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Department of Mathematics

The Math Dilemma

by Jonas Kilpatrick • May 3, 2020

As a freshman student enrolled in Morgan State University, using the online tutoring service ALEKS has been extremely helpful in my math understanding and development. Throughout high school I struggled with fully grasping the complete understanding of differentmath concepts. When I arrived at Morgan, I worried that my deficiencies in math would certainly deter my ability to perform well in school. Early on, this proved to be true. I placed into the developmental math course and felt overwhelmed throughout my first semester. I ended up dropping the class before the deadline to try to prevent damage to my cumulative GPA. I felt discouraged that I would never be able to effectively execute college level math.

In my second semester at Morgan, I attempted the math course once more. This time my instructor moved slower and explained things more thoroughly. Also, she introduced to us an online program named ALEKS. This was the turning point in my math understanding. ALEKS broke down problems and helped offer solutions as to how to go about solving them. It went step by step through different related topics to build on your understanding from the previous section before moving to other topics. It was especially helpful in wake of the complications from the Coronavirus Pandemic. Without the availability of consistent face-to-face instruction, ALEKS was able to help me learn material from home on my time. Aleks was also able to grant each student an allotted time period to complete or master a certain number of objectives. I believed the time allotted to be very adequate. Not only was I able to learn material needed to successfully pass my current course, but to accelerate beyond my next math course.

A critique I would have for ALEKS, if I had any, would be to eliminate the automated Knowledge Checks as requirements and instead deem them optional. I believed them to be helpful, but not necessary and they slowed the process of me moving on to the next topic.

As I move on to sophomore year at Morgan, I will definitely be using ALEKS to help with
my next course of math. I would also recommend the program for anyone needing to improve their performance in a math course or anyone trying to better their math skills.