By Katelyn Canon
January 14, 2013
That being said, I know that developmental math is an important class. It prepares students to be successful in general education math courses, but Aleks is failing students. And it sucks.
The thing that peeves me, and a lot of students enrolled, about Aleks is that it can take up to three semesters to complete. That’s a year and a half that students are dedicating to working their way through a class that doesn’t even count towards their degree.
While not every student takes three semesters to complete the Aleks program, the developmental math program should only take a semester. I would much rather suffer through a 16 week course that moved at a scheduled pace than aimlessly work on objectives. Aleks lacks structure which in turn makes students lack direction.
Aleks also fails students because it has almost no interpersonal interaction. Instead of being taught by a teacher, students spend much of their class time sitting behind a computer screen. There is a teacher in the room but the student to teacher ratio it too high. While there is always an instructor in the room, the professor typically has to rotate around the room to answer questions.
The teacher isn’t the only teaching aid in the room though. Student teachers can be found, in a cluster, at the front of the room. To get their attention I simply have to raise my hand, and wait for them to finish helping another student.
Like the professors, the student teachers are spread too thin. They also rotate around the room trying to help as many students as possible.
The developmental math program should be structured more, like English 100. Instead of the computer-based monotony, students should have a regular class meeting time, and then they could also have a small lab group that is lead by a student teacher – the same student teacher. I know I would learn better if the teacher knew my name and was focused on teaching, not facilitating, and I think other students would too.
Aleks is impersonal and unfocused. And it sucks.