Student Finance marked my student loan application as approved and my declaration form as received this morning, even though it was in the same envelope as my identity and residence evidence. The student loan process took just under three weeks to complete, and the entire enrolment process took almost exactly a month, even though I had to wait a good while for part-time student loans to open.
Since I applied for the loan, a few more dates have filtered to me from the Open University. The module website for TU100 will open on 6 September. The initial shipment of course materials will be shipped out on 9 September. (I’m fairly close to Milton Keynes, so it shouldn’t be more than a couple of days before they arrive.) These materials will include the Senseboard, which is a microcontroller with various inputs and outputs which can be programmed using a drag-and-drop programming environment called Sense. I didn’t realise until today that I could download Sense ahead of time and play around with it. The rest of the materials (books, apparently) will be shipped out on 25 November. I’ll be ripping any DVDs I get so that I can load them onto tablets for easier access.
The first group of materials are for use beginning 1 October, which is the module start date. This being distance learning, I don’t know how much that start date matters. My initial hope was to have read through all the initial course material once by the “first day” of the module, so that I can focus my actual studies where they need to go. I haven’t seen how much course material there is, though, but it does seem unlikely I’ll be able to get through it in only two weeks.
The second group of materials are for use beginning 17 December. As I don’t reeeaaally think they’re going to have us start on a new block the Friday before Christmas holidays, I suspect that means the materials are really for use beginning the beginning of January.
When I look at the six different blocks, I am a bit nervous about how quickly they’re going to move. It’ll be one TMA to the next to the next, and I hope that I can keep up, even though it’s an introductory module.
I think my next step is to have some fun playing with Sense. I’m pretty sure that I can use it without the Senseboard to make some terrible games. I’ve also got a hold of a Cisco switch (a Catalyst 3750) which will help with prepping for the CCNA. I’ve managed Ciscos quite a bit, but most organisations I’ve worked for have used Netgear. It’ll be nice to have one in my home lab for testing.
The only thing I regret is that I’d rather be taking the modules which are going to replace TU100 next year, TM111 and TM112. Though if they also use the Senseboard, then it’s probably not all that different.