[Insert project title here]

An Android fitness tracker application. Feedback from the preparation forum was positive, there is enough scope to expand or contract the project as needed. Importantly, it is “substantially within the sphere of information technology”.

Taking approaches from IT Systems Planning for Success (TM353) and an Agile approach from Software Engineering (TM354) meets the requirements. There is a substantial part of the application that needs synchronise with a server, utilising another level 3 module Developing Concurrent Distributed Systems (M362).

What I haven’t decided is the title!


After a false start when The Open University opened the TM470 module site, we got back on track on Wednesday. Although the module doesn’t start until February, I need to decide a project to assign a tutor.
I read the study guide and project choice pages. Self development is key, by being a reflective practitioner.
My project can be research, development or evaluation. It should develop knowledge acquired at level three, where I took:
  • Developing Concurrent Distributed Systems (M362),
  • IT Systems Planning for Success (TM353) and
  • Software Engineering (TM354).
I also want to use:
  • Algorithms Data Structures and Computability (M269) as I enjoyed the subject and
  • Web Technologies (TT284) as I enjoyed mobile application development and gained a distinction.
Developing a mobile application with a software engineering approach makes sense. There are techniques and approaches from TM353 that help. For TT284 I used MIT’s AppInventor but would like to use Google’s Android Studio. I worked through the tutorials and it offers a comprehensive suite of tools and runs on Ubuntu.
The trick is to be find an achievable solution to a defined problem. I have ideas but have lots of research ahead of me. I am writing down ideas in a notebook as I get them and aim to decide in the next few weeks.
Throughout I am going to blog, more for myself than anything else. I’ve noticed students reaching out for support on Twitter. While being careful about plagiarism, thought’s trigger conversations we wouldn’t otherwise have.


Well I haven’t posted in ages but I’m down to a single TMA and two exams before I start the computing and IT project (TM470).

I’ve got what I think is a sound idea that builds on TT284, M362, TM353 and TM354 so fingers crossed. Its an integrated system developing an Android app, web app and a hardware solution that utilises near field communication (NFC) and is built on a Raspberry Pi B+.

So far my main issue has been getting back on top of Python. I haven’t used it since M269.

Thoughts on Web Technologies (TT284)

TT284 Web Technologies is a level two Open University module now in its second year of presentation and compulsory on the solutions development pathway of BSc (Hons) Computing and IT (B62). From the module description:

This course will give you an insight into architectures, protocols, standards, languages, tools and techniques; an understanding of approaches to more dynamic and mobile content; and demonstrate how you can analyse requirements, plan, design, implement and test a range of web applications.

Continue reading Thoughts on Web Technologies (TT284)


MS221 was a grade 4 pass. From the breakdown of the MS221 exam, it looks like most were in the same boat, with 79% scoring under 54%. I’m happy with the result (it’s free choice on my degree path) but it was a valuable examination experience.

I did several past papers (I downloaded eight) but did not concentrate on time management. Looking at the exam breakdown, it’s clear that I was strong on blocks one and two (mathematical exploration and iteration), less so on block three (continuous models) and weak on block four (structure in mathematics). The exam is in two sections – the first had three questions on each section and the second just one on each. The paper and most of the tutors advise doing as much of the first part as possible. A better strategy for me would have been to do the block one and two questions in both parts of the paper then doing the block three and four questions in part one and finally in part two.

Well you live and learn. I enjoyed MS221 and would recommend it. For now this is the end of my study of mathematics, unless I do a second degree in the future.

MT264 held no surprises and I’m happy with a grade 2 pass. My biggest issue was life getting in the way – I skipped the final TMA when I had to deploy overseas at short notice.

TT284 starts at the end of January and I’m on leave from the end of next week. I’m only registered on the one module just now because I’m doing French language training for work (they need French speakers, the course is free and learning a language is on my bucket list).

I hope the OU continues to use IP-City Centre as an examination venue. Until recently exams were in Colchester, where unless you want to be three hours early parking is ridiculously expensive. The new venue has better facilities and free parking plus its only a fifteen minute drive.

Small steps

Back in October I started to develop some serious shin pain and began the Army’s rehabilitation process. A better process than people give credit for – put in effort, take it seriously and it has results. It just takes time. Today I got upgraded to a run/walk program – as long as I remain pain free I could be running in three weeks. I’ve missed doing a few miles after work.

Speaking of small steps, that’s how MS221 TMA 2 feels. I enjoyed Chapter B3 (eigenvalues) but there’s only one question on it. Iteration is half the paper! I’ve still to catch up with block C!

MT264 TMA 3 is due at the start of March – so I think I’ve another week where I’ve time only to train, study and sleep.

Thankfully I’m a couple of weeks ahead on TT284. I’ve kept off the PlayStation but MW3’s first map pack is out at the end of the month.

Invisible posts and the same complaints

I’m sure my posts on TT284-12B are invisible. Someone asks a question, I post an answer then three others post the same answer shortly before the asker thanks them. Sounds petty, I know, but I’m genuinely wondering if my posts are visible.

I’m tired of seeing the same complaints too. You might well argue that if people keep complaining there’s a genuine issue and there is – people don’t read the damn module descriptions. If the module description says the material is entirely presented on-line (which it does) then you’re on a hiding to nothing to complain you didn’t get a book.

University should be somewhere to meet people with similar interests, share ideas and see things from new perspectives. Perhaps its because I’ve been moderating a module that I’ve become jaded. I’m becoming less and less interested in interacting with other students.