By Arun verma, TutorIndia.net | 11 May, 2013, 01.20 PM IST
Teachers Guide - How to do online Tutoring
I have been often asked, "How can I teach online?" I even made a short one hour course on how to teach online, a personal one on one session. But after a year or so of teaching it to many students, I felt I wasn’t reaching enough people.
Online teaching enables travel-free education for both students and tutors. As most of our tutors already know they can teach students from overseas from their home itself. It helps both students and teachers to reach across the globe and find the right person at the right price which is not always possible in face to face tutoring.
Tools for online voice/video calling (VOIP)
Skype is one of the most awesome tools which you can use to talk and teach. It’s free and has better sound quality than most other tools, paid or free. Video quality is again better than most other options. The fact that Microsoft bought it for a whopping $8.5b just adds to the charm of using it. You can also share your screen using Skype. When sharing screen, you can only show your screen and not give control to the other person. For giving control, we can use other tools which would be discussed later.
Among other features, Skype has a powerful app gallery which makes working with it just so much better. idroo is one of these apps (discussed later). In most cases, however, you don't need any extra apps. With skype, you can also transfer files and take a screenshot of the shared video. And the best thing about using Skype – if you ask someone for their Skype id, there is little chance they will say “What? What?” You really don’t need any other tool for audio if you have Skype.
You can use other free tools such as Google Talk in case Skype isn't available. However, they are not as good as Skype. Therefore I am going to skip them in my post.
Tools for Screen sharing
Teamviewer is again a very powerful tool. It helps you to share your screen, give control over your screen to your partner and also lets you switch sides. It’s one of the widely used applications in its domain and is regularly updated.
Join.me is another great utility. They have made very easy for people who don’t want to install any applications in there system due to various reasons. It can not only run directly from the browser but you can install it as well. It also has a very potent combination of orange and green color which makes working on it just a little more cheerful.
WebEx really takes things to the next level. It really works like a Pro. No other software provides as many options as WebEx. It’s widely used by not only online tutors but working professionals as well. It provides you an option to attend meetings without any installation. It works on almost all modern operating systems, tablets and mobile phones. In short, WebEx rocks!!
Online whiteboards are just like whiteboards and blackboards in the real world. You can write or draw online and it would be visible to the students in real time. You can write on a virtual whiteboard while talking on Skype and it feels as if you are actually in the same room. It’s really as close as it gets to real world. This technology has a huge potential in changing how education is done. It has touched lives of millions already and is going to be even better in the future.
Idroo works in sync with Skype. So far, Idroo is available only to Windows users and doesn’t work for Mac, Linux etc. It works beautifully and you can invite your Skype contacts to join you on idroo. It has faster response time than other online tools and since it’s browser independent, it gives you a fairly consistent experience on all windows versions and various screen sizes and resolutions. I highly recommend idroo for teaching. It’s helpful in cases where you want only the board to be shared and not your complete screen.
Other whiteboard tools
I have personally used the following virtual whiteboards and they all work well. You can chose your favourite whiteboard depending on your system configuration and browser configuration etc. I am listing the best of them because you never know which one of these is going to fail. The favourite ones that I use are twiddla, scriblink, scribblar. Over last 5 years, I have seen many whiteboards come and go and the technology is improving almost every day. Therefore, rather than just sticking to the ones mentioned, go to google.com and search for “online whiteboard”. You should get the latest and most popular available whiteboards on the first page.
Digital pen is basically a fancy mouse. Everybody doesn’t need a digital pen. It’s helpful when you are teaching a subject which needs lot of writing or drawing. Maths, Physics, Chemistry and language subjects are the best examples where digital pen is a must. The best thing about digital pen is that you can hold them like a pen and when you move them over a tablet, the movement is reflected in the mouse pointer. It feels as if you are writing on the screen.
For tutors who are teaching programming languages like Java, can chose not to use digital pen as they are generally involved with code. Therefore writing by hand becomes unnecessary. Screen sharing is the most preferred method of teaching in such cases.
Tools for Finance teachers and accounts teachers
Along with mind boggling numbers, finance and accounts teachers have to deal with tables and never ending columns of data. Solving all this data manually over the whiteboard can be a real pain. Thankfully, Google has a free answer to all your troubles. Even though many people are aware of Google Drive, they aren’t using it the way they that would make their life easier.
So this is how we do it - login to your Google account, go to Google Drive, click on create, and then select spreadsheet. A new spreadsheet should open up. You can share this with the student. What’s great about this is that you can use the power of excel in real time. Both you and the student can edit the spreadsheet at the same time. Standard excel calculations and formulas are also available thus making it really close to using microsoft excel or other opensource excel tools.
How to receive payments?
That's one thing that i get asked around a lot and for a good reason. It's important that you have an easy system of receiving payments online so that you can focus on what you are good at i.e. tutoring rather than being a banker. There are various ways which you can receive payments. Couple of them are Wire transfers, moneygram, western union etc.
In my experience, receiving money via Paypal is the easiest. All you need to give the student is your email address with which you have registered on Paypal and they can send you money on that. It doesn't get easier than that. Moreover, paypal transfers money directly to your bank account. Therefore you don't have to go anywhere to claim your money unlike wester union etc.
I will not go in to the details of how to receive payments from Paypal as they keep upgrading there website. But once logged in Paypal, it's pretty self-explanatory once you see there menu.
How to find students to teach online
There is no easy answer to this. If there was, everyone would be doing it. However, there are a couple of things you can do to brighten up your chance of landing more students. There are a lot of websites like tutorindia.net where you can register yourself with to get students, online and offline. Following is the list of websites that have been referred by various tutors registered at tutorindia. Please read till the end of the post before you register on every one of these. You won't regret. Feel free to add your recommendation in the comments at the end of this post.
List of websites to register for online tutoring or assignment help
tutorindia, teacheron for online tutoring, 2tion, aarambhtuition, algebra, assignmentcentre, bharattutors, brainfuse, bridgethebrains, buddyschool, classof1, craigslist, cramster, edserv, edufire, eduwizards, elance, eonlinetutors, etuitions, expertonlinetutor, expertsmind, focuseduvation, freelancer, geteducated, go4guru, growingstars, higheredjobs, homeworkhelpforme, tutorchapter, homeworkmarket, joycemathworld, justanswer, tutorjam, etutorworld, instaedu, learnexacademy, learningscholars, lexspokenenglish, linkedin, livewebtutors, mathandreadinghelp, meritnation, myassignmenthelp, myprivatetutor, mytutorworld, onlineassignment, quikr, schooltrainer, schooltutoring, smarthinking, studentnest, studentoffortune, tcyonline, thankyoututor, thinkingstorm, thinkvidhya, transtutors, transwebtutors, tutapoint, turtorvista, tutehelp, tutor, tutor2help, tutorabc, tutorchapter, tutorco, tutorcomp, tutorfi, tutorhelpdesk, tutorpace, tutoringsessions, tutornext, tutorsacademy, tutorskingdom, tutorsville, tutorvista, udemy, universitytutor, whizz, wifitutors, wiziq, wiztango, wyzant
I can not assure you of work from any of the above mentioned websites (or payment for the work done) but what I can assure you is that if you don't invest enough time to make a decent profile and explain in detail what you have to offer and what are the key benefits that you will deliver, registering on any numbers of sites would be of absolutely no help. It is important that you see your profile as a resume where you have to convince the students that you can deliver. If you just put the minimum possible information because you are too lazy or too busy to make a decent profile, you will get minimum possible results i.e. Zero Students. This has been true for teachers at tutorindia.net and I don't see any reason why it would be different on any other website.
I have noticed one common trait in the people who succeed. They think long term, love what they do, and like to share. One of the best things that you can do to succeed is help others succeed. Forums are a great starting point to sharing. Find a forum where lots of students and tutors come, help students there, thereby building authority. You will gain respect as an expert and will get paid assignments over time. This is not an overnight kill. It requires patience and genuine willingness to help. But results can be stellar depending on your niche and expertise.
If you like the post and think it can be helpful to others, please let us know in the comments and share it using your preferred services below. This may as well be the start of your sharing mindset. Happy Tutoring!!
If you have any questions or comments, please write in the comments below (facebook login required). Through experience or by research, I will try my best to answer it.