Having been shortlisted for ‘Online Tutor of the Year’ at the National Tutoring Awards 2023 I am, of course, a convert to online tuition. However, I can remember a time when I was sceptical…
I began my career as a tutor a few years before the pandemic at a time when very few students had any real experience with online tuition. Indeed I myself began providing tuition exclusively face to face. However I very quickly learned that this wasn’t the only way.
Using a combination of Zoom (it’s hard to imagine now but at the time almost nobody had heard of it!) and Bitpaper I began offering online tuition and since then both and I my students have been converted. I can honestly say that only once has a student gone back to face to face after having online tuition (and even then we reverted back to online when they were studying overseas). In fact in one case I was about to begin work with a student who was very keen that we meet exclusively face to face but the day before our first session they needed to reschedule and at short notice the only other slot I could offer was an online session. We decided to do this as a one-off and lo and behold the student was an instant convert and despite having nearly 800 hours of tuition together over three years we never once had a face to face session!
Frankly myself I enjoy both face to face and online tuition but as far as my students are concerned I think the evidence speaks for itself, my students seem to much prefer online tuition.
Now of course, it would be foolish to suggest that there are no disadvantages to online tuition. For example on a very practical level if a student has some work they’ve had marked on paper then in a face to face session they can simply had it to me whereas in an online session this isn’t possible. However things like this are easily worked around (in this case sending a quick photo on their phone) but more to the point to focus on this is to misunderstand the situation. The objective of online tuition is not to best imitate face to face tuition the objective of all tuition is to provide the greatest benefit to the student and there are countless ways that this can be achieved with online tuition that are quite unique.
Let’s consider one example of a clear material advantage of online tuition: recordings. With Zoom and Bitpaper it is possible for a student to record both our conversation as well as the development of the notes in Bitpaper.
Below you can see examples of slides from sessions I have had with students in the past. It is worth noting that I have not gone back and touched up any of these examples, all of these were made on the fly in real sessions.