T306 Block 2: Activity 19

Note the main things you have learned in Part 1

I’ve skimmed over most of the activities in this block so far out of necessity. There’s been some interesting material and the course notes have made me consider aspects of IS that I wouldn’t have thought about.

For instance, I thought I had a good grasp on the difference between data and information. Previous OU courses have covered this: data are facts or bits of knowledge that are offered without context (like “16” or “Dave”) and information is data with added context (within conceptual frameworks). So, information would be, perhaps, seen on a page that collects together bits of data and displays it in a way that a user can understand it.

However, this block considers the difference between abstract data and data of interest. If someone collects together bits of data for consideration – in a database perhaps – then this is called “capta”.

Capta are a subset of data deemed to be of interest to a specified group of individuals who share the same theoretical and conceptual frameworks for
these items and also have some interest in them.

I’d never heard of capta before and I’m yet to be convinced of its usefulness as a term and concept, but we’ll see. I don’t have a problem using data and capta interchangeably but I think there may be issues with definitions later on during analysis if I’m not aware of the difference.

It’s important to consider information in context, so perhaps this extra definition will be helpful.

The rest of Part 1 of the block was very interesting and gave me some extra meat to my IS sandwich. I will now consider other aspects of a system to be part of an IS – development teams etc – that I might not have considered before. The course materials also pushed looking at stakeholder biases during analysis, which is something I really need to work on. I will also need to work on understanding how I know things from my own experiences. Our experiences colour our views on things. This is something that is being covered quite a bit in the course and I lost marks in TMA01 due to me not mentioning this.

That will do for now. Onwards with Part 2.

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