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Online Calculus Recommendations

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I am looking for recommendations for an online calculus class for my dd. She will be a senior this fall at a very small classical school. She was planning to take Calculus I, but there are only 2 other students who want to take the class, so the school won't offer it.


They are open to letting her take an online class and giving credit for that, since they can't offer what she wants. I'm looking for something recorded or on DVD rather than live, because she'll need to access it as her schedule permits. I have several semesters of college calc, but it's been a really long time and I don't think relearning it in order to teach it is going to happen, but I could probably provide some support.

I'm looking at Thinkwell, Ask Dr. Callahan, and Derek Owens so far.


I don't think the Derek Owens is going to work because from what I can see on the website it's only offered live. Also, I think I prefer a course that lets her work at her own pace, rather than one that has hard and fast deadlines for turning in assignments and may not give her the option of working ahead when that's possible.


Thinkwell seems like a pretty good alternative. I'm trying to figure out the differences between Calculus and AP Calculus. It looks like the Calculus course covers more material (two semesters of college calc?) and lists more contact hours. Is is more the equivalent of a year of college calculus? Also, dd isn't sure she likes the idea of having to do all the problems on the computer. I found an old post (~2008) that said that if you didn't enter the answer with exactly the right sequence of keystrokes, it would be counted wrong. We did sign up for their free trial, so we can see how that goes.


I've heard good things about the Ask Dr. Callahan geometry DVD's, but I don't know anyone who's used Calculus. She does like the idea of actually having a hard copy of the textbook. Thoughts?


Also, she's considering trying the AP Calc AB exam. Would either of these be better prep for that?


Thanks for your help!

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Derek Owens does have a live class but if you choose the distance learning option, you watch videos, do the homework, scan it and send it back to him -- all on your own schedule. He grades it and sends it back with corrections and keeps track of all assignments on an online grading site. If you have questions about it, please contact him. I highly recommend his courses.

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DD18 used AskDrCallahan Calculus 1 last year. The DVD lectures are excellent and I am a BIG FAN of the Stewart book that it uses. She self-taught the course with very little assistance from me - listened to the lecture, read the lesson, worked the problems.


We contacted their customer service a couple of times - once over a problem printing the tests (they sent us a corrected PDF the same day) and once when neither DD18 or I could come up with the same answer that was in the solutions on a particular problem. They emailed us a detailed solution to the problem within a few hours and offered to set up a phone call with DD18 if the explanation wasn't clear enough.


DD18 chose not to take the AP Calc exam as she had already been granted credit for math at her chosen school based on her ACT score. She could have taken the exam - she was definitely prepared for it by the course.

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My daughter is taking physics through Derek Owens this year, as we couldn't fit it into her PSEO schedule.


The distance classes are asynchronous, so there's no live scheduled class to attend. The videos are recorded, and the student completes the syllabus at their own pace, submitting assignments for grading and corresponding with the instructor. Your student can watch the class videos whenever they like. They aren't tied to a schedule.

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UCCP has AB and BC AP Calculus. I think that a school can register (and pay) and get access to the assessments in addition to the lessons that are available open access.


You might also see if your state has a virtual academy of any kind. Virginia has Virtual Virginia, which some schools use to provide extra coursework to students. There is a cost to the district.

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We used Thinkwell for calc, and we found it good preparation for the AP exam. Some people have thought that it doesn't offer enough practice problems, but it's easy enough to supplement.


As I understand it, the AP labeled courses have some problems that are written to be similar to questions on the AP exam. I don't know about how the content compares, though.

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