S207 – The Physical World – A review

After finishing MST209 I wasn’t sure which Open University module to do next. The proposed M303 Further Pure Mathematics was still under development for another year, and was going to supercede most of the level 3 modules I was most interested in. So I settled on S207 from the Physics Department as something to.

Overall the mathematics was fairly simple after having done 2 level mathematics courses (m208 and mst209), most of the hard work was in understanding the new physical concepts. After the hard logical purity of Pure Mathematics, getting messy with the statistical methods for dealing with gases caused a fair amount of head scratching! And by the time we got onto relativity then things were making even Group theory look like a pleasant place to be.

Overall the course was quite a good eye opener to some of the classic theorys of Phyics. The mechanics and motion sections were a lot simpler that those covered in MST209 by quite a way, so doing them the way round I did certainly paid off.

My major complaint with this course was the CMA (Computer Marked Assessment) methods. While previous Mathematics courses had had CMAs, these had simply been multiple choice questions from a prepared sheet, and you only had to use the computer to enter your results. On this course, the CMAs were only available on the computer! So to attempt them you had to be at a computer (even printing out the questions wasn’t a cure, as they were picked from a bank and weren’t ‘picked’ until you attempted them). As someone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer (this is being written while I watch code compile on the next monitor), I enjoyed being able to study without being attached to one. Also being able to work through assignments when travelling via public transport was a great way to fill in dead time.

A minor niggle, but I’d certainly be checking the assessment methods before taking a module from the science department again.

Anyway, I passed, and that’s another 60 credits squirreled away towards my Mathematics degree.

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