Thursday, July 07, 2011

M362 TMA02

Too busy to update my blog very often - and it's only when something like a TMA result comes in that my mind goes into 'blog-mode'. So you have probably guessed now that I have a TMA result - and you would be correct.

I suppose the first thing to say is that I have not been able to devote the time to M362 that I would wish - there is a major non-OU worry that I have (and that's all I will say) but it is diverting my attention and concentration away from my studying (as it has to, and as it should). So I submitted my TMA with a couple of sub-questions left incomplete. I know that I could have answered them but my mind just could not concentrate and I figured that it would be better to just submit the damn thing as it was, rather than write a load of coblers and have my tutor wondering what I was on about.

I'm waffling. It's a habit.

So, knowing that I had submitted a less than satisfactory TMA I braced myself for a low score. I figured that 70% would be about right (I hadn't calculated that - it just 'felt' that's what it should be). So I was a bit surprised to find that I had scored 85%. Then I kicked myself - if only I had written that load of coblers then I might have managed another point or two (or perhaps not ... if it really was coblers). But hang on a minute ... 85% is great - where has my sense of perspective gone? I'm happy with 85. In fact I'm very happy with 85.

And as for the course - I'm enjoying it. The first block was pretty much all Concurrency and was very interesting but a bit dry and academic [Ed: This is a University you know - it's supposed to be academic], but the second block is full on multi-tier application development. And I have to say that I am finding it very interesting - even my rusty Java has been dusted off and put to good use.

Got to start on TMA 03 now - and I am already two weeks behind.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

OU - An Update

Well, no updates from me since January - but I'm not slacking - I'm just very busy! I'm just over halfway through S197 (which is a really interesting course, and has got me interested in taking this particle physics and cosmology stuff further ... one day), and I have also just reached the TMA01 stage on M362. In fact I submitted the TMA a couple of weeks ago and decided this morning to bring this blog up-to-date - and then found that my marked TMA had been returned this morning.

M362 has been interesting so far. Some of the ground that we have covered has been quite familiar to me, some of it less so, and the level of detail has been worthwhile (mainly because I like to really get to grips with stuff). The coding exercises have been fairly easy - although I'm expecting them to become more challenging as the course progresses, so that will be good. One or two of the TMA questions were a little wishy-washy - you know the thing - you read the question and then realise that it can be interpretted in a number of different ways, so half the problem is not figuring out how to answer the question but trying to figure out what the questioner was after. I guess that's level 3 for you.

Anyway, I read through the marked transcript this morning and found that I made a couple of stupid mistakes (careless oversight - seems to be a habit of mine), a part of one question that I managed to miss out (not the first time thats happened either!). But I still managed a very respectable 86% and I'm more than happy with that.

Biggest problem at present it trying to find the time to fit all the studying in. Work has become very busy over the last month and looks to be continuing that way (which is good), I'm helping my son revise for his Maths, Physics, and Chemistry GCSE's that are coming up, and we might be moving house this summer too. So, busy time.

I'll try and get another post in before the year ends!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

S197 Has entered the building

Two days ago the course book for S197 arrived - so now I have two very interesting courses sitting waiting for my attention. The topics on this one include:
Redshift calculations, Hubble constant, CMB, EMR, Quantum electrodynamics, Quarks and Feynman diagrams, Quantum chromodynamics, bosons, Curved Space, Gravitational radiation, the quark-lepton era, hadrons, nucleosynthesis, geometry of space, and many other interesting areas. I can't wait to get cracking on this pot of ideas.
But - it will have to wait - I have to make reasonable headway on M362 first.

M362 A familiar start

I started reading through Unit 1 of M362 the other day and felt immediately at home (and Unit 2 to boot). All those years as a Systems Programmer on IBM boxes and reading through much of the assembly source code of the Operating System (VM/SP, VM/ESA) means that I am on home ground when it comes to processes, context switching, interrupt handlers, various process states, user mode and supervisor mode, the fetch-execute cycle, and loads more. I know the course is going to move away from these topics eventually, but right now it feels good.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I am registered

Yesterday I still didn't know if I had successfully registered for M362 in time or not. Today I received a package containing all the course books and software.

I guess that means that I have my place on the course!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Major Tom to Ground Control

S194 is just about finished - a month ahead of schedule. The ECA was completed last night after a few hours trying to figure how the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation supports the Big Bang theory.

And today I registered for S197 "How the Universe Works" which is more cosmology and physics. I am expecting this to me a more challenging course that S194 - not because of the maths - but because of some of the concepts such as string theory, and 11-dimensional space. And then having to write a few thousands words that explains it in a coherent and intelligible manner. I have trouble explaining what I had for breakfast in a coherent and intelligible manner sometimes (not that I'm often asked - but since you did - it was porridge today).

So that's S197 and M362 starting in February. A jolly combination.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And now panic!

I thought that registering and sorting out the payment last night meant that I had a place on M362. And then I checked my StudentHome page this morning - they are waiting for the return of the registration documents before I have a place on the course. Except that obviously I haven't received the registration documents, and even if I had, there is no way that I could get them returned by the end of today.

Panic.

I phoned the Regional Office for guidance. They gave me the phone number of the OU Registration Services. I telephoned and explained my predicament. It looks like I am going to be OK because I have at least registered before the cut-off date (today), but my application is not yet complete. I am not going to know for sure until after Christmas.

I have to wonder why that is not made clear when registering online. Even the email that the OU sent out November simply states that the closing date for enrolment is 22nd December for all students and nothing about allowing several days after registering for the application to complete. If we assume (dangerous!) that it takes one week for the letter to come out, get signed, and then returned, then the OU should close the online registration on 15th December at the latest and not the 22nd.

Oh well, fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quandry - leads to positive action!

Well, from a night of indicision and quandry has sprung forth some positive action. I decided to listen to the uncertainty that was filling my head and have acted on instinct - along with some helpful advice - and just registered for the February 2011 presentation of M362. And just in the nick of time.

Old Java books now dusted off and ready!

Quandry

I have found myself in a big whirlpool of uncertainty. Until yesterday I thought I had my course plans all worked out for the next two years. And just in time because the closing date for February course applications is tomorrow. But last night I hardly slept at all - something was bothering me and I had this sence that M363, which I was about to sign up for, was not the right course to do next. That surprised me because I hadn't really thought about it. But all night I had this running through my mind - almost to the point where I was questioning whether I should even sign up for another Level 3 course just yet.

But come the morning, and after a little sleep, it suddenly struck me that I should do M362 next. And when I thought that, I found that I felt relaxed again. From what I understand, M363 is a lot of theory (nothing wrong in that) and a little programming, whereas M362 has a greater programming content. And I think that is what has swung it for me - because I have been away from studying for a couple of years (apart from S194 - which I have really enjoyed!) I need something that I can do well, really get into, and if it isn't programming that does that then nothing will do it. After that is out of the way then it will be time for M363.

Unless I change my mind again tonight. Last chance though - tomorrow is decision day!

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