One of the fastest-growing areas of AJ Tutoring’s services is online tutoring. As the director of online tutoring, I hear all kinds of questions about online tutoring—this post will answer a couple of them! There are two broad categories of questions. First, how can online tutoring match in person tutoring? Second, what makes AJ Tutoring better than larger online tutoring companies?
Creating an Online Space to Match our In-Person Environment
AJ Tutoring has always been known for a commitment to quality—we’d rather not do something, than do it poorly. So, as more and more parents asked for online tutoring, we wanted to make sure we could deliver a quality service. There are three basic parts of making sure our online students get a great experience comparable to our in person students: the tutors, the online environment, and the materials.
Our online tutors get all the same training on our materials and academic subjects, and most work primarily in person. We use video chat to get closer to the experience of tutoring; students can see and hear their tutors, and vice versa. This allows the tutors to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are important to tutoring. Additionally, our tutors all get specific training in using the online platform so that they can create the best possible experience for students.
The Online Environment
We primarily use a program called Conceptboard for our tutoring. This combines video chat with a large and multifunction virtual whiteboard. The whiteboard includes tools to allow tutors to type formulas, draw diagrams, upload images, and instantly draw common geometric shapes. Unlike a regular whiteboard, the online one persists between sessions, so students can always go back and look over the notes from the session; additionally, tutors are able to use the same whiteboard between sessions to more easily review and build on previous material. For English and other writing projects, tutors often also utilize Google Docs and Google Chat, allowing them to look at documents at the same time as their students, both video chatting and leaving comments and making suggestions directly on the document.
AJ Tutoring has fantastic materials for all of our test preparation programs. Students doing test preparation online with us are mailed physical copies of all those materials, so they have the same paper copies as in-person students. Additionally, the tutors upload pdfs of all the relevant materials, allowing them to annotate the documents like they would in an in office session, and leave the annotated documents online for the student to access later.
By re-creating these three elements as closely as possible, AJ Tutoring strives to make online tutoring comparable to our in-person tutoring. Indeed, some aspects of online tutoring, such as the ability to revisit boards or record sessions at the students’ request, go above and beyond what is possible in a non-digital session.
How is AJ’s Online Tutoring Different than other Companies?
AJ Tutoring is always looking to differentiate itself by the quality of the service we provide, by hiring the best educators we can, and by giving them ample support to develop their skills. Online tutoring is no different: all of our tutors are either also in-person tutors, or have years of experience tutoring in-person before they start tutoring online. Since there are unique challenges to tutoring online, we think this experience in one-on-one education in-person is important; an experienced one-on-one educator is better prepared to take on the additional challenges of online tutoring when the content and student interaction is already second-nature to them.
Additionally, our supportive structure for tutors makes a difference: all of our online tutors have a team leader who helps them develop their instructional skills. Our academic tutors also belong to academic departments that meet regularly to ensure that all the tutors for each subject are staying current on their content knowledge and on specific course material. Finally, I personally also am available to give tutors tips on how to use our online platform to the greatest effect. These multiple layers of support allow our already fantastic tutors to truly excel at online tutoring and ensure that the quality of service we provide matches the service we are famous for in our offices.
If you’d like to get your student support, please give us a call today!