They think TM129 is all over, it is now

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

As the deadline for the TM129 EMA approaches, the module forums feel eerily silent. It felt as if most people had finished early and gone home. They probably had.

The highlight of this month must be the live demonstration of Baxter, a large industrial robot that lives in a dark corner of the Open University buildings at Milton Keynes.

It should have taken place in January. The second (or third?) lockdown put paid to that. I believe Baxter himself was fine, but the Covid rules prevented his human helpers from assisting him.

Luckily, we were able to piggyback on the demo for the TM129 presentation that started in February. Unlike us, they did not start with the networking block and went straight into robotics. I wonder how that one went.

Still, Baxter was worth the wait. We did not get to see a jive dancing robot, but he did wave his arms about a little bit. The benefit of this session was in seeing some of the principles of robotics come to life and having some fun at the same time with interactive quizzes and a chat box.

Since we have not had any face-to-face tutorials for well over a year (for obvious and understandable reasons), I think more of these whole module interactive sessions is something I would recommend for future modules. Baxter is somewhat of a crowd draw – he attracted over 150 students.

Well, the EMA was a bit of a slog. Maybe answering two essay questions was a bit much but it is too late now. 

Nevertheless, I have a sense of relief now that TM129 is all over. It felt good to submit the EMA, warts and all.

I will allow myself a few days break before I start to think about next year. I plan (I need) to do some preparation for my modules starting in October. Feedback from previous years highlighted that some knowledge of the programming languages, such as Java, Javascript, HTML, CSS etc. going into M250 and TT284 would make the transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 smoother.

I believe that the Open University runs some sort of programming bootcamp for students who will be studying programming heavy modules in Stage 2. I will seek that out and, also, take advantage of some recommended online courses in these languages. How I get on with this will no doubt feature heavily in subsequent posts.

Just over three months until module websites open (7th September). Plenty of time?

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