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Student and tutor module reviews

Developing algebraic thinking

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: ME625
  • Level: 3

Student reviews

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.


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 April 2016 presentation of ME625. The survey was carried out in 2016.

32 students (a response rate of 20.1%) 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 100 32
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 96.9 31
The module provided good value for money 76.7 23
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 96.9 31
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 90.6 29
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 93.8 30
I would recommend this module to other students 87.5 28
The module met my expectations 90.6 29
I enjoyed studying this module 96.9 31
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 96.9 31
Faculty comment: Respondents continue to enjoy studying this module. All the respondents were satisfied with the quality of the module and the overwhelming majority would recommend it to other students. They appreciate and benefit from the support of their tutors via individual feedback and through online tutorials where module materials are discussed and support and guidance is offered. Tutors work in teams to provide effective support to students.
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