First blog of 2010 and the first blog of year. Yep, its been hectic and challenging as predicted. I recall telling people that I felt the second year (or part 2 as they say round here) was going to be where we’d be kept busy with everything plus the kitchen sink being thrown at us and it has not disappointed.
At this point in time, this is the day after the last of six exams. This is the time where it feels odd not to be revising or procrastinating on revision for some such subject. Most people have either returned home to loved ones or delved into some obsession which has been put on the back-burner since the start of term.
In reflection, the first semester has been tough, but also challenging. One module that best represented this has been the Human-Computer Interaction. This is a massive subject due to the number of sciences which apply to the design of interfaces between people and technology. The coursework was worth half the module which involved designing an interface for a telemedicine application on a mobile device, which included a discussion of accessibility issues raised and methods to solve those. It was also important to justify every assertion with reference to academic sources, surveys or other published research.
Due to the hectic schedule of coursework, the time available to do this coursework boiled down to six days solid work with my head-down in the library (12 hours each day, but I always made sure to head back to the house for lunch – a man has got to eat). In the event, it was handed-in ten minutes before the deadline after a last night about-face on the extent of support for users with a visual impairment. This was stressful for many reasons: the extensive research; the struggle to manage the word count – first too little and then too much; the pressure to develop an original idea and the spectre of its value to the course. In the last stages, I was content with the result of the effort. I have been provisionally awarded 72% and the areas which I put a lot of effort into were rewarded, which pleased me. Although one of the comments in the feedback was the depth of evaluation and some coverage of disabilities, which were all aspects which were subject to a word cull late in the day; no matter – good effort in my book.
As a random aside, my mum got an acknowledgement beyond the normal “thanks for the support” entry that populates the section of various academic authors and the odd OSCAR acceptance speech: her many years experience as a care assistant both provided the initial idea and an expert to go back to for reference.