Prospective students who may be considering enrolling in an online learning program often have questions about the format of courses in general, and about certain subjects in particular. For example, it is common for people to wonder how online math classes work.

A foundation of tech tools and resources

Math courses at Penn State World Campus generally involve a variety of online tools and platforms that students use to access materials and complete exams, assignments, and other activities. These include:

  • Canvas. Penn State World Campus students access their courses and complete much of their work in Canvas, Penn State’s online learning management system. For math courses, students typically complete tests and exams in the Canvas system.
  • BlackBoard Collaborate. BlackBoard Collaborate is a “virtual classroom” and is a platform that instructors may use to record or present lectures, demonstrations, and explanations of concepts and other material.
  • ALEKS. ALEKS is a web-based tutorial system where students complete exercises and activities designed to help them master math concepts and skills, and the assessments from these exercises and related quizzes are usually factored into their course grade. This is where students also often access their online textbook content, and their assignments are integrated with that material.
  • Minitab Express. Minitab Express is an interactive software program and platform where students for some courses (primarily Statistics courses) access their materials, perform data analysis, and complete assignments.
  • Online discussion boards. Many classes include online discussion boards where students ask and answer questions and engage in conversations about assignments and course material. Participation in these online discussions is often a required part of the course and is counted as part of the student’s grade.
  • Online exam proctoring. Some Penn State courses, including many math courses, involve the use of online proctoring to ensure academic integrity. Penn State uses an online exam proctoring service called Examity. When needed, students schedule proctoring sessions for each of their exams through a simple online process.

Our course designers work hard to ensure the student experience is as seamless and user-friendly as possible. They are dedicated to creating a course environment that makes it easy for students to navigate the materials, find what they need, and perform calculations and other functions.  

Some math courses (such as Statistics classes) may require students to use a handheld calculator. Instructors will provide suggestions and recommendations about types and models.

Students who need accommodations or assistance using these tools or completing their courses can get support from our Student Disability Resources team.

Flexible and convenient for busy adult learners

Like all of our courses at Penn State World Campus, our online math courses are designed to provide the flexibility that busy adult learners need. Courses are asynchronous, meaning you do not need to be online at a specific time and can complete your work at a time that’s convenient for you.

Resources available to help

Penn State World Campus has resources available to help students with their math courses. Math Essentials is a noncredit, tuition-free, two-week course that can help students prepare for certain introductory math courses. Tutoring, guided study groups, and other support resources are also available for certain math courses and subjects.