M269 comes alive . . .

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

While there were arguably more notable events that week, M269 Algorithms, data structures and computability emerged from hiding and out into the world on 6 September.

As expected, nothing about tutors and tutorials at the start. The big reveal usually happens in the week or so before the official start of the module, which is 1 October this year.

Nevertheless, there was a treasure trove of information to occupy the early birds. Most notably, a Jupyter notebook containing the entirety of the course material. This is an editable document containing both text and code with which those who have previously studied TM129 Technologies in Practice will be familiar.

You will need to download the recommended software (Anaconda) to be able to run the Jupyter notebook on your computer. It runs on Windows, Mac or Linux. The module provides read-only PDF and HTML versions too. 

Unusually, you must submit TMAs in a Jupyter notebooks for M269. So, it is worth re-familiarising yourself with how they work before the module starts. However, the module materials look like they do a decent job of this in the early chapters, which also recap basic concepts in maths and Python before the serious fun begins.

Even before the official start of the module tomorrow, the forums have been alive with the sound of algorithms. There are several staff moderators and, for the first time I think, even a student moderator from a previous presentation. As ever, the module forums give lots of helpful advice by moderators and other students alike. I admit, the forums have been a lifeline for me in previous modules.

Tutorial dates arrived quite late in the month, earlier this week in fact. Organised slightly differently than previous modules. First, they are all online. There are no face-to-face tutorials for M269. It will be interesting to see if this will change in future presentations. 

One tutorial per week focuses on the topic of the week in the study planner. Recorded for those unable to attend. There are other tutorials offering general support for each TMA and with problem solving practice. The module sets aside a couple of weeks for each TMA (split into part 1 and part 2) and for problem-solving practice prior to the TMA submission dates. 

Unlike last year, I had a welcome email from my tutor prior to the start of the module. They were quick off the mark. At that point, I did not even know I had a tutor because the details had not appeared on the module website. Top marks and an encouraging start!

Away from the study, the Freshers Fortnight takes place a little later than in previous years, 10-23 October. Sadly, some of the particularly interesting events clash with tutorials.

Yes, I know this is my third year and I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fresher but (I think) uniquely with the Open University, Freshers Fortnight is open to all students, even presumably those dedicated souls on their second (or more) degrees. It is part of what, I think, makes the Open University feel so inclusive. 

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