Six years is a long time to work on anything. I’ve only had one job which lasted longer than that. (In fairness, so did my dad … Since he only ever really had one job.) But it’s a bit of a rush to realise I’ve only got four more final prep weeks ahead of me.
How’d it go this year? I took many fewer MOOCs, but learned much more. This summer’s work has been worth well more than twice what I’ve been through with TU100 so far at the OU. Computer science and object-oriented programming were covered in far more depth than just introductions, abstract program design was probably at introduction level (possibly a bit lower), and my mathematics refresher was very strong: It seems to have covered all of MU123. And all of it was free!
I’ve also gotten cosy with this year’s modules.
For MST124, as I said, my Khan Academy prep seems to have taken me through everything I would have been exposed to in MU123. Additionally, I’ve worked through the “boot camp” for MST124 (a series of practice tests and live/recorded tutorials reviewing pre-MST124 maths), and the first two units of MST124.
MST124 is unique compared to other modules I’ve been exposed to or heard about at the OU: They recommend you open your books and start going through the material as soon as you get them. They know that this stuff is difficult for some people, and give us as much time to get through it as possible. So even though I’d planned on only getting a week ahead with my study, I’ve done as recommended, and am three or four weeks in. It’s going really well so far, with only some silly and redundant trigonometric concepts giving me pause.
For anybody considering MST124, here’s my recommendation for preparation: Don’t bother with the “Revise and Refresh” learning materials: They’re rubbish. But use the quizzes to check your level, and definitely do the tutorials, at least the recorded ones. For any gaps the quizzes turn up, use Khan Academy. Or your favourite YouTube resource that explains to your learning style. (The actual MST124 materials are fantastic, though.)
I’ve even rattled off my first TMA, which I’ll talk about in a different post.
For TM129, there’s not really much prep work for me to do. TM129 used to be three separate 10 credit modules which have been grouped into a monolithic 30 credit module. These previous modules are preserved in TM129’s three blocks: robotics, computer networks, and Linux.
The second two blocks don’t need much explanation: I work professionally in both of these fields at a level higher than that covered in the module, so there won’t be much for me to wrap my head around.
I’ve only been through the first week of the robotics block, but it seems I’ve inadvertently had the perfect preparation for that: the Begin Robotics MOOC presented by the University of Reading on FutureLearn. A lot of the same material is covered, with the academics stripped out of it in the MOOC. It looks as though the MOOC went into more depth into cybernetics, but I’ll know more later.
So that takes care of the TM129 content, but not its processes: The reports, the studying, assignments … the ePortfolio …
Well, I’ve done prep work for all of that, too, already: It was called TU100.