Friday, February 23, 2007

M263: Schedule Blown to Bits!

As I have previously written I have been managing to keep to my planned schedule for M263. But Block 3, units 9 – 12, has blown it all to bits!

After reading through the Block 3 units I realised that I didn’t fully understand the information, so have decided to re-read them plus spending extra time on the activities and exercises. This is proving worthwhile as I am now getting a far better understanding of the material and the TMA03 questions are now not as daunting as they first appeared.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

M263: TMA02 Result

On Friday got the results back for TMA02. Managed to get 98%, but rather annoyed with myself as I lost a mark through missing out a small part of a question. For Q3.d I missed the part that said "It should also demonstrate that your implementation does not have side-effects" and this is doubly annoying as I had underlined the preceeding line about testing. In future I'll have to go over TMA's with a fine tooth comb and highlight any mark related points, before starting the TMA, so as not to miss them.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

M359: Tutorial

Attended my first tutorial for M359 last night. It was at the University of Westminster from 7pm to 9pm. There were 3 tutors and 10 students in attendance.

The main topic of the evening was an overview of the course.

Apparently the course glossary should be available within the next couple of days.

Other points of interest where:
  • Substitution is allowed for the course;
  • No course materials will be allowed into the exam (unlike M263 were we can use the course handbook);
  • When including SQL code within a TMA the output generated by the code should also be included;
  • The OU has directed tutors to only mark the first version of a TMA that is submitted more than once. Therefore unless there are technical issues a TMA should only be submitted to the eTMA system once;
  • According to one of the tutors every TMA that is submitted using the eTMA system is automatically checked for plagiarism using a system called copyCatch. Apparently copyCatch Campus was developed in co-operation with the OU. This is interesting as according to my the copy of the "eTMA Student Guide" there is a warning when submitting TMA's that says "Please be aware that the University may subject your work to a computerised check for plagiarism", it does not say that every TMA is checked. Will have to look out for the warning message the next time I submit a TMA to verify exactly what it says.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

M359: Books

I have just purchased 2 books in the hope that they will aid in my studying of M359. They were recommended by one of the M359 tutors.

The Relational Database Dictionary

Database in Depth: The Relational Model for Practitioners

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

M359: Beta Testers

Not trying to be negative about M359 as I am so far enjoying the course, but...

TMA01 has finally been released 2 days later than originally scheduled! Still only 1 conference area available! Course website not complete yet! A delay in a number of additional documents!

Although this is the first presentation of M359 and one must expect a few teething troubles, I get the distinct impression that we are in fact BETA TESTING M359. If this is the case are we due some form of special consideration (such as discount on our next course)?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sod's Law

Sod's Law isn't it! Got home last night only to discover that I had received a welcome letter from my M359 tutor.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

M359: Missing!

M359 officially starts in 2 days time, Saturday 3rd February 2007, and yet there are still some items missing.

At present there is only 1 FirstClass conference area (“M359 07 Students”) available. Today the “Course team chair” posted a message saying:
“As the course progresses the forum will act as a 'virtual' meeting point for course related discussions with sub-forums for specific topics. This will also include a social area for more general chat. A moderator will be appointed in due course and will post a welcome message of their own when they take responsibility.”
Yet for all my previous courses the various FirstClass conference areas such as “tutor group”, “TMA discussion” and “general chat” have been made available from onset.

Normally by now I would have received some form of communication from my allocated tutor in the form of a welcome note giving his / her details, a brief explanation of the course expectations and hoping that I will enjoy the course. So far I have not heard anything, not an e-mail or snail-mail.

I appreciate that this is the first presentation of M359, but some of the aspects of this course (FirstClass conference area and tutor communications) are the same as those for any of the other OU computing courses I have participated in. So why haven’t they been implemented yet?