This question is about Block 3. Additionally, you are expected to follow the guidance on report
In undergraduate studies, you are often asked to write short technical reports in your own words.
As you get more experienced at writing, you will be expected to approach these tasks more
independently, but in Level 1 modules you will usually be given quite a lot of guidance as to what
a report should contain, how it should be written and how marks will be allocated. It is important
that you carefully read any such accompanying instructions when you are asked to write a report,
as not only will they help you write that particular report, but they will also aim to develop more
general report-writing skills.
Remember too that report-writing questions are there to test that you understand the material
presented in the module. Therefore an assignment question is not the place to go off topic or
indulge in flights of fancy, however brilliantly. Rather, you should approach it strategically, with
the aim of trying to determine what the writer of the question (who also wrote the marking
scheme) is looking for. It is also in your best interests to make it as easy as possible for your
tutor to follow marking guidance as this will enable them to concentrate on giving you feedback,
rather than having to hunt around for marks to give you.
Finally, report writing is a place where you can develop your academic writing skills. So you
should be sure that your report is structured well and includes proper citations and references.
You may also be asked to demonstrate that you have ‘read around’ the subject by including a
Bibliography section that lists any other sources (in addition to the ones you have directly
referenced) that you have used to help you write your report.
The introduction to Block 3 included part of a speech by Martha Lane Fox in which she spoke of the
need for greater digital understanding.
(…) 91% of us in the UK have the ability to use the internet. This is a remarkable achievement –
and it’s important to continue the work to close the remaining gap and include those who are still
without the skills or the access to use the internet.
But we also need to move beyond skills to understanding. Nearly all UK internet users have the
digital skills to use a search engine, but only half know how to distinguish between search results
and adverts. Around two-thirds of our digitally skilled population can shop and bank online – but a
third don’t make any checks before entering their personal or financial information online. More
than 1.4 million of us work in tech-related jobs – but, as the recent WannaCry attack showed us,
hardly anyone is investing the time, resources or expertise to keep our systems safe. The list
Becoming a nation of people with digital understanding will be different and more complicated
than becoming a nation of people with digital skills. For starters, digital skills are tangible and
teachable: download this app, program this device. They also reinforce the idea that digital is
something we do – time-bound and transactional.
But in a world where we spend more time online than we do asleep and where everything from
our televisions to our kettles can connect to the internet, digital is something we are.
Understanding is not a race to be run and won. It is a lifelong process of learning, one unique to
each of us. (…)
Lane Fox (2017)
For this question you are required to write a short report of no more than 500 words on digital
understanding. Your report should contain two main sections:
How has your digital understanding changed because of studying Block 3?
You should explain what you have learned. Give at least one example of an activity that you
completed as part of TM112 Block 3 and that has changed your digital understanding. Explain how it
has changed your understanding: What understanding did you gain by doing it? You should support
your explanation using at least one reference to the module materials. You may also choose to refer
to some of the other documents referenced by the module, but this is not compulsory.
How could you improve your digital understanding further in the future?
Give at least one example of a recent development (e.g. from a news story) that requires you to
further develop your digital understanding. Include a reference. Describe the example and in what
way the example (or an aspect of the example) goes beyond what you have learned in Block 3.
Make sure your report addresses the two questions above. You will be marked on the depth and
quality of your discussion, not on the number of examples that you cover.
Your report should meet all the requirements in the following checklist. A substantial number of the
marks for this question are allocated to the elements of this checklist.
Audience, language, structure and good academic practice
My report is suitable for a non-technical audience. (I have explained any terms that a non-technical
audience may not be familiar with.)
I have used a spell checker and a grammar checker, and read through my report to make sure it is
clear (i.e. that the ideas / argument flow in a logical way).
I have structured my report using paragraphs for each independent idea. (Paragraphs should not be
too long, and nor should there be multiple, very short paragraphs.)
The report is in my own words, I have properly indicated any direct quotes.
I have included appropriate references (at least two, one as part of your answer to each of the two
questions above), and they are in the OU Harvard format.
Content and structure
I have given my report an appropriate title.
My reports starts with a brief introduction.
My report contains two main sections as required the Question.
My report finishes with a brief conclusion.
I have indicated a total word count at the end of the report, and is it near and within the limit.
(References should not be included in the word count. Title and headings should be included in the
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