Online tuition is highly flexible and can take place whenever and wherever you are comfortable and best able to learn. All you need is a good internet connection. This flexibility even includes a consideration of your time zone, with tutors in Oxford available to tutor at convenient times of convenience to students all over the world. Following a request from you for online tuition we will recommend a suitable and available tutor who will then work with you to make mutually convenient tutorial arrangements.
The set-up that you will need for your tuition will depend somewhat on your subject and the planned content of the tutorial. In general though, there are a number of points that you should consider in advance of your tutorials.
The internet connection
You will need a broadband internet connection for successful online tuition. The internet makes available a wealth of interactive and engaging learning resources which are of use both during your tutorials and for independent study. Online tutoring can sometimes make your computer run more slowly. If you feel that this is likely to be an issue for you, it is worth ensuring that you have as few programs as possible running during the session and that you are not using your internet connection for other purposes during the tutorial. On the few occasions where students struggle with online tutoring, it tends to be because of connectivity issues.
A VOIP program
VOIP means voice over internet protocol and is the means through which online tutoring can be as effective as face-to-face tuition. Through your Greene’s Online account your have access to an online tutorial platform and whiteboard. Use of the Greene’s Online platform simply requires you to login to Greene’s Online a few minutes before your tutorial is about to start where you will be prompted to enter your online tutorial. Alternatively, some of our tutors use Skype, which is a popular, reliable and also completely free program for making video calls online. However, using Greene’s Online for your online tuition ensures that you have access to additional features – including: shared e-whiteboards, PowerPoint displays, screen share etc..
A web camera and microphone
Most modern computers come with a webcam and microphone. If your computer lacks either a webcam or microphone, you can purchase these separately, cheaply and easily. Being able to see your tutor – like in a face-to-face tutorial – can certainly enhance the online tutoring learning experience. Even if your computer has a built in microphone we strongly suggest the use of headphones and a combined plug in micro-phone as this greatly reduces the “echo effect” from a VOIP connection – making the online tutorial experience much more pleasant.
A graphics tablet
Some tutors who teach subjects such as Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics recommend the use of a graphics tablet with a virtual whiteboard to enhance your online learning capabilities. Graphics tablets plug into your computer like a mouse, and come with a stylus to write with – just as you would write on a piece of paper. This inexpensive addition allows you to handwrite work for your tutor during the class and your notes can then be saved for you to review later. A graphics tablet is not essential, but can be helpful for subjects where equations and diagrams are an important part of the learning process. You can also use a ‘tablet computer’ such as an iPad as an alternative.
Because you will need to produce a handwritten paper in your examinations you will benefit from handwriting your work as much as possible. Access to a scanner allows you to submit handwritten work to tutors via e-mail.
Your study will almost certainly need to be supported by textbooks and other course materials, many of which can be found on the internet. Your tutor will guide you as to what is required. It is important that you and your tutor both have copies of the same textbook.
Once you have all the relevant information from your tutor and have gathered together the required materials, you may wish to organize a short practice online session to make sure everything – including your internet and computer set-up – is working smoothly and that you are comfortable with the process. A short practice session is especially recommended if you feel at all nervous about your first online tutoring session.
A short practice session can help to prevent any problems from occurring during the first online tutorial and enables you to make the best use of your time for learning. During the practice session you can agree with your tutor regarding the style of online tutorial that suits you best. Once set-up, you may find – like many others – that online tuition allows you to be more relaxed and more in control as you study, and feel – quite literally – at home.
An essential element of the Greene’s tutorial method is the period of independent study and preparation between each of your tutorials. To get the best out of each tutorial you should expect to complete about three hours of independent study for each hour of tuition. Spend time thinking about what you want to cover with your tutor and send any completed homework to your tutor beforehand. The tutorial method of learning works best when the learning and understanding of topics is consolidated by probing discussion with your tutor. The more prepared you are the more you will get out of your tutorial.
During this study and preparation time your tutor will have set you a number of assignments which will include both online and offline activities – usually a mixture of reading, note taking and problems to solve or an essay to write. You will also be able to maintain e-mail communication with your tutor and, through Greene’s Online, to access the reports, or ‘slips’ that he or she completes after each tutorial which will comment on your performance and record your preparation for the next teaching session.
Between tutorials you should keep in contact with your tutor via e-mail – sending through completed work, organising what to cover in the next tutorial, clarifying details on set assignments, asking for advice on suitable study resources, etc…
There is a wide array of online resources and tools available that can be used to support your learning. Here is a list of some of the resources that your tutor may recommend for your use to complement your course of online tuition at Greene’s.
- Google docs
- Khan Academy
- BBC Bitesize
- Get revising
- Daum equation editor
- Exam professor
- Simple whiteboard