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Learning Center Experience
By Scott VanZuiden
I have been teaching math for several years in an online
format. Whenever I share with people that I teach math online, they say they
could never take a math course online, often questioning whether or not a
student can be successful. The quick answer is, “Yes!” There are many great
supports in online learning that make taking a math course online very
Here are a few key points that one should consider when
taking any online course, but particularly a math course.
When reading a math
textbook, do not skip over key vocabulary words. These are often the piece of
the puzzle that will help you with the homework. Also, review the examples and
pay particular attention to the explanations shown for each step in solving a
problem. Finally, if the book is online and has interactive material, take
advantage of any video or audio clips.
So often I have
heard students say doing math online is difficult. When I ask them to show
their work they say that they cannot show work because it is an online class.
Even with online classes, you should keep a notebook working all the problems
as thoroughly and neatly as possible. This will allow you to review your work
if the answer you input into the computer program is incorrect. Also, be sure
you are answering the problem in the format that is being asked. For example, a
fraction answer may be desired over a decimal answer, or the fraction may need
to be entered as an improper fraction rather than a mixed number.
Many times students just
want to start their homework assignment without previewing the textbook or
viewing video examples. While there are often resources available while you are
working through problems, always refer back to the examples in your book or in
It is often too easy to procrastinate when
taking courses online. It is necessary to work on math every day of the week,
including weekends. Recommendations would be to work on math every day for one
or two hours at a time rather than waiting until the end of the week and
working on math for five or six hours straight. At the end of your study time
end on a positive note. Make the last problem you work through one that you
know you can solve correctly. This is easy in online classes.
These are just a few tips I encourage you to try in your
online math class.
Nolting, P. D. (2016). Math Study Skills Workbook.
Boston: Cengage Learning.
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