You Won’t Believe What I Did This Week!

Click-bate title – I know 🙁 But it’s true; you won’t believe what I did! I’m still coming to terms with it myself. I very briefly contemplating dropping the course (CS4402) because of it. But those thoughts are behind me now.

So what did I do that deserves this uncharacteristic drama? I wrote a graded test that was worth 15% of my grade thinking that it was a practice quiz! Yep. I did that. It happened. I was upset. Disgruntled to say the very least.

How in the actual… why the… I just… what? I couldn’t believe what I had done and honestly didn’t think there was anyway it could be true. But it was.

As you can tell, I still haven’t gotten over the mistake. I’m in complete disbelief. But there is some good news. The very first thing I did was email the instructor explaining the situation.

I was certain that the school did not issue retakes on tests, but I figured there’s no harm in at least explaining what had happened. I guess the stars were aligned the right way, because my instructor was able to get someone with admin permissions to reset the test for me!

A huge relief, but the hit to my ego practically debilitated my academic performance for this past week. It sort of made me want to give up on this course, I’m not going to lie. But I thought it would be weak of me to let a mistake that is so small in the grand scheme to have such a large impact – so I kept at my work even though my mental muscles were working at half capacity.

Anyway here is my learning journal. You can really tell that the mistake affected me badly. 6 days went past between my first entry and my second. Usually I’m a lot better at keeping the LJ up to date throughout the study week.

Learning Journal: Sept 15 – 22, 2016

Sept 15/16:

Wow… just wow. So, I just wrote the graded quiz for this week thinking that it was a self quiz. By far the biggest mistake I’ve made since being at UoPeople.

That’s seriously all I can say right now about today. The reality is just not sitting well with me, and I’m trying to move on with my other tasks for the week without stressing too hard.

Sept 21/16:

So good news and bad news. I was granted a reset on the quiz that I accidentally wrote at the beginning of the week – which is the great news! The bad news, is that I didn’t actually do that much better :/

This is the first course I’ve really struggled with here, and I think part of it is just outside stresses that are interfering with my ability to concentrate and absorb information. Since this course is all hard theory, and there aren’t any graded assignments, it sort of makes it more challenging than other courses I’ve taken up until now. I really thought this would be a light weight course, but I was so wrong.

Just skimming barely skimming by at this point. I’m still behind on my reading assignments, and for the first time since I started UoPeople I submitted my DQ on the very last day. I also usually finish the learning journal by Wednesday even though its not technically due until Thursday.

I’ll be polishing this LJ off tomorrow. I’m just too tired to gather my thoughts in a way that answers the basic LJ points. So it’s off to bed for me, and I’m skipping the gym so I can get an extra hour of sleep too 😉

Sept 22/16:

Alright, alright, alright – let’s do this. I skipped the gym this morning to try and get some extra shut eye, but I don’t feel any more rested – so I honestly probably should have just gone. I think I would feel more energized now if I had gone but oh well.

Today’s the beginning of week 4 but let’s wrap up what I learned/did/pondered during week 3.

Describe what you learned

Mostly I learned about Big Endian and Little Endian. Since a part of the discussion assignment was to write a short lecture on the subject I spend a lot of time familiarizing myself with the concept and the debate of which one is better and why. I think the word “lecture” side tracked me into focusing too heavily on a pretty simple topic – the gyst of which is that Big Endian is when we write data to memory one way, and that Little Endian is when we write data to memory the opposite way.

The advantages and disadvantages are minimal and from what I gather, the difference doesn’t matter in modern computing; we use both.

I ended up spending so much time trying to find all there is to know about the topic so that I could prepare a “lecture” of sorts that I don’t feel like I digested the rest of the unit’s material well.

What surprised me or caused me to wonder?

The second part of the DQ was to discuss integer overflow and the security ramifications of it. I guess I’m still wondering about how to actually use an integer overflow in an attack. Security is honestly way over my head at this point in my career, but it really interests me. Even if I don’t become an expert, I’d still like basic understanding of the domain. Currently I just follow the “rules” of good practice when developing websites, and honestly I let frameworks do most of the work for me. I don’t work on security sensitive sites, so it’s not a big deal for the time being, but that could change.

What happened that felt particularly challenging? Why was it challenging to me?

Well, writing the graded test while mistaking it for a practice quiz was like getting punched in the gut. Seriously, when the reality sunk in, my gut dropped – and I mean dropped. It’s not appropriate for me to share the words that were spoken at that time.

It made this week psychologically challenging because I knew that was going to bring my grade in this course down a lot, as well as my GPA. I was relieved to hear that the quiz was reset for me, but that mistake definitely had an impact on my performance in school this week.

In what ways am I able to apply the ideas and concepts gained to my own experience?

I don’t know if what I learned this week really applies to what I’m working on outside of school. But I guess all of this is exposing me to the ideas and concepts to what it takes to design and actually build a programming language; something that is definitely on my bucket list.

When that time to write my own compiler comes, I guess I may have to decide which order to write bytes into memory and I’ll be thinking back to this past unit 🙂

What am I realizing about myself as a learner?

I’m learning that I’m beginning to dislike answering similar questions week after week for every course I take ;p I’m also learning that I have mad ADD when it comes to focusing on new things and that formal study helps to keep me focused on learning one specific thing even when it’s not what I’m the most interested in at the time. I probably said that as a response in some other LJ before I’m sure of it!

And that’s it. About to begin my work for unit 4, and hoping I have a much better week.

Have any of you made terrible mistakes in your online studies? If so, I’d love to hear the story and what you did to overcome the hurdle. Let me know in the comments below!



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