Learning Math Online - Adapting to Change and Maintaining High-Quality

Feb 11, 2021 | Fremont

By Cindy Hsiao

With only a few weeks away from hitting the one year mark of shelter-in-place, the Mathnasium@Home online learning system has been stable and runs smoothly and efficiently. With the uncertainties and stress that come with the COVID-19 pandemic, learning was often neglected leaving students unmotivated and struggling. Here at Mathnasium our value for education has led to an implementation of online learning so that quality of instruction will not be compromised. Our team has come together and utilized the online platform to keep learning as interactive and engaging as possible. Here is a list of common questions that came up over this past year:  


What does the classroom look like online? 

  • Our classroom is more interactive than the average video chat. We make full use of an interactive whiteboard that each student can work on learning materials simultaneously with an instructor. 
  • The material is displayed on the whiteboard. Instructors and students can take advantage of a wide array of tools from typing, highlighting, circling, writing, shaping, and drawing to complete the material. 

What is the students to instructor ratio and how does it work online? 

  • The students to instructor ratio in the online learning environment is 2-to-1. 
  • Each student is given a breakout room with personalized learning material displayed on the whiteboard. 
  • Just like how we have physical binders in person, each student has a digital binder and its content is displayed in each breakout room. 
  • The instructor hops between rooms to work with students 
  • Typically an instructor spends around 5 to 10 minutes in each room before moving to the next (and back and forth). 
  • Instructors typically first ask the students if they have any questions from school and/or the learning materials, then they would offer teaching, instruction, correction, and guidance, and before leaving would assign problems for the students to work on. 
  • There is also a “ask for help” button that allows for students to notify their instructors while they are in another room so instructors know that their students have questions. 
  • While instructors are in other rooms, they are still able to send chat messages to their students who are working in different rooms. 

What are the different ways that instructors teach students through the online platform? 

  • Instructors utilize a variety of ways to teach in the online sessions. Upon notice of the shelter-in-place order, we have scanned and/or prepared materials for online so that instructors can easily access them during sessions and utilize their share screen option to pull up necessary materials. 
  • We use the virtual whiteboard to help with the visuals of lessons as well as to maintain engagement. Students also have access to all the tools and are encouraged to draw along and solve problems as instructors explain concepts. Compared to in-person learning, this feels as if both the students and teacher are standing up at the whiteboard and working out problems together. It is definitely a more interactive and dynamic way of learning that helps with students' engagement.
  • If students have homework from school that they need assistance with, it can be emailed to us prior for uploading onto the whiteboard. Students can also utilize the share screen option if homework is online.

When are we planning on going back to in-person classes?

  • We are closely monitoring the situation and following government public health orders and guidelines. The exact reopening date is to be determined as we want to keep the community safe and be socially responsible. 
  • Preparation is in place at Mathnasium for a safe transition into in-person sessions including health and safety measures and small cohorts.
  • The implementation of social distancing practices may reduce in-center capacity so that students are not able to attend in-person as regularly as the family may desire. As a result, we plan to implement a “hybrid” approach where a student could move back and forth between online and in-person on a session-by-session basis as a long term solution.

As the situation evolves, we will be releasing updates. If you have any questions that are not addressed within this Q/A section, feel free to contact us for more information!