Some universities offer free online math courses for adults. However, there are caveats to consider. Credit generally isn't available for these classes, yet textbooks are still necessary. Also, there is no teacher. It's tough to learn math by yourself, so finding a friendly math whiz is wise. Nevertheless, some of these classes provide opportunities to avoid paying tuition for remediation of high school math. Others can prepare students for college classes well beyond calculus.

Elementary Algebra: Monterey Institute's Hippocampus

Free course sites aren't always connected to specific colleges or universities. That's the case with the Hippo Campus Website, a portal that links to resources, including the National Repository of Online Courses. Both are part of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.

The National Repository of Online Courses offers three free introductory algebra online courses for adults and younger students. One is a complete elementary algebra class or the same class broken into two smaller courses. All are organized similar to traditional college courses with a syllabus, assigned readings from a text that must be purchased, practice questions and tests. A major bonus is that each lesson has a colorfully illustrated multimedia presentation.

The Monterey Institute for Technology and Education P.O. Box 890 Marina, CA 93933 831-642-9459

Algebra, Geometry and Statistics: Annenberg Media Learner

It isn't necessary anymore to take community college tele-courses to access the instructional video programs produced by the Annenberg Foundation. Free online viewing is available through the Annenberg Media Learner Website. One such program is "Algebra in Simplest Terms," which is designed for adults and college students.

Annenberg also offers the 10-video "Learning Math: Geometry" course. While aimed at K-8 teachers, it would provide preparation before taking a basic geometry class. Also available are the 26 videos from Annenberg's "Against All Odds: Inside Statistics."

Be aware that downloading the videos is illegal and that computer streaming is only available in the United States and Canada.

Annenberg Media 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW #302 Washington, DC 20004 202-783-0500

Statistics: Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative also offers a free statistics course online. The lessons are presented as a sort of interactive text book with buttons that lead to pages containing information, such as answers to frequently asked questions and checks for comprehension. One exceptional tool is "StatTutor," which presents problems and checks student answers. Carnegie Mellon says it is "comparable to the full semester course" taught at the university, minus the professor and the credit.

Open Learning Initiative Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Calculus and Beyond: MIT

Through its OpenCourseware program, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers free online classes for calculus in all its many forms, from basic to advanced. Its broad array of freebies includes algebraic geometry, advanced algorithms, and introduction to modeling and simulation. As with so many free college courses online, they don't always share solutions to exam and homework questions.

MITOpenCourseware MIT 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 617-253-1000