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3.8.1 Select and bring together effective ways to present outcomes

The most appropriate method to present your work may depend on what you are required to do either for your course, or for a work-related project. For example you could be submitting a written assignment, making a presentation to work colleagues, or putting together a collection of designs.

You also need to look back at your notes and comments and take time to consider what you have learned while completing this key skill. Bring together what you have learned into a synthesis. A synthesi
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2.8 Making the framework your own

If there was a simple way to improve our own learning, we would all be geniuses by now. What this key skills approach tries to show is that learning is a complex process that draws on many skills and can be made more effective by becoming aware of what you are doing, how you are doing it and how well you are doing it. Once you are aware of what's going on, you can start to change things to suit your own learning style and the demands of the task or assignment you have to tackle.

The nex
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Introduction

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 in OpenLearn unit U071_1 Improving own learning and
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Learning outcomes

Having studied this unit you should be able to:

  • develop a strategy for using skills in application of number over an extended period of time;

  • monitor progress and and adapt your strategy as necessary, to achieve the quality of outcomes required;

  • evaluate your overall strategy and present the outcomes from your work.


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7.4 Evaluating your strategy and assessing your work

Present an evaluation that includes a summary of how effective your strategy has been in helping you use and improve your communication skills, giving details of:

  • Those factors that worked well to help you improve and those that have worked less well. Which factors had the greatest effect on your achievement of what you set out to do?

  • A judgement of your own progress and performance in those skills you set out to improve, including an
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions). This content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Unit Image

Wonderlane: www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/37529792/

All other materia
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6.2 Pie charts: Activities

Activity 14

4.4 Bar charts

Bar charts show data in the form of bars that illustrate the relationship between the items of information in terms of size: the bars get larger (generally taller) as the amounts being shown increase.

When the bars touch, they show continuous data. In other words, data that changes gradually along some sort of a scale, for example weight, height, temperature, or length (these charts are called histograms, see Author(s): The Open University

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