Welcome to my blog

 

I'm not a blogger by all means.

I decided to embark on an Open University degree namely a BSc (Hons) in Computing and IT. I have started this WordPress site to write down my thoughts, my tribulations, my concerns and my frustrations, my triumphs, and my failures.

If you have found this blog and have decided to read it, you are, of course, more than welcome. but I also apologize for my grammar.

My course is in 3 stages, creatively enough, named stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3. as of writing this post I have completed one module called TU100 (My Digital Life) which was a 60 credit module. I got a score of 85% which is distinction level, I was very pleased and chuffed with my self for being able to get a score like that.

At the time of writing this post, I have started (back in October last year) 2 30 credit modules one called, TM129 (Technologies in Practice) this module incorporates robotics, networking, and Linux. The other module is called MU123 (Discovering Mathematics) I have been finding this a real challenge!.

After these two modules are finished I will have the summer off and then embark on stage 2 of my OU adventure!

 

 

Update

I haven't written on here for a few weeks, these two modules (mainly MU123) are keeping me busy, thankfully I am at a place in the module material that I understand. This puts me in a good mood and does not make me want to throw my books, and my calculator out of the window, go out into the garden and stamp on them, pour petrol over them and then carelessly drop a match on them (too far?).

I am enjoying TU129, I have submitted my TMA for it, well, for the networking block anyway. I have one more block to do which is Linux, I started it the other day, but didn't get far as I needed to concentrate on TMA03 for MU123 (which I am still in the middle of doing and it needs to be handed in by the 6th March) I think I have done ok I won't really know until I get the TMA back marked. It was quite a short assignment with only 4 questions. one of which was to work out what the network address is if you have an IPv4 address of 192.100.50.200, with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.240. There was a section in the textbook "Microsoft Windows Networking Essentials" where it told you and showed you how to work that out, it wasn't the easiest thing to get my head around but I think I have done it correctly.

I, as you all know (if anyone has actually found this blog and decided to read it) find mathematics a big headache I really find it hard, it makes me wonder why I'm doing it sometimes. All the other people on this module seems to get exactly what they are doing and understand the key concepts. I, on the other hand really have to study hard to understand it and even then I don't always get it. A prime example is on TMA03. Question 3 asks us to make a variable the subject of the equation! this question is only 5 marks which is nothing with some of the other questions which are 18 to 25 or even 30 marks. For some reason I have cannot get my head around making a variable the subject of the equation I won't write down what the equation is on here as I know what to get accused of some sort of collusion. I can't understand why you would need to change where one of the variables go, so what I mean is if the equation is. 10r=12e/13-21 so if I want to make e the subject of the equation then I have to get e on its own on the left-hand side where 10r is. It is driving me mad, I have looked online and I appear to be doing it right however if I make the variable the subject, I can then substitute a value for let's say, e is now the subject so, e=3 I then substitute that value into the right-hand side of the first equation and whatever the answer is, would be the value for r in the second equation, if I then sub in that value for r the what the answer is should be the original value for e.

It is all very confusing I should be speaking with my tutor tomorrow and hopefully I will have a better understanding and will be able to sort that question out.

I think I have gone on long enough! I'm off to bed.

 

 

 

MU123 TMA 02 Returned

I've had TMA 02 sent back, I am please to say I scored 86%, This is a lower score than I my first TMA but I am pleased with it, this TMA had a lot of algebra and solving equations and simplifying expressions, (I still haven't got the hang of simplifying expressions yet)

I am now going to be starting TMA 03 looking at it, is making me feel a bit sick!

Update

Thoughts on modules

I've started TM129 and MU123, to be honest I am enjoying MU123 more than I thought, don't get me wrong I still find maths difficult, but the way in which the books explain things they make it easy for me to understand. I have been having problems with prime numbers and prime factors, they are quite baffling!

TM129 is very interesting, I'm finding RobotLab a bit challenging, but I have never been overly confident in programming. I am looking for to block 2 and 3 in these blocks I will be studying networking and Linux.


MU123

MU123, is a very well put together module and it explains concepts in simple terms that I can understand. They don't expect you to know any form of mathematics and the books explain it with easy to follow examples, and there are also video clips which help to explain some of the examples in a clear way. Thorough out the book you are tasked with activities which will test you on the stuff you have learn throughout the units, I have found that if I don't understand a topic, for instance, I had a big issue with how to solve algebraic equations. I am part of a facebook group so I could post questions on there and they are really helpful, I  can of course speak to my tutor, he is a good guy, when we go to his face to face tutorials he makes it interesting and he also makes us laugh which is always a bonus for me.

So, my point was, for me, there are more than enough resources to ask to get answers to questions. I can solve equations now however, I need to practice and practice some more! I handed in my second TMA on the 17th December, So I am waiting for that to come back. I'm not going to lie, I will be glad when MU123 is done, my brain has not worked so hard in its life, I am basically learning everything from scratch. I never really learned anything in my maths class, mainly because I didn't understand the subject and another reason was that the teacher was more interested in helping the pupils who were top of the class. I got a grade U in my GCSE maths, and I retook the subject at college and still got a U, it was then I realised that maths and I were not going to be friends!

To be honest I would not of chosen to do maths now, but I have to do this module as part of my BSc degree. I know I seem to be a character of contradictions but I think maths and I have a love hate relationship and at the moment I love it (mainly because I am understanding it more) I am just about half way through Unit 7 which is about equations and inequalities I am finding it a challenge, but a challenge I am enjoying.

One last note, I tend to spend most of my study time on MU123 and I tend to race through TM129 on the weekend. I seems to work for me.


TU129

After starting this module, It was all about robotics, which I thought I would find really interesting, I was wrong. I did not enjoy it at all but I persevered and completed it and the TMA and got 90% I don't really understand why this block was on this module, the next two blocks are Networking and Linux, these two areas go together but the Robotics has no place really in my mind anyway. I am not going to be starting the networking block so I am really hoping that I will enjoy that, I want to become a network administrator so I know some of the terms and some protocols which are used.

 

 

 

MU123 TMA 01 returned and thoughts on TMA 01 for TM129

TMA 1 returned!

I received my first TMA back for MU123 (Discovering mathematics), I am so pleased that I got 94%. I was quite confident that I did well, I re-read it and re-read it again before I submitted it and made any alterations with it. My tutor gave me some constructive criticism which I will take on board.

What's next?

Well I need to continue on with the study material, obviously, MU123 gives you about 2 weeks to do one unit, so it has taken me a while to juggle my time with studying this module as well as TM129, I have noticed that TM129 isn't really as heavy as MU123 in terms of the amount of time I need to put aside to study, I can complete a whole unit in TM129 in a day straight.

I am doing TMA 01 for TM129 at the moment and I have had a bit of trouble with it, it seems to be more in depth than TMA 01 for MU123 was. I have only got question 4 and 5 to do. Question 4 wants me to write a short report on the use of robots in the logistics industry mainly warehouses. This has proved more difficult that I first thought. I will let you know how I get on when I get my results in.

Personal note

I must say that I don't find robotics that interesting, and I'm not really sure why this block is included in TM129, I understand that the module is "technologies in practice"  however, after this block there is nothing else to do with robotics in the entire course i.e in Stage two or stage three. so by the time I go on to the next stage which should be next October, I would of forgotten everything I have learnt.

I have nearly finished iCMA for MU123 as well, this needs to be finished and submitted by 5th December. The TMA 01 for TM129 needs to be submitted by 7th December and then TMA 02 for MU123 needs to be finished and submitted by 19th December (which I have not even started yet!)

WISH ME LUCK!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

TM129 and MU123!

A New Term!

I know that this post is a bit late as I’ve already started my next two modules, MU123 and TM129, unfortunately life always tends to get in the way! I am currently working on MU123 (Mathematical module) it seems to be more or a work load that TM129.

I was so apprehensive and nervous about studying mathematics but the way the text books are written, they seem to ‘dumb them down’ which is good for me, they don’t chuck you in at the deep end, they ease you in slowly with very good easy to follow and understand examples – which was a god send to me. I had my first face to face tutorial last Tuesday, I felt stupid as the only questions I could answer were the ones about rounding to a certain number of significant figures or decimal places. Everyone in the class seemed to be able to get the answers before I even thought about the question being asked by the tutor – who by the way is very friendly and approachable.

I am starting to do TMA 01 for MU123, I have completed 2 questions so far, when I say two questions they had about 4 parts to them but I’m glad I have made a start, TMA 01 doesn’t have to be handed in until 14th November, so I have a little while.

TM129, I’m finding very interesting, we are learning about Robots and the meaning of life (I know, very deep and philosophical!) I am really looking forward to doing the networking and Linux sections on the module. TMA 01 for this module must be handed in by the 7th December.

TMA 06 Marked! Module Results are in!

I've Passed!

I have been worried about my module result as I thought that my EMA was rather rushed due to the circumstances I found my self in. I am pleased to say that I past the module comfortably.

You don't get much in the way of feedback but they tell you if you have done something wrong they just don't really say what! I will of course most my module result letter and the feedback as well as my completed EMA or for some reason they called this EMA TMA06, god knows why it was and End of Module assignment so why not call it what it is?

This result has given me a confidence boost as I know, now, that I can accomplish anything even if I have a load of crap coming at me from different angles.

My overall task score was set as "Value A' which means a score of 85 -100% I got a couple of value B's which is 70 - 85% i think but overall I am so pleased and proud of myself.

Personal update 2

We had dad's funeral yesterday and it was a joyous but also a sad, upsetting and long hard day. We wanted it to be fun as that was what dad was like he always made me laugh and the rest of the family and his friends, he was such a kind and gentle man with a heart of pure gold. Even as I write this post I can't believe he has gone and I will never get to see him again, Sarah, Novi, Richard, Colin and I went to his grave this morning to take a couple of flowers from his wreath so we could press them and preserve them. we also sprinkled some wild flowers over his plot as well, they should hopefully start to come up this year although it may be to late but they will come up next year.

Colin took a photo of Sarah Novi and I at the grave side which I think is ok to put on this post, I don't think it is a morbid thing to do, where dad is, is in a place of natural beauty and I don't see it as a generic grave yard as there are no head stones and no imposing church, we are basically in a wild flower meadow.

I think dad would of liked the service he had some of the music he enjoyed listening to and his friends and family including cousins I have never seen before where there to see him off and to pay their respects. I wrote the eulogy from Sarah and myself which Stephen (The celebrant) read out and it came across really well which I was very pleased about I will add it to the bottom of this post. He also read out pieces from Rosie Mac (his Sister) where she told everyone what a horrid sister she was! and that he still loved her and her him as well which was very touching its not  very often that Rosie gets emotional but she did then.

We had the wake at Sarah's and most of the people went, that part was fun for everyone and it was nice to get to know dad's cousins, Shaun, Paddy and Michelle as well as seeing my cousin Alister who I have not seen since 2000.

below is the eulogy I wrote for dad on behalf of Sarah and myself


We have so many fond memories of dad; we would love to tell them all but you might get a tad bored.

 

Dad was a very kind, caring, funny man who loved music, he could play the Drums, Guitar and Harmonica – some may say not very well but we enjoyed listening to him, we have great memories of us all playing together in the front room of our home in Earlswood; Sarah on the recorder, Mum and James on the Piano and dad on the Guitar I think we liked to see ourselves as the next Von-Trap’s - Sarah and James

 

Dad being so kind and caring to everything that crossed his path in life, he particularly loved animals and nature. Now, Dad being a big 6’3” trucker thundering down the small country lanes in his 19 ton tipper lorry (you would of assumed that he would be big and butch – how wrong you would be) he was traveling down the lane when he saw this little baby bunny on the side of the grass verge, so he stopped his truck which held up all the other road users but he didn’t care he just wanted to rescue this poor defenseless animal. He scooped up the little bunny with his shovel-sized hands and put him in his lunch box to protect him, he came back home and tried to nurse it back to health. However, nature can be cruel and unfortunately the little bunny rabbit died during the night. Sarah went to dad and asked him how the bunny was doing to which he turned round and picked up the rabbit by one foot and said in a very serious voice with somber look “It’s stiff!” Sarah couldn’t help but roar with laughter while at the same time dad had a tear in his eye. - Sarah

 

We really enjoyed going out for day trips in dads lorry, we got excited that we had to wake up at 4am to get to his work by 5 but within 20 minutes of us being in his lorry we used to be asleep on the bunk bed! He was a very generous man – some will say too generous and he used to buy us lots of food from the snack vans dotted around the run he made delivering sand or top soil. He used to let us drive the truck a little bit as well in the yard (I’m not sure health and safety would of liked that though!) – Sarah and James

 

Travelling back to 1983, Mum, Dad, Sarah, James, and dear family friends Carol, Peter & Andy, and our grandparents went to Italy for a camping holiday, I don’t remember too much about the holiday as I was only 3 at the time but I was told by dad on numerous occasions that once I got lost and Mum, Dad and everyone else was searching for me – they obviously wasn’t searching to far away from the alcohol because they didn’t find me, instead these two topless sunbathers found me and brought me back. Dad told me that he wasn’t sure weather to thank the ladies for bringing me back or to thank me for bringing the ladies back! – James

 

As we have said above Dad loved music and he could play several musical instruments he played drums in a band back in the 90’s, we used to always go to them and watch him play, we always felt very proud of him when he was playing, I’m not sure our mother liked it when he used to practice in the house!

 

These are just a very small selection of memories we have, we are going to miss dad more than words can say and his passing has left a great big hole in our lives that nothing will ever be able to fill. Sleep tight dad.

Personal Update

I know this post isn't about OU study but this has happened since I've been studying so I think it needs to be said on here.

I decided to post on here just to keep my blog going and to say what is going on in my life away from the OU. I think I wrote on my last update the my father was terminally Ill with bowel cancer which then spread into is liver, stomach and lungs. He ended up coming back from the Philippines which in it's self was an horrendous journey I'm so shocked that he actually made it over here. He spent the first month or so at his sisters in Cuckfield, we all visited him but his wife Novi wanted to come over to be with him, she managed to sell some stuff to raise the funds for the flight. John (my uncle) did not want novi to stay with them, he is an 83 year old man who does not cope with strangers very well.

Anyway Sarah said that dad and novi can stay with her in the spare room, we all hurried around to try and get a bed for him etc the bed it turned out was too low but it did for now. the first day that dad came to Sarah's we all had to go out for Lee's 50th birthday dinner in Reigate, we asked him if he would be ok and he said yes. We left him on the sofa with his curry he wanted to eat, about halfway through dinner Sarah text dad to see if he was ok, he then text back saying he could not get off the sofa, she asked him if he needed to go the toilet and he said no. Long story short we got back to Sarah's at about midnight, and we saw dad lying on the sofa looking very unwell we managed to wake him up and he was desperate for water so I got him a glass. Sarah and I got him to his feet and took him to bed he almost collapsed on me and I grabs him just before he did, the next Morning Sarah and I had to wake up really early at about 0400 to collect Novi from Heathrow airport.

When we were driving back with Novi to the house she was very excited that she had made it to England, when we got back to the house, we showed Novi where dad was in the front room and she burst into tears and wrapped her arms around dad, we were always suspicious of Novis intentions and this reaction out our minds at rest some what.

Dad was getting weaker by the week then by the day, he didn't want to end up in a hospice and he wanted to die at Sarah's so we did everything in our power to make that happen. We had the hospice to provide an proper hospital bed that adjusted at a touch of a button and he had a mattress that stopped bed sores towards the end he was completely bed-bound, so this was a great thing to have. Moving forward and couple of weeks Sarah rang me on Friday 16th June, at around 10:00 I was at work she then told me that the nurses have rang her to get home, so Caroline at work told me to take the loan car from with in the wear house and go, which I did I got to Sarah's at around 1300 to which I had Sarah and mum come up to me crying their eyes out they hadn't told me to has happened so I assumed that dad had already died. Sarah said that he has hours left and that he can still hear us. I went into the room and there was dad unconscious breathing heavily, he stayed like this for a couple of hours and we all told him that he can go if he's ready, he died about thirty minutes later with Sarah, mum, Novi and I hold his hand and stroking his forehead, it was such a weird and upsetting, traumatic experience one of which I do not want to repeat. He stayed in the house for a few hours afterwards and we were all crying and supporting eachother, as I'm typing this I can remember how I was feeling it was dreadful, I feel that if I write down all this then I have emptied my head of it, I am writing this on my iPad on a train going to Surrey as we are burning dad tomorrow at an natural burial ground called Clandon Wood it is so beautiful and tranquil dad would of liked it he liked nature and animals and we have chosen a nice stop for him.

The funeral is at 1300 tomorrow afternoon we are having the service by the grave side as well this is mainly due to expense, dad had no money and had no life insurance so we have to pay for the funeral. We are still making it nice for him and it shouldn't look cheap, (I hope it doesn't).

I am feeling very apprehensive and I have been feeling that since yesterday, I don't know what it is maybe this is how I am moaning dads death - who knows? I have t cried much since a few days after it happened, I'm putting. That down to the fact that he has not been a major part in our lives for the last ten years, he chose to moved to the Philippines.

New Modules! starting in October 2017

I thought I would right about my new modules I have just enrolled in, the first is Technologies in Practice I am really looking forward to this module as it focuses on the subjects I find most interesting which are robotics, networking and Linux operating systems. below is the full module description...

Technologies in practice

This module provides an opportunity to sample some of the key areas in computing and information technology. You will be introduced to three topics as tasters for your future studies and career: robotics, networking, and Linux. Studying these topics will enable you to develop essential skills for future employment in the computing and IT industry. You will be applying what you learn by developing a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and understanding in these areas. By studying this OU level 1 module you can begin to explore where your future career ambitions or interests might lie.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code TM129
Credits 30
OU Level 1
SCQF level 7
FHEQ level 4
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

What you will study

The module is structured into three study blocks, each based upon a key area in computing and IT, and the development of a portfolio which forms part of your final assessment.

You will study both OU materials and third party materials that support your learning in the three key topics. The module is practical and activity-based, and much of the study material is delivered online. You will therefore be working at your computer for significant periods of time.

Block 1 – Robotics and the meaning of life

This first block will introduce you to robotics and the design of intelligent machines. Robots are no longer the stuff of fiction; they are found in factories, on the battlefield and in our homes. You will learn how robots work and how to program and control robots using the specially written software we provide. You will also examine the relationships between humans and robots, the impact robots will have on our lives, and the ethical issues surrounding the use of robots.

Block 2 – Introduction to computer networking

Networking computers provides a sound grounding in the basic principles of computer networks and the challenges in setting these up and maintaining them. Topics covered include protocol models and layering; IP addressing; basic network design and network devices. A third party book will be used to introduce these concepts and your learning will be supported through computer-based practical exercises.

Block 3 – Introduction to Linux

Finally, this block introduces you to one of the most extensively used operating systems worldwide. You will examine the many similarities that exist between Linux and other popular operating systems and also the diverse technology available in the Linux community. You will be provided with tools to use free versions of Linux on your computer to carry out practical activities.

As you progress through the module, you will develop a portfolio of your work for the various practical activities which relate to each block. This will help demonstrate your skills and understanding in the areas you have studied. The portfolio will also be a significant component of the end-of-module assessment. Working on the portfolio will help you to think about your future career interests and will inform decisions you need to make on your future areas of study.

I think that this module will get my brain working towards learning more about networking as that is the career I want to pursue.

Technologies in Practice is a 30 credit module so I have to enrol in another one which is also 30 credits, unfortunately it is a mathematics module called "Discovering Mathematics" as I have said in my last post, I am not looking forward to this as I have not got any confidence in my mathematical abilities, I find the subject very difficult. below is the full module description...

Discovering mathematics

This key introductory OU level 1 module provides a gentle start to the study of mathematics. It will help you to integrate mathematical ideas into your everyday thinking and build your confidence in using and learning mathematics. You'll cover statistical, graphical, algebraic, trigonometric and numerical concepts and techniques, and be introduced to mathematical modelling. Formal calculus is not included and you are not expected to have any previous knowledge of algebra. The skills introduced will be ideal if you plan to study more mathematics modules, such as Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). It is also suitable for users of mathematics in other areas, such as computing, science, technology, social science, humanities, business and education.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code MU123
Credits 30
OU Level 1
SCQF level 7
FHEQ level 4
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
5 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

What you will study

In order to study this module successfully you should expect to be actively doing mathematics, rather than just reading it. You will also be encouraged to develop skills in interpreting and explaining mathematics, and this aspect will be assessed in some of the assignment questions.

Samples of the study materials, including example assessment questions, are available from our MathsChoices website.

Providing you have the appropriate background knowledge, you should expect to study for about eight hours a week. Many of the topics covered in the module depend on your understanding of topics in earlier units. So, if you have not fully understood earlier material, you may find later material more difficult and time consuming. This is particularly true of graphs, formulas and algebra. Naturally, the study time required for the module tends to increase before an assignment deadline.

You will learn

Successful study of this module should begin to develop your skills in working with mathematical concepts and using them to solve problems.

You will learn about:

  • key ideas in mathematics, including some statistics, algebra, geometry and trigonometry
  • mathematical vocabulary and notation introduced and developed in the module
  • selection and use of mathematical techniques for solving problems
  • interpretation of results in the context of real life situations
  • simple mathematical arguments
  • how to explain mathematical ideas from the module in writing
  • development of skills in learning mathematics
  • use of relevant ICT tools for learning and for working on mathematical problems
  • describing problems mathematically
  • analysing mathematical reasoning.

The module contains many real world contexts such as journey planning, glaciers, supply and demand, depreciation, poverty levels, chance events, and medical conditions (such as cancer), to help illustrate mathematical topics.

Entry

This is a key introductory OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at level 2.

You are advised to have previous experience in mathematics, before commencing this module. In particular, you should be confident with the following topics:

  • arithmetic of numbers, including negative numbers and fractions
  • scientific notation for numbers (sometimes known as standard form)
  • powers of numbers including square roots
  • using your scientific calculator effectively for the above topics, and for working with brackets and π
  • using simple word formulas
  • drawing and interpreting simple charts and graphs.

You are not expected to have any skills in algebra before the module starts.

It is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle this module, since students who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully and get the most enjoyment out of it. You are strongly advised to follow the recommendations given in the Preparatory work section below.

There are two mathematics entry-level modules, this one and Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). Your choice of which one to start with depends on your mathematical knowledge, experience and on the qualification you have in mind.

For advice about where to begin your study in maths please look at our MathsChoices website. The website also contains a self-assessment quiz to help you decide if this is the right module for you.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

It is recommended that you work through some of the free and open educational resources from the Maths Help website, where there is a module to help you to refresh your knowledge of each of the following topics:

  • Numbers, units and arithmetic
  • Rounding and estimation
  • Ratio, proportion and percentages
  • Squares, roots and powers
  • Diagrams, charts and graphs
  • Language, notation and formulas
  • Geometry.

Alternatively, you could study any textbook that covers the same topics.

I know this is only a 30 credit module but it still scares me, I know that Richard is really good at maths and he has a way of explaining to me in a way I understand, but I still am not looking forward to it. Looking at the list above it seems really difficult - I will come back to this section of this blog and add to this and tell you (or me as no one else reads this blog!) if I have been worrying about nothing, or, my worrying has been justified. Watch this space!!