Saturday, 28 April 2012

Assignment 2 Impact on individuals and organisations

For P4 you need to write about the way IT affects individuals' work.

As technology changes and versions of software get updated all the time they need to learn how to use the latest equipment and software. Sometimes it is easier and more user-friendly than older versions but sometimes it can be very new and takes time to figure out, or special training may be needed.

Some jobs may become redundant and so there is a need for retraining, for example where new software allows 1 person to do something that might have taken 2 or 3 people before. Think of some examples and summarise them - eg how it is easy to find information on databases now whereas before it may have taken a long time to search through records. Another example may be in using equipment to check for mistakes whereas before someone may have been employed to check products individually.

For P5 you write about the advantages and disadvantages for an organisation.

Advantages might include:
  • more efficient working
  • cleaner and/or quieter working environment
  • possibly more flexibility in working hours, home working in some cases so less travel time
  • displaying a modern and progressive environment - looking better than competitors
  • being able to produce more items in-house instead of using specialist agencies (eg web sites, marketing materials)
  • lots of open source or free applications
  • increased ease of communications globally might enable use of cheaper services abroad (outsourcing)
  • video links can save meeting travel time and expense
  • offices may not need to be situated in towns or near traditional communication routes so savings on rent, rates etc

Disadvantages might include:
  • security risks of electronic data (eg loss of laptops, USB drives containing information)
  • legal restrictions relating to new technology or data storage can be complex to understand and comply with
  • staff may waste time using equipment for personal use more or access undesirable material more easily
  • it is almost impossible to 'switch off' when some work can be done anywhere - increased stress
  • more staff may risk developing injury (eg repetitive strain) and liability for this arising later
  • costs of new equipment and software, or maintenance, can be high

Assignment 3 P6 The work environment

For this you need to describe some of the ways that IT has an impact on people's working environment.

This could include:


eg workstation layout, furniture design, positioning of equipment; 

health and safety issues 

eg repetitive strain injury, eye strain, electrical equipment safety, trailing cables

home working 

eg how many people now work at home and use equipment there too, always available, getting e-mail, need to organise time themselves, pressures of 'always available data' etc.

Assignment 3 P7 Room layout sample

click to enlarge

Assignment 3 P7 Room layout

Room layout task

Use the room dimensions illustrated here. You can either print this or make your own. If you make your own take care to get the dimensions right!

room dimensions (click to enlarge)
There are three windows shown by the double grey lines and two doors.

9 people will be based in this room. One is a secretary who has an L shaped work station shown above (that's not necessarily where it goes!). The others have normal desks. There will be a table for printer and copying equipment and an area where they can keep refreshments and also make tea, coffee as well as a tall cupboard which shouldn't be placed in front of a window. Each person has a computer which needs a mains cable and also an internet cable.
table 2m x 2m

desk 2m x 1m

refreshment area 2.5m x 2.5m

secretary workstation 2.5m x 2.1m

tall cupboard 3m x 2m (with doors open)

You can either use the images here which can be copied and placed on your room layout or draw your own. If you draw your own then make sure the dimensions are correct and still in proportion to the room layout.

Position all the items required for the room so that staff can work safely and easily access their desks. Remember to leave space for chairs to move away from desks, for doors to be opened safely without knocking people or furniture and generally work safely. No cables should run across the floor unless they can go under or behind furniture. You should include lines on your drawing to show where these cables would run and show where you suggest electrical sockets are positioned (which must be on walls). 

Monday, 7 November 2011

Hardware and software improvements: Task Sheet 1

Hardware and software improvements: Task 1

Your task is to advise one of these small business as to how IT could support or impact upon how their various tasks get done. Read their brief background notes and consider what changes could be made to help meet their needs.

Peter's background notes [Word version here]
Peter is a carpenter, specialising in oak timber construction but also happy to take on a wide range of building jobs.

He works with three or four self-employed colleagues from a small workshop in a converted barn in Astcote, Northamptonshire.

They have access to all modern utilities including internet and landline services. a bit old-fashioned, though, they have only recently thought about having a web site and promoting what they do.

They do their own accounts and designs for customers in a small office. Peter and some of his colleagues have good IT skills but currently use agencies for everything to do with accounts and promotions, keeping paper records of almost all their administrative stuff.

Peter’s laptop is about 5 years old, running Windows XP which seems to suffer from frequent virus problems and is really slow when handling the photos he likes to take of his work on his phone. He uses a wireless internet connection to his parents’ house nearby but thinks he should now have a separate one.

His printer is an HP inkjet model, also about 5 years old.

He has some decent profits this year and is thinking about some new equipment and software and wondering how he might be able to put IT to good use in running and developing his business.
  • What would you recommend? Indicate how you feel your recommendations could benefit his business. 
  • Where possible, suggest specific products and advise the current costs of them. 

Judy's background notes [Word version here]
Judy used to be a Personal Assistant and is very IT-literate but struggling a bit financially as her new business in hypnosis and alternative therapies is only just getting under way.

She works with three associates who help with clients’ treatments and interviews but she likes to do all her own administrative and promotional design work.

She is very much into using ‘cloud’ (on-line) applications but doesn’t know much about what’s available. She understands, though, that some software will have to be installed on her equipment as ‘the cloud’ can’t do all tasks.

She has a three year old PC, running Windows XP and uses a copy of Microsoft Office 97 still as that has Word, Excel and PowerPoint which are all she tends to use. She did see a price of £468 quoted for a latest version of Microsoft Office so didn’t buy it as that was too much!

Judy wants to do all her administrative work and design leaflets etc. efficiently in her spare time but she understands that she needs modern software. She also wants to be able to make a web site. She tried using Dreamweaver and PhotoShop but they were too hard for her to learn and the trial copies expired anyway. She has hundreds of photos of scenes she wants to edit and use selections from in a gallery for visitors to her premises but needs some software and a quick and easy way to make on-line albums.
  • Remembering that she’s not got much money to spare, what IT solutions would you suggest? 
  • Low-cost internet deals? 
  • What options are there for working with documents on-line? 
  • What options are available for photo editing and web design? 
  • How much should she pay for Microsoft Office if she does decide to buy a new version? 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

IT that I use

Monday, 31 October 2011

Hardware and Software Improvements Task Sheet 2

You work in one of the departments of Future College Solutions. They provide helpful guidance notes for assignments for a fee.

The departments of this business include: Marketing, Finance, Customer Service and Administration.

1. Discuss with colleagues what hardware and software you would like to use in order to improve how you perform your duties in a given department. For example, in any department, a speedy internet connection or fast processor would make research and general operations of all kinds more efficient. Or having light and portable devices might make staff less tied to a particular desk or office and encourage collaboration. You can assume that the current set-up in your office is a bit dated!

2. Summarise the key changes you’d recommend – at least two should be hardware improvements or acquisitions and two regarding software.

3. Be prepared to explain your recommendations and research some typical costs for the updates or upgrades or purchases so you can estimate the cost impact on the business.

4. Consider also any potential problems or barriers to improvement that might be encountered and the how these might be overcome.

Sample output:
What I / we use in our department

A list of recommended improvements or purchases


Barriers to change and possible solutions