Before starting the module I was apprehensive about many things. Completing projects with people I had never met before would be challenging as it’s hard to know what people’s strengths and weaknesses are in first instances. Furthermore, I was still unclear about what the module entailed as I had never done anything like it before. Netherless, once my group had received the first project brief, analysing the motion of a golf ball, and had a look at previous year’s examples we became more aware of what we needed to do. What I and my team felt most challenging was working to the time limit.
Although 2 weeks may seem like a long time I felt that we may not have optimised this time well within the team. Leaving main models to be finalised 2 days before the deadline made me anxious as it left not a lot of time for it to be analysed and edited. This was prominent in our first model as there were many silly mistakes that could have been sorted had we have had fully checked the report. However, I feel that we only realised our mistakes and improved on them for the final project where the majority of our models were finished before the deadline.
Maybe in future projects, we could set individual deadlines for each element of the task as I believe this will give us a better structure which we could then implement into the project. Furthermore, another issue I felt that we could develop on was how we delegated roles within the group. Although we soon found out each other’s strengths and weaknesses it soon became apparent that certain members of the group consistently took on big roles within the task leaving other members to do the small minor tasks. This meant that the workload was not shared equally, which put a lot of stress, myself included, on members that had a significant amount of work to do.
For example, in the first and last project me and Michael both had to come up with the entire model. This could have easily been solved but I felt that the members who did not contribute as much were not willing to put themselves forward for the bigger roles and if they had I believe that they would have taken too long to complete their work putting a bigger strain on the group. So, in some ways maybe having the same people take on the majority of the work was the better idea as at least we would have finished the work on time.On the contrary, I feel that my group worked well in the initial stages of each project.
We were quick to gain a clear understanding of the project. This then enabled us to plan our task and follow through with it. For example for the mortgage project we quickly decided we would do a fixed rate versus a variable rate mortgage to see which was best.
In addition, in the later projects, I feel that what worked best was when more than one individual worked on the same bit of the task, especially with the mathematics and validation, as it helped to make sure all calculations were correct and accurate. I wish we would have done this earlier on in the module as again it would have helped with ensuring there were no minor errors in our model. Another thing that we should have done earlier, as we found it highly beneficial, was the additional drop-in sessions. Using this in the final project helped us to clarify parts of our model and expand on our original ideas giving us a piece of mind when we came to submit it.
At the very beginning, I feel that my mathematical report writing skills were lacking. I had no idea of how to begin or structure the report but now after doing research on past projects and completing some of my own, I believe I can produce a successfully written report that is methodical and most importantly accessible for the target audience. To make it accessible to the target audience I felt I needed to adapt my language and for those less mathematically educated and explain equations thoroughly. Moreover, I have learned how siting equations and figures can equally make the model easier to read and follow. This is a key skill that I can use further in my degree.From MMPS I have learned more about my weaknesses, for example, I have learned that I struggle with the pressure of a time limit especially when my group is behind schedule. One way to deal with this would be to take more leadership over the group, to ensure we don’t fall behind the schedule, but I feel this may only put a greater pressure on myself.
Furthermore, I feel that I need to practice making my mathematical literacy more accurate. I am comfortable with the general gist of what equations I need to come up with the model, but it does not always read correctly and I’m often missing minor details. To improve on this in the future I would need to read more previous projects and learn from their strengths. In addition, I believe MMPS only highlighted my weakness for using LaTeX. I shied away from doing any of the LaTeX writing as I don’t enjoy doing it and it would have only hindered the group in terms of timing. I need to spend some time perfecting my LaTeX skills or I will be pretty stuck later on in my degree, to do this I would go over the resources on canvas and maybe look at some tutorial videos.In terms of career plans, I know that MMPS will be a great asset to have as it will show to employees that not only can obtain a degree in mathematics, but I can apply it in the real world.
I do not yet know what career I wish to pursue but I’m sure it will be beneficial to have MMPS.