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David McDade Post 1

18 May 2020, 20:32 Edited by Nigel Gibson on 19 May 2020, 12:05

Section 4, Activity 8

TrainingThis thread is for section 4, activity 8

What continual professional development (CPD) activities have you participated in recently?

Reflect briefly on the professional development activities that you have completed in the last year. They may be formal events organised by your employer, training, volunteering or a book you have read.

How have these helped you keep up to date with the field of computing and communications? Have you put any of the things you have learned into practice?

Write a short reflection that you could share with a student based on what you have learned.

Consider how might you take the reflection of the other post and integrate it into a tutorial? Post your ideas as a reply.

These are examples of the types of posts we might expect to see:

"I have attended some training for a software package that I need to use in my job. This could help me in my teaching as it supports project work, so I could show it to project students who may also find it useful. The tool also emphasis how important it is to have an appropriate analysis method identified, and this is also important for the students, so I could share my experiences of selecting appropriate methods, and the process I followed to do this.

Use the "Reply" button below to contribute to this discussion.

(Image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Flickr user Apionid

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David Sherlock Post 2 in reply to 1

8 Jun 2020, 15:18 Edited by the author on 8 Jun 2020, 15:20

In the last few weeks I have started to learn Angular, for mobile and web development. Angular is not particularly new - but is has changed quite significantly since the last time I looked into it. Also, the most popular technologies that are used to turn the web application into a native mobile application have completely changed in the space of 2 years!

What I would like to share with the student is that this has taught me that in computing sometimes thing change quite fast, but as long as you can grasp core concepts (OO and MVC in this instance), it is not too hard to keep up to date, and in fact it is nice to keep learning new things.

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Lucy Gillett Post 5 in reply to 2

12 Jun 2020, 23:10

Hi David,

I would incorporate your refection of continual learning and the speed of change in the computing world. It is mentioned in level 1 but I don't recall hearing it again since and that reminder is good for all in this environment, we are always going to be learners, that is not only okay, it is good, we are part of a bigger thing that is going to keep growing.

Lucy :)

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Jacqueline Jones Post 3 in reply to 1

9 Jun 2020, 16:29

I have just completed my dissertation as part of my MSc with the OU and had to learn how to use LATEX. Once I got started I found it was relatively straight forward to use.

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Michael Liedl Post 22 in reply to 3

4 Jul 2020, 20:44

I am a strong believer in using LATEX and believe that some support in regards would be useful for students whatever academic year they  are in.

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Ravi Rajani Post 48 (unread) in reply to 22

19 May 2022, 11:18

Possibly even adding latex support to the discussion forums (eg with MathJax)?

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Silvia Varagnolo Post 30 in reply to 3

3 Nov 2020, 21:34

I did the same for my MSc thesis and I used it also for the PhD thesis. I like LaTEX#.

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Lucy Gillett Post 4 in reply to 1

12 Jun 2020, 22:58 Edited by the author on 12 Jun 2020, 23:05
As I am currently taking my undergraduates I am actively learning in the OU environment anyway. Things that I am doing above and beyond this include a book that I am reading for my personal development, Cybersecurity for Beginners by Raef Meeuwisse. I am also actively taking OpenLearn courses (including this one) also preparing myself for TT284 and TM351 which I am due to start in October. 

Taking this OpenLearn course has highlighted that my project is not far away either as I will be taking it in academic year 2021/22. For this I have ordered 3 books to help me come up with an idea, the first a book that has been spoken about in the STEM club, Projects in Computing and Information Systems by Christian W Dawson, also Linear algebra  by Kuldeep Singh and Make your own Neural Network by Tariq Rashid. 

As a reflection that could be passed on for other students I guess I have learned that despite all that looking totally overwhelming, I am doing it, I am engaged and learning for myself ahead of the game in preparation of what i am expecting to come. This is something I could never have envisioned being able to do at the end of level 1, but I have grown and changed with study, and here I am.
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Tamara Lopez Post 6 in reply to 1

14 Jun 2020, 11:09

I have engaged in the past two years with a cybersecurity research group that interfaces with industry.  Through this engagement, I have been exposed to many current issues in security that businesses face today as they try to ensure that their software is secure: at the policy and regulatory levels, assurance and insurance, within their own board and management, and among their developers.

Other than that, the primary way I keep up on what is going on in computing and communications technically is through my field studies, in which I engage with developers on the job.  

In my research, I stepped away from my professional role as a developer toward the social sciences, and as a result, as a part of my professional development, I have been advised to "tech up" my CV.  I tend to bristle at the thought of taking yet another python course, or Angular, or any of the other current trends in computing because as David notes, that technology changes quickly, but revolves around core computing concepts. 

However, if I were in industry, I would (and did) take any course I could to remain employable.  So I would advise students not to take a page from my book, but instead remind them that, for better or worse, this a key part of this discipline and profession, and to embrace it!

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Michael Liedl Post 23 in reply to 6

4 Jul 2020, 20:49

I agree that the core computing concepts are the most important aspect for the students, however we need to use some tool to practice or implement the core concepts. We (students and OU) have to make an intelligent guess as to which tools have the best shelf-life. Sometimes (probably too often) we make the wrong choice, but I am sure that the language Python is here for a long stay.

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Marcus Young Post 7 in reply to 1

14 Jun 2020, 11:57

I don't think I've had any formal training in the last 12 months. All my learning has been self-led. Most recently I've learnt about containers and Docker. This has been quite a revelation. I had heard of containers and thought of them as maybe being similar to virtual machines (which in a way they are as both are methods of virtualization). But the ability to create a portable and consistent environment that is running in seconds and to be able to share it via a Docker Hub repository is fantastic. I've now created a Docker image to support a technical book that I'm currently writing. This requires quite a few open source tools to be used. Rather than worry about giving installation instructions for different operating systems and explain how to install tools that are not always straightforward to install, I will provide the docker image. Readers of the book will be able to use the tools in seconds (I just need to give instructions for installing Docker) and I know the examples will work on all systems that the reader might be using. As I also have control of the image I can update it to take account of any breaking changes in software, after the book is published. I don't have to worry about the installation instructions becoming out of date etc. As well as now being able to talk to students about containers, I can illustrate this with my particular use case, and perhaps use of Docker could even be incorporated into a tutorial.

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Jenny Bakkali Post 8 in reply to 7

15 Jun 2020, 09:26

Hi Marcus,

In tutorials we can create our own material to facilitate learning of the set module materials, concepts etc. So if Docker and containers helped with that then they might be useful in a tutorial.


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Ben Pike Post 9 in reply to 1

15 Jun 2020, 15:05

In the past year I haven't been on any specific training, but going back a bit I've been on a number of courses for different industrial software and hardware. What I'd take away from these courses is that there is a big focus on giving students the basics what they need to know and then letting them attempt a task, only stepping in if they get really stuck. Often the mistakes we make when trying something new for the first time teach much more valuable lessons than anything that could be presented in a lecture.

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Richard Collins Post 43 in reply to 9

16 Aug 2021, 11:45

Hi Ben, based on your reflection I would, in a tutorial, look at what the students may be considering to do when they finish their degree and which areas they may specialise in. I would encourage them to look at sectors that they may not have considered like industrial software development. 

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Adrian Hehir Post 10 in reply to 1

15 Jun 2020, 16:40

Here are some of the CPD activities I have done in the last year

Line Managing a service desk remotely during the lockdown has made me learn about remote working as a team e.g. using technology such as MS Teams, WhatsApp and Discord messaging and what works remotely and what does not.

Researching and then implementing key performance indicators (KPI) on a telecommunications Service Delivery Desk using a combination of the internet, books and practice including collecting data, analysing and reporting regularly to management.

Researching then implementing a Major Incident Model; The process itself and standard communications to customers and internal stakeholders.  

Researching and then implementing processes on how to handle the most common customer queries (in the form of flow charts) onto the first line service desk.

Creating an online document control process for the first line service desk.

Learning bespoke telecoms systems and existing custom practices such as the complaints process/procedure used at a telecommunication firm through a combination of management handover, shadowing my staff and self-study using websites such as ISPreview.

On reflection, in the past year I have gained deeper technical knowledge into the broadband and telecoms industry. However, I would explain to the  students in terms of a long term career in IT  the  learning done on processes, communication and having management information  is as important as technical knowledge as this knowledge can be applied to many different IT industry sectors.

In a project management or system design tutorial I could show how  a process could be turned into an easy to follow flow chart diagram which can be posted online as is or made smart so that the screen changes depending on the answer.   

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Colin Jenkins Post 18 in reply to 10

26 Jun 2020, 16:09

I agree that communication is the key. I have worked on a number of projects where there is a gulf between what the customer says they need and what the developer/supplier hears which can lead to poor results and bad feeling on both sides. Learning how to translate between these two opposing sides is a major requirement of being an effective project manager.

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Pauline Hewgill Post 11 in reply to 1

15 Jun 2020, 19:51

I already knew a bit of java as well as the theory of OOP but I had to teach a java programming unit last term so I completed the tutorials before the students went through them. I was worried that they would ask me loads of difficult questions but I stayed calm and made good use of Stack Overflow to search for answers. My advice to students would be to work through the tutorials methodically, write notes as they go along, and write comments in their code so that they can refer back to it next time they have to use the same skill.

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Colin Jenkins Post 17 in reply to 11

26 Jun 2020, 16:06

I have Stack Overflow on speed-dial in my browser as it is such a useful tool; and commenting on code is a must. The advice for students is a great way to get them to learn - I have always been amazed at the number of students asking questions in the module forums that are answered in the assignment question or coursework.

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Emmanuel Isibor Post 12 in reply to 1

19 Jun 2020, 07:49

I recently read a book titled “Weapons of Math Destruction” by Cathy O’Neil. The book is about how Data Scientists use biased algorithms to build models which have serious negative impact on the lives of people in the society. The book is a wake-up call to evaluate how these models affect our lives with a view to optimizing them by removing the biases inherent in them.

I would like students to be aware that their works may have serious impact on the society. While technology can be a powerful tool in solving problems, it may also be doing some harm. Hence, the need to embed fairness and ethics into the development of IT systems.

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Jenny Bakkali Post 13 in reply to 12

19 Jun 2020, 19:18

Hi Emmanuel,

Sounds like an interesting book, and may be useful for examples if that topic is part of a module.


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Anna Pietrzak Post 14 in reply to 1

24 Jun 2020, 13:26

Recently have attended training for a software package (MS technology) that is needed in my work.  I have been on two virtual conferences. I have just finished my first year on EdD course.

I like learn and I take any opportunity to improve my skills and knowledge.

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Richard Collins Post 44 in reply to 14

16 Aug 2021, 11:51

Hi Anna, yes taking courses from other sources is a really important activity for students to consider to help tailor their studies. If I were to take your experience and integrate this into a tutorial I would look at some areas that students may be interested in but is not offered by the OU. What I have seen in my degree is that some students fail to understand that studying at degree level does require independent learning skills, it's not like school where they speak and you listen. And so I would try my best to encourage them to find ways to improve their skills over and above the current module would be providing.

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Iain Toolin Post 15 in reply to 1

26 Jun 2020, 15:55 Edited by the author on 26 Jun 2020, 16:19

I have attended a variety of training across software packages and I am proficient in using Microsoft office products that will help manage student interactions using remote working technologies, ensuring the group maximises learning from each other.

This broad palette has recently been enhanced with TES Subject Knowledge Enhancement for computer science, covering topics required to teach BTEC and 'A' level. 

This is useful because I can relate my real world experience, up to date knowledge of the computer science curriculum with the applied experience from the students own experiences using Webinars

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Colin Jenkins Post 16 in reply to 1

26 Jun 2020, 15:55
i have recently completed an online formal training course for VMware will will allow me to upgrade my certification to the latest version when I take the exam. This was provided by my employer and will ensure I am able to fully support our infrastructure.
I have also undertaken some training in HTML/CSS/JaveScript which is primarily for personal development, although I do provide assistance to family & friends with their website requirements on an ad-hoc basis.
Both of these help me to keep abreast of the latest technologies which is vital in the modern computing field, and will enable me to use real-life examples from personal experience when teaching students.
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Iain Toolin Post 19 in reply to 1

26 Jun 2020, 17:08

I have undertaken a range of CPD in the past year including:

- Cloud computing Amazon Web services associate (AWS)

- Full stack development HTML, CSS, Javascript, SQL

- Agile coaching: Useful psychology on how to coach agile teams to work collaboratively

- A range of SAP courses

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Rachael Luck Post 20 in reply to 1

4 Jul 2020, 15:41

Activity 8: Section 4 CPD

CPD takes several different forms, for RIBA CPD is monitored through on-line system. CPD can be self-govern, attainting for example UoA and Government events on setting design policy and during cover increasingly less event can be attended remotely.

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Michael Liedl Post 21 in reply to 1

4 Jul 2020, 20:41

Over the last three year, I started and completed my BSC Mathematics with the OU. Interleaved with the study, I looked into Machine Learning through a Coursera course and set up an international study group, in order to study the dynamics of online remote learning. I also volunteered with Action Tutoring working with the local secondary school, for several years. In the same period, I have produced well over 1000 pages of Latex based documents.

On and off, I have looked into MatLab, Haskell, and Python, but in no way can I call myself a professional and consider myself, as yet, more of a student than teacher. On my bookshelf I have the three relatively recent volumes of Dines Bjorner on Software Engineering, since he is a proponent of formal development and techniques; a subject I am rather keen on.

I would surely highlight and distinguish the principals used for designing well-constructed programs from the expert and opportune use of tools used for implementing the design. I believe that it is necessary to advise the student of the importance of the personal skills needed to quickly find solutions practical problems, to build a repository of resources to keep on hand, and also the necessity to continually assess the market demand for the tools he has become acquainted with.


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Toni Walton Post 24 in reply to 1

9 Jul 2020, 13:18

The school I work at uses Google Classroom suite which obviously became even more useful when we went into lockdown.  Therefore teachers were given the opportunity to study for Level 1 and Level 2 Google Certified Educator.  The training was really useful and I was able to put lots of it into practise straightaway.  The tools are very similar to Adobe Connect providing facilities to present individual windows or whole screens as well as being able to create quizzes, polls etc.  I also learnt a lot of useful skills on using YouTube!

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Rod Gliven Post 25 in reply to 1

13 Jul 2020, 00:34

CPD:  Through-Life continual learning... these activities have included:

  • Reading professional journals & reports online.
  • Attending industry conferences.
  • Undertaking professional qualifications.
  • Posting articles on socio-professional media forums.
  • Participating in Professional Membership meetings.
  • Writing articles submitted to Professional Journals and/or Conferences.
  • Interactive learning modules.
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Graham Smith Post 26 in reply to 1

14 Jul 2020, 11:14

Immediately prior to the C19 lockdown I was on a training course related to Asset Management. Unfortunately I could not complete the course, however I have since downloaded and have read through the ISO 55000 standards. I have also read through the Book of Knowledge from the Institute of Asset Management - which the course I was attending was based around.

One of the things I could integrate into a tutorial is what I do with my team. I have regular discussions with my team around CPD (probably every 6-9 months) and I try to emphasise the cyclical nature of the process. Where are you now > where do you want to be > what do you need to do to get there? > reflect on your progress since the last session > where are you now...

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Quentin McPhee Post 27 in reply to 1

7 Aug 2020, 11:24

In the last 12 months and since I have become a freelance consultant and trainer I have gained the following qualifications with a view to improving my own training skills or including the course into my own offering:

  • ITIL v3 Practitioner Certificate
  • ITIL 4 Managing Professional Certificate
  • Registered PeopleCert Trainer and Invigilator
  • TAP Certificate in Training Delivery
  • Certificate in Software Asset Management Essentials
  • Foundation Certificate in ITIL 4

These qualifications have benefited me since not only have I become familiar with the different course's content but my teaching style has improved through class observation and subsequent deliver of many short training courses.

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Martin Hillson Post 28 in reply to 1

7 Aug 2020, 20:33 Edited by the author on 7 Aug 2020, 20:34

As a professional engineer in a fast moving field it is important to me to be on top of the trends and develoments in the industry's tools and techniques. As a freelancer, I have found that almost as soon as I get comfortable with one toolset there is a new kid on the block that clients are demanding experience of. So I am in a continual state of CPD, or renewal of existing skills. Recently, as I have a relatively quiet period due to the Covid experience, I have been doing quite a lot of accelerated CPD, taking on accreditations in a number of technologies I've been using over recent years, as well as updating some existing accreditations. In particular I have been picking up the professional architect accreditations for the Google and Amazon cloud platforms. It has been interesting to compare and contrast both the parallel technologies themselves and the approaches to training and testing that their vendors take. In many ways I think the contrasts I found reflect the differences between these organisations' worldviews.

I've also taken the opportunity to read ahead on some of the OU courses I plan to take in the future, which has been interesting and ended up bringing me to this course.

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Silvia Varagnolo Post 29 in reply to 1

3 Nov 2020, 21:32

In the last year I have done quite a lot of CPD activities but none of them related to C&C subjects. Examples of CPD activities I undertook are a course about counselling, a leadership programme, training on monitoring, workshops about writing applications for research funding, a workshop on assertiveness, workshops on inclusivity and unconscious bias.

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Kevin Frost Post 31 in reply to 1

1 Jan 2021, 15:35

eSTeM sounds very exciting, not that long ago I completed a diddertation centered around developing algorithmic thinking, this was most interesting but despite all the work I was still left with lots of things I wanted to research in this area. More postgraduate study or something like eSTeM sound ideal for this.

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Sian Armstrong-Hollins Post 32 in reply to 1

18 May 2021, 21:41

I haven't done any specific formal CPD courses as such, but I have been learning new programming languages - specifically Python - through the 'Brilliant' app, alongside additional reading, and applying it to my current skills in embedded programming.

I did like the sound of the pair programming in this section of the course. I have run group projects in HE which were heavy on programming and required students to divide the project into different parts, each tacking a different element and then putting it all together. I think this pair programming approach might actually be a more productive, enjoyable and beneficial approach rather than students working individually and then integrating the parts. Food for thought! 

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Fiona Baxter Post 34 in reply to 32

23 Jun 2021, 00:59

It's always a good idea to share learning platforms you've used with students. Paired programming is a great way to encourage collaboration and peer learning / support, if you pair a complete beginner and someone with experience in a driver / navigator way.

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Amanda Williams Post 33 in reply to 1

13 Jun 2021, 12:49

I completed a database module as part of my MSc.  I share how the big data is changing society and business practices.  As part of my interests I am starting to learn C++  I have skills in other languages, but I think it is much easier to learn another programming language when you have the fundamental concepts of programming.  I am also working through Immersive Labs developing my own cyber security skills, which I also run with my A Level computer science group as a bit of light hearted competition.

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Fiona Baxter Post 35 in reply to 33

23 Jun 2021, 01:03

I have also shared learning platforms and courses / resources I've used in my lessons. It's an engaging blended learning approach.

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Fiona Baxter Post 36 in reply to 1

23 Jun 2021, 01:17

In the last year I've completed Fundamentals of Digital Marketing with Google Digital Garage and I've been working through several courses on FutureLearn with Raspberry Pi Foundation and NCCE (Scratch programming, Scratch to Python, Python intro and supporting SEND in Computing). I've also completed training to become a Barefoot Programming Ambassador and I've joined the BCS Quality Review Panel. I have delivered 3 online workshops this term with primary school teachers on Scratch programming and computational thinking. 

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Elena Sanchez-Heras Post 37 in reply to 1

6 Jul 2021, 12:10

I have just completed a Maths module and an Education module at OU. These two modules are part of my BSc in Maths & Statistics. I have learned a lot about the process of learning and how to reflect on our learning. This has interested me since learning more efficiently is part of being a live learner. 

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John Dunning Post 38 in reply to 1

8 Jul 2021, 15:18

I have worked on projects small to enterprise level. I've worked as a resource and as a planner or designer. I could give practical real-life examples  (names withheld in places) of different scenarios on project work.

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Suzie Miller Post 39 in reply to 1

3 Aug 2021, 17:11

I have to do Azure certifications as part of my role. 

Along side that though I do as much accessibility training as i can such as a course on edx recently on fundamentals by WAI as well as doing a microcredential through OU / Future learn on accessibility and online learning. 

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Ann Holmes Post 40 in reply to 39

6 Aug 2021, 10:46

I take part in CPD sessions often with the OU. This year I've attended a number of sessions run by the Student Support Team, and I have learned a lot about the policies and procedures around supporting students with disabilities, aspects about fitness to study, and careers advice.


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Robert Stocks Post 41 in reply to 1

14 Aug 2021, 19:15

CPD recently has included training with AdvanceHE around moderation and calibration of assessment in the sport science area and looking to align other HEI institutes and issues with grade discrepancy's. This was really useful and allowed sharing with other colleagues and support current practices in assessment to reassure they might national standards. additionally internal training events have focused extensively this academic year on remote learning and apps available to support student attainment through Microsoft Teams 

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Richard Collins Post 42 in reply to 1

16 Aug 2021, 11:39 Edited by the author on 16 Aug 2021, 11:41

As well as studying for my masters in software engineering I have been working on some embedded systems. This is to improve my knowledge of the Yocto project which is used for building custom Linux distros for embedded systems and edge computing devices. I am in the process of starting my own business with which I am to offer bespoke Linux ditros and consultancy work for tech start ups.

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David Flowers Post 45 in reply to 1

18 Sep 2021, 15:51

Activity 8 Part 4

In terms of CPD:

I've done a number of things.

A) developed internal materials (blocks or units), covering IP networks, computing, cloud, and security related topics such as Deep web, malware, attack vectors and types of attack.

B) I have briefed this out to over 2400 internal Sales and Sales Engineering teams, to advance their own understanding of the IT security landscape.

C) I was involved in the creation of "business" scenarios to enable people to take this learning and translate into customer and technical requirements

D) I re-learned some of the techniques I had been taught in the MBA, regarding innovation and change, strategy and making a difference.

E) The overall team won an award for best "gamified" learning production that year with two companies named Centrical and STR. 

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Bob Moore Post 46 in reply to 1

18 Sep 2021, 16:18
I am sort of semi-retired - or involuntarily retired as I prefer to express it, but since this sitation has arrived I have been indulging in several MOOC courses - mostly NOT with the OU, particularly on the intersection between philosophy, science and religion, particularly such fun questions as 'what is consciousness' and 'what is free will'

I've also learnt Python, and written a machine learning program from scratch for playing a (very) simple game.
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Andrea Davanzo Post 47 in reply to 1

2 Oct 2021, 18:35

I generally follow webinars from various sources: ACM, Linux Fundation, BSI and others.

I follows MOOCs and participate to various tech-based meetups (PHP or DevOps)

I read real books, because I do not like read monitors. :-) 

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Ravi Rajani Post 49 (unread) in reply to 1

19 May 2022, 11:44

I have recently been reading various papers on post-quantum cryptography which could be relevant to topics on cyber security. If Moore's Law holds for quantum computers, then we can expect them to break 2048-bit RSA within ten years. It is therefore very important that we migrate our public key encryption standards away from RSA to systems that are resistant to quantum attacks. This is something students should be aware of, and it is also intrinsically very interesting, so maybe referencing the issue in a tutorial and briefly chatting about RSA and the various post-quantum NIST candidates would pique students' interest in this exciting field.

Discussion tags: section 4