The variety of courses offered online for mathematics in particular is astounding, especially foundational courses like Pre-calculus.
Pre-calculus is one of those courses that act as a gateway to higher level courses such as Calculus.
Because of the importance of this course, it is essential that students have access to as many helpful resources as possible such as video lectures, practice problems, etc.
If students succeed in Pre-calculus, they are more likely to succeed in higher level math courses like Calculus.
Join me as we take a closer look at a few of these online Pre-calculus courses and find out why this online curriculum can open up a whole new world of mathematics for the students who take these courses.
Become a Trigonometry and Precalculus Master – Krista King
The first online Precalculus course is titled, “Become a Trigonometry and Precalculus Master.”
This course was created by Krista King, who is a true trailblazer in the online learning world.
Her courses, including this one, are designed to appeal to all kinds of students due to the great variety of supportive resources she makes available to students.
For example, Ms. King’s preview video does a great job of explaining all the supportive resources her course has.
Every lesson in this course has pre-made notes, which helps students understand the important parts of each section.
In addition to the notes, there are videos that walk through examples that apply the concepts presented in the notes.
These videos are great for demonstrative learners who need to see examples worked out to understand the topic(s) presented in the lessons.
There is over 13 hours of video content to help students conceptualize each concept in the course. If that is not enough support for students, Ms. King has included short quizzes for each section of the course with completely worked out solutions in PDF form.
She also has included extra workbooks and formula sheets throughout this course with over 470 practice problems to help students apply the topics that are presented.
These quizzes give students great preparation for the tests in the class.
Overall, Ms. King has really demonstrated why her course design is masterful.
Her fun and engaging course videos help keep students’ attention and her variety of resources made available to students is simply impressive.
I would recommend this course to any student who normally struggles with math because Krista King is here to help.
Master Pre Calculus and Trigonometry – Grant Hall
The next course is titled, “Master Pre Calculus and Trigonometry.”
This course was designed by Grant Hall, a business and mathematics double major with over six years of experience running his own private tutoring business.
Mr. Hall’s experience as a tutor has positively influenced the way he created this course.
Mr. Hall’s course has nearly 100 lectures spread over nine and a half hours of video footage.
However, lectures are not always the best resource for students, which is why Mr. Hall has included small 2-3 question quizzes embedded within each chapter of the course.
This helps any student taking this course check for understanding of the various topics in the class.
Mr. Hall’s course preview video does a great job of breaking down what his online course will cover for any student that takes it. Overall, I would recommend this course to any student who likes to check for their understanding of course material as he/she is learning the relevant concepts.
Also see my article about trigonometry courses online for more trig lectures.
Precalculus – Arizona State University
The next course is simply titled, “Precalculus”.
This course is part of Global Freshman Academy, which means those who can complete the course can transfer the credits earned as college credit.
The course is presented by Arizona State University. This class is meant to be taken by students who are attending college or are planning on earning college credit in high school.
There are two instructors from Arizona State University who teach this course. One is named Adrian Sannier and the other instructor is named Sue McClure.
This course is a self-paced course that uses ALEKS, which is an adaptive mathematics program that adjusts to the understanding of students and teaches mastery of the topics in the course.
I have personal experience with the ALEKS software, and I can attest to the effectiveness of the program.
In addition to the ALEKS software, there are also videos and practice problems for students to do.
There are also math coaches provided that students can access remotely for help. They will video chat with any students who are struggling with any of the related concepts in the course.
The course instructors will not ask any students to take the final exam until they are ready. Overall, I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in an effective self-paced course.
Precalculus by Khan Academy
The next course is also titled, ‘Precalculus.”
This course is offered for free by Khan Academy to anyone who wants to take it. The way that Khan Academy presents the pre-calculus curriculum is unique by the fact that it teaches mastery of the relevant material in a self-paced style.
In this course, there are knowledge checks and short quizzes along the way to check for student understanding.
Passing the quizzes and knowledge checks earns “skill points.”
The great thing about the 3-4 question quizzes is that if you get a question wrong on the quizzes, you have to take the whole quiz over again.
While this may seem cumbersome at times, this teaches mastery of the material, which is great for a self-paced course. Once you earn a certain amount of skill points you “level up,” which makes taking this class feel like playing a video game.
I have had personal experience with Khan Academy for Calculus, and I can honestly say that this site makes learning the material a lot of fun.
Overall, I would highly recommend Khan Academy’s Precalculus course to any student interested in learning the material in a fun way.
The way that Khan Academy organizes the material is groundbreaking and interesting.
This would make any student engaged in learning the related concepts. The great thing about this course is that professors or high school teachers can use the site as curriculum for an online course and high school or college credit can be earned that way.
Pre-Calculus Video Series – Jessy Patrick
The next course is titled, “Pre-Calculus Video Series.”
This course was created by Jesse Patrick, a certified math teacher at Lyman High School from Longwood, Florida.
Mr. Patrick has been tutoring for the SAT for over ten years and has worked for several tutoring companies. He even started his own tutoring company and wrote his own book related to the SAT.
Mr. Patrick’s course is new to the Udemy world, so there are not any ratings for it. However, there are a couple of unique features of this course that set it apart from other online pre-calculus course offerings.
The most important feature is the fact that there are 55 lectures spread out over 24 plus hours of video content. The other feature concerning these videos is the way the lectures are presented in the videos.
Mr. Patrick writes on a transparent white board as he stands behind it, and it even seems like he writing a mirror image of the work that appears on screen.
His notes are vibrantly colorful, which helps catch students’ eyes and keep them more engaged.
Much like other online course offerings, Mr. Patrick has quizzes and reviews embedded in the course material to help check for student understanding which is always a big plus for students taking online math classes.
Overall, I would highly recommend Mr. Patrick’s course to any student looking for in depth lectures on pre-calculus material.
Pre-Calculus from Beginner to Advanced – Kashif A.
The next course is titled. “Pre-Calculus from Beginner to Advanced.”
The course was created by Kashif A. His last name was not available on the site. Kashif holds a master’s degree in Engineering, and he has over 11 years of teaching at the university level.
He is passionate about digital entrepreneurship and online education.
Kashif’s course offers 55 lectures spread over nearly four hours of video footage. While four hours does not seem like a lot of time, Kashif boasts of how his videos are short, which is actually a positive feature of this course.
Having shorter videos means that you maintain student attention longer.
While longer videos may be filled with more information, students who watch them will not always be able to process the information as well as they would if they watched shorter videos.
There is also a plethora of problems for students to do to help them hone their mathematical skills.
Overall, I would recommend this course to students who like to watch videos to help them learn, but do not like to sit through 25 minute videos. Kashif’s passion for mathematics education really comes through in his course preview video.
This really helps sell the course, as well as the fact that he is the first course creator I have seen to offer a 30-day money back guarantee for anyone who enrolls in this course.
Pre-calculus Demystified, Second Edition – Rhonda Huettenmueller
The final course up for review is a book titled, “Pre-calculus Demystified, Second Edition.”
This book was written by Rhonda Huettenmueller. Ms. Huettenmueller has been teaching mathematics at the college level for the past 20 plus years. She routinely teaches various mathematics courses like algebra, college algebra, and pre-calculus.
Ms. Huettenmueller’s book has an attractive and eye-catching cover complete with a whimsical image, which is important for mathematics books and textbooks. She even has a small slogan that says “Hard stuff made easy.”
Having this slogan on the front cover also helps sell the book and attract students to read the book because Pre-calculus topics can get confusing. This book is chock full of detailed examples and explanations.
It has quizzes at the end of each chapter and a final exam at the end of the book. The book also claims to provide a solid foundation in algebra for success in Calculus.
Now that you have read about the various options available to take Pre-calculus online, the following section of this article answers some frequently asked questions that are posed by potential Pre-calculus students (children and adults alike).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Pre-calculus?
Pre-calculus is a course that expands on the seemingly basic mathematical topic of trigonometry.
In this course, students will learn about the unit circle, trigonometric functions, trigonometric function graphs, and various applications of trigonometry.
This class also expands on advanced algebra topics such as polynomial division and synthetic division. This course even starts to introduce Calculus topics like limits.
Who should take Pre-calculus?
Students who intend to eventually take Calculus need to take Pre-calculus because there are essential skills taught in this class that are needed in Calculus. Typically, students who are in high school or college take this course.
Can you finish this course in a month?
You could try to finish this course in a month, but it is not recommended. Pre-calculus is an important course, and students should take their time to absorb the material because the course prepares them for Calculus, which is another important mathematics class.
How do you prepare for Pre-calculus?
Students who want to take Pre-calculus should have a solid understanding of various algebra topics such as factoring, graphing basic functions, and solving quadratic equations.
What are the benefits to taking math classes online as opposed to taking them in a brick-and-mortar school?
This is a fair question Taking math classes online usually gives the student the ability to go at his or her own pace.
Students can focus on areas that they are struggling in while advancing past concepts that might come easier to them.
Can you skip Pre-calculus?
This is not recommended because of how important the concepts are in this course.
Because Calculus comes right after this course in the typical sequence of mathematics courses, skipping Pre-calculus would be the equivalent of trying to drive a car without an engine.
Is Algebra 2 the same as Pre-calculus?
While some concepts covered in Algebra 2 may overlap with content learned in Pre-calculus, a typical Pre-calculus course dives deeper into trigonometry topics than Algebra 2 as one example.
Is Pre-calculus easy?
The answer to this question is that it can be easy. This is entirely dependent on a student’s understanding of basic algebra topics.
Is Pre-calculus harder than Calculus?
I can honestly say after taking Pre-calculus and five different Calculus classes (Calculus I, II, III, etc.) that Pre-calculus is considerably easier than Calculus. Calculus is a “whole new animal,” so to speak.
However, after taking Pre-calculus, Calculus classes become more manageable in the grand scheme of things.
Where can I find practice tests and practice problems online outside of paying for online courses?
There is a large variety of sites where practice tests are available. Here are a few good options for students to practice the related course material outside of paying for courses.
- https://www.kutasoftware.com/freeipc.html I have used worksheets from this site in my math classes. They are very useful because the answers are included with each worksheet which is very beneficial for teachers and students alike.
- https://www.onlinemathlearning.com/precalculus.html This site also includes videos that go through various Pre-calculus concepts.
When am I ever going to use this material in real life?
This is a valid question that is heard in classrooms all over the world.
The concepts learned in Pre-calculus help students prepare for Calculus. Pre-calculus is a foundational course that helps students who want to go into any of the STEM fields.
Some of the topics learned in Pre-calculus are now present on standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, so a course like Pre-calculus can prep students for these tests.
An example of a topic that is now present on standardized tests is matrices.
Does the word self-paced mean you are teaching yourself?
This is a valid concern, but self-paced does not mean you are teaching yourself.
The courses that are created to be taken online are designed by professional educators who usually include video lectures that explain the material in an easily understandable way.
These instructors also include practice problems for students to do to apply the concepts they are learning in the class with in-depth solution explanations. Therefore, students should not feel like they are teaching themselves.
How do you study for tests in Pre-calculus?
With any math class, the most important thing a student can do is practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more.
The more you practice, the more familiar you become with applying the concepts learned in the class, which means your test scores increase overall.
In conclusion, no matter what online Pre-calculus course you take, it is imperative that the course you select has a strong structure that focuses on teaching students’ mastery of the material.
Because a lot of courses that are taken online are self-paced, students who are mastering the concepts are more likely to succeed in future higher level math courses such as Calculus.
Having a firm grasp of the material taught in Pre-calculus will result in a good grade in a course like Calculus.
It is also important that students select a course with detailed and engaging video lessons that break down the material, especially if the videos are on the longer side.
The course that a student selects should be designed by a creative instructor who finds a way to make learning the material fun and interesting.
To succeed in any online class, you have to remain focused and motivated since there is not a physical teacher in the room with you making sure that assignments get completed. Taking a great online Pre-calculus class will help any student succeed in future mathematical endeavors.
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