Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Summer Break

I made it through!!

Graduation was a great day (17/7/2012) I achieved a First Class Honours BSc Computing and Society.  It was great to see fellow graduands and their families enjoying the day and reminiscing with tutors and lecturers.

I would like to acknowledge the help and support I received from friends and family as well as the professional help from the lecturers and tutors, without whom I would not have achieved all I did.

Late Night Ramblings Before Bed.

The first semester of this final year of my degree is already ramped up to the max; I have never had so much reading to do. I grant you some of this is my doing. I could have taken slightly different options and made life a little easier for myself.

Back in May 2011 I made my choices and elected to take Educational Computing a 20 Credit unit, Global Political Economy another 20 Credit unit and a core unit of Network Society also 20 credits, together with the Final Year Project being a 40 credit unit but this is split over 2 semesters. This combination gives me only 1 unit after Christmas as well as the second half of my Final Year Project. I am therefore looking forward to A Critical Evaluation of e-commerce as it should give me plenty of time to cover my project and offer an academic distraction at the same time.

Thinking about the Final Year Project, I should really get my questionnaire and survey drafts prepared so that my supervisor can sign them off and I can release them early. (It’s on tomorrows to do list) actually make that today (cursory look at the clock). The Project Initiation Document was signed off on time and I have also developed the main structure of the final report. Some of the literature review has been looked at but I must crack on with this.

Global Political Economy gave me a real headache for a few weeks and I really didn’t do very well for my first effort (least not by my standards). Hopefully I will learn from the mistakes and develop a reasonable project for the end of the semester. (Never studied Politics or Economics before so it’s a steep learning curve) A particular issue that worries me with this unit is the group work we are expected to do which forms 20% of the overall mark. I thought about tackling climate issues as a result of globalisation but I am still not part of a group so I suppose I will see if I can join a group and fit in with what they are doing.

Network Society is moving nicely toward eDemocracy and this section of the unit should develop the FYP a little further. I love it when Peter Millard and I play devil’s advocate to see what reaction we can get within the tutor group. The topics covered so far have been interesting and deserve further reading and debate. This unit has a final exam worth 30% with a course work component at 70% of the overall mark. There are selections of essay’s to write for this and I have chosen to cover eDemocracy. Hopefully some previous work for the FYP will be of benefit here, not sure which side of the agreement to choose at the moment though.

Educational Computing is going well. The website development is proceeding nicely after a few issues with content placement. I have decided to develop a small eLearning site for 11-16 year olds. The site should help them understand the basic components of a desktop computer.

Hot Chocolate over, it must be time for bed.

INSAD – is making me sad!

Why is such an interesting topic proving to be so difficult? Fifteen Templates have been issued in a numbered pack, yet you should not approach it in a linear fashion! Some of the guidance notes and questions posed within the templates suggest that the client we are investigating would have approached us, and therefore this task would have been easier. A Problem Would Exist!!!

Our task is to approach a Newsagent and ask them to complete a 60-point questionnaire. Then arrange for one or two interviews to understand how the business operates, concentrating solely on the Newsagent role, and disregarding the fact that they may operate as a convenience store. From this, we need to determine the process involved for papers, magazines, and journals. Somehow, invent a problem and investigate ways to solve the problem. I realise the format has been used to attempt to teach us the ETHICS method, however a case study without a real world interaction, could have offered a more realistic issue in terms of presenting a problem to be solved. Although the Newsagent I have approached is very helpful, I am not convinced that he is overly happy with me analysing his business to find fault then offer a solution, when he did not solicit the study.

Furthermore what use is a discussion on family matters in a lecture when the majority of students will be working in a business context? It has no relevance to the topic. I feel that solid business cases would be more appropriate. A real world example that a lecturer has investigated and worked on to resolve would have more benefit and provide greater insight. Theory is a useful tool for learning if supported by actual cases (even if they are anonymous) so that the practicalities and experience could be understood.

I wish I could understand why lecturers who have been emailed with a question choose not to reply to students. This only sets a bad example! I attempt to reply to all emails I receive, unless all the email contains is information. But colleagues I work with always get a response. So in my opinion it is bad practice and unethical to ignore a student’s request for support, even if all they need is a point in the right direction, to the correct location for the material. I have searched the INSAD Victory unit material for some notes that were issued in a seminar, after being told that they are stored on Victory. Still not, found! The lecture’s Hard-drive is also void of any material relating to the subject.

What now? Struggle on as best as I can and hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel not a train coming the other way!!!

Still climbiing that mountain

Well finally getting to grips with the new subjects and timetable for this semester. I really didn’t think a 5 day break from university would have left me with so much work to catch up on but I think I have finally turned the corner. The reading list is still large but the log book/diaries are coming together. Database coursework is due for phase one submission in a week so next wednesday (27-10-10) is a study day at my place with my colleague Taiwo.

Had an interesting conversation with Peter Millard today (Personal Tutor) about core subjects and delivery methods. I have been invited to be the course rep for Computing and Society for this year. I’m quite pleased as this will add extra activities to my CV and also give me an opportunity to investigate the workings of the university further. I have completed part of my PDP for this year. I don’t recall filling out anything like that last year but apparently its been in place for sometime. Was this another administration error?

My Personal Learning Network is growing with the help of LinkedIn. LinkedIn

INSAD – It Depends!!!

Ok so the theme of the lecture on monday was trying to encourage us to consider the impact of a solution to a problem within an organisation.  Did every question by a student require the answer “It Depends” from the tutor.  Sure it’s an important point but to spend a whole lecture asking the same questions and to keep receiving the same answer is not helpful.

Furthermore today’s tutorial attempted to get the students to reflect on how a process works and the steps involved in that process.  Making coffee???  To be honest I got distracted with the sub-processes and the effect they could impart on the overall process.  I’m still trying to discover the relevant inputs and outputs.

Hopefully if I sleep on it things will become clearer and this fog that currently sits between me and the knowledge I crave will clear.

Group work

The benefits of group work are many and well documented. However is it necessary for all modules on a given course to incorporate this feature. As a mature student who has spent time in a variety of roles, the exercise of team work has become tiresome. I believe this practice needs review. It can be relevant for some subjects and a burden within others. In a work situation deadlines are not flexible. Some younger students who don’t have other commitments outside of their study fail to appreciate time management. This affects those of us with jobs and family lives outside of our field of study.

I am not saying teamwork has no value. Rather I am trying to stress that in some cases choice would be beneficial. The allocation of students to a given group could be counter productive. Where as the choice to join a workgroup would at least allow for working with like-minded students.

WebAud

Had my WebAud (Web Authoring and Design) assessment today.  Felt it went really well.  Had to talk about how the course went and what I feel I have achieved and provide the evidence.  The assessment was carried out in the normal tutorial room and observed by the unit tutor.  Hope we dont have to wait to long for the marks.

Got 2 weeks free revision time now.  Then exams.

New Year

Well christmas was great and I really enjoyed having my girls to stay.  The New Year was great to and had a lovely evening with friends.  Not so keen on the snow we have at the moment, its hampering work and travelling to university.  Still I am getting loads of extra home study done and WordPress is all part of it.  A great tutorial written by Rich has helped me get my other WordPress running under localhost.  Glad I actually did it at home on my own, some how seems more of an achievement.