All you need to get started is a computer – an iPad or other tablet can also work well, broadband internet connection and microphone. Your online tuition is also enhanced if you have a web-camera, headset – with headphones and microphone, scanner and graphics tablet.
Having a web-camera allows your tutor to see you and – whilst not essential – can enhance the online tuition experience. A separate headset that includes headphones and a microphone will help cancel out background noise and reduce the uncomfortable echo effects that can occur with using built in computer microphone and speaker facilities.
If you are taking a course of online tuition to prepare for an exam a scanner is particularly useful. Most exams still require you to write by hand and at speed. Keeping in the habit of writing by hand can help you maintain this skill for your written exams. One way of doing this is to make sure that all assignments requested by your tutor are handwritten and then scanned before being sent to him or her for review.
A graphics tablet allows for interactive note taking and problem solving during an online tutorial and needs to used together with an online whiteboard. A graphics tablet is particularly useful for Mathematics and the sciences where participation in the process of solving problems and working through processes can enhance your learning and – most importantly – retention of what has been covered.
Greene’s online tuition uses web based technology; so, once you are online using your computer or tablet you will need an internet browser installed – Greene’s Online works best with either Firefox or Chrome. Nearly everything you need to do for your online tutorial can then be managed through your internet browser. This includes logging in to your Greene’s Online account.
You may may also need to install a plug-in to your browser if you will be using an online whiteboard and/or to activate your preferred video conferencing software.
If you are using alternative video conferencing software such as Skype or WeChat; and/or a graphics tablet you will need to install these facilities separately.
Once you are ready to go we strongly recommend that you test your online tutoring set-up and arrange a short practice session with your tutor to make sure everything is working properly.
Whilst most tutorials at Greene’s still take place face-to-face in central Oxford. An increasing number of tutorials take place online. Indeed we have students from all over the world who have derived great benefit from courses of exclusively online tuition.
Online tuition follows the same format of the tutorial method of learning as face-to-face tuition. This develops learning and understanding through probing discussion between you and your tutor. We have found that the online environment is just as effective as face-to-face tuition provided that the online set-up is tested prior to the first tutorial and that the tutorials themselves are well prepared. Most of the problems we have come across with online tuition are technological rather than pedagogical.
Indeed, once a programme of online tuition is established and working smoothly many students say that they prefer it to face-to-face tuition because of the convenience and flexibility of online tutorials. It is also always possible to supplement online tutorials with a face-to-face tutorial from time to time. Alternatively, you can start a course of online tuition with a few face-to-face tutorials with your tutor in order to build up a rapport and an understanding of what is expected from the tutorials. Once this is in place online tutorials can be very effective.
If a course of tuition is right for you then there is a good chance that online tuition is also right for you. Please contact us to discuss your tuition options such as the optimum frequency and length of tutorials and we can also advise you as to whether online tuition would be an effective part of the mix for you. It is also always possible to set up a short online practice session to see if online tuition is something you might prefer.
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