John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk

Meh. Another frustrating day...

Today I had my regular lecture on DSI (Data Structures/Implementation). Like my Monday class (algorithms), this is being taught by a PhD student, rather than an actual member of staff. (We had a "real" lecturer for the first few weeks, then the postgrad took ever.) Thinking back to the start of term, this guy (Vladimir) was teaching some tutorials, which I swiftly gave up on. Anyway, it's the same problem again, where I'm not really learning anything, and I'm spending most of my time correcting his mistakes. For instance, in today's class, he gave a procedure to delete a value from a heap. I picked out two errors in it. Someone else saw a third, but Vladimir wasn't sure whether it was a mistake or not, so I backed the other student up, and explained why it was. There was a fourth error, but I didn't spot that until 10/15 minutes later, which I'm slightly annoyed with myself about. Still, it's not like I'm exactly getting value for money here, considering I've paid 3000 quid tuition fees for this course... I said in yesterday's entry "At this rate, I'll be teaching the class next term!" So, in the "you can't make it up" category, Vladimir then asked me if I wanted to write the code for the next function on the board. This was at the end of the break, so it was a private question to me, rather than something that he said in front of the whole class; I think he was half-joking, half-serious. I said "It's tempting, but no..."

This course also has some coursework associated with it. The original plan was to have two assignments. Last week, we were told that the second assignment (due in on 9th December) wouldn't actually happen. Today, we were told that it would. Vladimir got a bit defensive about this - he said that he got roped in to teach this course at short notice when someone else resigned, so he's got less experience with it than we do. Anyway, he sent out an email to us all later with the details of the coursework, and I've emailed him back with a couple of corrections... I am a bit concerned about the first piece of coursework. That's the one I had trouble with a few weeks ago. Basically, since I handed it in 10 minutes late, they could technically count that as not handed in at all, which means I get 0 for it. The marks for coursework don't count towards the overall mark, but we do have to pass as a pre-requisite for taking the exam. So, if I fail the coursework, I fail this module - I could still pass the MSc overall, but I wouldn't be able to get a distinction. Since that's the whole purpose of the exercise, it would be rather annoying... It's unlikely to come to that, but I'll be glad when we do (eventually) get the marks back, so that I can either relax or appeal against the decision.

There was a workshop this evening, about how to handle citations when writing reports (e.g. dissertations). It wasn't compulsory, but I thought it might be useful, so I went along. This started at 6pm, so I had a 2 hour gap after my class finished, which was a bit annoying, but I did some reading to fill the time. Well, I say it started at 6 - that's when it was due to start, but it took them 15 minutes to work out how to get the laptop/projector working... Anyway, there were a couple of useful points there, which I'll bear in mind come write-up time.

After that, there was an ICSF trip to see "Die Another Day". The plan was to go to the 19:45 showing at the Odeon (High Street Kensington), so I went over there after the workshop (arrived at 19:35). I saw the group from ICSF there, who had just bought their tickets. The 19:45 showing had all sold out, so they'd bought tickets for the 20:25 showing instead. Fair enough - not a major problem. So, we asked if we could get one extra ticket, but the woman behind the counter said "Sorry, we've now sold out for the 20:25 showing too". So, that's that then - I left the others to it, and came home.

Anyway, I got home in time to watch "Charmed" on Sky, so that cheered me up. Then watched "Scooby Doo" - fun film. Interestingly, there was a clue to the villain's identity in the middle. Just before the monsters burst into the hotel bar, Mondavarious scratches his neck. The way he does it is the same way that Scooby scratched himself on the plane, i.e. the way a dog would do it rather than the way a human would do it. I didn't spot it first time round, but I recognised the significance of it once I knew the ending.
Tags: errata, films, postgrad, tv

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