Online Calculus I     Information    

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4 semester units, fall 2015, 14 weeks, Aug 28-Dec 22, fully online, flexible Calculus I and Calculus II courses
11 years of verifiable track record serving hundreds of students annually
Calculus class online with video lectures, active forum & personal help

As of September 2 there is still space. Students from other universities are welcome. Please note: the class is fully online, you can be anywhere with the interent access. However, the comprehensive final examination has to be proctored either at SFSU or by a professional proctoring service.

This is the future - recent article about this this class and the professor.
Department of Mathematics, San Francisco State University (SFSU), 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. SFSU is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
What are the students who succeeded in this online calculus class say and what advice they offer?
Lesley, Pre-MBA candidate, Summer 2010 This was my first online class, so I really had no clue what to expect. To say I was happily surprised is an understatement. I have never been a strong student when it comes to math, and this class was so clear and easy to follow that I felt I understood the concepts exceptionally well. Every lesson was clearly explained with concrete examples, and the forum was beyond helpful by being able to interact with other students and learn about their approaches. I thought the forum was just amazing; I was able to actively engage with so many other students in the class and exchange ideas with people from all over. This truly was such a rewarding experience for me and I would highly recommend this to anyone looking to take Calculus. The forum was fun to participate in, and the homeworks helped me to really nail down concepts in each lesson and stay on track. It is a lot of work, but I was able to stay ahead and get each homework done on time. This really came to my advantage at the end of the class when I prepped for the final exam. My advice is just to stay on track and be sure to do each homework assigned and turn it in on time. And don't be afraid to ask questions on the forum - I found that other students were more than willing to help explain things to me when I was stuck. This was certainly the best math class I have ever taken, and I learned more than I could have ever imagined.
Mike, architecture major, Summer 2010 This calculus course was very convenient in the sense that it was online and 4 credits without any major prerequisite. But over the summer I took this class while taking another online class and working 40 hours a week. This calculus class is not good for someone who plans on doing too many other things over the summer. When professor Goetz says you need to devote alot of time to this class he is not exaggerating. This class requires your full attention and effort. The only thing I though was not right was the fact that the homework switched from Monday Wednesday Friday to sometimes Tuesday Sometimes Thursday and even sometimes on the weekends. When it was all said and done I am thankful for this class.
Dustin, spring 2010 Thanks for a great semester. The structure of the class is fantastic. I've never seen an online class have as many notes, opportunities for collaboration, and assistance as yours. It's definitely one of a kind (in a fantastic way). It required hours of time for homework, but that's expected. I was just happy to be able to understand the homework in a beneficial way. Were it not for the fantastic structure of the class (say, one that relies strictly on a textbook without relevant notes), I would have struggled to understand anything.
A student who is a parent, Spring 2010 I want to thank you for the great spring semester of online calculus. I never ever would have thought that I would be able to grasp calculus the way I did. Before enrolling in your class, I went and bought some calculus text and notes. And, although, they were insightful they were unable to convey the message the way you were able to so eloquently do. I always found the language of math, as it is written in the text, difficult to understand...it just didn't flow for me, and as much as I tried to grapple it, it just wasn't happening. Back 15+ years ago, when I was a college student, math was always difficult for me. Although I majored in biology and pre-med, I never felt the need for it, until I went into research where besides understanding the biologic processes, there was an ever greater and relevant need to validate and quantify the data by mathematical means. I was young back then, and I saw the world in black and white as I did science, but the real world is not that simple and science requires one to think outside the box. I just wish that somehow, somewhere an instructor would have mentioned that to me. But I had to figure it out on my own through culminating experiences in both life and while in the industry. But irrespective of all the experience I had thus far in life, I don't think it would have helped me understand calculus if you had not been there. Now that I have kids, not just do I want them to have the best education, but also I do not want their education to be as challenging as it was for me. You see, my parents did not have any formal college education. And throughout my education career as I struggled through math and physical sciences there wasn't anyone there for me at home who could have directed me, as I have seen with so many of my friends who fathers and mothers were engineers/scientists. It definitely helps to have some sort of a direction/guide in life. I am just glad, with your help, that I was able to get a much better understanding of math and calculus, and I know it will not just help me but also my kids, whose future I hope to positively influence with this new knowledge. Again, thank you for a great, well-structured calculus course. I had a great time, and thank you for the new found knowledge. Abdouramane. (Club of Emerging Leaders for Africa, Fall 09) I would also like to thank you for the quality of the calculus course, your method and availability. To be honest, I have never been very strong in mathematics in the past, although I covered lots of the fundamentals required to perform in the calculus course (algebra, trigonometry, basic functions, slope etc...). However, your course and method allowed me to work rigorously on each of these fundamentals, to build relationships between them and integrate them to solve calculus problems. At present, I have no doubt that this will help me throughout my professional career. Furthermore, I gained a strong interest in the discipline and wish to participate to a calculus II class. [...]
Migdalia, (post-bac for pre-med, Fall 07 )

1. What was the main reason you why you took the online Calculus course rather than a regular class? I am took online calculus because of the flexible schedule which allows me to work full time.

2. What was the key to your success in this course? In order to do well in the class I consistently set aside 2 evenings a week to listen to lectures and an additional 2 days a week to do the homework problems and participate on the discussion board. [this comment is about the setup for the Fall, in the summer there are three lesson per week] I listened to lectures on the same days and times every week, which I feels helps. I worked on homeworks ANY time, which is great. You could post your questions on the discussion board any time and come back to it later for some answers. The key was to stay on top of the lectures and homeworks.

3. Who in your opinion would be a good student likely to succeed in this class format? Who, in your opinion, would not be a good candidate? In order for a student to succeed in the course he/she must be comfortable with setting up a schedule for classes and sticking to the schedule. You must be comfortable with asking questions and answering questions on-line the majority of the time. You must be comfortable with searching through google or through the sfsu website for examples that will further enhance your knowledge of calculus concepts you do not understand. Do not take this course if you like doing everything last minute, cannot stick to a schedule, and are weak in algebra and trigonometry.

4. What advice would you offer to a potential student? I would advice to make sure to have all the systems in place before class starts, for example: download skype, have a scanner or camera available for submitting homeworks, etc. before the first assignment is due. I would advice having some time available to meet with the TA in person.

5. Please add anything about the class and your experience: The class is set up to allow commited students to succeed. There are many resources and opportunities to learn. If you have the time (or are willing to give up personal time) you can succeed in the course. I committed about 10 hours a week to the course (that included listening to lectures). I learned the most from my online class mates. If they could not answer my questions, I would ask the TA (...). And if that did not help, I would always ask Prof. Goetz, who is very helpful.

6. What is your major and where do you go to college? I am a post-bac for pre-med at SFState. I originally did a B.S. in Kinseiology at SF STATE First of all, thanks to you for everything. This class is wonderful and I learnt alot, espeically the group homework work. The best thing, i like about the class is its "organization." You organzied the class in way that everybody can understand every concept easily. You always be there to help us any time (even 2 am). I definitely recommond this online class to every one because it helped me alot. Again thanks alot for all your help and hard work.

Lauren, a Peace Corps volunteer (Fall 08). A little bit about me... I'm a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Suriname, a former Dutch colony on the East coast of South America. I arrived in May 2007 and have since worked for the Pan American Health Organization. Primarily, I am working to draft and implement a Family Health policy. I also volunteer part-time at Lotjes-Huis, a home for children displaced from their families.
B. Why Calculus 1 at SFSU? I am currently applying to Masters in Public Health programs for 2009-2010 and I needed to take a quantitative course. I researched many options and finally chose the online Calculus course offered through SFSU, taught by Professor Goetz. I was impressed by the course structure and Professor Goetz' support and responsiveness. I was also excited about participating in real time dialogue with my classmates.
C. Challenges in taking US based courses while abroad... Suprisingly, I ran into very few challenges. Suriname is certainly a developing country but as long as I gave myself plenty of time to work through power outages and bad internet connections, I was able to get my homework in on time and participate in discussions with my classmates. At all times, I had an open line of communication with Professor Goetz in case an unavoidable roadblock popped up but everything went quite smoothly. All the course required was a computer, an internet connection and a digital camera. Otherwise, all course materials were accessed online so I didn't need to worry about a textbook. Professor Goetz also provided very helpful links to differentiators, graphers and extensive background if further explanation was needed. Ultimately, my main resource was working through problems with my fellow classmates. I was always able to clear up any confusion I had and often by posting my concerns, other students realized what mistakes they had made and we worked through them together. The TA's were also extremely helpful in guiding you through a problem, rather than just giving you the solution. Often, Professor Goetz would post a response or question that would help clarify a concept as well. The lectures were extremely informative and the homework sets were well thought out an relevant.
D. I highly recommend this class to anyone living abroad. I was hesitant to engage in such an endeavour but putting off grad school another year was not an option. I'm so glad I took the course and I'm so grateful for Professor Goetz's support. The interface was straightforward and worked well on even the oldest computers. Being able to submit the homework by taking a picture was a breeze. As for the material itself, Professor Goetz made Calculus accessible to those of us who shunned math long ago. The pace was spot on and as long as I kept up with the lectures and the homework, I was never left behind. It is important to note that on average, I spent 10 hours a week which can be a lot for folks who are working but certainly doable.
previous Summers - 8 weeks - 3 lessons per week, summer students sharing their experienceYour tips for a potential student to succeed?
scanner, fast internet connection, i didnt have a graphing calculator so i downloaded WZgrapher and that worked for me
1. Submit assignments early when possible, especially for the first sets, which tend to be easier and gives you room to get a few problems wrong in the later, more difficult sections. 2. Listen attentively during the lectures without taking notes, pause when the professor asks for students to solve a problem on paper and do it yourself, and be engaged even though there is no physical contact. I often found myself responding outloud to his questions as if I was in class with him, but it helped me in being completely focused. 3. Replay lectures when necessary. Make us of the stream videos available, very helpful! 4. DOWNLOAD LECTURES AND ASSIGNMENT AHEAD OF TIME. With technology comes some uncertainty, as signal strength can change or internet connection can fail. I often read about classmates being stuck in a problem that was explained in lecture because they could not access the lecture due to last minute internet connection problems. 5. Last week is fast paced, give yourself time to complete the mandatory assignments EARLY, so you may submit the optional assignments (which are review problems for the final exam) and do the final practice exam. Get ahead early and always work at least one assignment ahead. If participation remains as such a influential catagory then respond to everything and anything.
It is very important to have enough time to watch the lectures, read the notes, and "hammer out" the homeworks. If you have a good foundation in Algebra, Trigenomentry, and Geometry, the only key needed for success is committed time for this class (about 5-7 hours per lesson).
Make sure you are aware of the deadlines. Also, be organized and allow yourself plenty of time to complete the assignments.
take this class. If possible, I would reccomend getting ahead early so that you can take advantage of the potential flexibilty this course offers.
You need to have high discipline in your studying. You need to control yourself to take a seat and study on timely basis.
Purchase the "Calculus Lifesaver" book instead of a calculus textbook. First, it's much cheaper than a used textbook. Second, the topics are covered in order and in more detail with lots of examples, solutions, and explanations. It was a great complement to the course material. Second, come up with a schedule of when to do each lesson, and stick with it. That came in handy for me, as I took this course over the summer, along with volunteering weekly and taking the MCAT. Third, review trig along with basic algebra.
Get ahead and try stay ahead. It's the only true way to succeed.
Do NOT fool yourselves. Even the brightest, most successful students found this class to TRULY require 5-7 hours per homework set, if not much more at times. Watch the video ALWAYS before you start the homework! Maybe you are running a little late and feel that you don't have time for it, but find the time! These videos are the key to your success in this class. You'll spend more time looking up how to do a homework problem than simply watching the video. Might as well start off with the right step then skip it, waste time, and have to watch it after all. Also, DON"T wait till the last minute to turn in your homework. On one or more occasion I figured I would turned my homework at work, no problem. But I got preoccupied and found myself running to my PC praying to have enough time to turn it in.
Put in plenty of study time and you will succeed.
Take the class with no other engagements, as aforementioned. Also, dedicate a minimum of 3 hours to each lecture and homework. The final thing would be to utilize the forum. It is a wonderful learning tool if you use it correctly. Keep up on the homework, doing it ahead of time if possible in case some problems being harder and taking more time than expected!
Watch the lectures and communicate with the other students in the class, although I was a bit slack I found out that they was a great resource.
The key to success is to be diligent and stick to the class schedule. Also, class participant is critical, without the student has a slim chance of achieving a good grade.
Definitely need to put in the time, if someone wants to get a decent grade. Aside from the lecture (usually an hour long), and reading material from my text (usually another 2 hours to understand), the homework would take me anywhere from 2-7 hours to complete.
Keep on top of the work! It was a lot for me to do, and I'm a math person!
Definitely do NOT get behind on lectures, participate in the homework forum and I found it very helpful to meet with a tutor on a regular basis.
Again, make sure you devote enough time to the HW assignments and don't be afraid to ask questions. Keep up with the homework and contact the TA's for professor, and check the ilearn constantly. Before you watch the video read the Home work problem and the instruction.
Watch lectures in advance, don't rely on ilearn for answers...just to double check, and to discuss big picture concepts.
What was most rewarding?
seeing as how i paid for this class with my own personal money that i saved up i really wanted to not only succeed but enjoy it. viewing the problems as puzzles or games made it fun and the sense of accomplishment after finishing was great.
The most rewarding part of this course is the fact that I enjoyed the course, when in the past I have dreaded taking math course due to the difficult time I have grasping concepts quickly. Despite the fast pace of this course I felt that the lectures where very clear and concise and had a very manageable pace. Also, the homework forums where a very effective way to exchange ideas, frustrations, and the glory of finding the correct solutions....making the entire process more involving and more effective. I had never before enjoyed a math course as much as I enjoyed this online calculus course! Doing a problem and going to the forums to see that you did it righh! The most rewarding part of this class for me was getting the grades I wanted on the assignments. Despite all of the work, the material made sense to me, and it was good to see that reflected in my grades.
Being able to help other students in the discussion forum was the most rewarding part of the experience. And, finally being done!
i don't really know It was rewrding to finish a homework assignment that was due on a Monday before the weekend.
Fully understand in the calculus fundamental knowledge.
The final exam was the most rewarding for me. I could not believe that I had actually learned a lot over the summer from an online course until I took the final exam. I took the exam at the SFSU campus. There was one little thing that could have been done a little bit better. It would have been nice if the clock were positioned so that we could see how much time was left as we were taking the final exam. Or, write on the white board every 30 minutes with the amount of time remaining. I definitely rushed through the exam, not realizing that I had a ton of time to double-check my answers. Taking the final, it wasn't that hard at all.
Getting the right answer and being able to help someone else get the right answer.
The way the course is set up if you put in the relevant time to study you come out really knowing your stuff.
Dr. Goetz. He is an amazing person, and his teaching style is one that I can learn from very easily. He also was very very helpful via email when I needed things. I think the forum was also very rewarding, but due to my 'around the world' situation I had little time to post messages on the forum, but I did read them daily.
Drilling this information into my brain after only half-getting it my first time through. It was nice learning why something works and not just going through the motions of the problem, knowing how it worked helped me.
I understand calculus a little better then I did before. The lectures was great, because you made it plain and clear along with the examples was a great help.
The most rewarding part was seeing the entire class through until completion.
Comparing homework answers with other students, and finding out that I had similar answers compared to the rest of those who posted on the forum.
I love algebra. Finding out that so much was algebra was fun.
Actually absorbing the information and making sense of it all! Professor Goetz does a great job of applying calculus to real life situations.
Finishing a HW assignment and seeing that you got the right answers was a good feeling. Also, being able to help others who were having trouble on the web boards was rewarding. When I took calculus for years ago in my high school I though I would go nuts. But taking this class from SFSU with Dr. Goetz made calculus to understand better.
Probably just feeling accomplished after sorting out a really complicated problem...
What was most challenging?
complex derivatives (trigonometric fractions etc)
A few students were always ahead and began the forums. When the answers they posted where correct and someone else had already described the path to the solution, I often felt the inability to make a valuable contribution, other than saying "I agree".
Trying to keep up with the assignments while working full time.
The most challenging thing about this class was carving out time to work on this class every day. I worked at a full time job, and taking this class was just short of a second job.
Once my summer began to get busier, it got more challenging to keep up with the assignments. But, since you are well aware of the assignments for a long time before they are due, you could work ahead to avoid this problem.
in the beguinging it was very hard for me to understand but now it is very easy.
The most challenghin part of the course was tryin to participate in the homework forum while working around my schedule. It was helpful but sometimes not the best way to stay involved. Many times, everything that needed to be said about a problem was already said by the time my schedule allowed me to get to the homework. That makes it difficult when you know that the forum is a large portion of the grade.
Some homework problems are really difficult, but they are interesting.
My internet connection. My occasionally-working DSL router died midway through the course. Luckily, I got into the habit of downloading 3 lectures at a time, along with the corresponding homework assignments so that I could still learn and do homework while the router was not working. I just didn't post to ilearn during those down times. Also, there were several lectures where the sound quality was horrible. For those lessons, I relied more on my book than the lecture for information.
The Shapes of Graph and Optimization.
THE PACE! Even as s straight "A", $35,000 scholarship receiver could not keep up but I took on too much this summer! I only mention my large scholarship in order to put emphasis that no matter how smart you are, and no matter how little effort other math classes may have been in the past, this class is extremely time consuming. I enter this semester thinking " Oh, no problem. I can handle this easy! I am not the average student and can certainly get an A with ease". Wrong! The videos were phenomenal! yet I found myself eventually lacking the time to watch a few of them. BIG MISTAKE! It's actually took me MORE time to do the homework without watching the video! The forums helped a ton, but those videos are crucial to your success in this class! MAKE time for them, and ALL of them!
I took the summer course and needed to put in many hours a week to master the material.
Maintaining appropriate homework time dedication while traveling all around the world. This was a personal choice, of course, and I dedicated sufficient time to each homework, but it was not an easy task. My advice is to take the class when you have no other engagements.
Working full time and finding time to do the homework.
The thing that was most challenging for me was getting the lesson in.
The most challenging part was keeping up with the 8-week break-neck pace.
The whole class was challenging I thought. You really have to work hard to attain a decent grade in the class. No one should ever expect an easy A if they are thinking about taking this class.
The problems with the graphs of the flight. It was difficult for me to figure out how the graph related to when you were on or off the ground.
Organizing my time properly so as to not get behind on lectures and homework assignments. Three or four assignments due a week!
Staying ahead with the class was difficult at times - completing 3 (sometimes 4) 1 hour lectures plus their associated HW assignments in a week was sometimes not the easiest thing to do. But, with a decent ability to manage your time, it was an easy hurdle to overcome.
The most challening part of this class was staying motivated. Since you work during your own schedule and pace, it was definitely easy to lose track of what was going on.
Comprehensive problems.
Sometimes I had a lot of trouble getting myself to watch the lecture far enough in advance. I did the best when I watched it the day before, and thus had time to recap with the book and think some concepts over before doing the homework.

Amy May 2008 The most important thing about staying ahead in this class is doing each and every homework assignment and getting it in on time (or early). I didn't realize in the beginning how much time I was really going to be spending on doing homework. It did average out to about 12-14 hours per week though, as Prof. Goetz suggests. I am a procrastinator and because of other classes and work, I would often have to wait until the night before to do my homework. Now, this isn't the best option because cramming everything in all at once can lead to information overload and it's easier to grasp things over time. But, with real dedication and the willingness to stay up until 4am doing homework, it's still possible to do well in the class as I did. The forum was almost equally as important because it allowed me to do something I wouldn't be able to do in a normal in-person class, which is ask questions whenever I need to, like at 4am. Often, when I would go to the forum, someone else would have already asked the same question I had about a problem. But honestly, I probably would not have done so well in the class had I not truly enjoyed doing the homework, even when I was the most frustrated. Calculus can be a hard thing to grasp but finally understanding a problem gave me a small sense of accomplishment. Richard, May 2008
My advice is to stay on top of the lectures and assignments. Since you can watch the lectures at your convenience it is so easy to fall behind. Turn in your assignments early. Take advantage of the free points! Heck, you have to do the assignment eventually so why not do it early and get some free points! Utilize the forums. There is a lot of helpful hints and advice that saved me this semester. Ask questions - I know its a cliche but really...if you have a question there is most likely someone else that is asking the same thing. Answer questions - Not only are you helping a fellow student but if you give a wrong answer there will be someone else that can correct and explain what you did wrong. Don't rely on the websites to answer the derivatives for you. I fell into that trap and then I realized that I would not have any idea how to solve the problem because I became reliant on them. I am a Marine Biology Major and I really should have taken this class a long time ago. It would have especially helped me to understand some of those chemistry calculations from 2/3 years ago that I am just now finally getting what it was exactly that I was doing beyond just solving it. I definitely would recommend this class to future students from any major. One of the best math experiences I have had. And I DREAD math! big grin by Pei - May 2008
Since there's no in-class lecture for this math section, it is very important that you keep on track throughout the semester. Because i was not able to keep up with the lecture and the homework sets, i could see my homework grade went up and down, which was not so good. Therefore, i was forcing myself to do extra-good at the end of the semester because i knew i had to get more points to pass this class. The extra homework point for turning it early also helped me bring up my grades a little too! Overall, it had not been easy but thanks to the replayable video lectures and the unlimited help i got from the forum on ilearn, i survived. Actually, i thought i did pretty well at the end too! Although there's no in-class lecture, there are tutoring sessions on campus that you can get help from (if you really need some personal help). You can also feel free to e mail Professor Goetz or any of the TAs, they will be more than happy to help you out like they did to me. In conclusion, this has been a great experience for me. I appreciate this opportunity to take Calculus online because as a Biology major student who commute on a daily bases, i seriously do not have much time to take a regular math class. So i definitely recommend this class to people like me.
Sarah - Wednesday, 21 May 2008, 12:17 AM Steps to Becoming Successful in this Class: Step 1: Since this class is online, choose days that are dedicated for this class. Listening to the lectures and doing homework assignments are important in getting a good grade in this class. Step 2: Make sure to watch all lectures which will be helpful doing the homework problems Step 3: Turn in homework assignments on time, and if you can, a day before for an extra 1 point, which may help your grade Step 4: Try to understand the material, if any questions, ask them on the forum and someone from the class or the TA, or the Prof. will surely help you out Step 5: Stay on the right track! if you fall behind, it is ok, but crucial, so be sure to catch up! At San Francisco State, I am a Biology major with an emphasis in Physiology. This was my first online class, and overall I say that it was a good experience. I set aside Monday and Wednesday afternoons, aside from the Weekends, to go over the lectures that corresponded to the homework assignments, and turned it in on time. Having the forums on ilearn was a great way in communicating with the other students enrolled in the class as well as the TA's and the Prof. I was able to ask a question and by the time I went to go check on it again, someone answered my question. If I had a problem on one of the homework problems, there was already a thread that related to that question, and people were able to help each other in figuring out the answer with the steps to finding it out. This was helpful for me because on those late night hours, I was able to log on and the questions I had were already posted. You need to stay focus and on track in succeeding in this class. If there is anything that you have any questions on or need any clarification, there are tutoring centers located on campus to get extra help, there are office hours to meet with the Professor and ways that you can get ahold of the TA's.
Tatyana - Thursday, 22 May 2008, 12:58 AM This was the first time I have taking an online class and honestly at first I had trouble with learning how to scan the hw and download it on gmail but after two times I was okay. This was a great experience for one I love the fact that I could view the hw at any time, go on ilearn and ask for hw and students were always on discussing hw and helping each other as well as I went to the math tutoring program in TH Hall 3 times a week doing hw asking questions and studying. It is really important to do all the hw and stay on top of it, maybe even try doing the hw earlier so you can get extra credit points. Being active on ilearn is also really important because its the same as attending lectures and participating really helps improve your grade as well as your understanding of the material.
Calculus was a very important subject for me because I am a BioChem major as well as I need to further take Cal 2 and 3.
For those of you who are business, science or any other majors I highly recommend you take Calculus especially with Professor Goetz because as we all know math is hard and sometimes boring but Goetz really gets to the point makes learning math interesting and actually fun because he uses real life situations to explain the methods and theorems. I really do recommend this class because its a great experience and you can learn a lot! Good luck with you future goals!