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Uni catchup

Right, on to Uni...

I have managed to pass the second year of my Masters, yay me! ^^

In a little more detail, I have managed to get between 60% and 70% for all my year 2 modules... I can't remember (or be bothered to look up) my actual marks... there's a 68% in there, maybe a 67%... Anyway, my average module mark over the first two years now stands at 70.5%.

So, the "I'm just gonna give it a go" year hasn't gone as badly as I thought it could/would last September... however, its also not as good as I know I could have done if my head had been better when I started back up again... sadly, that just wasn't possible; if I hadn't restarted last september, I wouldn't have ever restarted... it would simply have been too expensive with the new fees... which was the reasoning behind giving the year a go... if I did get through it, I could finish the Masters, if I didn't then, yes, it would have cost more, but I'd still be on the old fees, even if I had to repeat the year... and I am given to understand that this (ie, 3 years of old fees) would still have been cheaper than 2 (years of) the new fees...

The 70.5% means I basically have no margin for error on the dissertation if I want to achieve my original goal of a Distinction for my Masters (iow, 70% or more)... it basically has to be over 70%... which sounds really scary and difficult to me right now......!

So, yeah, dissertation... having not been successful with the commercially-linked project I mentioned before, and having been basically told that my fall-back was not suitable, I went from having two possible topics to having none, all in the space of an afternoon.... and my presentation only went so-so too... think I got 55% for it :-(

This meant I had to come up with a new topic and then do enough research to be able to write my proposal before that particular deadline... long story short, I went through about 6 different possibilities before the Research Methods tutor was satisfied that there was a dissertation in my concept... like mt fall-back/presentation topic, a few of these were things I'd thought of ages ago (back when I was living in Dorset actually!), and hadn't done anything more than think them up and make a note of them as things that would be interesting to do "one day"...

Having satisfied that tutor, I then put forward the concept to the tutor who's in charge of MSc Soft Eng dissertations (who was also at the presentation and also raised concerns about that concept), to see whether the new project idea passed muster with him, which it did... well, actually, it more than did...

OK, slight side-bar here... so, the Uni I'm doing my Masters with (UWE in Bristol) have a Machine Vision Lab (MVL) as one of their research centres. Their work tends towards image recognition in real-world applications (such as industrial processes; one thing I can remember that they've worked on is an automated quality control system for checking the colour and finish (shine) of ceramic tiles).

So, one of the things that the supervisor-tutor asked was who I suggested could act as my personal supervisor, and having figured out that the area of my concept I was likely to need input on fell under the umbrella of machine vision problems, and having realised that UWE had the MVL, I'd suggested that they might be the best people to approach for that role.

Stewart then got in touch with the head of the MVL regarding my concept... the upshot of all of this being a somewhat different (but conceptually related) suggestion, another journey to Bristol to meet the MVL people, see the hardware MVL have developed that the suggested project would use data from and get a real grasp of their suggestion (its complicated enough to not to be easily visualised from a description)...

Having met with the MVL and had a few days to think about the suggestion, I then put it together as my proposal for Research Methods... basically, in three weeks, I went from having a fairly nebulous concept for my project to having a really rather different concept, plus enough research into it to enable me to write a fairly decent research proposal... decent enough for it to get 68% anyway... which I think is pretty damn good given the timeframe!!

Actually, this is kinda why I know that I can manage to keep my head/concentration together for decent chunks of time and also why I don't think that that time is as productive as it should be... yes, I read a lot of papers and bits of books and things (there's something in the region of 40 bibliography entries in the proposal... including pretty much a lever arch file full of papers!), but there were areas I simply didn't get around to looking into that I know I need to know about... and I'm sure I should be able to read and absorb 40-ish things in a week, even if a fair number of them are from medical, dermatological and oncological journals (fields about which I know, well, probably enough to be dangerous and not enough to be useful...!)

Next week I need to start getting my act together for the dissertation, contact the tutor and the MVL people and see what the processes, etc are for getting started (ie, what hoops I need to jump through, what I's I need to dot, T's need crossing, etc...) and also (a) get the detailed information I need (and hopefully some sample data to experiment on) (and b) find out if there are any books, papers, etc that my supervisor recommends I read as a kicking off point.