Online Tutoring - You Might Be Surprised
Online Tutoring - You Might Be Surprised
Nov 01, 2014

If you are a college student in need of homework help, online tutoring may not be what you think it is….


I have been tutoring students for almost 20 years, but a few years ago I became an online tutor. Before I started tutoring online, I was severely limited by physical proximity and time – unless the student lived close to me or we could meet at a good place between our homes, we just couldn’t really plan on meeting. There are only 24 hours in a day, and it’s just not convenient to spend several hours driving around town to meet people.


Online tutoring eliminates the problem of physical proximity – I live in Florida and I have tutored students all over the U.S. (including Hawaii). I have even been able to help students in Mexico, Canada, England, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand! Without online tutoring, I never would have been able to reach most of these students.


In addition, online tutoring makes scheduling much more flexible. If I was meeting someone in person, I could not drive 30 minutes to meet them for 30 minutes, and then drive another 30 minutes home. That would be 1 hour of driving to tutor a student for just 30 minutes! Because online tutoring eliminates the driving, I can conveniently schedule a short session with a student online the night before the exam.


Many people believe they would prefer in-person tutoring. In fact, the majority of my “local” students contacted me asking me to meet them at their home or the school library. Due to my own scheduling constraints, I convinced them to at least consider online tutoring and showed them how it worked. All of my local students now actually prefer meeting online! Neither one of us has to drive anywhere in order to meet for a review session.


So how does it work? Most people think that online tutoring is accomplished by typing messages to each other or sending e-mails back and forth.  They think that tutoring online would not be helpful to them because this interaction would be difficult, and nothing like a person being in the same room with them in person. Nothing could be further from the truth!  The primary tool used for online tutoring is an online whiteboard application, which allows for communication by writing and speaking in real time.


Worksheets and other homework documents can be uploaded into the whiteboard room for both the tutor and the student to see. We can also both write and draw on the board. Voice communication occurs through the whiteboard room. For this, it is helpful to have a headset with a microphone, or a headset plus a laptop microphone, items that are standard gear for the average college student. Also, notes made during the live tutoring session can be downloaded when the meeting is over so the student can study them later. It’s almost the same as in-person tutoring, except my students can’t see what I’m wearing or whether my hair is messy!


So if you are a college student looking for a tutor to help you with homework, but can’t find one in your local area, or your schedule is tight, or you have transportation issues, etc., you should consider online tutoring.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  Oh, and I forgot to mention - online tutoring typically costs only a fraction of what in-person tutoring costs.  All around, it's a great deal, and any serious student should give it a try.

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