maths study via The Open University

Archive for May, 2012

M347 rush

The personal problems have come back, and have taken up all my time since my last post.
That has created one major headache – I have less than a week to read more than two months’ worth of M347 material and complete numerous iCMAs, plus one TMA.

I’ve got Monday and Tuesday off work, and the TMA needs to go in the post by 5pm Tuesday, and arrive the next day if I’m not to miss the deadline.

Absolutely nothing I could do about it .

So, I made a start last night, and read a week’s worth in a night, then did one iCMA, which I managed to get almost fully correct.

This afternoon and tonight, I’ve read another week’s worth of the next unit, on maximum likelihood estimates. Thankfully, it’s calculus-heavy, and I like calculus, so it was quite a swift skim read, which made good sense.

I’m now boggle-eyed but the plan is: tomorrow afternoon/evening – finish this unit, do the iCMA and the TMA question, Saturday do 16 hours on the next unit, plus the iCMA and TMA question/s, then have a “leisurely” Sunday and Monday doing the final unit, plus iCMA and TMA question/s.

Far from ideal and, once it’s sent, I’ll need to switch back to M343 (should be three weeks behind by then), then do six weeks of reading in 18 days and post the next TMA off.

Far from an ideal, or expected, start to this academic year but sometimes side-swipes come and there’s nothing you can do about them.

My emergency move will be to ask for a two day extension on either TMA, if needs be.

After that, it’s back to the personal problem, and falling behind again.

If I wasn’t such a stubborn git, I’d have jacked the whole lot in for 2012 by now.

Off to bed – work at 6:30am tomorrow. 🙂

Remembering everything

If you’ve ever come up against a “maths wall”, you’ll know what I mean when I say you can spend hours, or even days, trying to get from one line in a proof to the next.
When you do eventually get there, and the proof makes sense, you pop the theorem or result into your pocket.
Then, you repeat.
After a while, the stuff you did earlier on gets a little hazy, so you go back to it when you have time and re-read the course notes, as well as your own (usually littered with exclamation marks, asterisks, smileys, and “this came from there”s).

I’m now finding, at “level three” with the OU (read “final year” undergrad) that stuff is coming in so thick and fast that my brain is simply being overwhelmed.

As mentioned in my previous post, I find myself relying on the results of a proof and, as a result, I’m clearly missing some “big picture”.

I’m impressed by people who follow a whole course and can piece bits together with some sort of invisible thread – theorem a leads to theorem b which, in this context, allows…. blah blah.

Meanwhile, I seem to be at the “isolated results” stage.

A maths teacher I know asked me how I’d solve a problem the other day. It was a case of glancing at it and going through a mechanical process to obtain the result.

Great, he said, but how did you know to do that?

Well, since blah is blah, then blah leads to blah…. I explained.

Of course, he said, with a puzzled look.

Somewhere along the line, he’d developed a knowledge gap – or rather, failed to address the gap.

I’m feeling the same at the moment.

Page by page, it all makes sense.

Bigger picture – not yet.

Certainly not yet, though I’m working on it.

And that’s the painful, frustrating bit, which leads to insecurity (on my part at least).

I’m not worried if a bigger picture connection will come up in the exam – I’m actually worried that I’ll look at the course notes (or even need them for work) in a few years time, and it will all be a mystery.

Once again.

M343 CMA result back

Despite the rush, the result was good.
One of the 20 questions wrong, but I see where my error was now.

I’m not convinced I wouldn’t make the same mistake again, though.

As this course progresses, I’m finding I’m tending towards following a derivation, obtaining the result/theorem, and relying on remembering that result a fits scenario b, etc.

The material is too deep for my brain to try to remember/memorise all derivations from scratch – something that was broadly possible in MST209 last year.

Still, by comparison to M347, M343 is, in my opinion, a lot easier.

Not quite so very behind

The M343 CMA is in, with hours to spare. Close call, though there was nothing in it which seemed all that difficult – just a case of following some arguments and proofs, looking at an example or two, then answering the questions.
M347 and M343’s second TMAs are next in line – there’s probably close on 200 pages in total to read or re-read, and 20 days to do it in.
Probably best I get started. 🙂

Very behind

Almost a month since my last post and I have done no maths.
Personal circumstances got in the way and today is the first day I can even think of getting back into it.
Lol. Not.
My next M343 assignment is due next week, followed by an M347 one a few weeks later.
From tomorrow, I will be doing 5pm to 2am every day. I can hardly wait (sarcastic smiley).