I’ve recently had this happen to me many times in a multi-variable calculus class, and while I headed to tutoring and office hours, there were still times that I saw and understood what the tutor or professor did, but when I tried the problem by myself, I wouldn’t know how to continue the problem or get to the right answer. I’ve found the following resources incredibly helpful as they can really show you the snippets of information you need and will always be available on-site for you to go back to.
Patrick, the author behind all these math videos, holds a Masters in math, and more than 900 videos on math topics, ranging from pre-Calculus to Algebra and Calculus. PatrickJMT’s videos contain thorough explanations of even the hardest topics using nothing but plain marker and paper. Then, rather than throwing them at you with mathematical jargon, he tells you (in a soothing voice) what and how you’ll need to solve the problem in layman’s terms.
Simple and straight-to-the-point, he usually goes over a topic’s definition, then illustrates it with plenty of problems, guiding you through each step and also telling you how he simplified it by skipping a step. Some of his videos can up close to 10 minutes long, but that’s a very short time compared to the 50 or 60 minutes you spent in class trying to comprehend your professor.
Here is a video where he explains the basic concept of limits.
The concept of recording the process of solving a math problem is absolute genius, but the value of these videos really depends on whether the tutor guides you through the steps and whether the tutor can help you regularly. Well, Patrick not only goes through an entire problem for all topics without skipping and making leaps between steps, he also posts videos regularly, which he has been doing since 2008. Even the author’s website has playlists for all topics in Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus and Statistics. For fun, he also posts interesting puzzles to be solved mathematically.
Here’s his latest one, talking about the Monty Hall problem.
Compared to PatrickJMT’s videos where you can only hear the instructor while he does the problem, MathTV’s videos feature a very clear, smiling (makes you enjoy videos more!) and patient professor who goes through math concepts and various problems.
The style of teaching is basically the same: He goes through the concept with easy-to-understand terms and solves problems by applying the concept. Not only does the professor excel at teaching with clear explanations, but what’s cool is that he also provides motivational and study skills videos to encourage students to not give up when they face difficult math problems or feel like they can’t do math.
Here’s one of Mr McKeague, the instructor in the videos, with a study skills tip.
Then, here’s Mr McKeague in another math video online, explaining the concepts of limits.
Although the channel hasn’t been updated in a year, the website looks active with playlists and links to online textbooks for anyone to purchase and receive the premium content. The YouTube channel itself contains more than 50 free videos with topics in high school and college-level math.
Overall, these two great resources are helpful for anyone in college-level math classes, with topics such as multi-variable Calculus and can be of assistance when you want someone to simply tell you what exactly you’re trying to achieve without the jargon. For additional help resolving problems, you should check out the web-based Mathway.
Would you rather go to traditional tutoring or are open to multimedia lessons to aid your learning? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Image Credit: d3 Dan