Course: M263 Building blocks of software (completed)
Credit Point: 30
Start Date: 4 October 2008
Overall module result: Grade 2 Pass
Overall Continuous Assessment Score (OCAS): 81%
Overall Examinable Score (OES): 72%
OK, this course was a little strange. It covers a wide range of data structures and will have you producing more truth tables than you will know what to do with. When studying M263 you need to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that was developed either for the OU or by the OU, which would be fine if it were not for the bizarre programming language. They invented their own! Now this was not too much of a problem, as it is quite similar to Java in a lot of ways. It was probabably a bit pointless though, but there you have it.
Don’t get me wrong, M263 is a great course. It covers loads of important topics from mathematical proofs through pre and postconditions to the relational schemes behind databases. Be warned, however, M263 covers a lot of ground in a short period of time. I found that the maths in this course got a little on the heavy side for my tastes as maths is not one of my strengths (as discussed in my post about MU120, the maths course I did). It was the weird symbols and stuff you had to use. I actually still have an old assignment on my computer so I can show you what I mean.
¬x in X[p(x) q(x)] x in X[¬(p(x) q(x))] (Extended De Morgan)
x in X[¬(¬p(x) q(x))] (Replacing )
x in X[¬¬p(x) ¬q(x)] (De Morgan)
x in X[p(x) ¬q(x)] (Negation)
See what I mean? This stuff gets a little nasty from time to time. However, the good news is that I got the answer above correct. Don’t ask me how; I still haven’t got a clue what I was going on about when I wrote that. Sometimes on M263 I’m afraid you’re just going to have to wing it. If algebra has the same effect on you as it has on me (breaking out in a cold sweat), try not to panic; you will be shown all you need to know before being chucked in at the deep end. Just be prepared to stare at truth tables until you begin seeing them in your sleep, and you’ll be fine.
To be perfectly honest with you, by the end of the course I was just putting down what I could for the assignment questions and hoping to scrape whatever points I could, and in the end this seemed to work out fine for me. My tutor was great at explaining the bits I misunderstood or when I completely missed the point the text books were trying to get across.
M263 was also the first Open University course that I studied which ended with an exam. The exam was not the worst experience of my life, but it certainly was not the way I would choose to spend an afternoon. I’ve done too many exams now to remember the exact format of the M263 exam, but I do remember it was quite tough.
So, M263 was not the best course I’ve done so far, but neither was it the worst; that title still goes to M253.