You've reached the Erudizione section of Orcmid's Lair. Here's
where there is information on
- The University of Liverpool on-line M.Sc in Information Technology
- Orcmid's progression in the program, and experience in this form
of distance learning
- What Orcmid says
he is bringing to the party and objectives of participation
This web page,
is part of the engineering, construction management, maintenance, and infrastructure of
Orcmid's Lair. It is placed here, as in every section of the site, as a
placeholder, initial scaffolding, and temporary "home page" while
the section is under construction. That can be for an extended
You are welcome to explore this and other
construction-information pages. You'll need your hard hat and safety shoes.
There is little content here at this point. Just some of the scaffolding
for what will appear. Here is the structure, keeping in mind that there
hasn't even been bull-dozing for the foundation yet. It's more like
there are some stakes and strings laid down on an over-grown empty lot.
I am already thinking about possible dissertation
topics, and I have plans for the rest of the course of study to take
me toward graduation with distinction in July, 2005.
- Undertaking the M.ScIT Program
There is the beginning of notes on creating this
effort as a project, with many sub-projects.
- MSC-CS Computer Structures Module
The first module of the program, the course that everyone takes. An
interesting experience. It was a lot of fun except when I
traveled during the course and got behind. All in all I found it very
satisfying and was surprised to learn how much I knew but had
forgotten. I love to work on algorithms and programs, and the review
of different techniques was thrilling for me. I also quibbled about
some things I saw in the textbook and communicated them to the author
(including a buffer over-run defect in the C and C++ examples!). I am
becoming keen about how some of the fundamental elements of CS are
introduced to students, and some of the computation theory that was touched
on I began to explore in other communities.
- MSC-SE Software Engineering Module
I didn't want to take the C++ course, because I already know too much of it,
and Java wasn't offered in the next term. So I stepped into the Software Engineering module as my
second course. I was impressed to see how Software Engineering has
progressed and how much is available to apply. Then I learned how difficult
it is to actually foster teamwork and have the point of software engineering
emphasized in team projects. I began to come away with a different
sense of how software engineering is not different from engineering of other
artifacts, and that we need to get over it. There are other illusions,
such as the trivialization of systems engineering successes as programming
defects, as in the lost of Ariane Flight 501 (but the board of enquiry got
- MSC-JV Object Oriented Programming with Java
I have been putting off learning Java, and this gave me a structure for
finally doing that. It also satisfies my requirement for one module from the
programming technology group (Java, C++, and Programming the
Internet). I discovered that Java Object Oriented Technology (OOT) is
incoherently presented and that OOP is almost completely lost in the effort
to comprehend the OOT. I like Java and the ease of accomplishing
certain things. I also think the Java-OOP emphasis is a sham in
education and in industry. This was where I became inspired to write a
book on Java Inside Out. I have not lost that resolve. I also
now use Java for small programming projects that come up in other courses.
- MSC-WA Web Applications
A new course in its second outing, I chose this elective course over
Programming the Internet because I have some competency at Web development,
but I have put off digging into XML and everything that is based on
it. Here is a way to do that, I thought. As usual, it was
perfect timing and there is a lot here. Now I see how to write
"Situating XML" as an important precursor to the Java work.
The other think I am dealing with is hype and the desire to believe.
The degree to which magical thinking seems to infect books and IT in this
area is frightening. It is also easy for academics to parrot the same
profundities without giving them the critical examination that is also
the usual promotion in our industry.
- MSC-DB Database Systems
All I can say is, "bummer." I noticed that coming into MSC-WA
and MSC-DB, I was beginning to dread the start of each module more than the
one before. I had some angst about group projects, and I was beginning
to doubt the quality of the program, the level of scholarship in the
instruction and so on. Although I always get a great deal out of my
experience in each module, it was not so much fun as at first and I found
myself simply surviving the program. To go with that, I was appalled
to find the dismal state of database systems technology and supporting
science (if I could even call it that). I wasn't expecting that.
On the contrary, I was expecting to find a relatively mature area of
computer science and information technology. Well, that's what I get
for that kind of expectation. [dh:2004-02-05] I also was able to dig heavily
into the relational model and connect with Bill Kent, whose book, Data
and Reality, is very interesting. [dh:2004-04-29]
- MSC-CC Computer Communications
The design of module offerings and the course calendar has been revised
coming into 2004, so that 8-week modules begin every 4 weeks (compared with
every 10 weeks in the past). This provides for 4 weeks breaks to fit
into the schedule while jockeying around to fit the courses I want. So
I took a break over January 2004 and I will take another in 8 weeks (over
April). Meanwhile, my MSC-CC module is beginning and I am very excited
about it. I'm not sure why except there is something about how the
instructor has started us off that I find very welcoming and I look forward
to the material. [dh:2004-02-05]
- MSC-DS Dissertation Preparation
I now have enough credits to begin preparation for my dissertation
project. I laid out a plan in February and I was to use the interval
in April to take it to the next level. I wanted to be ready to start
discussing proposals, although I just got to the brink of that, in the midst
of other activities in this short break. I am continuing to prepare.
- MSC-AT Advanced Topics
This course will have four guest instructors introducing a range of
topics. I am not starting out very excited about it, partly because I
am still recovering from travel and restoration of a failed computer.
My promise is to get the most out of the program, so I will bear down.
It is nice to see Gail Miles, my MSC-SE instructor here. [dh:2004-04-29]
And I dropped the course. I went over the syllabus and just couldn't
get excited about it. So I dropped it. That means I will have to
take my last course while working on my dissertation, in order to complete
in time for the July 2005 commencement. And wouldn't you know it,
there is a spanking new IT Project Management Course and I will use that.
- MSC-SN Information Security Engineering
I designed my whole curriculum plan around being able to fit this course
into the program. It was also valuable to have MSC-SE, another
don't-miss-it course for me. I loved this course.
- MSC-PM IT Project Management
will be my final course. It lets me have more about Project Management
than we dug into in Software Engineering and I can apply it to my
dissertation and other projects.