Why Are Online Math Classes So Difficult?

If you’ve ever tried to take a math class online, you’ve felt the feeling of helplessness that comes after the first few weeks.  Sociology, biology, humanities — none of them pose near as much trouble as online statistics or math.  So what makes them so difficult?   There’s many, many reasons for this.


Poor Study Materials

You ever wonder why you buy that crazy expensive math textbook even though you only end up doing homework from it?  Some professors might ask you to read a lesson or two, but overall you rely on in-person lecture to give you information.  It’s because these textbooks aren’t made for self-study, they’re meant to be a supplement to actual lecture.  Essentially, your professor teaches you the entire lecture (or what portions he wants you to learn) and you refer to the beginning of the chapter if/when you need help.

Online classes skip this lecture portion, often only providing a PowerPoint with examples.  The problem is they aren’t any different than those used in class, so the entire explanation by the professor is just.. missing.  Such minimal effort is put into these online classes that it’s made simply impossible to tackle on your own.  The best of online math professors will provide video examples, but again, without a lecture these are completely useless.  Even with years of math tutoring under our belts, they can even test our abilities.


Little to No Support

The biggest issue with online math classes is the process you’re expected to go through when you have trouble with a lesson.  Either you a) contact the professor through e-mail (good luck explaining your process or showing him the steps with a keyboard) or you b) visit an on-site tutoring center, defeating the purpose of an online class in the first place.  To boot, these centers are typically understaffed meaning what we might get done in an entire hour with you would take you four there.


The point of hiring a math tutor isn’t always to provide a personalized learning plan.  For many, it’s worth the extra cost to save the time.  You have to ask yourself in the midst of one of these classes: what is your time worth?  Can you afford four hours in a tutoring center to finish one assignment?  Or are those extra three hours worth shelling out the cash for a math tutor?

The problem here is systemic, and is an issue with many online classes as a whole, math just gets it the worst.  Until someone (whoever that might be) addresses the issue that is online schooling, an entirely independent math class might never exist.

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