Studying Mathematics Online
Mathematics can be a tricky subject. It is not like other science subjects, where students can pass through rote-memorization. Rather, mathematics by nature is a subject that requires understanding and application of what the student has learnt. Even in an education system like Pakistan’s, where rote-memorization is rampant and even encouraged in other subjects, mathematics hasn’t lost this important feature.
However, this also means that teaching mathematics requires more effort. In subjects like Physics part-1 or Biology part-1 , students can still get by with self-study and book reading. In mathematics, self-study is almost impossible. Students need a teacher who can teach them how to apply the concepts of mathematics to solving mathematical problems. The approach taken is practical and application-based. This also means that the teacher must be knowledgeable about the subject and be able to communicate effectively with children.
Given all this, it is unsurprising that mathematics part-2 is one of the subjects that students struggle with the most when it comes to e-learning.
The Traditional Model
In the traditional model of education, students are physically present in the classroom. They observe firsthand how the teacher solves mathematical problems. Regardless of whether they want to study or not, students are still present inside the classroom and listening to the teacher.
Mathematics is also one of those subjects in which discipline is required more than other subjects. In a physical classroom, if the students aren’t paying attention, then the teacher can simply force them to, thereby ensuring that they understand at least some of what the teacher taught them.
In online classes, first of all there is a disconnect between the teacher and the students. The students are connected to the teacher through their device. The physical presence that by itself demands attention is absent. Therefore, the students naturally pay less attention to the teacher. Being on their device and connected to the internet also means they can choose to do a number of things other than listening to the teacher.
Secondly, the teacher has very few ways of knowing whether or not the students are paying attention. He cannot enforce discipline in an online class like he would in the physical classroom. This means that there is a lack of discipline, and this lack of discipline creates problems for students when it comes to appropriately learning mathematics and developing the problem-solving skills essential to the subject.
Fortunately, the e-learning industry is rapidly involving. It is not rigidly defined by certain structures like the traditional model of learning is defined. Rather, the way e-learning is carried out is constantly changing. Different online learning platforms are constantly using different technologies and methods to try and make their education more efficient for students.
These new methods and technologies are also being applied to the subject of mathematics, in order to reduce the problems that students face in studying this subject online and thereby helping them understand better,
First of all, e-learning platforms can use a variety of different mediums to teach students. This can be in the form of lecture videos, PowerPoint lecture slides, PDF notes, and so on. The integration of these different methods provides more learning opportunities for students. The reason for this is that different students have different learning styles and so respond to different methods of teaching. Online teaching allows the combination of these different methods in order to help the maximum number of students possible.
Secondly, e-learning platforms can also use a number of other technologies in order to make mathematics more understandable for students of online FSc courses. For example, the teachers of the Pakistani e-learning platform ULearn use special teaching boards to enhance the understanding of students. This may seem like a small measure, but often small shifts in way of teaching can lead to changes in a person’s cognition and understanding.
Thirdly, the use of right teachers also matters. It obviously matters in physical classrooms, but more so in online classes. The reason for this is that since students are disconnected from teachers in e-learning, a knowledgeable teacher who knows how to communicate effectively can overcome this disconnect and make students understand his teaching despite the cognitive barriers caused by online learning. Therefore, it is important for e-learning platforms to hire good teachers and train them well in the use of the technologies they would need to communicate well with the students.
In conclusion, mathematics part-1 definitely is a different kind of subject and deserves special consideration and way of teaching. It is also true that online classes make the teaching of mathematics even more tricky, as now there are additional cognitive barriers hindering the understanding of students. However, at the same time, it must be understood that e-learning also provides the tools and technologies which can be used to overcome these problems.