Category Archives: college

HCI as a student sees it

This is a post about future developments in HCI from one of my studynet blogs. As my HCI exam approaches I figured – why not use it here as well? There are many of you twitterers and facebooky types interested in this too, no need just to share thoughts of this nature with the studious ones counting down to May 13th..

This is something I personally find quite interesting anyway; especially when related to ‘teh internetz’ and more specifically webdesign or social media applications.

Which is why this quote by Chris Johnson of the Department of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. caught my eye:

Visual impact is currently more important than comprehension or error rates in many commercial contexts.

I’ve been reading a lot about usability for my WBL project (though you may not think so when looking at the finished product ) in this article he’s discussing ‘The Social Implications of Future Forms of Human Computer Interaction‘ as opposed to usability, but this ‘style over function’ thinking seems to permeate the internet – especially in a social media context.

Is it the same everywhere? We’ve just had to do an assignment looking at summative data on mobile phones – is ‘style over function’ really the way things are headed? Are Apple the embodiment of all that is evil for pushing ‘stylish’ over ‘functional’?

Is the true future of development in HCI?

Microsoft don’t seem to think so. They’ve published a rather interesting read in pdf format (click the link to download):Being Human: Human-Computer Interaction in the year 20-20 looking through this is like seeing the opening catalogue of a new toy shop – I WANT!

They see a trend in embeddable wearable technology and for a long time I’ve been saying that the future of the web is mobile and wrapped around a structure based upon social media – so what do YOU see as the future of HCI? I may be a tad narrow in my interests but I think biometrics will definitely start to play a larger role as the web and the real merge.

Thoughts?

Stuff to do, things to buy..

I really can’t wait for this next month or so to be over – on the one hand YEY I’ll have completed a foundation degree in IT for Multimedia and I’ll be hopping stright onto the third year of a Bsc (hons) IT (entertainment systems) degree in September because my grades are high enough that even failing my current crop of assignments won’t affect automatic acceptance.

..On the other hand, I’ve ONLY got a month or so left to finish my current crop of assignments and sit my exams.

Scary.

But hey, that’s why I’ve been so sparse on the blog front and twitter/ facebook activity has been of the dip in/ dip out variety, I’m a busy gal with a lot on her plate (but then if you follow this blog you know that about me already)

I handed in my game description and program design last night and decided that even though I have several other assignments to do I needed to wind down; my pacing schedule is non-existant these days which has led to a recent ME/CFS relapse.. C’est la vie I guess!

..Anyhow, my wind down entailed of watching season 2 of Veronica Mars (great series, recommended viewing in my book!) and creating a couple more of what I refer to as ‘t-shirt necklaces’, they’re the ones that are beads threaded on wire to create a loose choker – practically baby proof! Izzy has pulled and tugged at mine for hours and all they do is bend; not an issue since you can bend ’em back!

I can make a decent one in about 30 -40 minutes depending on what beads I’m using so I’m thinking that once my course is over I’ll start putting a few on eBay to see how they go – they’re perfect day wear for mums with babies/ toddlers and I can make beaded pendants to dress ’em up for ‘fancy wear’.

I figure that selling what I make is the only way I’ll subsidise the purchases I want to make in the future – I really want a rock tumbler, a jump ring maker and to try my hand at fusing glass to make pendants and beads with a microwave kiln. I also want to experiment with resin to create pendants and charms and I’d like to have a go at making lampwork beads – all of which is beyond my current price range in the justification stakes – my ambition is to eventually create gorgeous jewellery that is 100% handmade, from the beads to the findings.

..I’d also like it to be of a sturdiness and quality I feel comfortable with selling to somebody, so far only the t-shirt necklaces are; the prettier pieces are too flimsy as I don’t solder the links (don’t have a soldering iron suitable for fine work and my main material is plated wire, not real gold or silver – they’re also on the list of things to buy..)

I do wonder sometimes though; what do you guys do away from the computer? What hobbies or pastimes do you have that come with a very pricey wishlist? For example, I know that Loudmouthman gets out and about playing mister twinkletoes with the ladies, I know that Master K loves his manga and (like me) Littlebead is more than a we bit into her jewellery making..

But what about the rest of you? What don’t we know about your offline life?

Worries about the future

smalldegreeI have the opportunity to progress onto the third year of a Bachelor of science honours degree next year.
However, I’m not sure if I will get the funding to do so because of my wasted year on the BA(hons) popular music and recording degree at Salford university in 2001.

I still owe nearly £7000 for that year and have nothing to show for it, that amount has been added (with interest) to the student support loans and tuition fees for my current foundation degree. Joy.

I guess I wouldn’t mind so much if it had been my own fault that I was forced to leave the music course but financially I had no choice; I had a  mortgage and a joint account with a no good boyfriend who lived purely off me and the £60 per week his folks put into his account (yes; his. After the first 3 months he stopped putting ANY money into the joint one, he just spent it – even after we split up; getting that account closed was a nightmare!)
He was a ‘serious musician’ who claimed to be a sound engineer but had aspirations to be a producer – despite every client coming back to the studio he freelanced at for a re-do because they didn’t like what he’d done..

But I’m not bitter.. much.
I received nothing for the house but debt, my student loans had all been spent on the mortgage and he got the lot; lock stock and barrel, because his folks paid off the mortgage when I left after talking me into ‘absolving myself of the debt’ (ie mortgage) it seemed the only way to stop him sponging off me.

Yes I do still occasionally kick myself now for not being stronger and fighting for what was really mine, but on the whole it was such a bad relationship that the house would have been tainted anyway so I am glad that I washed my hands and walked away to start afresh.

Mainly I’m kicking myself for what could be a lost opportunity, in the current work climate I feel that I NEED that degree in order to secure a decent salary that will afford Isabella the start in life I never had. I don’t want her to have to work 2 jobs just to pay the rent and keep food on the table like I did, I definitely don’t want her to work herself into the ground like I did – I fully blame all those hours and the stress of 2 jobs for my subsequent ill health.

If I can’t get the necessary funding then I definitely need the basic skills those lessons would teach me *sigh* if only I could audit the course even if I can’t recive the qualification, at least I could gain work experience doing projects of my own for friends! Sadly I don’t think that’s a possibility over here as I’ve only ever heard of it being an American thing – though I shall definitely raise the possibility with the career guy on friday when we discuss our options for progression (ie Bsc computer science or a more specialised computing degree)

Fingers crossed guys, next to living in a house this is what I want most in the world – to be able to get back into work and provide a decent standard of living (not to mention a good example) for my child.

Tempted

Whilst browsing a couple of jewellers forums I came across a link to a course in silver metalwork at college lane in the evenings (My uni campus which is luckily walking distance from the home) as well as a kiln fused glass course, for the fantastic sum of £175 each.. If only I had more time and energy *sigh*

My hobby is beading and I’ve been flirting with wirework in between assignments and seeing to Izzy, it’s something I’d love to take further but as always, time and finances prove to be something of an issue.

On further investigation I also noted a web standards and compliance course which would tie in perfectly with my degree as we’ve barely touched the surface of web design – nor are we likely to from all I can see of the course syllabus.
Still, I’ve learned how to embed a flash media player and a couple of tricks on dreamweaver so all is not lost as far as my dreams of web domination are concerned..

Now all I have to do is buy a copy of Dreamweaver lol

rocking around the christmas tree

This is the song that has been running around in my head for DAYS! Kill me, just kill me now.

No this is not going to be one of those bah humbug type posts – i’m not allowed to bah humbug anymore – I have a child, I’ve now got to embrace the joys of Christmas and foster a belief in santa – something that may eventually lead to a schoolyard kicking as said belief disintegrates, but why borrow trouble eh? We’ve got a good 3-4 years before that happens – and anyway, I’ve found a place that teaches kung-fu to kids..

This is why, for the first time ever in a place of my own, I have a tree. As you can see, it’s covered in pink stuff – this was not my choice, Stef was seduced by the displays at cruise hill and succumbed to the lure of pink baubles. I have to admit though, it turned out better than I’d expected *grin*

Isabella's first tree

Isabella's first tree

I have completed my Christmas shopping with days to spare – even the laggards at Amazon have got it together enough to dispatch the remainder of my order just in time, fingers crossed it arrives tomorrow so that I don’t have to eat those words eh? In between pulling my hair out over college work I’ve also been busy crafting some truly lovely items of jewelery (even if I do say so myself) so it’s a fair bet that if you’re a female reading this and we’re related – you know what you’re getting this year – again lol

..reminds me, need to photograph this lot before handing ’em out – I keep forgetting to do that! This hobby is another reason I’m glad we had a girl, it’ll make birthday parties easier – just teach ’em how to craft something unique that they can keep! (well, ok, it might work once..)

Right, speaking of coursework.. I have an extension for the lit review; it now ha/s to be submitted online by Christmas eve – no rest for the wicked eh..?

Merry Christmas you lovely lot – I’ll be posting festive Izzy pics after the event so keep an eye on flickr and facebook..

Blended learning

On top of my coursework I’ve joined the University Cable 3.0 project team, we’re trying to organise collaborative online learning between members of the 4 consortium colleges studying on the Foundation Degree Business and Computing Programme.

Last Thursday and Friday were spent at a residential at the manor of Groves hotel it was both an exhausting yet invigorating experience as in the space of 2 days we managed to hammer out a guideline of where the project needs to go and form an action plan regarding the tools we need to use to get there.
On the other hand though – it was awful!

It’s the longest I’ve spent away from Isabella since she was born, I had almost 2Gb of photographs loaded onto my phone and had Johnella laughing at me because I kept changing my background image whenever I felt bad about leaving her (so quite a bit..) I was suitably punished though by having what must have been the worst room in the place – the shower had temperature epilepsy, the bed cover appeared to have been vomited on at some point and then brushed ‘clean’, the lamp by the work desk didn’t work and the tv remote only worked when it felt like it. Still, I did get wireless access and the food was of a consistantly high standard so it wasn’t all bad.

Because I’m ‘only’ a student, to be invited to participate in something that will shape the way in which one of my modules is to be taught is a big thing. I and the other 3 ‘student consultants’ will be awarded Elluminate licenses before next semester as this is one of the technologies we shall be trialling, we’re to be heading up ‘virtual teams’ in the ‘human computer interaction’ module for research and focus group purposes, these teams are to be made up of small groups from each college under the guiding hand of a single tutor with the student leaders providing feedback and support.

Exciting times my friends! As this is a pilot scheme it’s going to be a lot of hard work as we ascend the learning curve but I’m just thinking of how useful this experience will be in the ‘real world’ when I’m back amongst the contributing members of society.

It also means I now have even more of a reason for looking forward to MediaCampChris Hamblys 3 o’clock session:

Distance learners and virtual communities – creating a sense of community and life-long learning in an online school

Catching up

I’m now back at college full time and really playing catchup as far as my assignments go. As well as a research project to write, I have java program to create and 2 websites to build; one for my work based learning project (which is why a few twitters have been about gantt charts and project proposals and the like) and the other is to be for a childrens charity – which is why I’ve chosen to highlight AYME the Association of Young People with ME.

Long time readers of this blog will know that I have suffered with that particular nasty for several years now and only in the last 2 have built myself up enough to lead a ‘normal’ life. The first website I ever built was actually about CFS/ME but it relates more to adults than children and is in dire need of an update! This blog and my site are not very good representations of my work as I’ve learned so much more since creating them, I’ve just not found the time to get that far down my priority list to remedy the situation.

I’m enjoying the challenge, I love to code and even the research isn’t so bad (though having to use harvard referencing sucks, must find a word plugin for that soon..) it’s just a shame that it means I’m losing time with Isabella.

She had her first set of jabs the other day, she was soooooo good and only screamed for about 30 seconds – but man that gal can sulk! She refused to make eye contact with us for hours afterwards, it seems some types of body language are in effect straight from the womb! I actually held her up and rotated her around to try and make eye contact with her and at only 9 weeks of age she consciously moved her head to avoid looking at me *grin* a strong will has this daughter of mine!

..I’m dreading puberty already.

Breastfeeding is damned hard!

The person who first described breastfeeding as a marvelous bonding experience has a strange mind to my way of thinking. Through the experience I’ve had over the last 5 weeks I’d say it’s more akin to shock treatment!

For the first couple of weeks I handled it just fine, yes there was some discomfort but the midwife, 2 health visitors and the breast feeding clinic lass said she was latching on just fine and since she was gaining weight (my god is the child gaining weight!) I figured it was just over sensitiveness on my part.

..then at week 3 the growth spurt hit.

Nothing can prepare you for that, she was crying to be fed 30 minutes after her last feed, each feed was taking between 1-2 hours at  time as she alternately mutilated my tender bits and dozed –  I felt like she was literally sucking my life away it was so draining, I had no energy to speak let alone come online or think about college.

It actually got to the stage where she’d finish feeding and I’d pass her to the nearest person and run for bed, bathroom or kitchen depending on which need felt greatest at that particular moment – then I’d avoid being near her in the hope she’d give me some respite – I approached those feeds with dread as the longer it went on the more painful it was becoming.

She developed the habit of latching on then clamping down – trust me, having no teeth was not a deterrent for the little madam in causing her mama pain, there’s strength in them there jaws of hers – and when coming off the breast or if troubled by wind (constantly) she’d screw up her face, pull her head back and worry my poor abused teat from side to side like a terrier with a rat. I actually had a nightmare about her becoming a milk vampire – in this dream I’d turned my back on her for a second to ready my nursing station and she flew from the cot and attacked me from behind, burrowing through my back to get at my breast.
That was NOT a pleasant dream.

I managed to grit my teeth and bear this for 5 days then I broke. At around 1am whilst she was once more mutilating me in her desperation for food, with tears streaming down my face I begged Stef to go get some formula and bottles from the 24hr Tesco.

While he and and the devil spawn shopped I cried myself to sleep. The next day I managed my first pain free feed – it was amazing, I managed to look down at that contented little face and feel love instead of pain, resentment and guilt (over the resentment) and instead of handing her straight to Stef afterwards so I could run and hide from her I enjoyed a real cuddle – the first in weeks!

The downside to this feed skipping was that I still needed milking; so we bought a pump.
I thought I had it all figured out, the occasional breast feed to keep up my supply, express the rest and alternate formula and breast milk feeds.

..Of course it couldn’t be that simple.

After 2 uses of the pump I developed blocked ducts and engorged breasts (ow ow ow ow ow ow OWWWW!) Which is when I discovered it’s possible to cook chilled cabbage leaves using breast heat alone (but they are effective in reducing swelling and easing the discomfort for anyone who needs to know..) So instead of expressing a full feed each time I started just taking an ounce when I felt full and intermittently feeding her straight from the breast – at least the break meant I could bear the discomfort.

I’m beginning to dread hearing the phrase “it will get better” because every time someone tells me that I get something worse.

This week it’s been mastitis – poor Stef spent 3 days looking after Izzy alone as well as cleaning away my bile filled buckets and attempting to make food I could keep down so I could take my antibiotics. They finally kicked in and the fever broke so I could at least keep down water, but the pain was unbelievable – and it triggered the menieres too so I literally couldn’t get out of bed due to the dizziness and nausea and ear pain.

..oh and my caesarian scar decided to start bleeding too, it’s all fun and games!

I was lying there in my sick bed, too dizzy to get up but dying for a shower; my 3 day fever sweat stench mingling with the smell of sour milk, cooking cabbage and old blood was knocking me sick again – when to add insult to injury this delightful cocktail of smells started attracting flies through the open window –  seriously, I felt like a corpse lol all I needed was to hear a ringing bell and the monty python lot outside the window screeching “Bring out your dead”
When Stef brought her in to see me after the fever broke I wanted to cry, in the space of a day or two she’dd already changed so much, her skins clearer, she’d filled out and was even more alert – and i missed it happening, she laughs and smiles at you and it amazes me that we have such a perfect little thing in our lives.

I now know if I continue to persevere with this I’ll never make it into college and in the long term I need to have completed this course with flying colours if I expect to get a decent enough job to afford the life for our little love that I want – I just have to accept that while breast may be best, the child has had 5 weeks of my milky goodness and selfish as it may seem, I’ve suffered enough! By the time she’s weaned away from the breast and my milk supply has dried up (please let it be soon!) It’ll be over 6 weeks and I’m supposed to be back in class full time then.

Now, lets just hope these last 2 days of antibiotics do their job – I’m really sick of being ill.

We has internetz!

RAH!!!!!

Yup, talk talk finally came through yesterday evening so I’m back where I belong: in front of a computer screen.

*grin* You have no idea how much I’ve missed this! So last night was spent trawling through the 7-8 pages of spam per email account to find the 3-4 emails needing attention, a quick hop onto facebook to see what I’ve missed and  car seat research seeing as with 2 weeks to go before I drop, buying said item is now a necessity.

I’ve not dared look at my google reader though, I’m sure the account will have imploded by now..

On the college front, all my funding is sorted so I have no worries there, term doesn’t start until September 29th so I have a full month to get used to nappy changing and breast feeding before I even need to think about it let alone organise any distance learning/ childcare – which is good, those 4 weeks are likely to involve me wanting to do nothing more than sleep by all accounts. (like that’s not all I want to do now!)

These last few weeks are killing me, I’m too big and heavy to do anything physical, I can’t sit or lie comfortably in any position and I’m up to the loo every hour on the hour throughout the night – in order to type this I’m having to lean at the kitchen counter because there’s nowhere I can comfortably sit with the laptop! (hurrah for wireless *grin*)

I can’t even play guitar hero! *sniff* I succumbed to temptation and purchased the Aerosmith edition for the x-box (hey there’s only so much reading you can do before other entertainment is required!) I can maybe sneak in 2 songs before the child is kicking the guitar away from my stomach – it’s bloomin’ hard to concentrate on a hand/eye coordination activity when something inside you is trying to re-enact the ‘birth’ scene from Alien!

So, I’m forced out of bed at stupid o’clock every morning by the demonspawn (after too little sleep) to walk in a figure of eight around the living room for hours rubbing my belly and muttering pleadings to whatever god may be out there to let me get this portion over with, I’ll get maybe 10 minutes ease every now and again by falling on my knees to lean against either the ball or the beanbag for a rest and then the squirming starts and I have to get up and walk around some more..

Seriously – it’s killing me!

..and that’s before I even mention the acid! heartburn nothing! I have some really nasty strain of acid that eats its way up my throat and forces itself into my ears, I’ve had more menieres attacks in the last month than throughout the rest of the pregnancy combined because these acid attacks seem to trigger ’em. I’m relying on mint choc chip ice cream and Gaviscon at night to ensure I get at least an hours kip in before the obligatory toilet visits.

..I now understand why some mothers mentally torture their kids – must remember that I wanted this, it’s not the childs fault it’s spent the last month torturing me; revenge is not an option!

..although I’m beginning to think Mork or Mindy may well make an appearance on that birth certificate if this goes on for much longer!  👿

Procrastination and college life

I’m currently sat in the ‘career planning’ lesson (most pointless lesson on the currculum) and I’m supposed to be blogging on studynet about:

one question related to section 2 of the assignment and use the STAR or CAR method to show you have grasped what is required

Boring or what..? Anyhow, this basically prompted me to go searching through some of my older posts on here in an attempt to find some examples from my employment since my brain is as sharp as cottage cheese right now and my memory has taken a holiday.

Unfortunately (as you’d expect) I’ve been sidetracked instead I found this post I’d not bother reading it though, the relevant portion is here:

1. id start a college course in business and computing – id like to learn programming and web design so i could get musicalmixer off the ground.
2. id read more
3. id join/ start a band for pleasure just to get back into singing again
4.id actually go to the gym and excersize and id be able to do wing chun again more frequently
5.the house would STAY clean
6. id try writing something properly – sci-fi/ fantasy or romance, maybe a mixture of the three, who knows.
7. id learn to drive and actually go on the day trips i keep planning with S.
8. id be able to go and visit everyone ive neglected over the last few years
9. i could start baking again, yey! fresh cakes…
10. id be able to go watch the films i like the look of when they come out instead of having to put it off and never getting around to it.
11. id check out sign language properly – possibly even learn it myself if i can (no false bravado… im not the best student in the world but its always interested me and the fact that claire wants to know it as well helps.)
12. id buy a drum kit and start practicing again, i was never very good but i could at least play well enough for an informal jam session
13. id start going to karaoke more frequently again
14. i could possibly take up acting again – i was good at that and it really was a buzz being on stage. not as good as fronting a band but interesting.
15. i could travel, see different parts of the world – something ive ALWAYS wanted to do! Bavaria here i come…
16. id fly a kite
17. learn sword fighting.
18. ride a horse
19. go sailing
20. try some water sports – wind surfing, powerboat racing… that kind of thing.
21. go to car boot sales and antique fairs/ book fairs just to look at pretty things (though id probably need a couple of cars if i went to a book fair *grin*)
22. go househunting and looking around furniture stores.
23. learn to massage people PROPERLY.
24. do a course on time management so i could fit it all in

Those were the things I wanted to do if I were lucky enough to not have to work *sigh* ah well, at least I’m doing one of those, 1 out of 24 isn’t bad eh?!
The real pisser of it is, I’d still like to do most of those things but now it isn’t time or finances preventing me, it’s all medical.

Meh, no matter – guess I’d best get back to actually ‘working’ eh?! No point doing the course if I don’t do what’s required of me..

Bags of stuff

The latest college assignments had me chuckling; first of all we have to keep a career planning blog, they’re trying to initiate some sort of micro social network within the group with these – at least that’s how it seems. They all have to be public, we are all supposed to keep up to date with each others progress and comment on that progress, they also want us to participate in polls and discussion boards.. This would be all fine and dandy assuming the techie responsible for setting up these career planning blogs had made it possible for us to add new entries *grin*

That’s right, even though these blogs are supposed to be ‘live’ on studynet, we can’t access them. So much for that assignment eh?!

The second one is pretty ace though, It’s given me the kick up the backside I needed to get my audio gear working on the laptop, we’re to create posters and blurb for an educational literacy game aimed at the 5-7 age range, as well as the hard copy stuff we’re to create some animated banners and pictures with sound for the ‘forthcoming website’.

This is why today I’ve dusted off my spirit notepad mixer, plugged in the mic and sorted out recording levels ready to do all the voice overs I need – only problem is I’m gonna need a bigger laptop bag to carry all this equipment into college.

Why is it so hard to find a laptop bag that doesn’t LOOK like a laptop bag? I’ve been searching on and off all day, while there are some nice ones out there, none seem big enough for my needs. I have to be able to pack in the laptop, mixer, mic and stand, headphones and all the leads – plus a pad and a couple of pens with enough space for water and snacks..

..enough space to also carry an external drive with psu etc would be nice – but wishful thinking. Especially in rucksack form.

*grin* I don’t want much do I?

Anyhow, all that playing around earlier meant that now I can start singsnapping again – just as soon as my ears stop playing up, haven’t done any singing in Aaaaaaages and I’ve missed it

Getting ahead of myself

Seems I should check my paperwork more carefully, I’m still fully hosted right up until june YEY!

*grin*

Thankyou to the three lovely people who offered me alternatives via text and email *sniff* it was quite touching to find that even with my recent feeble blogging efforts I’d be missed! I was even more amazed at the (minor) outcry over the loss of my CFS site, overly wordy and outdated though I deem it myself; it seems others are less critical and find it as helpful as I’d hoped it would be back when I created it.

Which means I now feel obligated to keep the damned thing up and running *sigh* guess this means I’ll have to give myself 2 more years hosting for my birthday and use the summer holidays to bring the whole thing up to scratch. I guess £3.50pm is affordable and it’s not like I drink or smoke so..

Heh pitiful eh?! I was all growed up for.. What? A fortnight..? What can I say..? The internet is to me what shoes and handbags seem to be for every other girl I know – but at least my habit is cheap and takes up far less wardrobe space 😉

The reason I have been so pants of late is illness related I’m afraid, but I’m finally going to see an Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) specialist on Tuesday about this possible menieres disease the GP thinks I have so fingers crossed they’ll tell me it’s something else and give me meds to clear it up – I’m getting more than a little sick of this nausea and spinning nonsense! After 4 months of it enough is enough already!

I’m also going to see my first neurologist on the 31st about my ME/CFS crashes because when the GP saw my description of them he decided they share some similarities with a type of epilepsy and he wants me tested for that – added to which it seems I’ve caught a bug which exacerbates a lot of the ME symptoms so I’m spending even more time in bed than usual.

What time I’m not using to rest is taken up with coursework – I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve managed over a 94% attendance for this course despite everything and all my modules are looking at being a minimum of a low B grade – I think my dad is probably still chuckling over the incredulous text he recieved when I found out the database assignment I (literally) cried over netted me a mark of 70% (that’s an A by the way)

And there you have it; that’s why I’m only ever online in 5-20 minute bursts for anything none course related at the moment. As my health improves (because it WILL) I may once again prove to be a prolific blogger  (can’t help that, after 4 years it’s in the blood) but the socnet stuff will likely take a beating as I immerse myself in ‘real’ life – even facebook has become just another email address as 9 times out of 10 I only nip on there for messages and to change my status (it’s twitter without twitter)

Now I’m off to bug my beloved to make sure he uses sesame seeds in this new batch of flapjacks, quite fancy some of that..

Tutorom is the place to learn online.

For video or flash tutorials Tutorom really is the place to be. I found this while catching up on my feeds over at Cybernirvana it’s proof positive of why I keep Zia at the top of my info list *grin*

The concept is simple:

Learn. Teach. Collaborate. Online Elearning the tutorom way.

Access thousands of lessons or use our tools to create and control access to your own courses, collaborate with colleagues and much more.

But the content they already have on there is stunning. the database is well laid out so searching for a tutorial is simple (which reminds me, I also need to look for a databasing tutorial) I’ve found some incredibly simple to follow flash mathematics tutorials that should stand me in good stead, I’ve been worried about my crappy grasp of maths for a while.
The beauty of it is though, alongside the more academic type of tutorial you also have videos on everything from belly dancing, jewelery making and improving your golf swing to changing a spark plug in your car and applying eyeliner.

I’ve been unable to do many of the things I love online lately, moving house and starting college has taken a lot more out of me than I’d bargained for, I’m missing my twitter friends and participating in the odd podcast, as you can see from the date I last posted, blogging has taken a hit too and I haven’t had a good sing in months (though I have been keeping an eye out on all the new releases at singsnap so once I have mic and webcam set up again I’ll have quite a list to get me going)

Thank goodness for facebook is all I can say, without that I’d have been off the radar for good – twitter is practically useless at college since the filtering system won’t allow me to open any tinyurl type links and I can’t follow any links from my feed reader either which can make catching up on my feeds a rather frustrating experience, but now I’ve discovered tutorom I can use that time more constructively (assuming the college system allows me to, I’ll have to check tomorrow on that front)

Well, that’s your wee byte from me today – if you know of any other sites like this then do let me know, it’s always handy to have a tutorial resource when you’re learning about something, different people teach in different ways so while I may not understand one thing on here, elsewhere may provide an easier way to understand it.

Learning..

It’s been a mad couple of weeks all told.
There was the rush up to Manchester to make sure all the funding for my course was sorted, it would have been simple and stress free had it not been for the time stood at the side of the M6 in the pouring rain with a non-functioning car – Andy will always be my saviour for driving down to pick us up so that I could make that appointment.

College is good so far – if you disregard the timetable cockups.
None of us were terribly impressed on Wednesday when we showed up at the uni for 9am as per instructions given to us by our course leader on Monday about a change to our lesson time..

Why were we so unimpressed? Because those instructions were supposed to have been given to a class other than ours. I was up at 5.30am in order to make the none existant 9am lesson so I was REALLY unhappy – especially as it meant I was stuck there until our actual class started at 1pm (the original time). To add insult to injury, we were given the wrong room number THREE TIMES which meant we missed the first 30 minutes of that lesson.

Thankfully it was only programming in pascal so I doubt we missed much, everyone managed to complete the class assignments with little trouble so the day didn’t feel completely wasted. I was shattered by the time I got home though – which led to a ‘bed’ day on Thursday.. Sometimes I REALLY hate having CFS.

My brain is pretty mashed though, what with converting hex to binary and octal, learning about database normalisation and trying to make sense of the ever changing timetables (bus and lecture) I’ve lost track of my virtual life, I’ve had no time to catch my breath and blog, no time to respond to tweets and that part I’m not liking..

It’s going to take me a while to adjust to this change, I already know something has to give with all these new claims on my limited energy supplies so I’m having to lose twitter for a while, thankfully most of my contacts have added me on facebook so I can still keep ‘in touch’ but I’m out of the loop on ‘as it happens’ news. Hopefully once I get my head around all this new information I can open up my feeds again and venture back into the twitterstream, but for now.. My heads about to explode and twitter is just TMI!  😥 

Meh, I’ll catch up. *grin* if nothing else this course will teach me to prioritise  😆 

I’m a fresher! ..Again.

That’s right, yours truly is returning to college.

It’s been a bit of a job sorting it out, from contradicting information from the benefits agency about what course I was allowed to do, to failing a numeracy test as well as sorting out a move across country – it’s been ‘interesting’.

Today was the pay off though. I finally received the call saying I had an offer and could I get into college today for enrollment. Could I? I was on the bus within 30 minutes of receiving the call  😆

It’s been a long day if I’m honest, that’s the most I’ve been on my feet in months – like every other educational institute the world over enrollment was a rather disorganised affair that had us trooping from room to room in an effort to find our next induction class.
I have to say though, it was most disconcerting to realise that I’m the ONLY girl on my course, and it seems that I’m also the oldest student.

The smile on my face has done nothing but grow all day though. We have something called ‘studynet’ at the college – it’s a student information system that’s basically a blog/ wiki/ feedreader/ noticeboard and ‘youtube’ in one, the best part is it’s accessible from anywhere online. It soon became apparent during this induction that I’m way ahead of the knowledge curve regarding internet applications and new media compared to my fellow students – I was one of three who knew what a podcast was and the ONLY person who had even heard of a wiki never mind knew what it was (some of them were even looking confused at the term ‘blog’..)

The course is also perfect for someone with my ME/CFS limitations because many of the lectures are being done as podcasts so I won’t need to go into college for them – I can attend online.
In place of tutorials we have an individual blog on studynet, the tutors can access this and see how we progress – if it doesn’t get filled in on at least a weekly basis they’ll be straight in with the email/ phonecall to see what it is we’re struggling with.

Group announcements will be made via text straight to our mobiles and they’re starting a wiki for the course that we will all be invited to contribute to.

Basically I’m chuffed to buggery – and that’s even before we get to the course content!

I’ll be learning programming fundamentals at the uni every wednesday, database and design at the college and various other modules I’ll not bore you by naming..

I’m just a VERY happy bunny right now. Here’s hoping I still feel the same 3 months from now.