The first TMA for TT284 Web Technologies takes the form of a report detailing standards, usability, and accessibility in web pages, with practical elements in HTML and CSS. Or at least that’s the form it took this year.
It’s a difficult one to coordinate time-wise, because you can’t really write it in bits and pieces, then put it all together when you’re ready. You have to mostly wait until you’re ready to write the whole thing and then start. The study planner does nothing to help students crank this out in week six, with six weeks of reading necessary prior to getting underway.
The materials themselves, however, I thought were good preparation for such an assignment, and the assignment itself was good. As boring as listening to podcasts about electing a treasurer for a club you’re not in, it’s exactly the type of document I’ve been called on to produce for work. Not all the things you’ll need to know are in the materials, but they give excellent external resources for independent study. I had to find my own resources for accessibility concerns, however, as neither the OU materials nor the referenced materials were really good enough for anything other than highlighting their importance.
The biggest road block to the TMA was determining how much to do. There was a very broad scope of work, but a very tight word count. The challenge was in forcing yourself to do too little so you’d stay in the word count, but choose the things with the best impact, in terms of demonstrating the learning outcomes of the module. (Always keep learning outcomes in mind when writing assignments! That’s what the assignments are supposed to assess. Except in TM254, where they’re essentially random questions that might not relate to this plane of existence.)
Due to this challenge, I felt the best I could come away with as a marking was 92, and wouldn’t have been shocked to get as low as 80. I was extremely happy to have received the full 100 marks. My tutor gave great, specific feedback about what she liked, so I know what’s working. I also feared I’d get called out for having a page and a half of references for a 2000 word report, but that seemed to be one of my tutor’s favourite parts.
I won’t receive my first TMA back from TM257 or M269 for a while (they’re not due for another two or three weeks, so may hear back by Christmas), but I have more optimism for those than I had for this TMA.