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Problem with self teaching

  1. Feb 29, 2016 #1
    Hey everyone, I was wondering if there would be any problem with self teaching myself calculus using Khan Academy as my main resource. I looked at their course and it seems not to have many gaps in it compared to a regular Calculus course. I heard that Khan Academy is not a main resource to use when self teaching, but personally I dont see any problem with it or am I missing something? Thank you for the comments ahead of time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 29, 2016 #2


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    Go for it! If it works, you're okay. If it doesn't, you'll be better equipped for some other approach (a textbook, for instance).
  4. Feb 29, 2016 #3
    Thank you for answering me back. Do you think I could learn calculus 1 and 2 from Khan Academy, and in your opinion do you think Khan Academy is good for a conceptual understanding?
  5. Feb 29, 2016 #4
    I can't comment on the quality of Khan Academy's calculus sections, but I would recommend not ditching the textbook entirely. Using two resources can be very beneficial, and the abundance and variety of exercises in texts compared to KA is a major plus.
  6. Feb 29, 2016 #5
    How would I go about exactly doing this? What I mean is how exactly would I implement the 2 together and also Khan Academy offers a very good variety of practice problems aswell
  7. Feb 29, 2016 #6
    I'm not saying that studying from Khan Academy is bad, but I do know from experience that everybody who studied calculus primarily from Khan Academy really doesn't know calculus very well. And I've met several such people. Maybe they were exceptions though.
  8. Feb 29, 2016 #7


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    Ditch videos and learn how to read a math text. This will help you more in the long run.
  9. Feb 29, 2016 #8
    The problems is I dont know how to study from a math textbook. Could you give me some advice. Thank you
  10. Feb 29, 2016 #9
    Exactly. Thanks for proving our point. If you study Khan Academy now, then you'll end up with a basic understanding of what it is about, but you'll still be unable to read an actual text, in which case everything you did is useless since you can't advance. Khan Academy is really really easy. They just spoonfeed you the answers, they do every single step, etc. That's not how to learn math. You need to learn math by actively thinking about things, not passively listening to whatever somebody has to say. If you do Khan Academy now, you're just cheating yourself and this will hit you later when you need to read something harder than calculus and when Khan Academy isn't there to help you.

  11. Feb 29, 2016 #10
    It's as simple as starting from page one and working your way through. Read the material closely, taking notes along the way if that helps. Don't blindly follow derivations and examples; actually work through them yourself.

    If you are finding yourself continuously lost on many of the steps, it may be an indication that your background is less than sufficient, in which case you would need to go back and review. There's no point in continuing on and struggling because you don't have the algebra skills.
  12. Feb 29, 2016 #11


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    So, my question is: what is your ultimate goal here? Is learning calculus an end unto itself or is it part of a larger goal? That will help inform as to whether or not Khan Academy is good enough.
  13. Mar 1, 2016 #12
    From personal experience, Khan academy helped me up until second course calc. I had the same problem I never grew up learning from books. Only from professors, anyways. I learned books are the best way to learn. But I disagree with people when they say read the book, no one has time for that. What I do is skim the chapter, get a general idea. But in calc there will be proofs and stuff that is super confusing so there u will have to look online for help or professor. But the key to learning is doing problems. You learn the most be actively solving problems. I like to look at a chapter title. Go to the problem section attempt to understand the question and if I can try to solve one if not I skim chapter for the information I need. Don't read all at once you'll just forget it all. Unless your hella smart
  14. Mar 1, 2016 #13
    I see Khan Academy and other online resources as good introductory courses to be taken in parallel with regular classes in college. Sometimes a subject your professor taught might seem confusing, and you may want to take a few basic classes online just to be sure you understand what your professor is really talking about. That's important, in my opinion.
    But why do you want to learn calculus? If it's just for fun, I think you should be fine with basic online classes. If you want to delve in mathematics and learn more complicated stuff, you will most likely need at least a good textbook.
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