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.