2015-16 Term 2 Week 1: Learning Journal – UoPeople

First week of my new course at UoPeople and wow, has the course load changed! I’m really glad I’m sticking to just one course per term now, because there is just so much to learn in CS1103 that I’d hate to not be able to take it all in.

In my last post I did a review on my 1st term of the 2015-16 academic year. One major concern I had with the last course was the assignments. It could be a little too early to tell, but I have good feelings about the assignments in this term’s course. Not only do I sense the difficulty is about to increase, but the appropriateness of the programming assignments make a lot more sense too.

Another major difference is in the learning journal. For the last two terms, the way the learning journals were graded, I was able to write in them as if I was writing on my blog – and I pretty much did 🙂 This was great because it allowed me to keep up with my weekly entries with very little rewrite from what I wrote as my assignment.

This term is going to be a little different. My instructor expects a lot of content to be in the learning journal that isn’t going to be appropriate for sharing on here, so I’ll have to go back to what I was doing before. That is writing my weekly entries from scratch every time.

So what did I learn about this week? Mostly review from the last course, CS1102. We went over things like dynamic arrays, exception handling, multi-dimensional arrays, and then read more in depth on exception handling.

Reading more in depth on exception handling is what lead us into our discussion question for the week. And I have to say I was extremely impressed by the instructors’ participation… seriously. He has been extremely engaged in this course – most have been so far (except last term >:( ). But this instructor has been exceptional.

First thing I saw when logging in on the first day was a nice welcome message asking everyone to introduce themselves. Some other instructors do this, and I like it, because without the authoritative figure requesting it, fewer students introduce themselves. Being completely online I think it’s important we take the time to get to know each other the best we can. It’s not like we have clubs or sports to meet other students through.

The next thing was clear instructions on a few matters, like how he expects us to complete the learning journal assignments, and a pleasant “readme” post where he introduces himself and gives an idea of what we can expect from the course as well as him. He posted rules for us to follow when we encountered with plagiarism and stated clearly what his feelings are about it. He even posted some tips/advice and shared some great resources for students who enjoy the luxury of streaming video online and some extra textual resources for students who don’t.

The last thing I should mention about the content of the course is that the instructor himself made a friendly note of the fact that the difficulty level is about to increase ten fold. I’d say he’s bang on the money with that.

This week technically comes with two programming assignments that are a part of your grade instead of only one. One is for the actual graded assignment that gets peer-assessed, and another that is more of an exercise to be completed and posted in the learning journal. On top of that, although the reading this week is mostly review, the new material is quite dense. We are being introduced to asymptotic notation which is a way to analyse the efficiency of algorithms.

Looking at the CS program it looks like it’s something that gets explored deeper in a later course, and judging by the course syllabus I don’t think it’s something that has to be understood too intimately yet, however it does still make for a dense read – as interesting a topic it may be.

I have to admit, I got the “feel goods” for this course. I think it’s going to be the toughest term yet for me especially with the holiday season just around the corner (Yet to figure out how exactly I plan on balancing everything through that). But I’m excited to participate in a course with an exceptionally active instructor and I’m looking forward to everything I will learn. I’ll be in over my head again soon enough 🙂

Until next week,


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