Best Practices for Online Tutoring

Last updated May 7, 2021 
Online Tutoring Overview
Video: Online Tutoring Overview

1. Be Prepared

  • Make sure that both the tutor and student have everything they need to make the technology work. This includes a working webcam, microphone, speakers or headset, an up-to-date web browser, and a broadband internet connection. Most laptops are equipped with everything needed. Tutors may also want to use a stylus for writing on the whiteboard.
  • Upload any documents, texts, learning tools, etc. that you plan to use in advance of your class/meeting.
  • Have a “technical meeting” with your student before your first tutoring session so you can iron out any potential difficulties beforehand.
  • Make use of technical support if you run into any issues during your meeting.


2. Keep in mind that online tutoring isn’t exactly the same as in-person tutoring

  • While face-to-face online tutoring can be made as close as possible to in-person tutoring, there are still issues that can occur while in-session. The most common one is audio lag time. Wait for your student to finish speaking before you say something. Sometimes it may feel like you are “stepping on each other’s toes” until you both get in sync in a conversational rhythm.
  • Don’t panic if something is not working. Usually you just have to refresh your browser tab or exit and re-enter the online tutoring room. If you are unable to access the online room try opening the URL in an incognito window.


3. Don’t forget your typical tutoring best practices

  • The best aspects of in-person tutoring translate very well to face-to-face online tutoring.  These include:
    • Meeting students at their level of understanding
    • Developing a rapport with students
    • Building confidence
    • Encouraging students to try to “figure things out” for themselves with the tutor’s support.
  • Emphasize the human element — unlike asynchronous instruction, a live, face-to-face online tutoring session allows the tutor to respond to the student’s needs, struggles, motivation, and other non-verbal cues.
  • Have fun!



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