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Online Tuition - The pros and cons

May 17th, 2012 by Isa

Welcome to the First Tutors: Canada blog! Here we will publish posts we hope will be of interest to all our users. As our first subject we decided to introduce online tuition, which we consider to be a widely under-utilized resource. Please feel free to share your comments and make suggestions of any subjects you would like to know more about!

Offering tuition via the Internet is growing in popularity for a number of reasons. It allows people to tutor students across vast distances, which gives those searching for a tutor far greater choice in the tutors they can choose from. Online tuition is often cheaper than a face-to-face meeting as no travel costs are incurred, nor need there be the same safety concerns as tutoring can be done safely within respective homes of tutor and student. The now wide-spread availability of high-speed Internet connections has made skype tuition a far more practical option for many tutors, and yet a large number of students, parents and tutors are wary of it. Why?

A primary reservation many have about online tuition is the removed presence of the other person. The one-to-one nature of private tuition is one reason it is so valued as an education resource, and many feel that they are unable to receive the same level of personal support through a computer screen. However, a high resolution webcam and a good microphone can give just the same sense of presence as if student and tutor were in the same room.

Another issue associated with online tuition is the receiving a payment online. This is considered more risky then taking cash, and students may feel apprehensive about sending money via bank transfer or PayPal. It is vital for tutor and student to communicate their concerns, and discuss preferred payment method before tuition goes ahead. You may wish to request half your payment prior to the lesson and half afterwards, until sufficient trust has been established between both parties.

The benefits if using online tuition, however, far outweigh the negatives. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of online tuition has to be the vast distances that Skype can take place over. For those in need of tuition in specific subject areas, for example certain Law modules, it can be sometimes be difficult to find a local tutor with adequate knowledge of these subjects. Or if you are applying to certain colleges you can look for someone attending that college for interview or application guidance. If you remove the restrictions that residing in a certain location will create, you suddenly have access to whole world of tuition! or, at least, a few countries worth.

One example that nicely illustrates the benefits of online tuition is the Skype Reading Tutor's blog. This blog demonstrates is both the convenience of online tuition, and the fun and interesting opportunities made available by it. The tutor in question lives and works in San Francisco, CA, but is broadcasting her tutorials to Canada through Skype, obstacle free.

A key value of online tutoring is the cultural exchange with other countries made possible through an online platform. Cultural exchange is massively important to the social development of children, but generally under-emphasized in the school system. Although a Skype dialog between California and Canada may not be the most extreme example of cultural exchange it demonstrates how online platforms such as Skype facilitate the exchange of knowledge.

Online tuition will only become more popular as the Internet becomes more and more accessible to all. It will never appeal to everyone, but considering the wider population of students tutors are open to by offering online tuition - and the greater number of tutors made available to the student if they are willing to try it out - we would suggest that you keep in mind the advantages and opportunities made available by choosing this tutoring option!

The following are some tutors who offer online tuition through First Tutors:

Warren, French tutor

Rebekah, English and Study Skills / Essay Writing tutor

Chantel, Math, Geography and Law tutor

If you are a First Tutor and would like to start receiving online inquiries you just need to visit your members area and update the 'Online' option in the 'Tutoring details' section.