Almost two weeks ago now I finally finished the two OU modules I’ve been suffering with for a good portion of 2014. I wrote back in April about the quality of level 3 computing modules and my opinions only hardened as I slogged away at the work. A few months after that last blog post I even considered packing it all in as I wasn’t really learning anything useful and studying two level 3 courses concurrently meant that my time was being wiped out. Luckily I got some advice and decided to stick with it. I’ve now just got one more module and my final project to complete.
M363 sounds like it should be cool. It’s user friendly name is Software engineering with objects. It ended up being 6 months of UML diagrams and requirements analysis followed by a couple of months on managerial techniques, basic QA and stuff like estimating how long a project might take. I can’t remember writing any code which is pretty shit for a module called Software Engineering with Objects.
The exam ended up being relatively easy to revise for. I felt confident going in and think I did pretty well. Annoyingly I didn’t do well enough in the assignments to get a first overall even if I aced the exam but I’m pretty sure I’ve got a 2:1.
M364 is a module focusing on Interaction Design. I think there was definitely some interesting material in there somewhere but it ended up being lost in the huge amounts of reading. The OU supply you with a copy of the book Interaction Design: beyond human computer interaction which is an 800 page beast that could easily be distilled down into less than half of that.
The marking for the assignments I think suffered from the inherent subjectivity of the course. Analysing websites and interactive products based on their usability and user experience can lead to lots of opinions being thrown around – some you can back up and some you can’t. This lead to some varied marks. I got as low as 75% and as high as 98% on my assignments.
The exam is where things got very annoying though. The course is filled with lists of things – usability goals, user experience goals, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, evaluation methods with their advantages and disadvantages. I’m not fantastic at remembering lists of words – I prefer getting my head around concepts. I did four past papers in preparation and in every one they managed to find a new list of things for you to regurgitate. Sometimes that list was mentioned just once in the course book’s 800 pages.
I don’t think I did very well in the exam but because of its subjective nature it’s hard to tell. I’ll find out in December.
Luckily the OU is refreshing its level 3 courses over the next few years so hopefully these modules will be retired or re-written.