Learning Journal – Week 7 of Term 5

I’ve been a bit of a slacker towards this blog again. I’ve missed the last 2 weeks of posts, but now that I’m done school ’till September you’ll be seeing a lot more material. For starters, here’s my learning journal entry from week 7 of my 2nd term at UoPeople. Enjoy!


 

This week I got to experience for the first time my enjoyment for the interpreter used with Python. The programming assignment required me to think more about my conceptual model than previous assignments so I used the interpreter to test out my ideas.

Designing my conceptual model with the help of the interpreter proved to be an enjoyable experience. It’s the first time that I’ve really taken advantage of the interpreter in this way, and I found it made me more productive than I have felt using compiled languages in the past.

I was able to complete the requirements of the assignment inside of the interpreter without ever writing a script. While I experimented with opening and creating text files, and manipulating them, I was able to jot down ideas in my notes, and then jump back to the interpreter quickly to test my ideas.

This has made me realize that I should start using the JavaScript console more often when developing programs. I have been working with JavaScript a lot in the last few months, but I have been treating it like it is a compiled language. I think by using the console in the same way I used the Python interpreter this week, I will be able to improve my productivity while writing new code.

Another thing I “played” with this week was writing tests for my assignment. Since our discussion assignment was about the Test Driven Development process, I thought it would be neat to try out some form of this process in my Python code. I will need to learn more about writing effective unit tests, but this week provided me with an opportunity to try it out with little experience or “know how”.

I contemplated including the unit tests in my final submission, but I ended up deciding not to include them. I don’t want my assessor to be confused by the extra code, and files, so I thought it would be best to only include the requirements of the assignment.

This practice helps me with what I’m learning outside of this course, because I’ve been trying to develop an app that is eventually going to be a fairly large project. By learning how to implement testing, and practicing TDD now, I’ll avoid some major pitfalls in the future.

I also contemplated making my programming assignment more generalized so that it could be imported into another program and reused to sort other files. This was actually included in my original conceptual model, however I decided not to include this “modular-ness” due to lack of time this week.

I’ve been extremely tired and slightly overwhelmed lately, and ended up using this past long weekend to focus on spending time with my family. We had a lot of fun together and I’m glad we did everything we did. The downside is that today is the most productive day I’ve had all week, and it’s almost the end of the school week. At the time of writing this sentence I’m almost done all of my assignments, but I still have to complete the readings from “A History of the PC”, take notes, review, redo the practice quiz, and review the previous quizzes in preparation for the upcoming exam.

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