Remote Tutoring via YouTube OR Skype OR FaceTime
During summer 2012 two of my students were home from college or non-local high school.
They contacted me to get a jump start on their upcoming classes. More specifically, the
High School Student wanted help preparing for both Calculus and Statistics and the College
student wanted help with Linear Algebra and Differential Equations. They both said they attempted
to find tutors in their areas but were not successful in finding a tutor to match their skills
and needs. One of their mothers, who is quite savvy with technology, suggested I tutor her
daughter remotely using Skype. That got me to thinking ... I then asked my other student if he
would be interested in the same. He said yes. This resulted in the addition of remote tutoring as a service I provide.
I believe remote teaching possesses tremendous promise. It is a very powerful tool to deliver
tutoring to individuals or groups.
There are, however, some issues to consider before one decides remote tutoring will work for them:
- Student Type - Any student who wants to try remote tutoring is welcome to give it a try. But
remote tutoring will work best with prepared students. Prepared students usually are self-motivated
and, among other things, have already attempted the work, and have specific questions. To get a
better idea of what it means to be a "Prepared Student," please see this essay -
An Effective Tutoring Session
- Study Materials - The student possesses the material he wants to study. This could be any of
book, workbook, handout, etc. The issue is the tutor can not look directly at the source material the student
wants to focus on. This
information needs to be relayed from the student to the tutor. This issue is best resolved by the
student sending an email to the tutor prior to session start time. That email should contain the
questions with instructions the student wants to focus on. That way more session time is spent
focused on learning the material instead of used passing study materials from the student to the tutor.
- Groups - Remote tutoring allows students to form groups as they please. This offers great
cost efficiencies for students and their families. Personally I encourage groups - when groups
are done right I believe the math learning is more complete and important skills
in the areas of cooperation and communication are exercised. The hard part is putting
together a group that will work well together. To help you
better understand group dynamics please see this FAQ response - What do
you think about group tutoring?
- Payments - Nobody wants to get scammed. You don't want to pay upfront and not get the service
you expected. I don't want to spend time providing service and not get compensated. What I
propose for new students is this - On the first remote tutoring session, I tutor for 5 to 10
minutes before payment is made. During this initial 5 to 10 minutes you evaluate the quality of
instruction and service provided and decide whether or not you want to continue. If yes, you
make a payment via credit card. If not, we part way - no harm, no foul.
How does it work? I can "go live" on YouTube (and send you an unlisted link through email) OR we can use either Skype or FaceTime.