Skip to content The Open University

Student and tutor module reviews

Developing algebraic thinking

see module description

  • Points: 30
  • Code: ME625
  • Level: 3
On this page

Student reviews

I found this module challenging and rewarding.

I was not confident enough at the beginning of the module as I felt that my knowledge and understanding of Algebra thinking was limited. I was tempted to give up but was holding my nerves as this was my last module to complete my Open Degree.

I have other commitments as well as a full-time job and was distracted by my long-time illness, therefore I had to manage my time effectively with the workload. So, time management is very important.

The module offered flexibility for distance learning, especially for people like me who are not working in school.
The module was well organised, and the module material was well-written and easy to understand.

Attending online tutorials regularly is useful as well as communicating with the tutor where we can ask questions to clarify things that we do not understand very well.
The module has also given me the skills to prepare me to get into teaching.

The tremendous support that I received from my tutor, online tutorial and module forum has widened and strengthened my knowledge about the module and helped me see how people learn algebra and how to implement the module ideas or teaching methods into practice.

The tutors were very knowledgeable, encouraging, supportive and experienced in their fields, and I highly appreciate their professionalism. The feedback on TMAs from tutors was very useful and important as a step forward to improve our knowledge and understanding of the module.

The module forum was outstanding in providing great support and help. I felt like there was a torch shining on my path of my learning process and is a great experience in my learning journey with the OU that I will treasure it and am proud of in my life.

The online tutorial was lovely. We shared our knowledge and experience with fellow students as well as asking questions directly to the tutors and having those questions answered straight away.

There were so many things about Algebra thinking that I found puzzling I never understood before, but my tutor patiently made it so simpler and clearer to understand.
At the end I beat my fear by never giving up.

I have learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed the course and it has become my favourite module along with Developing Geometric Thinking (ME627).
I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to pursue a career in teaching or those already working in school but wish to develop their knowledge further.

Christine Anthonette Soerjowidjojo

Course starting: April 2019

Review posted: November 2019

An excellent and thought provoking course. Really learnt the key fundamentals on how to teach Algebraic Mathematics. It has really helped me as a teacher. The help and support from my tutor was awesome.

Imad Khan

Course starting: April 2018

Review posted: April 2019

What an amazing and innovative course this is! The course has been designed to stimulate ones curiosity about the teaching and learning of mathematics.

The tasks need to be carefully chosen with a specific mathematical goal in mind for the learner to investigate, which may be solved in a variety of ways depending on the ability and learning style of the learner.

The learner is expected to try and form a generality for a given task, for example nth term patterns. The tasks are designed to suit all ability levels so having a very young learner or an inexperienced learner should not put you off.

I found the teaching strategies to be learner centred with the teacher taking on the role of learner facilitator, thereby helping learners to communicate mathematically and make connections as much as possible by themselves. The tasks can be extended commensurate with the ability of the learner.

One thing that stood out during this course is that by using the teaching techniques, you don't give a learner the answer, neither do you just give the learner all the information they need to solve a problem. By correct prompting, the learner learns to explore, investigate, analyse and can sometimes end up teaching the teacher new perspectives!

During later blocks the tasks transition to the use of ICT (some tasks are suited to spreadsheets or a graphics calculator for example), which is an integral part of the EMA so its best to become familiar with them early in the course and trying them out with learners.

This course along with ME620 completed my degree and both were my favourite modules throughout. ME620 is a good foundation for ME625 but certainly not essential. The tutor support was unprecedented, the forums dynamic. All the tutors and students were enthusiastic and the online tutorials exceptionally friendly and informative.

Communication with the tutors is essential for this course. I gained a distinction for both modules without any prior teaching experience, but in retrospect this would not have been at all possible without engaging in all of the online tutorials. This course was so amazing that it has inspired me to do the post graduate module ME825 next year.

Elizabeth Justine de Havillan

Course starting: April 2014

Review posted: March 2015

This was a very useful, interesting and challenging module that completed my Graduate Diploma in Mathematics Education. The earlier modules were useful preparation.

It provided knowledge of teaching strategies, insight into how people learn, the use of ICT and interesting tasks which increased my subject knowledge. The book is well-written.

The book contains a lot of tasks and asks you to be selective. I did almost all of them so I did a lot more than the stated 12 hours per week. This improved my knowledge of teaching algebra and gave me a bank of tasks to try out with my learners.

The main idea behind this module is to use tasks that require expressing generality in order to solve problems and how ICT helps this process. This is much better than teaching abstract algebraic techniques which learners find pointless and boring.

Tutor support is good and the forums were lively. Discussion of ideas is welcome, but giving mathematical answers to tasks is not, as they are required for assignments.

Enough guidance is given to do very well in the assignments. They are still difficult, because you need to draw together a lot of ideas and synthesise them in a limited word count.

I would recommend the course if you teach, or plan to.

Savo Balac

Course starting: April 2012

Review posted: December 2012

Loved the course!!! It helped so much with the new initiative of rich tasks in the classroom and has provided me with lots of resources whereby learners have to use mathematical processes.

Jacqueline Fordham

Course starting: April 2008

Review posted: November 2009

The stratagies that I learned from the course opened my mind to how dynamic mathematical learning can be. I did find the structure to be a bit repetitive in that in tackled the different constructs in the same manner, but that aside, a great eye opener. The work load was fine - I studied 60 points together (ME625 & 626).

Richard Jordan

Course starting: April 2008

Review posted: October 2009

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

Enter a module code to find a review

To send us reviews on modules you have studied with us, please click the sign in button below.