Friday, January 25, 2008

M450: A slight change of direction

Having been allocated my tutor I e-mailed him yesterday with a description of my proposed project and saying that the scope would be the back-end process and database.

In his reply to me he said...

it might be prudent to plan the whole and implement a prototype

I have always appreciated that for the project you don't need to produce a fully working system, even though it has been my intention to do so as it will be used by my employer on a daily basis.  Therefore I now potentially have a conflict of interest between what I need to do for my project and what my employer requires, with regards to time.  It's going to be interesting to see if I can keep both parties happy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

M450: A bit chewy?

Although I have not yet started looking through the course materials, I have had for some time an idea as to what to do for my project.

I plan to develop a system for the "archiving and electronic transmission (via SMTP) of statements" for the bank that I work for.

This system will comprise of 2 areas:

1.  A database and a back-end module to import the raw statement data into the database, plus identify those statements that need to be transmitted.

2.  A front-end client module which will allow users to:
2.a.  Release those statements ready for transmission;
2.b.  Select, display, and re-transmit selected statements upon request;
2.c.  Update customer control data (i.e. e-mail address).

There are a number of different areas that I will have to investigate, such as the connection between Java and MS SQL Server, as although I know that this is possible, it is not something that I have done in the past.

Now I am in the fortunate position that I can work on this full time, yet I am starting to wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew, time wise.  Normally I would say that it is possible, but I get the impression from some of the postings in FirstClass that how the OU want us to approach the project and how we would actually do it in real life does differ.  Plus a quick search (via Google) threw up the following:

About 40 per cent of the work develops and assesses skills for project scoping and specification, self-monitoring of progress and presentation. The remaining 60 per cent concerns the technical detail of the project and is project specific. Course materials will be made available online. Students are expected to retain the material associated with the courses on which they build for their project.

Students will develop a project topic, specification and plan, carry it out, and then write it up. A tutor will advise and guide students, but they will be expected to produce their work independently, without close supervision. They must also keep a project log and use it for an assessed critical review of their work. The emphasis is on students being reflective practitioners, developing not only the technical aspects of their project but also reviewing and thinking about what they have learnt from doing the work, to further improve their skills. Tutor-marked assignments provide milestones and feedback to help them monitor their progress. Guidance notes, study calendar and other supporting material will be made available on the web.


I am therefore wondering whether I should just concentrate on the first area (the database and back-end module) as opposed to the whole system, and complete the second area in my own time.  I think I will have to consult with my tutor once I know who he / she is.