Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Take Math Online

Barry Lenson

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Take Math Online

Back in 2008, the U.S. Department of Education published a report called Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. That report, and a revision of it published in 2010, are pretty tough to read. (Heck, even the title of the report is hard to understand.)

The authors of the report analyzed “more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning,” and came to this conclusion . . .

“The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

The report also analyzed mathematics education and concluded that it was an area in which online instruction competed successfully with classroom, and outperformed it in some cases.

That only makes sense. In fact, it is a conclusion that is seconded by feedback that we are getting from StraighterLine students. For many of them, online math classes work better than classroom courses do, because of factors like these . . .

  • You can take all the time you need to absorb the content of each lesson. Let’s face it. When you’re taking any math class, the content of some units is harder to grasp than the content of others. In a regular classroom course you are going to fall behind if you spend a few extra days to work on difficult units. As an online student, you can take all the time you need. You can even repeat lessons if you need to.
  • You don’t need to feel sheepish about asking questions. If you need to ask your online instructor about a concept that you are not getting, all your communication takes place online. That avoids the embarrassment of asking questions about problems that other people in your class already understand.
  • You won’t get stalled by instructors who don’t communicate well. Because all the course content is laid out clearly and uniformly in quality online courses, you won’t run the risk of having a teacher who doesn’t’ teach well. I don’t know if you have noticed it too – math teachers sometimes find it harder to explain stuff than do, say, English teachers or history teachers.
  • You have access to all kinds of online help. For example, you can watch StraighterLine’s own instructional math videos any time you want.

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