Thursday, 22 April 2010

M362 - TMA01

Wow, definitely one of the most difficult assignments I have completed since I began my degree. This assignment dealt with concurrency issues such as semaphores, locks and latches as well as many other generic concepts. I really found question 4 a tough one to crack, the first three questions I answered on the week leading up to the deadline and unfortunately due to work commitments question 4 was left until the night before. I have to admit it was difficult, I got in from work at 5:30p.m. on 19th April and worked through solidly until 11:00 p.m. at which point I gave up. I was extremely frustrated that I couldn't get my head around these concepts but realised that I could stay up all night and go no further.

I submitted my assignment including an incomplete Question 4 just after 11:00 p.m. and went to sleep feeling annoyed at myself and extremely tired. On the morning of the 20th (deadline day) I awoke at 5:45 a.m. and thought I would take another look at the question with a fresh head. Within 45 minutes I had completed the question from scratch, this time it seemed a lot easier than the night before however this is probably as I was less fatigued and had processed some of the information from the previous night. I submitted my assignment by 7 a.m. feeling a lot happier and headed off to work.

I learned a life lesson from this assignment, expect the unexpected! Just because I coped with the first three questions which covered 80% of the assignment, the last 20 marks were nearly beyond me and all because I left the assignment to the last minute. I have been working longer days this year being away from home for upwards of 12 hours a day. and as such I have not been able to devote the same amount of time as normal to my degree. I may look into compressed weeks to relieve some of the strains as level 3 study really is looking to be a step up from all my other study so far.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

M363 TMA 01

The first TMA for this course was due in last week and I have to say I found it fairly time consuming an challenging. The first change I noticed is the volume of research reading you had to do in order to support your answers, no more clear cut heres the answer, more a read around and evidence your reasoning.

This sounds pretty straight forward and with the help of the OU library which has subscriptions to all the major journals searchable via web front end to an extent it was, however the challenge came when to scholars contradict each other and trying to encompass both sides of an opinion in your answer with only a 400 word limit.

The TMA focussed on software development methodologies and some modelling using the UML tool UMLet which is Free Open Source Software available here. This is a change from violet which was the UML software used in M256. Both are extremely easy to use and learn I would recommend either, they can also be used as Eclipse plugins which is great.

I definitely developed some new skills completing this TMA! What I would say is that the time required for level 3 TMA's seems a lot longer than previous levels of study as you are being encouraged to think for yourself and not just reference university materials. This means you spend a large amount of time reading around the subject but essentially come out with a TMA no different in size to any other I have done.