Author Topic: Software needed for OU studies  (Read 2319 times)

Offline Mohan

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Software needed for OU studies
« on: July 15, 2017, 12:55:56 PM »
I just thought I would let everyone know what software is needed on a Windows PC to prepare for OU studies. In case you are wondering whether or not to take this seriously, let me assure you that I have been in the IT business for nearly 20 years, and I have personally repaired/built over 10,000 computers in the first eight years of my career.

First of all, there is some software that all computers need to run properly… By this I mean that to view websites, play media including streaming media, your computer needs some extra stuff that does not come with Windows.

You will, therefore, need the following: Adobe air, flash player, shockwave player, and Java. I personally use the VLC media player which has built-in codecs (coders/decoders) and will play virtually anything. you will also need to download and install the Blackboard Collaborate software which the open University uses to deliver the streaming online tutorials. This depends on Java so you will definitely have to install Java before you install collaborate. All the software mentioned in this paragraph are free.

You will need a decent antivirus: I think paying for an Internet security suite is a bit ridiculous when there are so many free antiviruses out there. In 20 years I have never paid for an antivirus, and I have never yet gotten a virus on my computers. Currently, I am using Bitdefender, free version. I would also recommend a decent anti-malware software;  I am currently using SUPERAntiSpyware, free version.

Obviously, you would need to have a document processing software such as Microsoft Word, Google Documents or OpenOffice. however, once you are registered with the open University you can apply for a free educational license for Microsoft Office 365 (latest version) for one year, which you can renew annually as long as you are registered on your current course. As a student, you may also be eligible for software discounts from other vendors, or alternatively annual free licenses.

You are also eligible for Amazon Prime at the cost of £39 annually, instead of the usual £79, which gives you access to prime video, prime music, and even next day delivery. Free of charge! Amazon actually also gives an additional 10% discount for students, on many items.

I have found that RoboForm (which remembers passwords and logins) to be useful (free license for one year), a decent PDF reader (Adobe Acrobat DC is the most popular), and Adobe Digital Editions 4.5 for reading EPUB files. There is other software for reading EPUB files such as the Kindle reader, but the Adobe Digital Editions is the only one that I know supports the interactive EPUB files from the OU.

You will also need some form of "zip" software (a form of compression software) such as Peazip (free), WinZip or WinRAR (both commercial, that is not free) since your TMAs are returned in zipped format.

There's a nifty little program called PatchmyPC, which is not installed on your computer but which, when run will automatically update many of the software on your computer to the latest version.

For students who cannot type very well, the Open University has a typing tutor called Kaz available free of charge. There is also a software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking for dictating rather than typing – I am actually using it right now to dictate this post, and currently, with the right training of Dragon, I am getting around 98% to 99% accuracy). Don't rush to buy Dragon, as it is extremely expensive.

if I think of anything else I will update this thread on the forum. If anyone has any questions feel free  to post a reply here, and I will get back to you.

Happy studying.
Mohan
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Offline David W

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 09:53:17 AM »
Some useful information there Mohan, thanks.


Can you provide more details on the free educational licences for Office 365 - links etc? I will soon be coming to the end of a 4 year student subscription for which I paid £60; free sounds a lot more attractive.


For anyone interested in mind mapping I was able to purchase Mind Manager a couple of years ago with student discount - if I recall correctly I paid about £15 for it. Should anyone be interested let me know and I shall dig out the details.
I dont always remember case names in EU law. But when I do it's Internationalle Handelgesellschaft mbH v Einfuhr und Vorratsstelle fur getride und Futtermittel

Offline Mohan

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 10:00:12 AM »
Office educational free licence from Microsoft:

https://products.office.com/en-us/student/office-in-education

You Will need your academic email – XXXX@my.open.ac.uk as you will have to verify that you are a student. Once verified you have a full year's licence, renewable each year.

For mindmapping, I use the excellent and free Edraw Mind map software: https://www.edrawsoft.com/freemind.php
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 10:05:14 AM by Mohan »
Mohan
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Offline Mohan

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« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 11:32:23 PM by Mohan »
Mohan
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Offline I AM GR00T

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 08:04:24 AM »
Office educational free licence from Microsoft:

https://products.office.com/en-us/student/office-in-education

You Will need your academic email – XXXX@my.open.ac.uk as you will have to verify that you are a student. Once verified you have a full year's licence, renewable each year.

For mindmapping, I use the excellent and free Edraw Mind map software: https://www.edrawsoft.com/freemind.php

cheers mohan, this is another task i will be setting the hubby  :D
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Offline David W

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 05:10:13 AM »
Something which just occurred to me Mohan; does the free access to Office 365 come with the 1TB of OneDrive storage?
I dont always remember case names in EU law. But when I do it's Internationalle Handelgesellschaft mbH v Einfuhr und Vorratsstelle fur getride und Futtermittel

Offline Mohan

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 07:04:51 AM »
Something which just occurred to me Mohan; does the free access to Office 365 come with the 1TB of OneDrive storage?

Yes, D
Mohan
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Offline Mohan

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 08:00:47 AM »
The following link is to a software I mentioned in my initial post called "Patch my PC"… Patch my PC does not install on your computer. It is a small program that when run, checks the list of installed software on your computer, and updates those that need updating to the newest version (From reliable sources i.e. the authors). The link is to a reliable download site, and the software itself is one that I have used for more yyears than I can remember, reliably.

http://www.freewarefiles.com/downloads_counter.php?programid=77936

I am not saying that you have to use it… It is my personal preference for your one-stop updating shop. :smiley:
Mohan
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Offline REMI_Guy

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 07:56:24 PM »
The answer may be obvious, I am not sure, but this Kaz typing tutor, can we get a free license?

Offline Mohan

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2017, 08:40:32 AM »
The answer may be obvious, I am not sure, but this Kaz typing tutor, can we get a free license?

OU used to make it available free in the software section of your studenthome page. I checked this morning and it is not available anymore. But I found a link where it can be purchased for £20: https://www.dyslexic.com/product/kaz-v20-typing-tutor/

Mavis Beacon personal is also on the same webpage for £10.

I still have my free copy of Kaz 20.5 OU version. The license states it is free for OU students. Maybe it is possible to check with the IT helpdesk and see if they have another link?
Mohan
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Offline Mohan

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2017, 05:36:16 PM »
Seems like the OU has finally moved away from Java and BlackBoard Collaborate. Now using Adobe Connect, which requires the addin found here: http://www.adobe.com/go/adobeconnect_9_addin_win for Windows and here: http://www.adobe.com/go/adobeconnect_9_addin_mac for Mac.

Mohan
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Offline David W

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Re: Software needed for OU studies
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2017, 07:27:53 PM »
Thanks Mohan,


Love the inclusion of us Mac users in your thoughts  :azn:
I dont always remember case names in EU law. But when I do it's Internationalle Handelgesellschaft mbH v Einfuhr und Vorratsstelle fur getride und Futtermittel