hi again, I’m actually still around

Still in the middle of the madness of test and assignment week. Assignments are proving to be incredibly interesting, especially those that keep being given extensions days after the deadline, when everyone has alreaqdy submitted!! Here are some excerpts from a forum thread. The assignment was due last Wednesday 19th August, and at 2:34am Monday 24th an extension was released:

It’s not really any use now is it?? I mean, thanks and all, but I’ve had to move on to my other assignments now. It would have nice when I was dealing with it last Wednesday…..then an hour or two would have been useful.
I was forced to give up, and just submit what I had. Is there going to be any bonus for not re-submitting?; ie not penalising people who have scheduled/time-managed their work, and don’t have the ability to spend another 2 days on it. As far as I’m concerned, this only helps people with minimal workloads, and therefore penalises the rest of us compared to them.
Unfortunately for all of us, the extension was NOT notified to the whole class prior to due date and time, and hence is not really appropriate at this late notice. Maybe if it was til some point during the mid-semester break to allow people a chance to make use of it.

we have been “officially” notified, albeit 96 hours AFTER submission date/time.

I could have done with the extension at the time the assignment was due, but now that it’s passed I don’t see it as fair

From the lecturer around noon Tuesday 25th:

Dear all,
I asked in class about the length of the extension, and the extension that was asked was indeed granted. You only get what you ask for.
The second extension was to help those who were in need, but it won’t penalize those who have already completed – those can move on with other things in life. Since I did not have Internet access, the second extension wasn’t timely (but better late than never). Had you asked for a longer extension the first time, it would’ve helped. Next time you ask for an extension, remember Hofstadter’s law.

and in response:

Hi Mano
Thanks for that. I believe the real issue is that most of the class DID NOT COMPLETE the assignment by last Wednesday; however they submitted what they had done as that was the due date. I don’t think any of us realised the difficulties involved in the assignment until we were getting into the more nitty-gritty details as the deadline loomed.

Some of us (myself included) do not bother asking for extensions as they are just thrown about willy nilly half the time due to student whining. We do however make use of the additional time when required. That said, submission by the due date is not an indication of completion, only a display of our understanding that a deadline is (normally!) a fixed time and cannot be exceeded.
In this case, we received the extension, and then worked to it – achieving whatever was possible in the time provided. The issue has now arisen as a “new” extension appeared well after the due date when most of us no longer have the ability to deal with it. Some students complained they have a test on this Wednesday, so you have now extended the extended extension to Friday. There are however a lot of us with this test on Wednesday, and another possible 2 tests Thursday, and another 2 tests Friday. (This is NOT another request for more time!!)
I honestly believe there should never have been a 2nd extension. The work we all submitted at the same time last Wednesday should have been the basis for marking all our assignments. If you then chose to apply a more lenient marking schedule, or scaling to the results, that would have been entirely within the bounds of your academic prerogative. As it is, the continued extensions being handed out now only benefit those who had, and have, the time to do more work on this assignment.
To bastardise Hofstadter’s law:

It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Mano’s time estimations.

and then in response to the lecturer’s next response:

sman063 wrote:
If you leave the assignment to the eleventh hour, it is going to be very hard to complete. Yes, I know you have other assignments, but you need to manage your time and get things done sooner rather than later. If you are prepared to put in a late-nighter or spend the weekend before the due date, why not do it earlier?

Thanks for your feedback Mano. I guess that with regard to managing time and other assignments, the real issue is that many of us were managing our time; which meant that we were doing other assignments first, as they were due first. I for one am not complaining about the size/complexity of the assignment but, as I stated in my first post just after this latest extended extension was announced, I and others have taken issue with the fact that having dealt with the complexity and difficulty as best we could in the time given, we have had the playing field completely re-levelled in a destructive manner.
We did put in all-nighters, and weekends, without success. We do not have a problem with this. It was the same for all students. Now, however, with these additional extensions people without time management are being benefited. I, personally, allocated my time window for this assignment and it is now gone. I managed my time for this assignment amongst others in a manner which balanced them all. Based on this, I now have no available time to re-visit it.
If it has ended up that most of the class were unable to complete the assignment adequately, then that should really be reflected in our marks. These extensions are now simply going to benefit a very small minority, who may or may not have managed their time previously, while the majority of the class are commensurately penalised.

So, yeah, that’s a rant/presentation of some fun going on in my life at present.

I’m was also going to put up some new code posts in the next hour or two, but since some have come from assignment work I’ve been doing and now it’s not closed, that’ll just have to wait a little.

It was suggested to me on Sunday afternoon that I make a word game on my computer. I had a spare half hour before heading off to work, so I found it to be an easy distraction from the intensity of assignments. I knocked it pretty much all out in forty minutes, but just had one algorithm not quite right. I played with it on and off the last few days, and today I got the whole recursive action happening. It’s actualy not too bad a game, so I’m going to move it across from C# into Java in the next few weeks, and hopefully port into a Blackberry Storm app (yay for touch-screen). That step should be easy-ish. The next will be (if it seems worthwhile) to re-write it in Objective-C so that I can port it into an iPhone app.

I’m really looking forward to the next two weeks of break, as I have BIG plans. I’m moving a new desk into the spare room to set up a proper computer/work station for study and play/work; I’ll be launching a few sites as I get to polish them off in a focussed fashion; and then I’ll also be tapping away at my word game and a few other app ideas.

Good times!!


About Cameron
I'm a final year Computer Science/Information Systems major. Already finished my BA in Politics/Philosophy. I do web and software freelance on the side, while I finish studying. Hoping to be self-employed by the end of my degree, otherwise off into the real-world I go....

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