While it may come across as a little smug, I’ve written this for the next time I feel crappy because of the ME/CFS or when certain family members try to pull me down and denigrate my achievements; I can look back at this post and feel proud that not only did I finish my foundation degree with a commendation after missing the first 6 weeks of the final year to nurse a newborn child, (and get a student of the year award in the process for also managing to help run a university project) I then went on and NAILED my bachelor degree as a direct entrant.
Sorry? Did I say ‘nailed’?
You’re damn right I did; 1st class honours baby, read it and weep at my brilliance!.
Being a direct entrant to the final year of this course at the University of Hertfordshire meant that unlike most of my fellow students who had enrolled in the first year, my final grade was dependant purely upon the work completed in this year; no prior grades to depend on as a backup for any failed module. (So no pressure eh?!)
I had to defer all my semester B modules because of the ME/CFS issues and this resulted in half my grades being in alphanumeric format (semester a modules) and the new numerical format the university had switched to during the gap between my initial semester B and the retake semester B
As the table below shows – anything with a numeric grade of 80 or above is deemed ‘outstanding’ BUT, as you’ll see from my DES grade, an A1 which is the highest possible alphanumeric grade available, is only worth 78 numerically – how someone is supposed to achieve an ‘outstanding’ is beyond me; still, guess I can live with an overall descriptor of ‘Excellent’ *grin*
|Numeric Grade awarded
||Equivalent Classification Descriptor
|1st Class Honours
||Upper 2nd Class Honours
||Lower 2nd Class Honours
||3rd Class Honours
Little or nothing of merit
The degree in question is Bsc Information Technology (web based systems) and it comprised of several modules:
Professional Issues in Computing – Core module
This 3 hour exam showed that I have learned:
- To understand the standards expected of a computing professional, and the responsibilities that these place on those occupying these roles;
- To appreciate the legal, professional and ethical issues that can arise during the course of the work of a computing professional; and have an understanding of the impact of computer-based systems on their stakeholders, and on society in general.
- To be able to recognise legal, professional and ethical issues in the context of professional computing practice, and deal with them appropriately;
- To be able to articulate a well-informed, up-to-date opinion on legal, professional and ethical issues in the context of interactions with, for example, colleagues in professional computing practice and non-technical colleagues.
Grade achieved: 72 (converted from A3)
Digital Entertainment Systems (Digital Media Production) – Optional module
The required coursework showed that I;
- Understand issues in the development, design, implementation and evaluation of high quality digital media;
- Understand the wider context of digital media, for example culture, research and future trends in digital media, for example audio and video formats;
- Understand usability and Human Computer Interaction as it applies to the development of interactive multimedia systems;
- Developed the range of skills required in order to produce digital media.
- Demonstrated professional competence in areas such as image, animation, video and audio production and editing;
- Developed scripting and programming skills in order to create interactive digital media systems
Grade achieved: 78 (Converted from A1) <– felt so cheated that I got the highest possible alphanumeric grade and in the conversion it wasn’t even an 80! I was quite gutted to see it drop like that.
Principles and Applications of Web Services (technology) – Core module
The 3 hour exam showed that I have learned to
- Understand the different components of typical web service architectures including data representations, messaging protocols and service description based on XML
- Understand the different approaches to implementing web services across a range of application such as mash-ups and enterprise services
- Generate requests to a web service using appropriately formatted requests, and process or display the returned XML data
- Create a web service using appropriate standards, protocols and tools to enable third parties to access particular data or functionality
Grade achieved: 72 (converted from A3)
Principles and Applications of Web Services (architecture) – Core module
Another 3 hour exam which demonstrated my knowledge of
- Different approaches to web service architecture including mash-ups, RESTful services, and Enterprise Web Services;
- The role of XML standards in developing service oriented architectures such as XML Schemas, BPEL, and WS Policy/Addressing/Security.
- How to use XML schemas and data in the specification and configuration of web services;
- How to evaluate the applicability of different web service architectures in a given situation.
Grade achieved: 71
Web Application Development (Design) – Core module
The 2 hour exam and additional coursework portfolio showed that I have learned
- To understand and explain the importance of separating style from content;
- To discuss principles and practices of good web site design and the standards that web design should comply with.
- To participate in the planning, design and development of a web site, selecting suitable tools and technologies for the task;
- To evaluate and improve existing web designs to make them more accessible or effective.
Grade achieved: 72 (converted from A3)
Web Application Development (enhancement) – Core module
This was another 3 hour exam which showed that I’ve learned
- To describe the document object model;
- To discuss the capabilities and pitfalls of using client side scripting in web sites.
- To create or interpret state charts of the interface;
- To add client side scripting to web sites using standards compliant instructions;
- To incorporate visual or time-based media to a web site that does not affect the function or accessibility of the site.
Grade achieved: 69
Web Based Systems Project – Core module
This is the one all the lovely folk in my social networks got sick of hearing about – but I really owe the folk of the web for getting me through it, random questions answered, emotional support and the odd kick up the virtual behind meant that the coursework I submitted and the website I demonstrated proved that I had learned to:
- Understand a coherent set of Information Technology principles and techniques appropriate to the solution of a practical problem that involves the development, deployment, or management of a Web-Based System;
- Appreciate when and how to apply those principles and techniques to the solution of problems in Web-Based Systems.
- Select and resolve a substantial practical task which requires applied knowledge of Information Technology in the context of a Web-Based Systems problem;
- Plan and conduct a programme of practical work independently of close supervision;
- Select and apply an appropriate set of criteria against which their own project work and the work of others may be evaluated;
- Document, report on, and critically evaluate work in a manner appropriate to the needs of a specified readership.
Grade achieved: 71 <– 90% of that grade was down to my ability to follow through on point 6; all hail the English teachers of my past! Danetre comprehensive school and Daventry tertiary college – I owe you too.
So, that’s how I got my degree, by learning a lot of rather interesting and hopefully useful ‘stuff’, it involved a lot of hair pulling, several late nights and relapse inducing cram sessions, So I also know how far I can push myself mentally before things go south on the health front.
No, there was very little programming and coding involved in this last year aside from the tweaking to templates and scripts conducted as part of my project; but I have the basic knowledge needed to go away and teach myself how to do all the fancy stuff.
The main thing this course has taught me is what I am not. I am not a web designer, nor am I a web developer; I am a knowledgeable client or at best a hobbyist. But you know what? That’s ok. I don’t really want to be either of those things anyway, I discovered my love of e-learning during this academic journey, I know how to create reusable learning objects, what tools and techniques to use to aid students with their studies and how to explain what is needed to the REAL techies and creatives out there with either a crude prototype or the necessary models.
I can liaise between geeks and normals with ease in a work environment and find the solution to a problem even if I can’t fully implement it myself (yet) I can write reports well, keep (mostly) to deadlines and GET THE JOB DONE – despite health and home issues.
Basically, I ROCK!
So I’m going to stop beating myself up over the job search issue and give myself a well earned break until Bella goes full time to nursery in January, then I should be able to manage 20hrs a week (travel dependent) in some FE/HE institute working on anything to aid in the creation of an inclusive blended learning environment.