Early success with TMA01 in TM352

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Undoubtedly, this module would be easier if I had previous web development experience. Or familiarity with front end frameworks like React. Nevertheless, I somehow managed to pass TMA01.

The practical component of TMA01, building a web application with React, counts only for a quarter of the marks. Yet it took the longest.

The module materials feel a bit skimpy on the practical side of things. This forces you to look elsewhere for more detail or reassurance. However, I expect this in a Level Three module.

Having said that, the module team is developing a great series of ‘how-to’ video shorts. These take the form of walk-throughs of the practical exercises. The written instructions don’t always capture every step so seeing someone doing it (and it works) is a big help.

Another plus is that the module forum moderators can be very helpful. Of course, they are not going to give the answers to the TMA away. Nevertheless, they respond to questions with reasoned justifications and good grace even if their answer is unlikely to please.

I have already mentioned React, but you also must get familiar with HTML, CSS, and TypeScript/ JavaScript to complete TMA01.

The module encourages you to use Tailwind, a CSS framework, to build your web application but it is not compulsory. While I can appreciate the benefits of Tailwind, I simply coded it in CSS from scratch. One less thing to learn currently.

You can also choose to complete the practical part of the TMA in the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE), see my previous post TM256 Exam Hallowe’en Horror, or locally on your own computer.

A written report took the rest of the marks for TMA01. It has some of the tightest word limits I have encountered so far in my Open University degree. They certainly ask you to pack a lot into what is, essentially, a 1,500-word essay.

The novel aspect about this TMA is the marking scheme. Each section is worth 25 marks. The marks are divided into bands. with the lowest being 0-9, the highest 22-25 and several in between.  Each band has its own requirement. If you do not fulfill the requirements for a specific band, you will not receive marks from any higher band. This applies even if you fulfill the requirements of any of the higher bands.

All of this made it difficult to predict whether I would get a pass in the TMA.

Finally, I sense the module is being written in real time. Not all the Block 2 module materials have been released yet. Likewise, TMA02 was fashionably late to the party. I expect it will be the same for Block 3. Cutting-edge stuff!

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