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Department of Mathematics

Math Made Easy

by Charlene Edwards • May 1, 2020

I've always struggled with understanding math, especially as I got older and the subject only became more complex and foreign to me. During in-class instructions I was able to understand better and confidently complete my work without second guessing myself. However, after class I'm unable to ask my professors in person for help and therefore lose confidence in my ability to correctly complete the assignments given to me and therefore second guess my answers. When I was first introduced to the ALEKS system I did not utilize all the resources available to me at the time. The resources ALEKS presents to students for additional help in completing objectives and assignments include videos that show you how to complete a certain kind of problem, vocabulary words with links to their definitions, and even the ability to send messages through ALEKS to your teacher for help with the assignment. ALEKS also features a pie chart and graph to show how much work I had left and which areas I needed more practice on, which I found helpful throughout the semester.

Although ALEKS was helpful I personally did not like a few things about using it. For starters, I did not like that if I got a problem wrong, a point was deducted off the overall amount of problems I answered correctly. I feel as though instead of deducting the point, a point should just not be added. I found myself very frustrated and felt as though having to go back to make up a point I lost was a waste of time.

I also had trouble purchasing the extension for my class, although we were given a free two week trial we still had to pay for the full course. Initially I paid for an extension of a shorter length than the length of my course because at the time that was all I had. Then, eventually I had to extend my access again which led me to paying much more overall for both purchases than I would've if I bought the more expensive extension first. I found this extremely frustrating and upsetting because school itself is already expensive and financially draining on students and I felt as though this was just another way for me to lose more money in the endless cycle of colleges draining the souls out of students. Last semester I used ALEKS and literally had to choose between getting food or purchasing an access code to a course I already paid to be enrolled in, because I figured groceries were more important, I ended up falling behind and failing since I purchased it too late.

I think overall ALEKS is a good education system for students and helped me improve my math skills throughout using it but it is overpriced and can be frustrating to use in some instances.