In Activity 3A, you will be exploring your â€˜personal ecologyâ€™ â€“ the relationship between t
Author(s): The Open University

When you looked at the title of this reading, did you experience unease? Most people shudder at the thought of dealing with anything mathematical, remembering the torturous lessons at school trying to grapple with calculus, statistics and logic. Yet most of us use mathematical com
Author(s): The Open University

1.3 Activities

Activity 2A sets the scene by focusing on the â€˜big pictureâ€™ where you will be asked to choose between four alternative visions of the future. This activity radically shifts the scale of investigation from the personal to the global. However, as with all systems, the emergent behaviour of societ
Author(s): The Open University

6.2 Refining the specification

The ideas for the boiler cut-out switch can now be based on some real knowledge about temperature effects. You are now ready to tackle the next exercise.

## Exercise 7

List four temperature-dependent changes in material properties t
Author(s): The Open University

Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

• relate the temperature of a solid to the mean kinetic energy of its atoms;

• use models for thermally induced effects that involve linear, exponential and step changes;

• use exponentials, logarithms and graphical methods to interpret data from a thermally activated process in terms of Arrhenius's law;

• identify the changes of phase taking place in a variety of critical phenomena;

• Author(s): The Open University

4.1 PROMPT

There is so much information available on the internet on every topic imaginable. But how do you know if it is any good? And if you find a lot more information than you really need, how do you decide what to keep and who to discard?

In this section we are going to introduce a simple checklist to help you to judge the quality of the information you find. Before we do this, spend a few minutes thinking about what is meant by information quality.

Author(s): The Open University

3.5 Images

Images can also be found online. Some useful image databases are:

Author(s): The Open University

At a basic level, a database is a collection of information which can be searched. It is a way of storing, indexing, organising and retrieving information. You may have created one yourself to keep track of your references â€“ or your friends' names and addresses. They are useful for finding articles on a topic, and can be used to search for many different types of information.

You may find some of the following databases useful for your topic. They contain different types of informatio
Author(s): The Open University

• Can I do a simple search?

• Can I look at the information in both short and detailed form?

• Can I choose where in the record I want my search terms to be found?

• Can I search for phrases?

• Can I combine search terms?

• Can I use truncation?

• Can I use wildcards?

• Can I do an advanced search?

• Can I get a list
Author(s): The Open University

By the end of this guide you should be able to:

• conduct your own searches efficiently and effectively;

• find references to material in bibliographic databases;

• make efficient use of full text electronic journals services;

• critically evaluate information from a variety of sources;

• understand the importance of organising your own information;

• identify some of the systems available;

• describe ho
Author(s): The Open University

One of the roles of a leader is to provide group members with feedback on their performance. This is often an uncomfortable process for both the leader and the recipient. The main reason for this is a failure by both parties adequately to distinguish between the individual and what is being evaluated. When criticism is carelessly given, it is easy for the recipient to take it as an attack on his or her self-esteem. The result is that the recipient resists the feedback and responds in a defens
Author(s): The Open University

Projects take place within organisations whose structures, philosophies and cultures affect how work is planned and carried out. I shall briefly discuss organisations and how they go about planning as they relate to projects. Projects also exist within a social environment consisting of people who are affected by and have an influence on the outcome of projects.

Author(s): The Open University

Another significant feature of a work group is its size. To be effective it should be neither too large nor too small. As membership increases there is a trade-off between increased collective expertise and decreased involvement and satisfaction of individual members. A very small group may not have the range of skills it requires to function well. The optimum size depends partly on the group's purpose. A group for information sharing or decision making may need to be larger than one for prob
Author(s): The Open University

Clearly, it is not possible to devise a set of rules which, if followed, would lead inexorably to team effectiveness. The determinants of a successful team are complex and not equivalent to following a set of prescriptions. However, the results of poor teamworking can be expensive, so it is useful to draw on research, experience and case studies to explore some general guidelines. What do I mean by â€˜team effectiveness'? â€“ the achievement of goals alone? Where do the achievements of indivi
Author(s): The Open University

In addition to the traditional types of teams or groups outlined above, recent years have seen the growth of interest in two other important types of team: â€˜self-managed teamsâ€™ and â€˜self-organising teamsâ€™.

During the 1990s many organisations in the UK became interested in notions of empowerment and, often as a consequence, set up self-managed or empowered teams. An Industrial Society Survey (1995) commented:

Author(s): The Open University

In a matrix team, staff report to different managers for different aspects of their work. Matrix structures are often, but not exclusively, found in projects. Staff will be responsible to the project manager for their work on the project while their functional line manager will be responsible for other aspects of their work such as appraisal, training and career development, and â€˜routineâ€™ tasks. This matrix project structure is represented in Figure 2.

Author(s): The Open University

Different organisations or organisational settings lead to different types of team. The type of team affects how that team is managed, what the communication needs of the team are and, where appropriate, what aspects of the project the project manager needs to emphasise. A work group or team may be permanent, forming part of the organisation's structure, such as a top management team, or temporary, such as a task force assembled to see through a particular project. Members may work as a group
Author(s): The Open University

Our tendency to form groups is a pervasive aspect of organisational life. As well as formal groups, committees and teams, there are informal groups, cliques and cabals.

Formal groups are used to organise and distribute work, pool information, devise plans, coordinate activities, increase commitment, negotiate, resolve conflicts and conduct inquests. Group working allows the pooling of people's individual skills and knowledge, and helps compensate for individual deficiencies. It has been
Author(s): The Open University

The main reason for copolymerizing different monomers is to adjust the physical properties of a given homopolymer to meet a specific demand. SBR elastomer, for example (Table 1), based on 24 wt% styrene monomer shows better mechanical properties and better resistance to degradation than polybutadiene alone. By increasing the s
Author(s): The Open University

The most important primary sources of synthetic polymers are crude oil, natural gas and, to a minor extent, coal. Because all are primarily fuels rather than sources of materials, the manufacture of polymers is susceptible to changes in price or supply. However, this is also true of other materials, since fuel costs are an important component of metal, ceramic and glass manufacture where very high reaction temperatures are needed for reduction of ore to metal and/or smelting. Where polymer ma
Author(s): The Open University

 Flickr A photo sharing website that contains pictures relating to all subjects. Note that in order to reuse a picture from this site you may need to get the permission of the person who uploaded the photo.