maths study via The Open University

MST209 TMA 2 done and result from M248 TMA 1 arrives

The second assignment on statics, dynamics and oscillations is done.
I’ll post it on Monday.
The next assignment covers lots of stuff I’ve already done, courtesy of the pure maths course M208, which I completed last year.
It looks like the contents of the first three TMAs sets students up for the entirety of the rest of the course.
A quick look through the middle and latter parts of the course confirms we’ll be constantly drawing on what we’ve covered in these first two months. As expected.

The plan this month is to get a fortnight ahead on MST209 and get myself some breathing space for M248, the data and statistics course.

It’s going to be necessary because I received a disappointing TMA score back this morning. I think its the worst score I’ve received on any assignment for any of my five Open University courses.

The tutor wrote pages, not paragraphs about style and presentation and how it didn’t fit his bill.
Sadly, his bill doesn’t appear to match the bill asked for by the OU.

I’m to embed graphs into the main text which, ideally, is to be word-processed.
Cut n paste jobs really.
However, has anyone explored the problems between cutting Minitab and pasting into OpenOffice?
Enough students have noted that the edges of graphs, axes, etc disappear in doing so.

I don’t own MS Word and won’t be buying it.

So, it looks like I’ll be chopping bits from Minitab by using Paint, reducing it to A5 or A6 size, saving as jpegs, and pasting into the main body of copy relating to each question.

That seems like a thorough waste of time to be honest.

Some of my wording when explaining things was deemed to be unneccessary. Some things I provided from the graphs were deemed to be unneccessary.

Reading back through the question, however, it explicitly asks for this information and doesn’t specify the layout required.

I guess it was supposed to be provided in a column within Minitab rather than within Minitab’s calculation area.

Well, specify that then.
Don’t leave it open in to interpretation, especially when there are no examples to compare it to, and common sense could argue for either case.

All the maths I did was correct. No marks lost on that side.

So, it looks like M248 is a course in using specific wording to qualify answers, rather than obtaining data and qualifying it in any terms other than those the tutor happens to want.

In other words, M248’s outcome is largely out of the hands of correct computation and more in the hands of qualifying things with the exact words the tutor wants. And changing the layout of your answers to suit his particular needs.

That’s not maths to me.
Then again, this isn’t a maths course. It’s a statistics one.
And, it seems, statistics is a wooly subject rather than a precise one.

So, since I’d like a first class honours pass on this course, I’m going to have to play the game – I’ll be phoning the tutor before every assignment question to check on qualifying words and style layout.

I’m not prepared to lose this many marks again on matters of style.

Courses so far:

MST: enjoyment, 10; difficulty, 5.
M248: enjoyment, 1; difficulty, 1.


One response

  1. jamie

    download openoffice, totally free and almost identical to MS word/ excel etc.

    Can save in ms office formats too 🙂

    (fellow mst209 student)

    April 8, 2011 at 5:50 AM

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