by Mark Kelly - VCE Applied Computing, VCE Data Analytics, VCE Software Development



News and Blog title

2023-01-03 - Started a post mortem of the 2022 Data Analytics exam. Be patient.

2022-12-31 - Interesting stats on 2021 enrolments in Applied Computing (Data Analytics + Software Development, units 3+4).

There were 98 providers (schools).

There were a total of 807 males (98% of total) and 168 females.

Satisfactorily completed the course: Males 98%, females 100%. Sorry guys! The girls win.

And according to, in November 2022, the world population reached an estimated 8 billion people. The number of internet users is around 5.47 billion.

2022-12-28 - It only took nearly 2 months, but finally I now have copies of both the [CLICK TO DOWNLOAD] 2022 SD exam and 2022 DA (Data Analytics) exam.

Thanks to the kind souls who helped out. Post mortems MAY be on their way, but I can't make promises. Stay tuned, as they used to say.

2022-12-14 - Got around to doing some "Find the Wrong Old Crap and Fix It" stuff. Today, I repaired the Statistics page.

2022-12-10 - Now the 2022 exams are over, this site is like a swimming pool in winter.
During the downtime, I am open to suggestions of maintenance and repair that I should attend to.
e.g. Which KK need fixing, improving, or adding? I know they exist.


I must offer big apologies to people who have been emailing me at this year.
For a reason I have yet to determine, my email forwarder has been sending emails intermittently. I see some, but many I have not seen.
I am sorry for seeming to have ignored your valued messages. I think it's fixed now.

2022-11-06 - If someone could send me a PDF of the 2022 exams, I might be tempted to consider doing a post mortem. No promises.

2022-11-04 - Here's a late and vague but valuable tip to surpass your peers in the upcoming exams: seek.

Look for resources that your classmates would never find. I did it in year 12, and got 96% in English (thanks to a tip I picked up from a former student's essay in a school magazine. I learnt analogy and metaphor in storytelling. It changed everything.) and 92% in English Literature (thanks to looking at Cliff Notes in the library which made me suddenly aware of what literary analysis really looks like - something my teachers had competely failed to teach. It completely changed the way I responded to texts.) Two tiny experiences led to major results.

Go beyond your teacher and your textbook. The wanderers learn far more.

2022-10-29 - Since we're approaching exam time, and you may be heading toward new educational pastures, here's an interesting trick to play on your mum and/or dad.

Ask them, "What would you have done differently when you were my age?" Then - listen.

They might cry a bit. They will hold their faces. They will maybe sniff and take deep breaths.

Your parents are an older you. They've been through all the stuff you think is unique to you. All the secret dreams, thoughts, desires, fantasie, mistakes: It's all been done before. They have done it. They did the deeds, and dreamed the dreams and they have been delighted and scarred by them.

Ask. And, more importantly, listen.

Your parents are not perfect, but they have scars you may avoid, if you listen.

Secret:Your parents are a minor step to your later major life stupiditities. O yes, You will make seismic life stupiditiies. Your future dumb decisions are of a scale that may alter tectonic plate movement. You will do REALLY REALLY stupid things that can NEVER be taken back. That is normal. That is human. That is sad. You can only promise not to do it again. Maybe, later, you can try to make things better.

But if you think before you speak, act or email - maybe a life stupidity may be averted?

So... write your angry email, but save it as a draft. Read it tomorrow. 90% of the time, you will want to edit/delete it tomorrow.

2022-10-27 - The upcoming exams are making this site busier than ever. Let me know if there are sections that need to be added or updated.

2022-10-25 - After a long time on the sidelines, I have actually added some new material, after receiving a request and some charming feedback. I have filled out some details for the last KK for Data Analytics, U4O2 KK 15 - Evaluating data security strategies.
2022-08-11 - Big quantum computing news!
Instead of the more common ion chains, silicon quantum dots, or superconducting transmon qubits,
Quantum Brilliance took advantage of specifically implanted nitrogen-vacancy centres in synthetic diamonds (where a carbon atom is replaced by a nitrogen one)

So, yay! My mum and I thought this would happen ages ago.

2022-08-11 - Help needed with annotating Gantt charts.
One of the key skills in DA is annotating a Gantt chart, and I have no idea of what this is supposed to look like.
In an exam, it will obviously be done by hand, but how should it be done?
In The Real World ™ Gantt charts are done electronically, but my favourite (free) Gantt tool (GanttProject) has no such ability.

I would be grateful if anyone could send me ( an example of a VCAA-endorsed annotated Gantt chart.
Thanks in advance.

2022-08-05 - I was planning to maintain this site for a year and see whether it was worth the effort.
But after 198 days, it seems to have no benefit to man nor dog.
I might wind things up shortly. It all seems to be a waste of my time, money, and bandwidth.

2022-08-04 - From Australian Personal Computer - you can't trust anyone... even the Cloud

"It’s possible that Amazon might pull the plug on the entire Alexa infrastructure. The news that Insteon, purveyors of IoT smart home products, has suddenly shut down will come as an unpleasant surprise to its erstwhile customers. The servers are gone, as are the website’s support pages. There is some hope that it will be possible to resuscitate the service to a minimal level, if only to allow existing customers to migrate data to a different service, but that remains a hope at this stage.
I’m not surprised that there has been a casualty like this. Any product that relies on an intimate relationship with a cloud service for it to function is at risk of that service failing or disappearing altogether."
2022-07-17 - For a course about computing and data analytics, you'd surely expect some mention of statistics, right?
But I've created a page on statistics, just in case VCAA pulls their finger out and realises the massive logical hole they left in the course.

2022-07-10 - Is there anybody out there? I've been working on this site for days and have yet to receive more feedback than "Hi".

You can donate some dollars to help pay my annual $107 hosting fees.

Yes, hosting sites is not free. I pay to put this site online and only then can I fill it with stuff. I do not plan to continue this site beyond a year unless someone else helps with the hosting fees. I mean to say - would you?

2022-06-26 - I'm still here, but am losing interest in updating the site due to lack of interest from anyone.
I'll persevere for a while, but it seems to be a futile exercise.

2022-05-29 - Artificial Intelligence is smarter than you.
2022-05-22 - Site stats tell me that I've been getting several hits from Yeah. I don't know why either.
2022-05-21 - Finally made a little start to the topic of Infographics that the study designs love SO much. Much more will come.

2022-05-16 - Converted the Geographic Information System slideshow to a webpage. Spent an hour on it when Dreamweaver had a brain fart and lost the entire thing. Imagine my joy having to start again from scratch.

2022-05-04 - Due to (one, anonymous) overwhelming demand a page dedicated to... Functional and non-functional requirements
2022-04-28 @ 12:17 PM - replaced the data validation slideshow with a validation webpage
2022-04-27 @ 1:14 PM - The Great Slideshow Conversion continues. Today I converted the Design Principles slideshow to a design principles webpage. Webpages are so much easier for me to search and modify, and converting each slideshow manually also lets me update its contents as I go. As always, please let me know if there are any errors, or if you get a splinter and need to cry a little bit, like a little sooky la la. But I can be supportive. I really can. hehe.
2022-04-26 @ 1:46 PM - converted the Hardware+Software slideshow to a webpage . It was painful to remove all references to CRT monitors and floppy disks. Sob.

2022-04-25 @ 1:21 PM - Continuing the conversion of slideshows into webpages, please visit inclusiveness.
It's satisfying to see a 6MB slideshow turn into a 20KB HTML page. I've also started adding new content for big topics like data visualisation and data manipulation.

2022-04-18 @ 11:16 AM - The Data Collection Techniques slideshow has been replaced by a webpage.
2022-04-16 - I'm slowly filling in theory content for year 11, DA and SD. I'm trying to go in order of units and their key knowledge (KK) to cover the stuff you currently need. Or I do stuff I have a current interest in.Let me know if there's stuff you need covered urgently.

2022-04-15 @ 10:13 - Why do I want to stop creating slideshows? Good question. Self-formulated questions are always good.

I originally produced slideshows when I was teaching. They were mainly for my own benefit so I wouldn't forget topics when I was doing theory in front of a class.

Then my IPM Lecture Notes site started being used by other teachers, so the slideshows were still worthwhile.

Then my site left McKinnon Secondary College's servers and I set up The slideshows continued until 2016 when I let the domain go.

But now, with, I have no idea if teachers still want or use my slideshows. And they are LARGE to store and upload/download.
large, especially if you're mobile.

Also, I can't search content or make global changes to content in the slideshows as I can with webpages, e.g. to see if I've already covered topics or want to link topics together.

So, slideshows are a pain. If you want to convert my webpages to slideshows, go for it. I won't stop you. But I will not be producing new slideshows, and will be converting slideshows to webpages for my own benefit.

Also, slideshows should not contain lots of detail. They should be headings to be discussed. When I was teaching, this was what the slideshows achieved. But now that I am now not able to fill in detail verbally, webpages are the better medium.

If you want to discuss the matter, feel free to get in touch with me.

If people want slideshows, should I start a paid-for slideshow service?

2022-04-15 @ 10:10 - New webpage on Data Acquisition - surveys etc. There's still the slideshow, but they are being removed over time.
2022-04-14 @ 14:03 - Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Development models agile, spiral and waterfall
2022-04-11 @ 12:23 - Data Visualisation for VCE Data Analytics. Added graph/chart basics.
2022-04-08 @ 14:45 - Data Visualisation for VCE Data Analytics. It's a start, but VCAA just L-O-V-E-S data vis. Lots more to come.
2022-04-02 @ 13:05 - U2O1 KK15 Economic issues involving emerging technologies
2022-03-31 @ 11:06 - APA referencing system summary
29 March 2022 @ 11:51 - year 11 theory - The role of ethical hacking
28 March 2022 @ 12:18 - year 11 theory on Risks and benefits of using global networks
23 March 2022 @ 14:05 - Having not heard any complaints, I will now mainly use webpages instead of slideshows.
22 March 2022 @ 13:21 - added stuff for SD U4O2 - Managing risks posed by software acquired from third parties

18 March 2022 @ 13:15 - Did the Gantt chart for 2020 sample exam Q C2a. After much dithering re-creating the chart with a spreadsheet, then GanttProject, I ended up using my most ancient software, Microsoft Image Composer (last updated 1997) to edit a screenshot of the chart. I'm not proud of this, but it did the job and that's what counts.

I am starting to suspect the the visitor statistics for my domain consists solely of searchbots, since I have no evidence of a single human finding the site worthwhile.

12 March 2022 @ 11:41 - If you like playing with the power of CSS (as I now do), I recommend

It not only shows you what CSS properties exist, but lets you click "Try it for yourself" so you can fiddle with property settings and see demonstrations of their effects. It's addictive fun for the whole family, except maybe for grandpa and the cat.

My website skills fossilised in about 1996 using Netscape Composer and HTML version 2.0. I thought HTML v3.2 was dangerous and unnecessary foolishness :-)

But now even I admit that CSS is just as important as HTML.  It's a lifesaver, like learning how to walk for the first time.  Make one change in a css file and reformat hundreds of dependent webpages automatically? Bliss.

One day I might even stop using tables to format page structure. One day...

But damned hippy DIV tags? Grrr. I bet Steve Jobs invented them.

11 March 2022 @ 12:49 - Started section C of the 2020 DA sample exam.
9 March 2022 @ 10:55 - Converted the exam tips PPT to a  webpage. The PPT and PDF will be erased. I can't maintain 3 different versions of the same material.

8 March 2022 @ 13:27 - Created a webpage on Research Questions.
I'm getting sick of producing slideshows.Do you want me to keep making slideshows for classroom use?
They are a pain to produce compared with HTML pages. I will happily discontinue them.
If I don't hear from you, I assume you don't want or need slideshows, and I'll only do webpages from now on.

Also, I can't believe I just spent an hour in Photoshop creating a "webpage" icon

7 March 2022 @ 12:11 - Finished section B of the 2020 DA sample exam.
6 March 2022 @ 15:17 - Here's a question for you: my domain's cPanel statistics (a record of user activity on the site over time) shows more visits to my site come for Software Development (SD) topics. Does this mean I should spend more time on SD (because it's popular), or should I focus on non-SD content because it's not as popular? Discuss (4 marks)
4 March 2022 @ 13:31 - Tackled the SDLC models for software development - waterfall, agile and spiral
1 March 2022 @ 11:58 - Found one slideshow had 4 topics - broke it into separate shows on data integrity, primary/secondary data, efficient data handling, and the importance of data to organisations.
28 February 2022 @ 11:00 - Changed the site's default font to sans serif. Better? Worse? What do you think?
25 February 2022 @ 13:26 - A new slideshow on slideshow Data Disaster Recovery Plans
24 February 2022 @ 15:37 - made a new, improved, separate slideshow for slideshow Data Backups (still in progress)
23 February 2022 @ 12:50 - A new slideshow for SD U3O1: Methods for documenting a problem, need or opportunity - slideshow Problem Statements

18 February 2022 @ 13:08 - Still updating slideshows, like the XML PPT. I'll get there eventually. I won't keep adding news items for every PPT tweak.

17 February 2022 @ 12:52 - Updated slideshow slideshow Selection sort (1.5MB)
16 February 2022 @ 14:02 - A little progress on the VCAA sample exam. Slow, but inaccurate. That's my motto.

15 February 2022 @ 11:12 - While weeding out old slideshows that don't appear in the current study design, I realised how thoroughly website theory has been expunged from VCAA's consciousness. There was a heavy focus on all things web in the previous study design. It's no longer flavour of the month.

Freshened up the slideshow Searching - linear and binary slideshow. And other shows, like mockups. And Data Validation

14 February 2022 @ 13:43 - Updated the validation slideshow (12MB PPT). It still needs some re-sorting of sides. (Now a webpage - Data Validation)
13 February 2022 @ 11:05 - I am embarrassed to realise that UFDs are no longer in the study design. Oh well. It was fun to do and someone might benefit from it. Maybe U.S. vistors who - according to my site stats - seem far too interested in this site for no apparent reason, since the VCE course is not offered there.

12 February 2022 @ 13:45 - User Flow Diagrams (UFD) PPT updated. It's even more aimed towards smooth user flow and not annoying users... sort of.

11 February 2022 @ 12:48 - I'm gradually revising old slideshows to suit the current study design. You can tell the revised ones by the version number and date on the opening slide. This will take some time to finish. Recent updates include: testing, data collection, psm-documentation,.

10 February 2022 @ 11:28 - Some visitor statistics for you IT geeks out there:

Visitors' operating systems: Windows 71%, Linux 23%, Mac 20%. Android 15%
Browsers used: Chrome 88%, Firefox 2.8%, unknown 8%

9 February 2022 @ 10:39 - Created a new specific slideshow for slideshow Cost . Broke it off from another show because it appears a few times in different KK and its info was being repeated several times in different places. More of this splitting will occur over time - e.g. Affordance is next.

My VCE Computing Exam tips.
The SATs are only half the journey: the last 2 hours of the year are the other half. 
Here are some handy before/during/after exam tips.

8 February 2022 @ 12:00 - Brushed up the Design Factors slideshow - clearing up old confusion between affordability and affordance. Oops.

Started setting up a mailing list for push notifications about site changes. Just what you need - more communications.

I decided against Twitter because news can get wordy, and everyone already has email. And as for Faceblurk - who wants to create and maintain a duplicate site?

7 February 2022 @ 12:17 - Started the slideshow on wired-wireless-mobile network tech.

6 February 2022 @ 15:35 - Mr Google suggested my text was too small for mobile devices, so I adjusted my CSS (look it up) to boost all font sizes from "small" to "medium". Yay.

5 February 2022 @ 13:04 - As usual, slideshows are never finished. Added some videos to the GIS show, version 1.1.

Slideshows from now on with have version numbers and last-mod dates on the opening page. Hooray. Should've thought of that before you were born, but as they say: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

4 February 2022 @ 13:11 - The first all-new slideshow for quite a while... it's about GIS for Data Analysis. version 1.0 - enjoy.

BTW, I create slideshows in (free) LibreOffice and save them as PPTX. slideshow Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

3 February 2022 @ 11:06

Study Design Quibbles of the Day


Let's look at the 2020 study design: Data Analytics U3O1 KK1. I need help interpreting this key knowledge (KK) dotpoint

techniques for efficient and effective data collection, including methods to collect census, Geographic Information System (GIS) data, sensor, social media and weather

VCAA's punctuation has long tormented me, and has led to numerous troubling ambiguities. How is this particular KK supposed to be parsed?

techniques for efficient and effective data collection, including methods to collect

  • census,
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) data,
  • sensor,
  • social media and
  • weather

This makes no sense. How does one collect sensor or weather? I can only assume it is intended to say:

techniques for efficient and effective data collection, including methods to collect census data, Geographic Information System (GIS) data, sensor data, social media data and weather data

or, more concisely

techniques for efficient and effective data collection, including methods to collect data from the census, Geographic Information System (GIS), sensors, social media and the weather

But it does not say that. Good luck to students learning how to collect sensor, social media and weather. I'll make VCAA an offer: I'll proofread their next study design for sixpence and a can of cold beans.

Whatever. Please enjoy recess.

QUIBBLE 2 - this is more than a mere quibble. It's a genuine ambiguity problem.

When the KK refers to "Techniques for efficient and effective data collection, including methods to collect census [data]..." is it referring to techniques used by

  • the government Census Department to collect data (e.g. their paper-based and online census forms), or
  • techniques used by citizens wanting to collect data from the government's census data (e.g. an API, browsing

I am honestly confused here.

As a real-world example of data collection techniques, I have just emailed the manager of digital technologies at VCAA for clarification of this KK.

So far I have received no reply... But don't worry. It has only been days: I'm sure the answer is coming any time now.

2022-02-02 - Finished section A of the DA sample exam postmortem. As with most solutions, there is room for argument about my answers. Feel free to chip in.

2022-02-01 - The DA sample exam postmortem continues. Section A is just about done, apart from re-checking and proofreading.
My post-mortem skills need polishing, I know, but there are too many bad or iffy questions for my taste.
2022-01-31 - Data Analytics Sample Exam 2020 post mortem is continuing. Section A is progressing. The examiners are still messing up. Just like old times.


Let's look at VCAA's Data Analytics Sample Exam 2020 - Section A - Q18 (download exam)

Question 18
A design tool is selected to represent a table in a record.
The table includes the table name, field names, data types and descriptions. This design tool is an example of
A. an IPO chart.
B. a Gantt chart.
C. a storyboard.
D. a data dictionary.

Official answer is D. Which I agree with, by the way, but that's not the point....

Let's look at the premise of the question: A design tool is selected to represent a table in a record.

Records DO NOT CONTAIN tables. TABLES contain RECORDS.

The question should say either:

a record in a table
a table in a database


2022-01-29 - Started my first completely-new slideshow for a long time: internal documentation. I forgot how long they take to make.

2022-01-28 - Added the Outcomes summary so you know what the SATs are for each unit, and the software you need to use.

So far, VCAA has not updated the programming language requirements for 2022. Please let me know if they eventually get around to doing that.

I have the strangest feeling that today is the birthday of someone I should remember from long ago. That's a spooky feeling.

And no - it's not you. But happy birthday anyway. But you don't get a cake. Nice try.

2022-01-27 - Who would've thought a little website like this could have so many broken links, some dating back to before you were born?

One of my computers updated to Windows 11 today, and it's annoying me already. My other two are too old to upgrade, and are now on death row. Poor fellows. It's not their fault.

I noticed something odd today in U2O1 KK11 - Techniques for Validating and Testing Solutions.

I've only ever validated data and tested solutions and their output. How does one validate a solution?


Time for another quibble with VCAA's study design - Applied Computing - U1O1 KK14 - Software functions and techniques for efficiently and effectively manipulating, validating and testing data to develop databases, spreadsheets and data visualisations.

Since we all know we test output and validate input, how exactly is data supposed to be tested?

It violates the definition of testing given in the glossary, p.12: Testing techniques : Techniques to ensure that a solution is operating as intended...


My Study Design Quibble Of the Day (SDQOTD)

Please refer to the 2020-2024 Study Design's Terms used in this study (p.9): The forms that an item of data can take, including binary (as represented in images and sound), Boolean, character and numeric, characterised by the kind of operations that can be performed on it. ... More sophisticated types can be derived from them, for example a string of characters or a data type...

My Questions:
"binary (as represented in images and sound)" - since when were images and sound particularly binary (as opposed to spreadsheets or infographics, for example) ? I don't understand this at all.
"More sophisticated types can be derived from them, for example a string of characters or a data type"
Expanding this syntax, it must mean either:

More sophisticated types can be derived from them, for example:
- a string of characters or
- a data type


More sophisticated types can be derived from them, for example a string of
- characters or
- a data type

They result in either:

More sophisticated types can be derived from them, for example a data type.


More sophisticated types can be derived from them, for example a string of a data type.

Neither of these options makes the tiniest bit of grammatical sense.
What do you think it's trying to say?

2022-01-23 - started adding links to slideshows to KK pages. Look for the icon. Note that all slideshows will need to be updated to incorporate new technologies. This will happen over time. Please be patient with ancient tech advice or references to old study design material.
2022-01-20 - revamped dozens of slideshows to fit new study design. Still many more to be processed.
2022-01-19 - created the glossary page and key knowledge references to its its key terms.
2022-01-18 - Built the key knowledge pages and index page.
2022-01-17 - After a long absence, boredom encouraged me to reinstate my lecture notes that were formerly at the IPM Lecture Notes (when I was at McKinnon Secondary College) and then at vceit DOT com (which is now in new hands. I have nothing to do with that domain now)


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This page was created on 2022-01-21
Last modified on Tuesday 3 January, 2023 12:35