Denison Algebra offers several online math courses: Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. Advanced Algebra & Trig should be available in 2024. David Denison, the instructor for all the courses, has more than 20 years of experience teaching secondary math.
Each course consists of online lesson videos, a consumable student textbook, a solutions manual (with solutions for every homework and test problem), online solutions videos, a test booklet, and a parent guide. You can also download a free Pacing Guide (found on the page of samples for each course) that shows what should be done each day.
The Denison Algebra website describes their courses as being for non-math-loving students who find it tough to learn math. These are college prep courses that will work for the average student, but advanced students who grasp math quickly would do better with other courses better designed for their needs.
To keep things manageable for students, the courses teach one concept at a time in bite-sized chunks. Students are constantly reminded to check their work as they go, so they will immediately catch themselves if they are working problems incorrectly. Denison encourages students to use a scientific calculator for checking their work as well as for problem-solving.
How the Courses Work
The course videos, each running 15 to 20 minutes, walk students through each entire lesson. Denison provides voiceover instruction while showing the textbook pages and writing on them as he would on a whiteboard. Most of the lesson instruction is also printed out in the textbooks, and during the video instruction, students should be taking notes in their textbook as Denison explains and works the problems. The textbook cannot be used alone since students need the video instruction to be able to fill in the details for solving the sample problems. This approach should help keep students engaged in the lessons. If students do a good job with notetaking, they can use their textbook to review concepts.
During each lesson, Denison works out several sample problems, explaining each one and spending more time working them out than do instructors in many other courses.
When students think they understand the new concept, they tackle the set of “Assignment” problems. The number of problems depends on their complexity, and some sets include a few review problems. Textbooks include space for students to solve problems.
This program takes a mastery approach rather than a spiral approach. Previously learned concepts are sometimes incorporated into more advanced concepts, and key concepts students need to recall for upcoming lessons sometimes show up in review problems. Otherwise, the Assignment sets focus on only the concept taught in each lesson.
Students can consult either the printed solutions manual or the online solutions videos that show how all assignment and test problems are solved.
Each lesson for any of the courses should take 30 to 45 minutes, including the Assignment problems.
There are a practice test and two different exams for almost every chapter. Students who score well on one exam don’t need to take the second. Those who don’t should review the chapter, and then take the second exam. At the end of each course are three reviews and two forms of the final exam.
Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 should all take about 140 days to complete. Geometry is slightly shorter, taking about 126 days.
Purchasers technically receive 12 months of access to the course, but Denison Algebra adds an extra three months at no extra charge for those who might need to extend time on the course for any reason.
Denison Algebra also has Success courses designed for students who have severe learning issues and might find the standard Denison Algebra courses too challenging. These courses are available for Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2.
Regarding the Success courses, the website says,
They contain all the support elements that the standard courses include…, but the lessons and assignments are shorter and more spread out. This is to aid students who lose focus easily and those who struggle grasping more than one concept per lesson. Extra review is built into Success courses as well (beyond the regular review in the standard courses). It is assumed that these students will easily forget what was taught.
Denison Algebra courses provide more instructional support via video than most other math courses for junior and senior high, which makes them very practical for independent study. The Success courses also offer a rare option for students who need less demanding courses in a multimedia format.