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Approximation theory

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: M832
  • Level: Postgraduate

Student reviews

I decided to do this as I wished to do the Applied Dissertation Option (the others we're not initially available).

Generally I enjoyed it, it's an interesting balance between theory and application; Vector and Banach spaces and Norms on the one hand and approximation algorithms on the other.

The TMAs are generally applied orientated and are very doable and there are no big surprises. The book however, leaves a lot to be desired. As a book covering both the theoretic aspect and applicable use, I couldn't find any other book with it's coverage, you will find the course notes invaluable and you will most likely end up referring to other books for actually solving problems. So I can under its usage over other books.

Try and get Maple or Mathematica, so that you can compare (graph) your solutions to the results from these products, there is a certain satisfaction seeing your (hopefully correct) answer match and line up, it will also highlight errors in you solution if they don't and obviously it will help when checking your results before sending them in.

The exam was a reflection of the TMAs and specimen paper with no surprises (though in prior years there were claims it wasn't)

Overall another interesting MSc course from the OU, though not as interesting as most I've done, but still highly recommended especially if you have more of an applied than pure leaning.

Course starting: February 2009

Review posted: June 2010

A very disappointing course. Although the TMAs were relatively accessible this was in spite of the worst text book I've ever had to study from in my academic career. I can quite honestly say that I learned nothing from it and had to rely on previous knowledge, other texts and the Internet. Fortunately the course notes were better, but also lacking in some places. The final exam...impossible. Totally unlike the sample paper (which was a breeze) and by far the most difficult exam I've ever done. I have never come out of an exam feeling so angry with the academic institution that set the paper.

Neil Reynolds

Course starting: February 2007

Review posted: June 2008

Faculty response

I'm sorry Neil was disappointed with M832, which has run for many years without such strong criticism. The textbook, by a leading expert, is not easy but it is widely used and the Course Notes provide detailed explanations.

Some students commented that the 2007 exam was hard, but others said it was OK. It was of the usual type, with results similar to previous years and a low failure rate. The specimen exam is not a perfect guide to the actual exam, but it aims to show the approximate range and level of possible questions.

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.


Module satisfaction survey

The figures below are taken from a survey of students who sat the exam/completed the end-of-module assessment for the October 2016 presentation of M832. The survey was carried out in 2017.

20 students (a response rate of 32.8%) responded to the survey covering what they thought of 10 aspects of the module.

Please note that if the percentage of students who responded to this module survey is below 30% and/or the number of responses is below 23 it means that only a small proportion of students provided feedback and their views as shown here may not be fully representative of all students who studied the module.

See this page for the full text of questions and more information about the survey.

% Count
Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this module 73.7 14
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 75 15
The module provided good value for money 40 8
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 90 18
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 70 14
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 70 14
I would recommend this module to other students 65 13
The module met my expectations 70 14
I enjoyed studying this module 60 12
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 90 18
Faculty comment: "The results of the survey of students that started in October 2016 are a little disappointing compared to those of students that started in 2014 - with only 75% of respondents satisfied overall with their study experience, compared to 86% from 2014. However, a much larger percentage than this were happy with their tutors. This is usually the case and it was especially pleasing this year since a new tutor took over one group at short notice partway through, when that group's original tutor was unexpectedly out of action for health reasons. The main changes to the module that started in October 2016, compared to the one that started in 2014, were a much larger number of students studying the module; the addition of some helpful screencasts; and a small change to the format of the final exam to bring it in line with other MSc in Mathematics modules. The exam results were outstandingly good, which was very pleasing."
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