MST124 TMA01 and TM129 Block 1 (Robotics)

I submitted my TMA01 quite early for MST124.  I’m really fond of my chances with it.  I’ve gone over it a few times and have a few questions about presentation, but over-all, it’s good.  That’s the advantage to TMAs on a maths module: There’s usually only one answer.  You can be certain of at least getting that part right, and worry about presentation separately.

As stated earlier, I’m using the Microsoft Word Equation Editor to present my maths work.  This makes it easier to do the non-maths portions of the TMAs, and will make it easier for me to include maths in TMAs in non-maths modules.  The only thing I don’t like so far is that fractional indices are presented vertically instead of horizontally, so I have to manually change those before submitting the TMA.

MST124 TMA01 has a portion about simplifying and rearranging algebraic functions, a portion about how to present work (it seems geared to responses to “story problems”, mostly), a section about solving and graphing linear equations, a section about solving and graphing quadratics, and finally a token portion showing that you can use Maxima.  I’m satisfied with the work shown on all sections, and with the answers.  I’m potentially nervous about the level of detail used in the portion about presenting work, but I’ve done about as well as I can without knowing exactly what they’re looking for.

The only thing that really bugs me about the TMA is that it’s a requirement to hand-draw the graphs.  I’m okay doing it, and I know why it’s necessary.  But I’m a perfectionist, and I had to draw those graphs about fifty times each.  I avoided graphing paper as I’d been warned about scanning it in for TMAs, but next TMA I think I’m going to ignore that advice and just submit it on graphing paper anyway.  I can’t imagine an actual deduction so long as I make it all clear.

Anyway, I normally strongly hedge my expectations for TMAs, but I’m hoping for at least a 95 on this one.

I’ve also done my first iCMA (iCMA41) for MST124.  It covered just algebra and quadratics, and didn’t take too long.  I missed a question because when I was double-checking a surd I’d simplified, I second-guessed my answer.  Still, I think it’ll land me with a 90, and it’s only worth 2% of my OCAS anyway.  And let’s face it, that’s probably the highest iCMA I’ll do.

TM129 has been a major shock for me: The shock is how much I’m enjoying it.  Most of all … I love the ePortfolio!  I was dreading it, but it’s fantastic.  It’s basically carte blanche to show how much I learned, or how deeply I understand something.  They only require a few minutes each, but I’ve been spending up to a couple of hours on them, because they’re just that fun.  They’re like mini-TMA questions, and when it comes down to it, I think I enjoy doing TMAs.

I’m keeping the ePortfolio write-ups as brief as I can, but I jam a lot of information to a few short paragraphs.  On one, I researched articles on the OU Library for a well-rounded answer, rather than the guess the activity asked for.  On another, I resolved the robotics problem put to me, and then resolved all possible similar problems, by altering just a single line of code.  It’s really empowering to stretch your wings and see just how much you can actually accomplish when the parameters aren’t so narrow.

I’m about halfway through TMA01 for TM129, which makes sense as I’m also about halfway through the first block.  As I’m learning the most on the ePortfolio activities, that’s where I’m spending the majority of my time.  I’m starting to get into some psychology in the module that I haven’t been exposed to in MOOCs that I’ve done, so it’s nice to be exploring new areas.

Overall, I’m very happy with both modules.  I’m about to get into some more difficult areas in MST124, and that’s knocking my motivation back a bit, so I’ll have to put some ePortfolio activities to the side until after I can struggle through that.

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