Wednesday, 10 December 2008

M256 - The Result

Life has been hectic - the business has taken off, I have changed jobs, and I have only just realised that my grade for M256 has been published. I managed an 80% in the exam (Grade II) - which is disappointing in a way. I think, had I applied myself to the course better - particularly to the stuff at the beginning - I might have achieved a distinction. The fact remains I didn't, and I have to say that with the work I did (including not the greatest amount of revision) I probably achieved the mark I deserved.
I have decided that I would like to try and aim for a first for my OU degree. To this end I will need to pull my socks up and apply myself to the Level 3 course that starts in January.

Monday, 29 September 2008

M256 TMA04 - The Result

Well, the fact that I have found the second half of this course more interesting than the first has been borne out in the results for the final TMA - 97%. This means I have successfully completed the Continuous assessment part of M256, and just have the exam to sit (and pass) on October 13th (luckily not a Friday). Revision seems to be going okay - I have gone through Units 1-7 so far, but I have to say that the first part of the course is still as dry to me, the second time around, as it was the first time. Important of course, but dry.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

M256 - TMA 04

With the 11th September deadline looming for the final M256 TMA, I am happy to say that I managed to answer all the questions and have submitted my best effort. This will mean that I get the chance to enjoy my birthday, and gives me a clear run for the exam on October 13th. I should have a great deal of time to spend on revision given that my current job ends on September 25th, and I don't take up my next position (teaching Pharmacy at the University of Hertfordshire) until 3rd November - so hopefully the things which are still a little fuzzy will have crystallised in my mind by then.
I have to say, I found the latter half of this course much more enjoyable than the first bit, which I thought was dry and uninspiring. I found it much easier to become interested and involved with the more esoteric discussions surrounding usability in the later chapters than the specific language and structure required of, for example, requirements documentation in the earlier part. Like M263 it has been a course of two halves. On reflection I have enjoyed this course. Lets hope the exam isn't too bad.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

M256 - TMA 03

It seems like an age since there was any OU news, and now there are two pieces!
In addition to the M257 result, I have received the result for M256 TMA 03. A respectable 94%, which I am very pleased with. I did have an epiphany when I read my tutors comments wrt Question 2e - it was along the lines of '......ah! That's why it was worth so many marks' but it actually made sense - which is a good thing. I hate it when you have no idea what the issue was. :)

Reading the post-mortems on the M257 forum it seems like a lot of people got caught out on the exam - mainly the compulsory Question 1-10 section. It seems that there is something amiss when people averaging more than 90% on their TMAs are achieving only 58% on an examination - and I wonder whether this is usual for examinations. I can understand in the majority of cases that the scores achieved for TMAs will be higher than scores achieved for the exam - but largely think that attainment in TMAs should reflect attainment in exams. A discrepancy of over 30% between the two is something examiners should be worried about - isn't it?

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

M257 - The Result

Well the M257 results have arrived, and I passed with a Grade 2 (76%). I am happy with the result, and the breakdown showed that I scored between 70 and 84% for all questions on the paper (1-10, 11 and 12) making it a solid Grade 2 performance. Given this, I don't think that there was an awful lot I could have done to push up for the Distinction (9% is a great deal to claw back!), but want to congratulate the 10% of people who sat the exam who achieved the highest grade. I thought I would have been more disappointed....but guess that I do have a healthy perspective on these things after all.

Things to take from this, is that I obviously need to concentrate on packing the relevant information into my short answer style questions (1-10) if I am to achieve the highest grade, and that subtleties in longer answer questions (11 and 12) need to be accounted for properly. All in all though, a satisfactory outcome, and if I can achieve a similar mark for the M256 exam in October I think I will be happy.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The M257 exam

Well that wasn't too bad - in a bizarre twist, the man who marks my M256 TMAs was sitting beside me taking the M257 exam - it seems strange I was so worried about submitting my TMA on time, and having time for revising M257 whereas my tutor must have been worried about revising, and having time to mark all the TMAs.

There were no time constraints in this exam - finished with 20 minutes to spare (after travelling through at a leisurely pace) and was largely happy with what I had written. There are a couple of places where it wasn't clear what the examiner wanted, and I may have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick, and a strange error (or deliberate mistake) in one of the longer answer questions which confused me - but overall I was happy with it. Think I've done enough to pass comfortably, and would hope for the highest grade for this one, but pride may come before a fall and so I will try not to get my hopes up.

Life can kind of resume now. I have M256 to finish - with the exam on October 13th - and then a short break until the Level 3 courses begin in January. The dogs, which have been in kennels for the last two nights, will be back tomorrow so things should return to normal fairly soon

Results due in August (6th). Will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


I am currently working really hard on getting TMA 02 for M256 done and dusted so that I can concentrate on revising for the M257 exam on 18th June.

Have managed to get two of the three questions completed - and aim to begin the third one this evening. If I can have the TMA done by the 18th May (5 days) that will give me a full month to for the run-up to M257. I am nervous (as always) about the exam, mainly becuase of the new short answer style for the first 10 questions, and then a choice of 2 from 3 extended answers.

The last exam I did (M263) where I had to chose 2 from 4 questions I ended up picking (in retrospect) the wrong one. Not convinced that I won't do it again this time......

And the results are in......

Okay - so back from Florida (wonderful by the way - thoroughly recommend it) - and had the results for two assisgments waiting for me M257 TMA 04 and M256 TMA 01. Have to say that I wasn't expecting great shakes from either of them, and yet both came in at a respectable 92%.

The majority of the marks lost for M257 TMA 04 came from my inability to answer the last part of the last question.....I still don't fully understand the tutor's answer, so I guess that is something I will have to wait to grasp....or never will. Either way it was tough - and I would hope that the exam wouldn't throw up anything quite as demanding.

With M256 TMA 01 the majority of marks were lost on the first part (i.e. supposedly the easiest bit) of the TMA - where I lost five marks from not reading the question properly. Otherwise there were no major problems to report.

Monday, 17 March 2008

In the doldrums

Seem to have lost the enthusiasm for my OU courses at the moment.
I don't know whether this is to do with me being mad busy at work - or the subject matter - but I am finding the M256 requirement documentation stuff very very dry. This lack of enthusiasm seems to have transferred into my TMA_01 part 1 mark - where I managed to drop 5% by not reading the question properly. Ah well - I suppose it should just galvanise me into performing my best on the second part... not sure that it is going to though.

I am also finding TMA 04 for M257 hard-going. Not because of the content, but because of the subject (threads) which I find a bit dull. Having said that I managed to complete most of the TMA (there are still the two final sections of Question 3 to finish) which is good because the TMAs for both M256 and M257 are due on the same day - April 10th.

Maybe the time pressure is getting to me - still with the continuous assessment for M257 finished after this, and a clear run to October for M256 I am sure it will work itself out in the end. And I have my holiday in Orlando to look forward to 1 week after the deadlines!! I can't wait :)

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

M257 - TMA03

The results are in for M257 - and once again I have done really well, 98% - thats 100%, 98%, 98% for the assignments so far. I lose my marks for code style - it isn't the most elegant - but I try to learn from my mistakes and improve every time I get the feedback.

I have to admit, that I have been really neglecting my OU studies of late - I think that I am technically behind with my reading for both M257 and M256. I need to pull my finger out.

If I am fishing around for excuses, it is probably because I have been so busy at both work and the gym after work, that OU stuff has been pushed to the bottom of the pile - plus as there are no looming deadlines I don't feel like I am under very much pressure. I realise this is dangerous as it could make me lazy, and the last thing I want to do is end up reading the units only so I can answer the TMA questions....that doesn't help anyone.

Maybe tonight I will make a concerted effort to get back on track.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

M257 - So far so good

Once again the first two TMAs of M257 seem to be going well, with a 100% for the first and a 98% for the second. I have to say that I am really enjoying the level two Java courses - they are very much a 'get in and do something useful' experience, and the navel gazing and contemplation that accompanied some of the Level 1 courses (and the horrendous in my opinion M253) are significantly diluted. It doesn't mean that you don't have to reflect on stuff, you just reflect in a more useful and relevant way.

I am midway through TMA03 - I have managed to complete the first two questions and am considering question 3 as we speak. I can't explain the sense of reward that is achieved by writing a GUI which is interactive and does what you want it to. It really is first rate.

M255 Results

The M255 results are now published, and once again I have managed to surprise myself with a distinction! I am thrilled that I seem to be achieving with this new way of learning, but am worried as to how I will cope with the inevitable exam result which is not a distinction. Probably best to think about that when it happens.