|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
Exploring mathematics builds on the concepts and techniques in Using mathematics (MST121) and uses the same software. It looks at questions underlying some of those techniques, such as why particular patterns occur in mathematical solutions and how you can be confident that a result is true. It introduces the role of reasoning and offers opportunities to investigate mathematical problems. Together with Using mathematics this course will give you a good foundation for higher-level mathematics, science and engineering courses. Even if you don't intend to study further, you will gain a good, university-level understanding of the nature and scope of mathematics.
You are advised to be confident with the content of Using mathematics (MST121), or equivalent from elsewhere, before commencing study of this course.
Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.
Exploring mathematics offers both a way in to honours-level mathematics and deeper insights into the mathematics that supports other areas of study. It rounds off the suite of courses designed to provide a rich and enlightening introduction to mathematical ideas and techniques.
This course builds on the approach and design of the University’s Level 1 course Using mathematics (MST121), extending the mathematical concepts and techniques (to cover more calculus, for example), the range of applications, and use of the course software. It looks at questions underlying some of the methods from MST121, such as why particular patterns occur in mathematical solutions, and how you can be confident that a result is true. It introduces the role of reasoning in mathematics, and offers opportunities to investigate mathematical questions for yourself. By the end of the course you will have encountered many of the topics that are developed in later mathematics courses, in particular in our main second level courses Pure mathematics (M208), and Mathematical methods and models (MST209). It also provides a good mathematical basis for courses in physics and engineering.
There are four sections, with each of the first three revisiting and developing the ideas introduced in the corresponding section in MST121. An important theme that runs through the course is mathematical reasoning.
Work on numbers and sequences is extended to Fibonacci and related sequences; that on circles is extended to the study of other conic sections. There is further exploration of the properties of functions and matrices, including applications in transformation geometry. The computer is used to help with important ideas of iteration in discrete mathematics. The ideas of calculus are extended to include more sophisticated techniques of differentiation and integration and use in the approximation of functions using Taylor series.
The last section of the course introduces important mathematical ideas, such as complex numbers, number theory and groups, that are built on in later courses. It concludes with a chapter on the role of proof in mathematics.
The course also develops more general skills such as communication of mathematical ideas, which will be useful in studying later courses.
Successful study of this course should improve your skills in:
This course is the third part of the mathematics entry suite that starts with Discovering mathematics (MU123) and goes on to Using mathematics (MST121) and MS221. Your choice of which to take depends on how much mathematical knowledge you already have and on the degree you have in mind. It is not advisable to take either MST121 or MS221 in the same year as MU123, and you should not take MS221 before studying MST121.
If you start in October it is possible – for some qualifications where regulations allow – to study MST121 and MS221 together in a single year as if they are a 60-credit course, as the material in the two courses is linked.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, or about choosing the most suitable mathematics entry course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service, or look at the Maths Choices website.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.
An integral part of study on this course is the use of specific software, which includes on-screen graphs and mathematical notation. Parts of this course are delivered online and through a CD-ROM so you will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer or accessing the internet and have any concerns about accessing the types of study materials outlined you are advised to talk to our Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs.
Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of the printed study materials are available. However some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. The study materials are also available on audio in DAISY Digital Talking Book format. Written transcripts are available for the audio-visual material. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.
If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:
Course books, computer software on CD-ROM, audio CD, DVD (for video material), website.
Audio CD and video DVD playback facilities; scientific or graphics calculator.
You require internet access at least once a week during the course to download course resources and to keep up to date with course news. If your tutor offers online tutorials, we also recommend a headset with a microphone and earphones to talk to your tutor and other students online.
You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some course software provided on disk.
You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.
You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course. Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.
The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.
Please note that TMAs for all undergraduate mathematics and statistics courses must be submitted on paper as – due to technical reasons – we are unable to accept TMAs via our eTMA system.
Each TMA typically consists of six questions, covering one Block of the course. Each of the questions typically involves some calculation, algebraic manipulation, creating and/or interpreting a graph, some written work to explain your interpretations and conclusions, and may involve using the course software and providing printouts. The first TMA is to be submitted about eight weeks after the start of the course.
The examination contains two parts. The first consists of short answer questions covering the whole of the course. The second contains longer questions, one on each Block, and you are required to attempt up to two of these.
This course may help you to gain recognition from a professional body. You can download our Recognition leaflets 3.3 Professional Engineering Institutions, 3.6 Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, for information.
The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2013. In 2014 we expect it to be available twice, in February and October, when it will be available for the last time. The combination of the Level 1 course Using mathematics (MST121) and this course (MS221) will be replaced by Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) available from February 2014 and either Essential mathematics 2 (MST125) available from October 2014 or Mathematical methods (MST224).
Students who studied this course also studied at some time:
To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.
“A great course - and certainly do-able alongside MST121. It covers to a much greater depth the material in MST121 ...”
“After completing around ten modules with the OU it has slowly dawned on me that the best way to do ...”
“MS221 is designed for study after (or alongside) MST121, which provides a foundation for MS221. We are always open to ...”
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read Distance learning explained.
|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
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