I wrote to the "Calculus of Variations" Course Team Chair as follows:
"I'm about to start M820 and I have a couple of questions about the Maple computer algebra package which I'm considering purchasing.
1. Do you think Maple would be an asset in visualising functions and checking algebra in M820?
2. If so, does the OU supply Maple - perhaps at a competitive price?"
The reply stated: "Is Maple useful for M820? The answer is yes, but it is not essential. I use Maple to check algebraic and calculus calculations." and the advice for acquiring it was to contact Adept Scientific.
So I called this morning and expect to receive a CD in the post over the next few days containing the student edition of Maple 13. Cost around £80.