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1.8 Maintenance

Databases are one of the more enduring software engineering artefacts; it is not uncommon to find database implementations whose use can be traced back for 15 years or more. Consequently, maintenance of the database is a key issue.

Maintenance can take three main forms:

  • Operational maintenance, where the performance of the database is monitored. If it falls below some acceptable standard, then reorganisation of the database, usuall
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6.2 Turning the spotlight on your work

Having established some general principles, try now to subject your own work to the same scrutiny.

Activity 14

Take one of your most recent essays or reports and ask yourself, ‘What does it look like?’ That is, d
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8.6 Research skills

This kind of work teaches some very valuable skills:

  • how to set about an enquiry

  • how and where to find source material and information

  • how to make your own investigations

  • strategic planning

  • time management

  • cutting corners and being pragmatic

  • analysing and interpreting primary and secondary source material

  • forming your own conclusions<
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8.3 Planning your enquiry

I am grateful to Tony Coulson, Liaison Librarian (Arts) at The Open University, for his help with this section; also to Magnus John, Information Services Manager, International Centre for Distance Learning.

At this stage, you will be deciding what methods of enquiry to use and the scale of investigation to attempt. Will examining company papers, government reports and newspapers provide enough of the right kind of information? Or, since independent broadcasting comp
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6.2.4 Evidence ‘from authority’

When you present evidence for your judgements in an essay, you don't only draw that evidence from the text. You also often call on the ‘authority’ of other writers on the subject (critics, academics), drawing on their judgements. You can ‘make sense’ of other people's ideas in books, articles, TV programmes, and so on; and how to weigh up these ideas and use them to help you form your own. As regards your writing, you have to learn how to use this kind of ‘evidence from autho
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2.2 Listening and viewing

If you are studying music, a foreign language, plays-in-performance, film or the media, you have to do a lot of listening and viewing. Again, you need to be aware that there are different ways of doing this.

For example, when you listen through some music for the first few times just to get a ‘feel’ for the piece as a whole, you don't have to do it in a studious way. You can listen in the car, or at home as you do some chores. But when you come to study the music, you
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2.1 Reading

Before you begin your interrogation of a text, though, you have to get to know it in a general way. In a sense, you can ‘see’ visual texts (such as paintings, sculptures and buildings) all at once; there they are before you. You can move around them, looking at them from different angles. But with written, aural and moving image texts – in which words, sounds or images follow on from one another – you cannot become familiar with the whole thing until
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1.3.1 Cultural traditions

Just now I said quite confidently that you already know a lot about the subjects that make up the arts and humanities even if you have not studied them before. But how can I be so sure? What makes me certain is that, like everyone else, you were born into a human culture. As you were growing up within that culture you were hearing and seeing all the things the people around you were busy saying, doing and making. And you were learning to think and understand, do, say and make similar kinds of
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6.1 What is a pie chart?

A pie chart is a circular chart (pie-shaped); it is split into segments to show percentages or the relative contributions of categories of data.


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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • reflect on the reasons for needing to improve skills in using charts, graphs and tables

  • understand the following mathematical concepts and how to use them, through instruction, worked examples and practice activities: reflecting on mathematics; tables; line graphs; bar charts and histograms; pie charts; analysis

  • draw on a technical glossary, plus a a list of references to further reading and sources
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6 Technical glossary

This glossary is intended to provide a basic explanation of how a number of common mathematical terms are used. Definitions can be very slippery and confusing, and at worst can replace one difficult term with a large number of other difficult terms. Therefore, where an easy definition is available it is provided here, where this has not been possible an example is used. If you require more detailed or complete definitions, you should refer to one of the very good mathematical dictionaries tha
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Conclusion

We have now looked at a number of different graphs and charts, all of which were potentially misleading. We hope that from now on if you have to work with a graph or a chart, you will always consider the following points:

  • look carefully at any horizontal or vertical scale that is given;

  • consider each graph or chart separately, don't compare them unless you are sure that they have the same scales;

  • if it is not easy to
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5.1 Difficulties in interpretation

Graphs and charts are often used to illustrate information that is discussed in course materials or a newspaper article, so it is important to be able to interpret them correctly. Often, the authors of an article will attempt to emphasise the point they are trying to make by presenting the facts and figures in such a way as to confirm their argument. This is a commonly used journalistic approach, which means that it is essential to examine graphs and charts used to support arguments very care
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1.2.3 Stage 1: Preparation

Numbers and diagrams are highly abstract and condensed summaries of the world. They require a degree of mental effort to bridge the gap between them and the aspects of the ‘real’ world they stand for. Approach them slowly and with care, allowing yourself time to get the feel of what you are looking at. Don't assume you already know what you are looking at.


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8.5 Constructing bibliographies

At the end of your assignments you need to include a bibliography or list of references. This is an alphabetical list of all the sources that you have used – each chapter, book and article that you refer to in the main body of your discussion. Bibliographies take a particular form and usually involve listing the:

  • author's name,

  • date of publication,

  • title of the piece, and

  • details of the publisher.


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2.3 A brief look at different kinds of data

For a long time there has been a very important argument about what are the ‘legitimate data’ of psychology – what can and should be used as evidence. We have already seen that, from the very beginnings of psychology as a formal discipline, psychologists have used experimental methods, observations and introspection. In one form or another these methods continue to be central to psychology. The experimental method, adapted from traditional science, has most consistently been considered
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Sources of material

You will probably be making an OER in an area in which you have some expertise so you are likely to already have lesson plans and resources that you use in your face-to-face work that will be invaluable to others.

As well as your own materials, you might like to look at a range of other OER repositories in addition to OpenLearn.

5.1 How do people learn?

That seems a straightforward question, but you will already know from your work in producing teaching materials elsewhere that an answer is far from obvious.

Activity 10: take about two coffee breaks

If you work in a teaching co
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4 Copyright and OER

I assume that you are reading this course because you would like to create a course similar to the materials that you can find on the OpenLearn website. You therefore have a teaching purpose and are particularly interested in the use of online tuition. Hopefully you are also keen to share your teaching materials with others. But why bother creating a new OER? Surely there is so much material already available for free on the web anyway!

I would answer this in a number of ways. First: qu
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3.2 Evaluating open learning

Having experimented with some of the search tools available and got some results, the next step for anyone searching for relevant content is to evaluate these results in a systematic way. If you intend to use OERs for direct teaching and learning purposes, or for some repurposing prior to teaching and learning, there are several attributes that need to be considered first. Important attributes of quality OERs include:

  • accuracy
  • reputation of author
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