INF3707 Advanced Database Development :: A strategy.

I’ve already mentioned previously that I am taking two modules this semester as part of my prep for Hons. I decided to tackle the assignments for this module first because while I am familiar with SQL Server and T-SQL, I have never delved into the Oracle side of things. Unless one counts Java, and since I’ve long since repressed the the three years I spent with it, I don’t.

Right off the bat, this module appears quirky. We’re using Oracle Express 10g, which a quick Google search and multiple forum posts on myUnisa confirm is a long outdated version of Oracle’s free database version. Also, it’s only available in 32-bit, so it absolutely refused to install on my 64-bit Windows 8.1 VM.

I tried the workarounds Google suggested, such as running in compatibility mode for XP SP3 as admin, and editing some registry key after installation. Nothing happened when I tried the first option, thereby rendering the second option moot.

After following some frustrated ramblings on myUnisa, I just installed the 11g version with no problems. Once I had it installed, and unlocked the default user and tables, I was ready to do the assignment.

The structure of SQL in Oracle is a little bit different to T-SQL, but thankfully not too much. We’re using the actual Oracle University manual as a textbook, so luckily the notes are quite detailed and specific to Oracle. The first assignment did give a taste of what the exam would be like though, and since that counts 80% of the module mark, I’m aiming to complete the written assignment next week so that I can start studying for the exam. Which is 3 months away, yes, but my paranoia is at an all-time high.

It’s also not good enough to just pass the module (or in my case, to get that 60%). I have to go all in, otherwise what is the point? To end this post, I will leave a quote from a thread on the forum:


Written by a guy, if that wasn’t obvious from the dripping sarcasm.


Geodesign: Change Your World MOOC: I think I’ll keep my world the same for now.

I was so excited to see that Penn State was offering another MOOC this year, this time about geodesign. It’s been on my watchlist for the past few months, so when I got the email to announce that class was starting, I immediately checked it out.

After my last Penn State MOOC though, I was a bit more wary this time around. A cursory glance down the left pane showed me what I was hoping I would not find:Geodesign_PeerAssessments

I half-heartedly went through the course content after that, but I had already decided not to carry on. The peer assessment assignment is 40% of the grade for the course. I’ve mentioned here before that peer assessments in a MOOC are a dealbreaker for me. I learn best on my own. I enjoy working as part of a team, but on my own as part of a team.

This week I started with the two other modules I need to get into Hons. The one is about software engineering principles, while the other is about advanced database development using an old version of Oracle (why, Unisa, why). I’m quite excited about the SQL one, as it will give me more opportunities to flex my SQL muscles, and to get exposure to a different database platform (something other than SQL Server).

Basically, even if I wanted to do this MOOC now, I can’t. Best of luck to the Geodesign students, and hopefully with the next offering, they will relax the peer assessment requirement.