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Calculus Course Online: Overview of Free Online Calculus Courses

Many colleges and universities offer free online courses in calculus. These courses range from beginning calculus for non-math majors to advanced calculus for engineers. Courses are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Like many online courses, free online calculus courses can be completed any time, anywhere. However, they do not count towards the credits needed to complete a degree program.

What Are Free Online Calculus Courses Like?

Free online calculus courses offer a simple, cost-effective way to improve students' mathematical skills. These classes are offered by major colleges and universities through their OpenCourseWare programs.

OpenCourseWare materials are free and available to college students, high school students, self-directed learners and virtually anyone with access to the internet. OpenCourseWare classes have no instructors, so students learn in a self-paced, self-directed environment. Grades, course credits and certificates or degrees are not granted upon course completion. Registration and enrollment are not required, and course content can be accessed at any time, anywhere.

Course Materials

The materials found in OpenCourseWare calculus courses are equivalent to materials presented in these classes' on-campus versions. Students might have access to lecture notes, assignments, tests, sample math problems, practice exams and online textbooks. Courses can be text-based or interactive.

Text-based online calculus courses usually consist of chapters from a textbook while interactive courses contain audio recordings, video lectures and practice problems with solutions. Some courses may assume prior knowledge of calculus or build upon the topics covered in other online calculus courses.

Sample Course Topics

Free online calculus courses focus on such topics as single or multivariable calculus, differential calculus, theories of calculus and pre-calculus. The level of instruction can range from calculus for beginners to advanced calculus for engineers. Some schools even offer short videos to help students review the basics. Topics of study might include:

  • Derivatives
  • Functions
  • Fundamental theorem
  • Integrals
  • Integration
  • Limits
  • Slope

Technical Requirements

Because courses are completed online, minimum computer requirements may apply. Interactive portions of the courses might call for special software to run videos, Java applets and other interactive tools. An up-to-date computer with sound and multimedia capabilities could also be required.

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