Online Math Tutor
January 14, 2013 8:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm a college student who is having some issues really understanding Calculus II, which is a problem as A) I am a Comp Sci major, and B) I need to take Calc III as well, and an advanced math elective as well. I've not heard good things about the school provided tutors, (IE, one is not too skilled at math, and the other is really smug and poor pedagogically) and while I could get a private tutor to help me, I was wondering if there are any good resources for online math tutors, like there are for online language tutoring over Skype. Does a directory of such tutors exist, has anyone had a good experience doing this (maybe even with names?), and how much can I expect to pay?

I'm not talking about something like Kahn Academy, because while they do make very nice tutorials, they don't seem to cover the content of my college's curriculum that closely. I was hoping for something more like 1:1 tutoring.

If this doesn't exist, I'm perfectly fine with finding someone locally. I was just thinking that between my job and school schedule, online tutoring might be easier to schedule.
posted by mccarty.tim to Education (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Try Tutors charge anywhere from $30-$90 an hour, and the rate is an increasing function of the level of the course, offset by the tutor's financial need. Don't be afraid to bargain, especially for the first lesson, where you're just trying to see if there's a good fit.
posted by brighteyes7 at 8:50 AM on January 14, 2013

Also, is the instructor deviating significantly from your textbook?
posted by brighteyes7 at 8:51 AM on January 14, 2013

Well, the course hasn't started yet, and I'm taking it with a different professor (the last professor had a thick accent and understood questions poorly, but reading the book on my own helped little), but assuming the new professor teaches the course in the same way, she will be sticking to the book.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:54 AM on January 14, 2013

Slightly off topic, but I wanted to point out that it can be difficult logistically to "do math" over Skype.
posted by oceano at 9:03 AM on January 14, 2013

First try to find someone local you can schedule yourself with -- usually math grad students or higher level undergrads would be perfectly happy to help though if it's irregular you might lose time to someone more regular. You're likely to see ads posted all over, but you can probably post an ad yourself too. Skype is really not your friend with math, and it will take much much longer that way.

Second is that Cal 2 and integrals are generally easier to learn than Cal 1 and derivatives, so you might be worrying a bit too early if the course hasn't started yet.
posted by jeather at 9:24 AM on January 14, 2013

Yep, in my experience Calc 2 was more formalism than theory, except for sequences and series.
posted by brighteyes7 at 9:34 AM on January 14, 2013

I've found the explanations at Khan Academy to be, on balance, very good. I often recommend this as a supplement to my students. I don't think it replaces a tutor, but I think it provides a different take on the material that can resonate more with some students.
posted by Betelgeuse at 9:48 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

A side note: even if you're having trouble with Calculus II & III, don't get too discouraged about prospect of another advanced math elective. A course in linear algebra or discrete math would probably be more useful for a CS major than another course that builds on Calculus directly, and the material from those courses is rather different from introductory calculus.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:58 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

As far as supplementals go, in the way that Khan Academy is one, you can look at other Calc II textbooks. It's not important if it doesn't follow your curriculum closely (depending on what you mean by that) so long as it covers some of the same topics. If you're working on X in class, then look at how other materials (Khan, textbooks) cover topic X. Seeing it done differently may elucidate some underlying concept you weren't grasping before.
posted by SollosQ at 12:33 PM on January 14, 2013

For math online tutoring, I would strongly recommend PatrickJMT.

The videos are roughly in the style of Khan Academy, but the creator was actually a math teacher at one time, so the quality is a bit better than Khan.
posted by achmorrison at 7:28 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Any good calculus teacher will tell you that Calc III is actually easier than Calc II for most students. Don't despair.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:12 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

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