Online Calculus I     Information    

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4 semester units, fall 2017, 14 weeks, Aug 25 - Dec 20,
fully online, flexible Calculus I - MATH 226
14 years of verifiable track record serving hundreds of students annually
Calculus class online with video lectures, active forum & personal help

Prerequisites Syllabus
Students from any other universities are welcome to join us. Email Dr. Goetz goetz@sfsu.edu if you have any questions that are not answered below.
Info how to join in.

The class is fully online, you can be anywhere with an interent access. There is no need to come to campus. However, there are two proctored events: (a) a readiness test and (b) comprehensive final examination. Both can be taken on campus or at your location via a video link.
In the latter case there is a small fee charged by ProctorU.com You can take a practice readiness test now: calculus.sfsu.edu/ready. Once you pass it, you can retake with ProctorU.com even before you register for the class. If a students cannot demonstrate that they are ready by passing a proctored test within first 7 days of instruction, they will be dropped from the course.

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?

Joey from spring 2017. Hey Dr. Goetz, I wanted to personally let you know what I've thought of this class, as it is my first online course: 1.) This course is designed very well and your lectures are incredibly comprehensive. 2.) The ability to pause and rewind your lectures has greatly increased my capacity to understand lessons. 3.) I am graduating this semester with a BS in geology and have completed a senior thesis, this class has been extremely relative to the data analysis scope of my project. The way I have come to understand the processes of derivation and integration in the applications of geology are extremely empowering! Just wanted to personally thank you, and say that this class has been awesome.



A student from summer 2016. Dear Professor Goetz, I would like to thank you and your team for all your help with this class. Your students have been really efficient with the feedback on the homework and I really appreciate that. Also, your lectures/videos were very clear and easy to understand, the summer class was definitely tough but I had fun.


Continuing student in 2016. I am writing you to inquire about adding your Math 227 Calculus II. Over the summer I completed Calculus I with your online class and received a B. I found a new appreciation for online classes and your class by far made me love online studying. I enjoyed the self paced instruction and I felt as if I was able to understand the material a lot better. The way your class was structured was very organized and is set up for student success. Hopefully I can join your class again.
A student with different learning needs, summer 2015 Thank you again for welcoming me into calculus I, and thank your staff for always being there for me. Having learning differences isn't easy, as this class required full commitment and persistency. I was immediately accommodated by you, and your staff never let me down. Although this course seemed almost impossible torward the beginning, your staff always guided me in the right direction and gave me the confidence I needed. I was shy in the beginning to even comment on Piazza, but took it upon myself to open up to everyone and start interacting about questions and concerns with the homework. Overall, I remember the day when I was on the edge about joining this class considering, like you said, it is very hard to just jump in! For someone like me who started at lesson 7 and succeeded since due to my dedication, I am proud to say I ended with an A. I learned that although this course was one of the most intense courses I've ever involved myself in, anything is possible with a little bit of faith. I couldn't ask for a better calculus course to be apart of!
Jonathan in the process of applying to Boston University, College of Engineering, fall 2010 I want to thank you for the obvious amount of effort, enthusiasm, and organization that you put into making this class possible. Without your devotion to the subject and desire to teach the material, I feel I would not have been able to do this subject online. Many people commented,"Wow, really, calculus online? Isn't that going to be difficult?" Admittedly, I gave some wieght to thier comments, but enrolled anyway. I worked hard, but all of the details were laid out, and it was clear what needed to be done in order to succeed. This was by no means an easy class for me to complete, as I am also working full time and enrolled in a graduate degree program, but it was very much worth it. Because of this class experience, I feel that I have a solid understanding of the foundations of calculus, am able to see thier applications in the real world, and will be able to move forward in understanding of mathematics in my future academic and professional career. It was a bit unnerving to start an online class in calculus, but you made it challenging, interesting, and rewarding without making it intimidating. And for that, I thank you. Good luck in the coming semester!
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.
Lucas, The Citadel, Summer 2010 I was very pleased with this course. I have never been a math genius and the way that this course is designed helped me tremendously: the video lectures, forums, online notes, etc. I would highly recommend this course to any student who is trying to get ahead in their college credits. Fair warning though, it was not an easy summer course. You must remain motivated throughout the duration of the course and be sure to not get behind in the course load. All students have the opportunity to work ahead in the course and prevent this from happening. If you can do this, do it! Thanks Professor Goetz!
Nick, stationed in Iraq, applying to Military school, Summer 2010 After reading all the posts about the class and being that I was going to be taking the class online in Iraq I was a little nervous about it. Especially after the first two weeks when I was unable to download a descent version of the lecture. However, eventually I was able to save the whole lectures and that made all the difference. From then I started downloading early so I made sure to get the lecture and have time to turn the homework in early. This not only gave me bonus points but gave me a head start on the next lesson. This is my first class in about 10 years and having the discussion board available was probably the reason I passed the class. I used it on every lesson and lucky for me there were a lot of extremely smart people in my class so when I had a question they could break it down Barney style for me so I could figure out the question. Dr. Goetz and his assistants were helpful too with all the questions I had and I normally received a response in a day or two at the most. The way the course runs made perfect sense to me. What I mean is that each lesson built on the others so that you could use and reuse what you had been learning. The videos and the streaming page were helpful too when I could get them to work. That was due to the speed of the internet over here though and had nothing to do with the system. I feel that the work load for each lesson was spot on. I was able to teach myself what I needed to, ask questions on the discussion board, get answers, and still finish my homework early. I was little cramped for time some days, so that required me to work extra hard other days. I think if you can devote a solid 4 hours per lesson, you will do fine is this class. That sounds like a lot, but it would not only be working on the current lesson but reviewing and applying the past lessons subjects. Also, just like Dr. Goetz recommends, if you pause the video and do the problems on your own or rewind it to double tap some of the segments you will spend more time but be able to get a better understanding of the material.
Vincent, SFSU, Summer 2010 I didnt realize how fast this course would actually go. I really did enjoy the course and it did fit in my with my busy work schedule. I wish more math classes were like this. If i ever had a question all i would have to do is refer to the forum and the answer would already be there. It was great to have an entire community helping me.
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. [...]
Shakir who took an accellerated version of the class [now at Cornell Business School]. Enrolling in the SF State accelerated online Calculus course with Dr. Goetz was one of the best decisions I made in my preparation to apply to business school. I have to tell you this course was like a marathon. It was intense especially due to the distance learning component. I had to work extra hard to be organized, stay focused, problem solve and communicate my needs with the teacher and other students. But because of the flexible nature of the course and unlimited access to video lectures, I was able to self pace and succeed beyond my expectations. I definitely came away feeling stronger and more confident in my math abilities for quantitative success as I start my Ivy League Business School in the fall. I highly recommend it for B-Schoolers needing to brush up or get a jump start on their education! --Shakir
Elisabeth, senior, double-major in Cell & Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, SFSU, Fall 2007 1. What was the main reason you took the online Calculus course rather
than a regular class?
I took the online class to have a flexible study schedule and to experience a fully online class for the first time.

2. What was the key to your success in this course? The keys to my success in this class were keeping up with the homework and spending as much time as I could online speaking with other students - either through the iLearn message board or via an instant messaging program.

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?
Likely to succeed : someone who has a really good foundation in precalculus, is a "self-starter" - someone who can work independently if necessary, someone who can work with others cooperatively, and someone who knows when they need assistance and asks for it ASAP. Not a good candidate : someone with a weak understanding of precalculus (especially algebra and trigonometry), a person who needs a lot of structure to do well, and someone who has a tendency to procrastinate.

4. What advice would you offer to a potential student? Watch the lecture videos as soon as they're available; spend at least 12 hours a week altogether on the class (including studying, watching lecture videos, chatting with others, posting Q/A to the message board, interacting with the instructor and TA, etc); do the homework on time (I suggest doing ALL the assigned problems); take the opportunity to speak with the Professor (and TA) - he is very helpful and always responds to even the most mundane questions quickly; expect there to be a difference between the way you "do" this class versus normal lectures - use this experience for all it's worth.

5. Please add anything about the class and your experience: I would like to emphasize that there are weekly in-person office hours and also a lot of availability on the part of the instructor and TA online every week to assist you with any problems you may have. Take advantage of this. Also, don't forget to check Stream if you get stuck on homework problems; I found it to be quite useful and often so. Lastly, I'd like to add that I absolutely loved this course!

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.