Tuesday, 29 January 2008

M255 Materials Arrived

Finally the M255 course materials arrived this morning, just in the nick of time!

They were accompanied by a letter from my course tutor outlining his role and how we will interact as a tutor group which is something I have never had from an OU tutor before and it is quite reassuring that he is on top of whats going on (we've all experienced the tutors who are not so...)

I've got the software installed which consists of the Java SDK, an IDE called BlueJ and the M255 specific study materials. I haven't had a chance to play around with them yet as I have to get TMA02 completed for M263 by the weekend. One things for sure, the next few months will be interesting, if not least from a time managment perspective.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

New Course - MT264 Designing applications with Visual Basic

I have just had a 30 min study break whilst working through some of my M263 course materials this evening and decided to take a look at the courses I would like to study next year. I noticed that under computing there is a new level 2 course called "MT264 Designing applications with Visual Basic" which is due for its first presentation in September 2008.

The over view of the course suggests users will be programming using VB.Net and building applications from a basic foundation through to database linked levels. I can't help but wonder if the OU, by dipping its toe in a technology used widely across industry (referring to the dot net framework), is beginning to change direction from very much a Java focused syllabus to a more Microsoft oriented syllabus going forward.

I am going to phone the OU up tomorrow and see what qualifications this course will count towards because the description is not very clear, and it may just swing my decision of what to study in 2008/2009.

I'll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE 29/01/2008 - I received an answerphone message on Monday 28th from a member of the IT Faculty down in Milton Keyenes, my message appears to have got slightly lost in translation. I was told that this course can be studied as any other course can (my query related to B29 computing degree specifically, which has a relatively strict study path). I will have to return the call this week and see if I can squeeze some more specific information out, otherwise it will be a case of wait and see.


Saturday, 19 January 2008

MU120 TMA02

Although this isn't due for a few weeks I have spent the last few days working on TMA02 for MU120. I finally wrapped it up last night and I will submit it to my tutor at todays tutorial.

I haven't been giving MU120 as much time as I should, focusing most of my time on M263 as it counts towards my degree classification, but knowing that I'm starting M255 Object Oriented Programming with Java next week I thought I best get my work in order.

Maths has never been my strong point, however the TMA was fairly straight forward with the algebra sections taking up the majority of my time.

I would say that the OU teaching materials are first class at explaining mathematical topics such as algebra, and are a big step up from the way topics were presented to me at secondary school.

Maybe the government should look at licencing materials?

Monday, 7 January 2008

iTunes University (iTunes U)

I have been looking to broaden my learning whilst studying with the OU without having to worry about assignments and deadlines and over the past week I have come across iTunes U.

To put it simply, this is a place in the iTunes store where Universities can place video and audio from recorded lectures online and allow their students to download them on their PC or Mac. From here the audio can be listened to or alternatively moved direct to an iPod or CD for listening (whilst driving to and from work in my case).

Although this is intended for students of the Universities the materials and lectures are available freely to anyone in the world.

The range of subjects is incredible and best of all it is free of charge! Two particularly interesting courses I have been watching/listening to are computer science based from Stanford University and Berkeley University, which are two of the most prestigious establishments in the field of Computing. The topics are interesting and discussed from many angles with some of the best lecturers in their respective fields explaining ideas from the basics through to advanced levels. Many of the courses have video or slides which can also be downloaded which liven up the topics even more.

Many lectures can be subscribed to as Podcasts which download each week as the lectures become available online allowing you to follow the course, or alternatively you may only download lectures of specific interest to you. With each lecture lasting approximately 80 minutes they can hopefully improve the time spent in traffic on a day to day basis.

I would recommend this service to anyone as it doesn't cost a thing, requires no real commitment and will definitely engage your brain and provide a good background to topics that you may come across in more detail with your OU Studies.

Take a look, there are plenty of topics from all the different faculties at these prestigious Universities (I haven't had a chance to check if any British Universities have adopted the service yet but if not I'm sure it won't be long).

All the best and a Happy New Year