Wednesday, 17 June 2009

M257 Final Exam

I had the final exam for M257 today, I feel that it went well as everything I revised seemed to appear in the exam, including Aglets (which I read about this morning!!).

What an experience though, I left my house an hour before the exam, headed into bristol and parked near the Wills memorial building (Bristol University) and arrived with about 20 minutes spare, only to find I was at the completely wrong building and I should be at Wills hall which is about 3 miles away. My heart sunk as I really thought I was going to miss the exam, all my previous exams had been in this building and when I saw the phrase wills again I wrongly assumed thats where it meant.

Luckily I had some money on me and I caught a cab, arriving in the exam literally as the announcer called "3 hours, begin now". Not the best way to start an exam but its over now! I also had to walk the 3 and a bit miles back to my car an unnecessary opportunity to reflect.

There is one lesson I will not be forgetting in a hurry, assume nothing!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

M253 Milestone 0

M253

Well what can I say, it's certainly different from anything else I have studied with the Open University. The course ultimately revolves around a team of 6-7 people spread out across the UK coming together online to work through tasks following a weekly schedule towards each milestone.

The first 4 weeks leading to Milestone 0 were a bit strange. Picture 7 people turning up in a FirstClass forum, with the goal of evaluating a selection of websites which sell flights and deciding on a team standard to come to an overall ranking for these sites. You have the keen person kicking up a bit of a fuss from day one because they want to do all 4 weeks work by the first week so they don't get behind, you have the people who turn up in week 4 when the first milestone is due with their introductory posting about themselves and then you have everyone else sort of in the middle. Its err entertaining to watch! I'm not sure about anyone else out their studying this course, but I thought there would be some personality clashes judging by some of the posting that were flying around.

Fortunately it all seemed to calm itself down, with the exception of the people who just don't bother to do anything of course! We managed to get the work done and get our milestone submitted but purely because a few people put in extra work. I think it was because nobody thought to take the time to decide on roles and responsibilities for team members from the outset, however we have agreed on this now with a bit of democracy and a little less coup d'etat than I was expecting. Each member is taking turns as team leader to ensure everyone gets a chance to develop this skill and also so that nobody gets the unfortunate job of e-mailing the people who aren't bothering all the time.

To be fair the course has not been as bad as the reviews on the OU website however I don't know what to expect going forward. I'll try my best to keep you updated.

P.S. It does seem to take a lot of time for a 10 point course, so bare this in mind if you intend to study it at the same time as other courses.

M256 TMA02 Submitted

Sorry for the lack of postings and replies to comments, I have been hard at work revising for M257 Exam and getting my M256 TMA02 submitted as well as keeping on top of M253. This TMA looked at Object Oriented Design principles and in particular design solutions for a hotel system and some of its use cases. It was a bit of a tricky one and I think some of the design methods covered could be used in various ways, therefore leaving TMA answers open to interpretation. Fingers crossed it comes in as a reasonable mark though!

I have been finding the study materials a little tedious to say the least, and sometimes I have re-read sections as the clarity has just not been there for me. Looking at the forums on FirstClass i'm not the only person to feel this way, hopefully it improves in the second half of the course. We appear to be taking the most drawn out approach to deciding which way something should be implemented in a design, and I completely appreciate that for large scale systems it may be more than necessary to take this approach but it feels a little drawn out for the examples we are using.

The exam for M257 is next Wednesday and I have taken a week off work to study and have a few days break afterwards. It should be an interesting one and I'm actually looking forward to the challenge... (now that is worrying!)

Friday, 5 June 2009

M253 TMA03 results

I received my results for TMA03 last week and acheived a respectable 94%. The exam is coming up on 17th June and I really need to get studying for it but M256 TMA 02 and M253 is taking up a fair bit of time aswell. I've taken a week off work to revise for the exam so hopefully this will leave me good stead!

I recently attended a day school to cover the exam and this was really good ably pointing out areas of strength and areas for improvement. I'd recommend attending a day school if the opportunity is there for any OU course.