Weekly study2 hours
Getting a Grip on Mathematical Symbolism
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This course is aimed at those who aspire to study science or engineering foundation courses at university level. It draws upon the experience of staff from the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University - a centre that has specialised for many years in mathematics teaching and mathematics support for science and engineering students who find the transition to university mathematics particularly challenging.
Through an accessible introduction to graphical and algebraic techniques students will start to think mathematically and develop an informal understanding of vital properties of points, lines and curves before formalising mathematically some of these essential notions. We adopt a user-friendly approach and describe mathematical processes in everyday language. New ideas are developed by example and discovery rather than by formal proof. Further development will introduce the equation of a line and the significance of its slope and vertical intercept.
The course will close by reinforcing the importance of mathematics to science and engineering. It will pave the way into the study of calculus by explaining that engineers and scientists need to build upon the ideas introduced in order to describe, analyse and predict the behaviour of physical, biological and technological systems.
What will you do ?
- watch video explanations of key mathematical ideas
- hear from leading scientists and engineers about the importance of mathematics to their work
- watch fully worked mathematical examples
- try to solve mathematics problems yourself
- learn how to plot points and straight line graphs and use these lines to solve problems
- test your progress with quizzes
- try to apply what you have learned
- share ideas with other learners on the course
- prepare yourself well for embarking upon a science or engineering course
Professor Tony Croft has written two blogs posts which talk about the role this free online course might play in helping to prepare young people for the mathematical demands of university courses in STEM subjects:
Trying to make it all add up: preparing young people for the mathematical demands of university
Breaking into science and engineering: strengthening mathematical foundations
Learning on this course
On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
Who is the course for?
The course is designed for students who have some engineering or science knowledge gained through vocational qualifications or through workplace experience but who perhaps have not studied mathematics formally since leaving school. It will be appropriate for those who lack confidence but who need to establish a bedrock of knowledge in order to further their education. To gain the most from the course it will be necessary to plot some graphs (graph paper will be provided). Please note that this is a foundation, entry-level course and is not intended for those who already possess recent post-GCSE mathematics qualifications.
Who will you learn with?
Professor of Mathematics Education at Loughborough University specialising in mathematics for engineers and mathematics support for students who find university mathematics particularly challenging.
Learning on FutureLearn
Your learning, your rules
- Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
- Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
- Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores
Join a global classroom
- Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
- Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
- Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others
Map your progress
- As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
- Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
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