One thing I really like about Block C of MS221 is that it reiterates the basics of calculus, which were originally covered in MST121, before going on to the more complicated stuff. Normally I’d be annoyed by the repetition of a topic across two courses, but with calculus I’m actually really glad the course team decided to do it this way. For some reason, the MS221 chapters on differentiation and integration seem way more accessible and understandable to me – I remember having a bit of trouble with Block C of MST121, but so far I haven’t had any similar problems with the MS221 version. Perhaps the material is presented or explained in a different way (I should really dig my MST121 books out and compare the relevant chapters, but they’re all the way up in the spare room and I’m too lazy to get them!), or maybe the preceding two blocks of MS221 make for a better preparation for calculus? I’d be interested to hear from other students who have done both MST121 and MS221, to see whether anyone else has found calculus easier or more interesting in the latter.

In any case, it’s really gratifying to actually enjoy calculus this time around – it’s such an important part of mathematics, I’d feel like I was really missing out on something if I still couldn’t find anything beautiful or fascinating in it. So far, the section of Chapter C1 about graph sketching has been the most satisfying bit to me – the fact that we can figure out the shape of a graph, along with its long-term behaviour, just by studying the equation of the graph is amazing! Ooh, and the Newton-Raphson method, that was pretty awesome too – the speed at which you can get a good approximation of the solution to a particular equation, and the ease with which you could implement the approach on a computer, is brilliant! I can honestly say that the Newton-Raphson bit of the Mathcad work for Chapter C1 was the most fun I’ve had with Mathcad in my OU career. I really do wish calculus had been this enjoyable in MST121!

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