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Ras Albert Williams

My Dissertation Research Diary: The Preamble

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One would have thought, that after 6 years of being a mature, long-distance, undergraduate of the Open University (OU), which culminated with a BSc (Hons) Computing and IT in 2016, that at my age, 50+ that  I would have had enough of spending my hard-earned earnings, studying books, contributing to online forums and writing up exams. To the contrary,  after spending some quality time in deep reflection, I came to the conclusion, that a postgraduate qualification would be in my interest.

Here in the UK, I was also eligible to secure a postgraduate student loan to help with the costs, so discussing all with my wife,  I decided to take the plunge.  The Bible says, that an double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1: 8-10). Fast-forward to 2018, I have already completed 4 of the requisite modules along the MSc Technology Management  pathway, and here I am at the final hurdle: T802- The Research Project. T802 basically is a 60-point module, which is the longest duration of a module that I have read since beginning my academic journey with the OU.

The course runs from February  2019, all the way to April 2020. There are 4 tutor-module-assessments (TMAs), which is customary with the OU, but unlike all other modules that ended with a substantial piece of work, called a project of between 2,500-300 words,  T802, culminates with  a dissertation of no less than 10,000 words and no more than 15,000.

If you have been following my previous blogs here, you are perhaps familiar with the story of my journey at OU.  I decided to launch this particular blog to celebrate my graduation in 2016, to continue to write my reflections on issues and concerns to me in the computing and information and technology genre. You can have a look at past pieces published in the archive. Some are rewrites of projects that I have submitted for past modules throughout the years. While others are my musings on issues that I am concerned about. Below, is taken from a project  I completed for T848, Google’s Self Driving Car Project: A Critique of its innovative technology transfer strategy.Fig 2 EMA_ TRM

Google’s Self-Driving Car Project’s technology road map 

However, writing project logs, keeping copious notes, and contributing to wikis has always been a part of  OU academic life, but blogging really came into its own with studying TU812-Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction. Which was an excellent introduction to systems thinking. Writing a blog, was an integral part of studying this module.

The module team for T802,  have again encouraged postgraduates to keep a ‘Research Diary.  Hence, the launching of this new series of subjects: My dissertation Research Diary.  The choice of what form our diary should take was left entirely up to the student. So being a blogger, a published author, former journalist, a seasoned OU student and generally someone who enjoys a good writing challenge,  I decided to use my wordpress space as somewhere, where  I could discuss my thoughts and findings  about my preparation for the dissertation.

In addition to all the  other avenues available to me to bounce off ideas with other students in the forums or discuss issues with my supervisor,  I consider this is a valuable tool to revisit my past postgraduate modules, namely:

  • T848 – Managing technological innovation.
  • T849 – Strategic capabilities for technological innovation.
  • TU812 – Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction.
  • TU811 –  Thinking strategically: Capabilities for technological innovation.

These subject fields are important because, the topic of the dissertation is to be based on the core modules studied for this qualification.  In my case, the compulsory modules for the MSc- Technology  Management were,  T848 and T849. TU811 and TU812 comprising of my postgraduate diploma.

In closing, suffice to say, the task of preparing for this capstone module began many months ago. I am looking forward to bringing my experience of my undergraduate work, and my postgraduate thus far, to this research project.

In my next entry in my diary,  I will be exploring the context of my chosen research idea.  Consequently, you are invited to join me in this challenging, but exciting journey. Feel free to join in the discussion. Ask questions, write comments. One of the aims of a dissertation according to The Open University is that your findings must be of relevance to the wider scientific community, and be of interest to other stakeholders in your chosen sector.

Have a great day!

Hon Natty Dread


Dread, H. (2017). Google’s Self-Driving Car project: A critique of its innovative technology transfer strategy. [online] Hon Natty Dread reasons the environment, resilience and recovery. Available at: https://rasalbertwilliams.tech.blog/2017/05/22/googles-self-driving-car-project-a-critique-of-its-innovative-technology-transfer-strategy/ [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018].

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Ras Albert Williams

BSc Honours degree, post graduate studies...all systems go!

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Edited by Albert Williams, Monday, 17 Oct 2016, 09:20

Hi fellow Open University learners, and others who may read this.

Admittingly, it is has been quite a while since my last post  (Tuesday, 8 Sep 2015) Well a lot of studying has come and gone since then.Some of my study materail

A quick recap. I successfully passed  T325-Technologies for digital media and submitted my final Computing and IT project required for  TM470.

At the moment, I am awaiting the results of the project which will give me the 360 credit points that Ii need to qualify for my  BSc Hons in Computing and  IT.

Nevertheless,  I am starting a post graduate module: T848- Managing Technology innovation on November 1st, 2016, as /i technically already have enough credits for an ordinary degree!

In retrospect, my journey into Computing and IT has been a great eye opener for me. The skills and awareness that  I have gained of the industry is enabling me to view my own many interests--literature, music, video/television, music, amateuer radio etc in new and fascinating ways.

T325 in particularly was so intriguing, that my wife and decided to pursue a 'foundation licence' for amateur radio which  I am proud to say that we passed. Radio technology and computing go hand in hand. Especially, the way that mobile phones are able to communicate wirelessly.

I also found the  computing and IT project a stimulating exercise. It was a lot of work, but preparing my chosen project,    An Information Technology Security guide for end-users: An overview of best practices to mitigate cyber-attacks at the front-end in an enterprise environment, with special emphasis on the implications of firewalls  was quite a challenging experience. One that led me to a deeper appreciation of the security aspects of information technology and even beyond. For this reason, I am also looking at pursuing the  CCNA certification at some point

However, right now, as I said above, I am preparing for the post graduate module T848- Managing Technology innovation.  For someone who is not even working in the industry, leaves me with a slightly over-inflated sense of pride that I can still hold my own with others who say that they work in this and that technology company. 

I would like to think that soon, or by the time  I have finished F36- Masters in Technology Management that I will be well placed to make my contribution to the sector. Both here in the United kingdom, and in the Caribbean.

To go any further without acknowledging the support of my dear  wife, Tempie, who also is an Open University student, would be a gross oversight. So thank you Tempie for all your support. I want to thank to my tutors of all the modules that  I have read, and last but not least, the Open University itself for being that great academic, long-distance, learning institution that it is.

What an opportunity this is, to self-fund my own tertiary education. The advantages to me to have a view of the bigger picture that a university education provides is the springboard for bigger dreams.

In closing, I am really looking forward to my post graduate studies.

So until next time

Take care everyone.



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Ras Albert Williams

TM128 Microsoft sever technologies- a most challenging module

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Edited by Albert Williams, Monday, 7 Oct 2013, 12:46

If you are new to networking or Microsoft products in general, as I was, then getting your head around the material for TM128 Microsoft server technologies will present a challenge. A challenge yes, but not an insurmountable one. 

Materials for this course are drawn from four main sources: (1)The CompTIA Network+ Study Guide (the Network+ book) by Todd Lammle;(2) Microsoft IT Academy Online Learning Program; (3) Microsoft's Official Academic course workbooks- Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration (70-642) and Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration (70-640) and Open University tutors and other resources.

You need to be dedicated to your studies and come to your own conclusions as to the best approaoch to study this fascinating subject. It certainly isn't for you if this is your first OU course, as you need to be positive that distant learning is for you and that you can cope with the challenge of studying in a virtual environment.

Albert Williams

Course starting: October 2011

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Ras Albert Williams

Just taking a breather

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Edited by Albert Williams, Sunday, 22 Apr 2012, 16:41

This is what I like about the blog feature of the student home page.

When I've  been at my desk, head stuck in the laptop for about two hours or so, and I need to unwind; I don't feel like surfing off to Facebook, but more like keeping my mind on things OU. That is when I like to check in on my blog page. Yeah,  right here!

So, it's one of those times. Currently, I am working my way through the EMA of  TM128- Microsoft Server Technologies, feeling rather chuffed with myself that I managed to score a pass on the TMA average requirement for the course, and looking forward to doing that with the EMA to secure a pass on this challenging course.

Well to say the least to hear students cry down one aspect of TM128 or the other was nothing new. I'm getting quite used to that now, since this is my 5th course. And I prefer to keep looking on the bright side, and how the  Open University is opening up my mind, if not doors to further career opportunities.

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that I am not working towards a BSc in computing and IT, but rather a doctorate. Yes, you heard me-- a PhD in some aspect of Computer Science, technology or design. You see, why just stop at a mere degree. Its like settling for a few A-levels and then dropping out of academia, just so that you can go out to the working life.

For me, if I am to really achieve my goals, I will either have to be a genius, like Mark Zuckerberg or really equip myself with as much intellect and training that  I can afford (meaning, paying my way through Open University) Seeing that I am already fully employed, financing my studies is not a problem, and will be even more so when  I've finished pay off for my vehicle. (I just had to throw that in there)

So, that's me, having a little dialogue with myself. Taking a little breather, to double-check that I still have the energy to go on with my studies. To date, I've passed

M150 - Data, computing and information




T175 - Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies

156 - Digital film school




by all indications will pass TM128- Microsoft Server Technologies, and starting B120-Introduction to Business in May. I think that it would not be presumptuous of me to say that I think I have developed a pretty, nice, little routine to deal with my study load, and have succeeded in adapting my study routine around my domestic and other personal commitments nicely, and feeling quite ready to tackle my level 2 and level 3 courses when they arrive.

Well let's hope so!

Through it all my wife, Tempie has been my main supporter, and source of inspiration. She already has a degree, and she is also an Open University Student, still studying courses.

It is when you have people like her in your corner, that makes you really believe in yourself.

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Ras Albert Williams


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Edited by Albert Williams, Sunday, 21 Aug 2011, 14:15

Hello There!smile

Well, hello might be the appropriate greeting phrase since the reader of this blog, in all probability has never met the author, but let's hope that as the course progresses that we can become sort of virtual classmates.

My name is Albert Williams, I was born in the UK, but spent the better part of 32 years in the lovely, Caribbean Island of the Commonwealth of Dominica(not the Dominica Republic) where I was raised eating coconuts, bananas and mangoes, and dasheen, yams and sweet potatoes and flying fish. And bathing in lurk warm rivers and sees, and jumping up on Carnival Monday and Tuesday and doing all the things that Caribbean youths do growing up.

I am a mature students here at Open University, meaning that I am just over 18 years old(just kidding) actually, I am 48 years, 3 months and 20 days and ...young, and I am signed up to begin the M150 Data, Computing and Information module in a few days, working my way towards a qualification, in BSc (Honours) Computing and  IT which is a Bachelor of Science (that what BSc stands for), undergraduate degree.

Actually, I am not a bachelor, I am happily married. I am a published author of a few books of poetry, a book of short stories and had a stint as a newspaper and I have been a freelance contributor for as long as I can remember. I also dabble a bit in music, to be precise: reggae.

This year, my wife and I founded our cable network and television production company which although is in its infancy stages is bound for bigger things. Have you guessed it yet?...Yes that where pursuing the degree named above comes in. We believe that having a specialised degree in the subject we give me a hands on approach to things geeky around the office.

I am what some may called a self-educated Rastafarian, meaning, back in the 70's when Rastafarianism was spreading over the Caribbean like a wild fire, youngsters like took to the philosophy like a moth to a flame and many (of us) dropped out from employment and school and re educated I and I selves through the reasoning of Rastafarian elders and so forth and so fifth. I did manage to reach to fifth form, but that is far as formal education went. But what did save me was a love for literature and the English language.

I eventually did a correspondence course with International Correspondence School(ICS) in Journalism and short Story Writing from which I was able to hone and sharpen my writing enthusiasm and like they say the rest was history.

Besides building my company and writing a history of the Rastafari movement in Dominica, I am employed with Tesco, as a security guard. I am a shop steward/health and safety representative of USDAW and a certified first-aider.

To say that I am really looking forward to really getting my hair around this course and also the T175 Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies in February is the understament of the year...nay of the last century. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Here's hoping that you feel the same way too, and that we can all successfully complete the course(s) together.


Albert Williams

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