Getting un-stuck at a MASH drop-in

Posted in: maths and statistics, student experience

Hi, my name is Claudia, I'm in my third year of a chemical engineering integrated master's, and here's how a Mathematics Resources Centre (MASH) drop-in helped me gain a deeper understanding of the mathematics used in my course.

Despite chemical engineering being a very mathematical course, with a large emphasis on mathematical modelling, the past two years of online learning has left me disconnected between the mathematics taught and their application.

In my second year, I ignored some of the more complex concepts taught in the maths module, as they were not directly examinable. However, third year brought an entirely new set of concepts that needed a deeper understanding when applied to coursework.  

This year, when I received my coursework, I began reviewing material on Moodle and lecture recordings, but I quickly realised that I couldn’t understand the concepts solely with the lecturer’s input. I began to explore other options, asking course mates and other lecturers, still with little luck. This definitely brought on a bit of panic especially as my deadline loomed closer and closer.

Finally, I decided to attend a MASH drop-in session.  

Learning at MASH 

When I attended the drop-in, the MASH tutor immediately pointed me to their colleague, Waleed, who had the greatest expertise around chemical engineering problems. I sat down with Waleed and described the topics I was having trouble with. 

Starting from first concepts, he described on the whiteboard how the relevant mathematical technique is used to solve a partial differential equation.

The best part was that I was able to ask for a certain concept to be explained in more detail, or even explained from scratch as the drop-in was very much a 1-1 experience! Waleed went systematically through each topic ensuring that I understood every step of both the basic concepts and the complex derivations.  

We went through the content I needed to understand for application in my coursework in the space of one hour with plenty of questions along the way.

Additionally, it was extremely helpful to see these mathematics concepts illustrated visually instead of just the final equations given in the maths module.  

Increased confidence 

The most valuable part of the experience was that I was able to leave the drop-in with a deeper understanding of the material and a clear path to applying the concepts to my coursework.

With the MASH tutor’s explanation, I was even confident to teach the concepts I had learned to my course mates!

Staff and tutors at MASH are so eager to help and were extremely patient with the countless questions I had, helping me to understand the concepts in their entirety and allowing me to troubleshoot the applications. I even returned for two more sessions in the following weeks to iron out final doubts.  

Final thoughts

Overall, I had an amazing experience at MASH, and I greatly recommend anyone having difficulties understanding a mathematical or statistical concept to attend a MASH drop-in.

It can be intimidating to ask questions, but MASH is a fantastic place to get explanations and answers in a supportive environment with knowledgeable tutors.  

If you want to maximise your understanding and marks in your maths modules, drop-in to MASH at the Skills Zone every Monday through Friday 12:15-2:05 pm at 6 East 2.8.

Have you got a comment or question about MASH drop-ins? Please leave a comment!

Posted in: maths and statistics, student experience

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