This free course provided an introduction to studying Information and Communication Technologies. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.

Author(s): The Open University

Present a reflective summary that gives details of:

• a judgement of your own progress and performance in the IT skills you set out to improve, including an assessment of where you feel you have made the greatest progress; discuss your use of criteria and feedback comments to help you assess your progress;

• those factors that had the greatest effect on you achieving what you set out to do; include those that worked well to help you improve
Author(s): The Open University

• what you did to help you set up and use IT methods and techniques to achieve your goals; for example, what you did to:

• search for information and explore alternative lines of enquiry;

• exchange information to meet your purpose (e.g. email, computer conferencing, video conferencing, web pages, document sharing systems);

<
Author(s): The Open University

The purpose of this course is for you to create a portfolio of your work to represent you as an effective user of information technology (IT) within your study or work activities. This will involve using criteria to help you select examples of your work that clearly show you can use and improve your IT skills. However, by far the most important aim is that you can use this assessment process to support your learning and improve your performance overall.

Using information technology skil
Author(s): The Open University

Calculations involving several operations can also be carried out in stages. One way to do this is to use the '=' key part way through the calculation. You can also use the calculator's memory.

The Windows calculator has a number of memory buttons, shown in Figure 2, to help y
Author(s): The Open University

Sometimes you may wish to perform several operations in one step (for example: 35 / 10âˆ’3).

When you enter a number of operations one after the other, before clicking the '=key', the Windows calculator will evaluate the combination of operations in a particular order. This corresponds to the order used for any calculation that involves several arithmetic operations. Multiplication and division are evaluated first, then addition and subtraction.

In the example given above, this wo
Author(s): The Open University

To perform a simple arithmetic calculation:

1. Enter the first number in the calculation (for example '123') using one of the following methods:

• Using your computer keyboard's numeric keypad, which (if you have one) is on the right of your computer keyboard. Check to see whether the Num Lock indicator light is on and if it is not press the NUM LOCK key.

• Using your computer keyboard's numeric key
Author(s): The Open University

When performing a number of calculations whilst using other programs on your computer, it's convenient to keep the calculator running in the background.

To do this click on the 'Minimise' button of the calculator's window (the leftmost button in the top right corner). When you are ready to start working with the calculator again, click the 'Calculator' button in the Windows taskbar. (The taskbar is usually at the bottom of the screen; it contains the 'Start' button.)

Author(s): The Open University

As a student, you're likely to engage in a variety of writing tasks. You'll almost certainly handle significant amounts of text and, depending on your course, perhaps also numbers or diagrams.

This section looks at the different way that you write using a computer, and also provides some referencing advice.

Author(s): The Open University

It's easy enough to find information, but it's sometimes a bit more difficult to assess whether your information is reliable, current or correct.

Have a look at the Web Guide section on assessing the quality of websites (accessed 8 November 2006) to find out more about how to assess the information you've found.

The Open University library also offers a helpsheet on finding quality information (accessed 8 November 2006).

Author(s): The Open University

As a student, you may have access to online conferencing. What can you do to help conferencing work well?

This section discusses the reasons why online conferencing is useful, its benefits, how to make online conferencing work for you, and some of the typical problems and solutions relating to it.

â€œConferencing gives me the chance to think about what I'm going to say â€“ so I find it much easier to make a w
Author(s): The Open University

One of the greatest challenges of using your computer for study is fitting in your online activities around the rest of your life. Online time isn't timetabled or contained in the way classroom learning is. So it can sometimes be difficult to avoid being interrupted by what is happening around you.

Below are some suggestions for managing your time online. There is more detailed information about online conferencing in the next section.

• Log on to
Author(s): The Open University

Chat has its limitations for serious discussion, but you may find it helpful to keep in touch with other students. You might â€˜meetâ€™ with other students in your group by arranging a time once a week when you can all be online. It can really help to know that there are others out there with problems similar to your own.

Author(s): The Open University

The BBC offers an Absolute Beginners' Guide to Using Your Computer (accessed 8 November 2006). This guide is ideal for anyone really new to computers.

If you're interested in the more technical aspects of how computers work and how they've developed over time, have a look at the BBC/Open University Information Communication Technology portal (accessed 8 November 2006).

Author(s): The Open University

## Activity 9

It is quite possible to write a good answer to the question without using the diagram. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of not using the diagram?

Author(s): The Open University

Graphs and charts ought to be easy to read, since the main point of turning numbers into diagrams is to bring out their meaning more clearly. However, they are abstract representations that attempt to summarise certain aspects of the world in a condensed form. Consequently, they require a degree of mental effort on your part to bridge the gap between the formal pictures on the page and the aspects of â€˜realityâ€™ they represent. It is important to approach graphs and diagrams caref
Author(s): The Open University

3.7 Writing clearly

A final point that emerged from our analysis of Philip's and Hansa's essays was that a good essay is easy to read. Grand-sounding phrases and elaborate sentences do not make an essay impressive. Clarity and economy are what count. Such ease of reading is achieved at several levels.

Author(s): The Open University

2.6.3 Re-working Hansa's essay

Now we have looked at Philip's and Hansa's essays in such detail, what have we learned? Perhaps the best way to answer that is to write another version of the essay, building on all the things we have discussed. In fact, I have taken the basic content of Hansa's essay, tidied it up and shuffled it about a little to bring out her argument more strongly. (However this is not the only possible way of structuring an argument in answer to this question.) I have also woven in some of Ellis's terms,
Author(s): The Open University

2.5.6 Essay presentation

Both Philip and Hansa presented their essays neatly, with no crossings out or obvious slips of the pen or type. And they make very few spelling mistakes. Philip puts â€˜wifesâ€™ for wives, â€˜citysâ€™ for cities and â€˜carreerâ€™ for career, and Hansa â€˜sparcityâ€™ for sparsity.

## Spelling

Author(s): The Open University

2.5.1 Sentences

We can see that Philip knows what a sentence is because he writes some perfectly good ones. For example:

In many ways going into urban life from the countryside was beneficial to woman of the upperclass.

This sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop. It has a subject (urban life) and a main verb (was). As any sentence is, it is a self-contained â€˜unit of meaningâ€™. It m
Author(s): The Open University