TM129 beckons and time to reapply for student finance

Man standing on rock formation mountain at daytime
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

TM129 Technologies in Practice, which I start in October, is looming on the horizon. Student finance opened last month for part-time students (all Open University students are classified as part-time students). I say this, though, the process is certainly a lot quicker for continuing students.

There is the choice of completing the form online or downloading a pdf to complete and post. I ended up doing the latter and Student Finance had updated my online account within a week. Now I just have to wait for them to inform the OU. This usually takes a little while. So do not be alarmed by the big banner saying they’re waiting for Student Finance to confirm your loan at the top of your Studenthome page. Or by similar emails from the OU reminding you to apply or check with Student Finance about the progress of your application.

I enrolled for my final Stage 1 module back in March. Even though I have until August, I prefer to get this sorted out as soon as possible. I guess I am a bit worried that they will run out of places. After studying three modules this year, TM111, MU123 and TM112, I will just be down to the one. TM129 runs from October until, as far as I can tell, the end of April.

So, I suspect TM129 will have about the same workload as MU123, which ran from October until the end of May. The OU recommended about 8 hours per week for MU123. Given that I was also studying TM111 at the same time, for which they recommended about 14 hours per week because the module is compressed into six months between October and March, it will be a big difference from about 22 hours a week. And, it did feel like a lot of work at the time!

What will I do with all my extra time? Well, I may have been able to study a Stage 2 module early alongside TM129. However, I decided to keep to the one module and supplement this with some extra courses to fully prepare for the Stage 2 modules. When I do get to Stage 2, I intend to study two modules at a time. I’m not entirely sure which modules just yet. However, I’m on the broad computer science pathway at the moment. So, I know I have a destiny with Java (M250 Object-Oriented Java Programming) and (more) algorithms (M269 Algorithms, Data Structures and Computability).

I did toy with the idea of switching to the OU’s new BSc (Honours) Cyber Security degree. Stage 1 is the same as for my Computing and IT degree. There are some interesting sounding new Stage 2 and 3 modules on digital forensics, information security and penetration testing. However, there are few details and they do not start until October 2021 at the earliest. TM112 has some great taster units for cyber security and its always been an interest. Anyway, I have some time to mull that one over.

As I write, my second TMA for TM112 is due in next week. As with the first TMA, it has been a mix of Python and essay writing questions. I do like the variety and the sense of progression but find it difficult going back to Python after two or three weeks away. A suggestion made by one of the tutors is to set an hour aside each to play around with Python.

I will also have my result for MU123 to look forward to at the end of this month. It already feels like a lifetime ago since I handed in the EMA back at the end of May. I do recommend that module, especially if you have not studied maths for some time. It has an infectious enthusiasm for the subject and reminded me of a time when I used to really enjoy maths.

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