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Course review: Precalculus – the Mathematics of Numbers, Functions and Equations

A 5 stars course, challenging but worthwhile with entertaining instructors and extremely good tutorials.

Alberto Tonolo, Francis Clarke, and Carlo Mariconda, course instructors.

This Precalculus: the Mathematics of Numbers, Functions and Equations course is a credit to the team at the University of Padova who put it together.

An Excellent but Challenging Course

I rated the course 5 stars, although there were times when I was so frustrated that I would have said otherwise. The nature of the instruction seems to be very university oriented. By that I mean the lecture component which gives the “bare bones” of the subject matter, followed by the tutorial component. It is well over 50 years since I left high school after completing Year 11. Ironically, my performance in mathematics would be on a par now with where I fitted then. I understand that I can do mathematics, but not as a “core degree”. Maybe major in languages with mathematics as a minor component, because I am no “star”. Having said that, I have to some extent discovered how I best learn mathematics and have tried to put it into practice.

After a break, I shall probably do the advanced component because there are things like natural (e based) logarithms that I am curious about. It has taken me 7 months to get this far, but it was worth it. The lectures (to me) need to be more evenly progressed, but Alberto is very entertaining (I love the Italian accent). Alberto’s tutorials are extremely good.

Time Commitment

This course was designed as a 5 week course of about 6 hours per week. It took me much more than that per week for about 6 months (73 year old retired Australian Air Traffic Controller with Year 11 Maths 56 years ago).

Worth the Money

This course was the only one I have taken that I considered justifiable in investing AU$85 to extend the access time, complete the assessments, and get a final score. I would not hesitate to make that same decision on this course again.

What Next?

I am more of a language student (French / Danish / Latin) but I shall try to do the Advanced Precalculus: Geometry, Trigonometry and Exponentials course on the same basis when I get some time and mental energy.

Robert John Humphries Profile Image

Robert John Humphries

73 year old retired Australian Air Traffic Controller with Year 11 Mathematics 56 years ago, more of a language student (French/Danish/Latin).

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