"You will therefore, be pleased to know that Open University students on the IT degree programmes do study 2s complement arithmetic along with gaining an understanding of bits, bytes and nibbles."
S100, the original OU science foundation course, provided students with a simple balance.
My problem students - a couple of teachers - couldn't understand why a foundation course would use this when they had digital scales at work. The magic lure of numbers! Could I get them to realise they were relying on all sorts of things they weren't able to see such as the linearity of transducers?
When we bought a digital balance in my lab the first thing I did was to check it out with some standard weights borrowed from the local Weights and Measures dept.