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Discovering mathematics

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This key introductory Level 1 module provides a gentle start to the study of mathematics. It will help you to integrate mathematical ideas into your everyday thinking and build your confidence in using and learning mathematics. You’ll cover statistical, graphical, algebraic, trigonometric and numerical concepts and techniques, and be introduced to mathematical modelling. Formal calculus is not included and you are not expected to have any previous knowledge of algebra. The skills introduced will be ideal if you plan to study more mathematics modules, such as Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). It is also suitable for users of mathematics in other areas, such as computing, science, technology, social science, humanities, business and education.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
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Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

In order to study this module successfully you should expect to be actively doing mathematics, rather than just reading it. You will also be encouraged to develop skills in interpreting and explaining mathematics, and this aspect will be assessed in some of the assignment questions.

Samples of the study materials, including example assessment questions, are available from our Maths Choices website.

Providing you have the appropriate background knowledge (see Entry), you should expect to study for about eight hours a week. Many of the topics covered in the module depend on your understanding of topics in earlier units. So, if you have not fully understood earlier material, you may find later material more difficult and time consuming. This is particularly true of graphs, formulas and algebra. Naturally, the study time required for the module tends to increase before an assignment deadline.

You will learn

Successful study of this module should begin to develop your skills in working with mathematical concepts and using them to solve problems.

You will learn about:

  • key ideas in mathematics, including some statistics, algebra, geometry and trigonometry
  • mathematical vocabulary and notation introduced and developed in the module
  • selection and use of mathematical techniques for solving problems
  • interpretation of results in the context of real life situations
  • simple mathematical arguments
  • how to explain mathematical ideas from the module in writing
  • development of skills in learning mathematics
  • use of relevant ICT tools for learning and for working on mathematical problems
  • describing problems mathematically
  • analysing mathematical reasoning.

The module contains many real world contexts such as journey planning, glaciers, supply and demand, depreciation, poverty levels, chance events, and medical conditions (such as cancer), to help illustrate mathematical topics.

Entry

This is a key introductory Level 1 module. Level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at Level 2.

You are advised to have previous experience in mathematics, before commencing this module. In particular, you should be confident with the following topics:

  • arithmetic of numbers, including negative numbers and fractions
  • scientific notation for numbers (sometimes known as standard form)
  • powers of numbers including square roots
  • using your scientific calculator effectively for the above topics, and for working with brackets and π
  • using simple word formulas
  • drawing and interpreting simple charts and graphs.

You are not expected to have any skills in algebra before the module starts.

It is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle this module, since students who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully and get the most enjoyment out of it. You are strongly advised to follow the recommendations given in the Preparatory work section below.

There are two mathematics entry level modules, this one and Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). Your choice of which one to start with depends on your mathematical knowledge, experience and on the qualification you have in mind. 

For advice about where to begin your Level 1 study in maths please look at our Maths Choices website. The website also contains a self-assessment quiz to help you decide if MU123 is the right module for you.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

It is recommended that you work through some of the free and open educational resources from the Maths Help website, where there is a module to help you to refresh your knowledge of each of the following topics:

  • Numbers, units and arithmetic
  • Rounding and estimation
  • Ratio, proportion and percentages
  • Squares, roots and powers
  • Diagrams, charts and graphs
  • Language, notation and formulas
  • Geometry.

Alternatively, you could study any textbook that covers the same topics.

Regulations

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.

If you have a disability

By its nature mathematics is a visual subject, and this module contains considerable amounts of mathematical notation and graphs, and other forms of diagram. If you have a visual impairment or limited manual dexterity you may experience difficulties with some of the activities and assessment questions which involve the interactive use of ICT or which have a high graphical content.

It is important to note that use of the online activities and resources, which include on-screen dynamically-changing graphs and mathematical notation, will be an integral part of your study. You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer, and some of your assignments will be interactive and online.

Written transcripts of any audio and video components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. 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. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 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:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Books, DVD, and a dedicated website containing online activities and resources.

You will need

A scientific calculator. We recommend any Casio scientific calculator with 'natural display', as these enable you to key in calculations in the same order as they usually appear in written text, and have a two-line display so that you can see both your calculation and the answer. Some instructions for using the Casio fx-83ES, and compatible models, are provided in the study materials. Any other scientific calculator is also acceptable provided that you know how to use it before the module starts, and you have access to the appropriate calculator manual (these are often available to download from the manufacturer’s website). Please note that you do not need to have a graphics or programmable calculator to study this module.

(If you have studied Starting with maths (Y182) or Science, technology and maths Access module (Y033), you can use the calculator from that module providing you have access to the manual.)

You will require access to the internet at least once a week to download resources and assignments, keep up to date with news and to access the interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs).

A headset with a microphone and earphones is recommended in order to participate fully in online tutorials.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and who you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. We may also be able to offer local group tutorials or day schools that you are strongly encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking MU123. Some tutors may offer online group tutorials in addition to or instead of face-to-face tutorials.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You can choose whether to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice.

The first iCMA, covering Unit 1, is to be submitted about two weeks after the start of the module. The first TMA is to be submitted about a month after the start.

TMA questions typically involve calculating, creating and/or interpreting a graph or diagram, using algebra, and explaining your work and conclusions. The latter is one factor that makes this a university-level module and it is a new approach for some students, who may find it challenging initially. Some TMAs may also include a short question covering a wider aspect of studying maths. 

As there is no examination, the EMA aims to consolidate your learning across different aspects of the module. It covers the whole of the module, and is compulsory if you wish to pass the module.

Professional recognition

This module is sometimes accepted as an acceptable equivalent qualification to GCSE grade C in mathematics by teacher training institutions, but always at the discretion of each institution. So, if you hope to use it for this purpose, you are advised to check as early as possible with your chosen teacher training institution(s). 

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014 and February 2015. We expect it to be available twice a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“A very easy choice for anyone who needs to get 30 credits. The level of Mathematics is probably the same ...”
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“Very good course. No matter how good you think you are at maths, this course shows how you can still ...”
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Distance learning

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.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code MU123
Credits 30
OU Level 1
SCQF level 7
FHEQ level 4
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
5 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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