maths study via The Open University

Archive for March, 2010

M208 linear block continued

After a quick revision of book LA1, I tweaked the answer to the first TMA question ever so slightly, just so it read a bit better.

The second question took a lot less time than I thought it might, thankfully, as conics and I are not best friends.

In fact, I lost much of the momentum I had built up through the course by getting bogged down in the conics stuff toward the end of the book. Much was revision from the previous course, MS221, but that didn’t make it any more enjoyable, or even that much easier.

LA2 is much more my sort of thing – linear algebra without the geometry, and introducing and implementing techniques which are, apparently, amazingly useful from here on in maths….

The TMA question on this block looks surprisingly easy – I solved the equation without using the row-reduction method in about 30 seconds, and will use the row-reduction method tomorrow night to derive the answer in the (hopefully) correct fashion, then compare it to my earlier answer.

The great thing with linear algebra (for me, anyway) is that there seems to be no end to the amount of stuff on the internet relating to this (vast) topic.

I am currently wading through MIT’s linear algebra lectures, all on video on Youtube, and, it seems, many other places, too.

So, thankyou MIT and Gilbert Strang – you have one loyal follower at least from the OU. 🙂

Not that the OU’s notes leave you needing to access any other information source, although it is nice to see it all come to life on video (no videos/DVDs from the OU for linear algebra – just audio files which don’t excite me, if I’m honest).

Anyhow, back to filing an almost due tax return, doing a bit of overtime for work, and various other things right now.

I have no time, really, to make this blog look pretty – it’s just words. No nice stuff.

No idea if it will ever get listed on Google either – for now it’s me writing to, er, me, from the looks of it.

Ah well.

Right. Tea, then back to work.

M208 with The Open University

I’m a bit late starting this blog – the course kicked off at the end of January – but better late than never.

Maybe. 🙂

The intro block came and went fairly uneventfully. There were no surprises in the TMA, although the equivalence relation question was a bit of a head-scratcher.

Not enough head-scratching took place, evidently, as I lost marks on the question.

I also “proved” another question backwards and lost another couple of marks.

Still, considering 18 months ago, I didn’t know how to plot a co-ordinate point on a graph, I suppose that I should be grateful for the TMA result I got.

The OU seems to be frowning ever deeper on people revealing their marks, so I won’t. Suffice to say it was a grade one pass, but only just.

Can that be repeated on TMA2 – group theory?

Well, that TMA has been done for a fortnight now. I’ve been meaning to post it off since the 7th but, not having a photocopier or scanner and the one in work being broken, I haven’t had time to drag myself to a newsagents yet and make a copy just in case the original disappears in the post, much like the camera the wife posted to her sister last month. Gah.

TMA2 held no surprises that I could see (touches wood rapidly), nor did the block of study itself, although I found it time consuming as not all material sank into my grey matter first time, or second time around.

So, up-to-date, I’m on the Linear Algebra block now. Happy days, I thought, until I got bogged down in LA1, the intro block.

There’s nothing wildly revelationary in there but it has taken a little time to get my head round some of its content. I’ve attempted part one of the TMA but have to say – I know there are errors in my presentation and I’m really not happy with it.

I’m technically, what, 3 weeks ahead of the course calendar but I have a feeling that this advantage will be mopped up and spat out in this block.

Need to set more time aside – 20 hours a week isn’t going to cut it, especially when you’re a non-intuitive mathematician like me (read: normal bloke).

While I have the odd paddy fit with the course – books on the floor, teddy out of the pram, and trample off downstairs for a cigarette – it is brilliantly designed, really.

And, as much as I want to hate it all and switch to law or economics, I know I’ll be suffering the pain of MST209 next year; that is, unless M208 really does drive me to the edge of no return.

I guess I love it really.

Even if it does hurt.

The wife thinks I’m a bit mad, cooped up in a room that’s proportional to a chicken coop for a hen, getting through a 500-sheet pack of plain A4 paper every month with scribbles, sketches and the odd deep dark line through mistakes.

No tears yet, though.

I’m off to re-read LA1’s first three chapters now. Just to see how much is committed to memory. Should be done by 2am.

Then up at 7am for a looming 48 hour working week.

Still, it could be worse. I could be down the pub. Or out on a motorbike.