Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tips for good online tutoring- Find them on authorSTREAM

I have listed the guidelines in form of a presentation; and uploaded it on authorSTREAM. authorSTREAM!!!! Whatz that??

Well my friend asked the same thing to me.

authorSTREAM is popularly being known as the YouTube of PowerPoint presentations. Its an online presentation (.ppt and .pps format) sharing platform where you can upload your presentation with or without audio; and share it with your friends and family. Its totally hassle free!! Just upload your presentation and a unique URL is generated for your presentation. Now all you need to so is share this URL with your friends. There is no need to zip and mail your bulky photos or presentations,OR burn them on CD to share it with your friends. A unique URL is dedicated to your presentation, and anybody (unless it is marked as private by you) can view it innumerable times. You can embed these presentations in your blog (just like I did); rate them and even post a comment on them. And it is all FREE!!

Guidelines for Online Tutors - Understand What Makes a Good E-Tutor

A good tutor must:

  • know the subject matter of the course
  • understand the technology and its limitations
  • use the technology - email, discussion with ease
  • be confident and believe in online learning
  • be confident and sure of their own position
  • be sympathetic to the learner
  • be honest and constructive communicator
  • be able to develop online relationship with individuals/groups
  • be able to design activities and provide support
  • be one-step ahead of the learner - second guessing the learners requirements
  • evaluate progress - assess learners support
  • be patient and have a sense of humor.
  • practice the simple and most basic teaching skills of encouragement, kindness, consideration,
  • and thoughtfulness

Monday, August 6, 2007

Guidelines for Online Tutors- Provide Support and Encouragement

Provide learners with support and encouragement
  • It is important to help learners to set challenging yet achievable goals for the completion and good quality of coursework and to giving encouragement at every stage of the process by demonstrating the confidence in the learner's ability to succeed.
  • It is important to ensure that all the learner is keeping on track with the work load and the teacher should follow up with learners where some action on their part is expected but has not occurred.
  • Tutors should be quick to identify situations where the learner is in difficulty and provide the necessary support, including, were necessary, assistance in revising plans for completing the course.
  • It is always important to give encouraging comments and to recognize the achievements of the learner.

Guidelines for Online Tutors-Maintain Interest

eLearning can be disengaging and the learner can often get the feeling of isolation.
It is the role of the teacher to monitor learner's contributions to all elements of the course and to maintain his/her interest and to generate a feeling of being part of the virtual class.

  1. Initiate activities that will facilitate learning:
    Establish a study program that integrates all components of the course, including, for example, self-study, research, assignments, group activities and tests.
  2. Ensure that the session is flexible enough to cater for differing learning styles.
  3. Respond flexibly and in a timely manner to emergent learner needs by, for example: initiating discussion questions, organizing group activities, setting assignments,supplying, or suggesting additional study materials or other sources of expertise

Friday, August 3, 2007

Guidelines for Online Tutors-Keep a Positive Approach

It is always important for the teacher to have a positive approach to all enquiries from the learner - it is important that all learners, and in particular new learners, have a positive and successful learning experience

Teacher should:

  • always show a positive attitude, commitment and enthusiasm for online learning and champion the online learning experience
  • describe and promote the advantages of online learning
  • know how to create a useful, relevant online learning community
  • Do not over commit yourself - online tutoring will take more time than you think.
  • If you say that you will respond to emails within 24 hours or that you will be available between certain times you are obligated to fulfill these requirements

Guidelines for Online Tutors- Use W.R.I.T.E. for communication

Learn to fill in the blanks that are left when learner is unable to ‘read’ the body language of the teacher to whom he is ‘talking’

Lewis (2000) asserted that it is important that academics master the art of communicating online in both asynchronous and synchronous format and that it is:

“…helpful … (to) engage in … the WRITE way to communicate online.
… that is (W)arm, (R)esponsive, (I)nquisitive, (T)entative, and (E)mpathetic.”

McInnerney and Roberts (2002a) stated that if academics, administrators and students can manage to incorporate Lewis’ concepts into their teaching, when online, then they will increase the ability of all concerned to succeed.

Haight (2002) suggested three ways to reduce student frustration with online learning:

  1. Reassure….students that support is there for them and that any problems they may be having with the technology are common and fixable.
  2. Encourage….students who may be having problems with the material, and offer suggestions that will help their understanding, and
  3. Orient and Facilitate….students by clarifying expectations of behavior and performance while undertaking online study.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guidelines for Online Tutors-Understand Language Differences

It can always be a challenge to manage a tutoring session when the tutor and tutee do not speak the same native language

While giving the lesson
  • Personalize the environment
  • Encourage introductions – introduce yourself. do it with empathy, using a friendly, on-patronizing tone
  • Use names when addressing responses to students – comment on personal things they have mentioned
  • Speak clearly, and naturally
  • Use an informal writing style but model correct grammar and spelling
  • Use repetition
  • Frequently ask the student if what you are saying makes sense
  • Ask students to become the tutor and explain the concept to you
  • Use restatement to clarify the student's response--I think you said...
  • If the student does not understand you, write down what you are saying.
  • If you do not understand the student, ask them to write what they are saying
  • Encourage students to read and to use their dictionaries
  • Be aware that students cannot see your nonverbal behavior – avoid sarcasm
  • Do so clearly and concisely, avoiding unnecessary use of jargon
  • Avoid sexism, racism, ageism or other discriminatory behavior

Guidelines for Online Tutors-Ask Questions

A technique critical to a successful tutoring session is the ability to ask the right question.

  • Ask questions that encourage students to state what they know about the material
  • There are many types of questions that a tutor can use in a tutoring session. Good questioning techniques are essential to a successful tutoring session.
  • It is important to use the right words. Try asking "What do you understand?" If you ask the learners what they don't understand, they will be clueless.

While explaining linear functions, a teacher intends to correlate a linear functions with a live example of bungee jump using a doll and rubber bands. The distance to which the doll will fall is directly proportional to the number of rubber bands, so this context is used to examine linear functions.

He can get the learner’s interest instantly by asking, "Do you think the length of the cord and the size of the person matters when bungee jumping? Would it be smart to lie about your height or weight?"

Another important aspect of asking questions is waiting for an answer.

  • Many tutors are too quick to answer their own questions.
  • Give students an opportunity to reflect on the question before they volunteer a response.
  • Always wait at least 20 seconds for the student to answer your question. This "wait time" might be uncomfortable at first, but it can greatly improve the tutoring session.

Remember to ask leading questions.

  • Questions that can be answered with yes/no have less value that those that ask the student to demonstrate understanding.
  • "What if" questions and analogies are excellent strategies for expanding student understanding.

Become familiar with the Socratic Method of teaching.

  • In Socratic teaching we focus on giving students questions, not answers.
  • It is the oldest, but still the most powerful teaching tactic for fostering critical thinking.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Guidelines for Online Tutors- First Impression

We Learn...

  • 10%...of What We Read
  • 20%...of What We Hear
  • 30%...of What We See
  • 50%...of What We See and Hear
  • 70%...of What We Discuss With Others
  • 80%...of What We Experience Personally
  • 95%...of What We Teach Others

William Glasser

It has been estimated that it takes only three or four minutes for the average person to form a positive or negative first impression.

Make that first meeting with your tutee a positive experience.

  • Be consistent in body, voice and words.
  • Establishing rapport with your tutee is very important. You can help create a good rapport by listening patiently and remaining open to what the tutee has to say.

It is also important to know why the student has requested tutoring.

  • Some students know exactly where they are having trouble.
  • Some students point out general areas of difficulty.
  • Some students can only vaguely describe the source of their confusion.

To help these students, simply ask them where they are having problems.

  • It could be that they fear the subject because of past failure.
  • Because it is a requirement; therefore they have no interest in the subject.
  • The students could also be lacking confidence in their ability to master the material, or they could be overwhelmed by the time requirements imposed on them for this particular class.
  • The reason for the tutoring request is important because it will give you a focus to plan your future tutoring sessions.

Good Online Tutoring- Principles of Planning

Effective lesson planning is the basis of effective teaching. A plan is a guide for the teacher as to where to go and how to get there. However - don't let the plan dominate - be flexible in your planning so that when the opportunities arise you can go with the flow.

Aims - considering realistic goals for the lesson, not too easy but not too difficult. You may find the following checklist useful:

  • What do the students know already?
  • What do the students need to know?
  • What did you do with the students in the previous class?
  • How well do the class work together?
  • How motivated are the students?

Variety - an important way of getting and keeping the students engaged and interested.

Flexibility - expect the unexpected! Things don't always go to plan in most lessons. Experienced teachers have the ability to cope when things go wrong. It's useful when planning to build in some extra and alternative tasks and exercises. Also teachers need to be aware of what is happening in the classroom. Students may raise an interesting point and discussions could provide unexpected opportunities for language work and practice. In these cases it can be appropriate to branch away from the plan.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good Online Tutoring - Prepare a lesson plan

A lesson plan is a framework for a lesson. If you imagine a lesson is like a journey, then the lesson plan is the map. It shows you where you start, where you finish and the route to take to get there.

One of the most important reasons to plan is that the teacher needs to identify his or her aims for the lesson. Teachers need to know what it is they want their students to be able to do at the end of the lesson that they couldn't do before.

Here are some reasons planning is important:-

  • gives the teacher the opportunity to predict possible problems and therefore consider solutions
  • makes sure that lesson is balanced and appropriate for class
    gives teacher confidence
  • planning is generally good practice and a sign of professionalism

Good Online Tutoring-Identify the Learning Style

Students may prefer a visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (moving) or tactile (touching) way of learning. Identify the learning style that is preferred by your tutee and design your lesson plan accordingly.

Those who prefer a visual learning style...
  • look at the teacher's face intently and prefer looking at wall displays, books etc.
  • often recognize words by sight
  • use lists to organize their thoughts
  • recall information by remembering how it was set out on a page

Those who prefer an auditory learning style...

  • like the teacher to provide verbal instructions
  • like dialogues, discussions and plays and solve problems by talking about them
  • use rhythm and sound as memory aids

Those who prefer a kinesthetic learning style...

  • learn best when they are involved or active
  • find it difficult to sit still for long periods
  • use movement as a memory aid

Those who prefer a tactile way of learning...

  • use writing and drawing as memory aids
  • learn well in hands-on activities like projects and demonstrations

Friday, July 13, 2007

Good Online Tutoring

“The demands on online tutors are much greater than those on face-to-face tutors in terms of roles, partly because the tutor is a more intense focus for relationships, than in face-to-face environments, where course administrators, and other staff, are more accessible, and partly because of the technology issue.” (McKenzie-D 2000a)

The teaching/learning settings, the constraints of the environment, status of the learners and the tutor, and the pedagogical model must all be understood in order to provide an effective online learning experience for students.

Identify the learner:

McCarthy (1980) described students as innovative learners, analytic learners, common sense learners or dynamic learners. The key to your success as an online tutor is to identify the type of learner the tutee is, and to design your method of teaching accordingly.

Innovative learners...

  • look for personal meaning while learning and draw on their values while learning
  • enjoy social interaction and are cooperative
  • want to make the world a better place

Analytic learners...

  • want to develop intellectually and draw on facts while learning
  • are patient and reflective
  • want to know " important things" and to add to the world's knowledge

Common sense learners...

  • want to find solutions and value things if they are useful
  • are kinesthetic, practical and straightforward
  • want to make things happen

Dynamic learners...

  • look for hidden possibilities and judge things by gut reactions
  • synthesize information from different sources
  • are enthusiastic and adventurous

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Frontiers in video based e-learning

There is no mistaking in the observation that video based e-learning is making a deep impact in training environments - educational and corporate. Collaborative technologies have emerged to offer a way to familiarize learners with these new learning experiences.

E-learning makes use of a wide range of technologies and media that can be categorized by delivery media or interaction tools. It is also important to realize that each learner will often learn best with certain technologies. E-learning has been broadly classified into – synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Synchronous, which literally means "at the same time" involves interacting with an instructor via the Web in real time - learning and teaching takes place at the same time while the instructor and learners are physically separated from each other. Video has a great role to play in synchronous e-learning. Lately Video conferencing has been offering new possibilities for schools, colleges, and libraries who now use videoconferencing systems for a variety of purposes, including formal instruction (courses, lessons, and tutoring), connection with guest speakers and experts, multi-school project collaboration, professional activities, and community events. Some more traditional distance learning classes meet exclusively through dedicated videoconferencing systems. These video conferencing tools remove many of the differences between normal class environments and an online class environment.

As the bandwidth of the Internet increases over the coming years and emergence of tools like authorLIVE, Webex, Centra and Microsoft Net Meeting, synchronous conferencing options will become more effective, less costly and complex, and may gain more popularity. These synchronous collaboration tools are already being used to bridge gaps in geography and take learning to every corner of the enterprise. With features like live chat, whiteboards, hand raising, application sharing, and breakout rooms, these tools can be surprisingly effective at mirroring a live classroom setting. In addition, some of these solutions allow you to archive recorded sessions so everyone can take advantage of learning — on their own time and at their own pace.

Asynchronous, which means "not at the same time," allows the student to complete the WBT on his own time and schedule, without live interaction with the instructor. As asynchronous e-learning does not require a facilitator or instructor, it is one of the very popular e-learning deployment methods. Asynchronous learning is independent of time and space. Learners are able to interact with course materials and with each other at a time of their choosing. Examples of asynchronous e-learning are self-paced courses taken via Internet or CD-ROM, email, bulletin boards, stored audio/video web presentations or seminars, PowerPoint trainings and discussion threads.

Many upcoming tools like authorPOINT, Macromedia Breeze, Articulate and Presentation Pro have been successful in helping the trainers prepare an effective training session that can be made available to students/trainees all over the world through accessible URLs, or CD-ROM. These tools give e-learning much of its appeal. Learners can engage each other when it is most convenient. Web sites and CD-ROMs can track a student’s progress as they move through a course and offer interactivity with the materials. Moreover students that are trailing behind in course work receive the benefit of being able to read discussion posts.

Benefits of video based e-learning

Learning is a social process. It involves active acquisition of new knowledge and understanding through group and peer interaction ­- the key learning skill being communication.

Human beings gain much of their initial understanding of others through our sensory capabilities - both visual and auditory. According to some studies the written word only communicates 7% of what we mean. Voice tones and inflections can account for as much as 38% of the understanding a normal conversation. Where you place emphasis speaks volumes that are very hard to accomplish with words only in PowerPoint slides. With video you can add another 55% to understanding. Video allows you to include all those body language cues we all use – the smile, the twinkle of the eye, the raised eyebrow, the lean, the crossed arms, the tilt of the head. The instantaneousness of moving image and impact of human voice is very powerful.

As an interactive communication medium, video in e-learning stands out in a number of ways.

  • Video in e-learning stimulates better brainstorming, knowledge sharing and information gathering. Businesses can use video conferencing to provide training to its key members or give presentations to its clients in a professional manner irrespective of their location.
  • It provides students with the opportunity to learn by participating in a 2-way communication platform. It's almost like being there.
  • It can be richly informative cashing in to our profound ability to learn from our visual and auditory capacities.
  • The visual connection and interaction among participants enhances understanding and helps participants feel connected to each other. Seeing the instructor, or hearing his voice, goes a long way toward building relationships in a way that e-mail, telephone, or online chat systems cannot. Interactive communication and graphics are among the keys to learning. This way the students learn from a primary source rather than a textbook.
  • A video based e-learning session can prove to be more effective and efficient as it can improve retention and appeal to a variety of learning styles by including diverse media such as video or audio clips, graphics, animations, and computer applications. Further graphics and video do a great job of illustrating skills and techniques that are difficult to explain. This first hand learning is especially good for visual learners.
  • It lowers the cost of delivery and overcomes the need for centralized location-based training. All you need to do is author it once, and you can deploy it anywhere. Participants may attend a meeting from their normal workstations without travel
  • It heightens motivation as the excitement of being able to see the presenter or the co-participants enhances the motivation level of the students.
  • Holds Your Audience's Attention
  • Enhances interaction with experts. Students are able to get answers to questions from experts who, because of time and distance, would otherwise be inaccessible.
  • Students learn about cultural differences. They are able to interact with other students and adults who may be very different from themselves.
  • Improve Skills - Presentation and Speaking Skills, Communication and Management Skills, and Questioning Skills
  • Gives the distant learners an opportunity to achieve a sense of belonging with a peer community

Sunday, April 29, 2007

E-tutoring Vs Classroom Teaching

It is generally recognized that e-tutoring poses different and distinct challenges to teaching and learning compared to face-to-face activity. From a pedagogical point of view, it has long been recognized that resource-based learning takes place most effectively when students are actively engaged in creating, manipulating, editing, annotating, and interpreting resources.

Level of effort & changing roles:

Classroom trainers have always worn many hats while the e-tutoring environment adds more. In the traditional education system, the teacher is the repository of knowledge and transmits it to a number of more or less willing students in a classroom environment. The biggest challenge for e-tutoring environment is to create an environment, and profile content tailor-made to the requirement of students, based on the respective syllabi. The on-line role is more challenging but more flexible and varied. The new job is to answer questions, to coach, to steer, to encourage, to lead -- but not to instruct. There's less travel and more variety. An online tutor has to surely exert greater efforts. Tutoring online requires the tutor to respond to individual learners consistently throughout the course.

For e-tutors, there is a change of role shift from ‘sage on stage’ to the ‘guide on side’. Making this role change is the key to successful e-tutoring. It is up to the e-tutor to make the learning possible, facilitate discussion, provide resources, and set expectations. As their lectures are vital to learning, e-tutors need to convert those lessons into more interactive formats that provide examples, and demonstrations.

Online Tutoring requires appropriate environment:

Contrary to the Classroom training, e-tutoring is often marked by frequent interruptions. The participants require continuous access to web; they may be disturbed by frequent calls or in-person demands that require immediate response. Tutor here has to monitor the tutoring sessions on a managed time schedule in a fashion that ensures an interruption free environment.

Online Tutoring requires significant participation:

The success of online tutoring largely depends on regular and consistent feedback and participation from the tutees. It is often observed by the online tutors that the tutees pull off from online tutoring sessions once they feel they have gained enough traction over the subject or extracted just what they needed from a subject. Participation is disrupted by other reasons too like obstacle in accessing the website, lack of interaction and encouragement from tutor, or due to complications with site navigation. The tutors have to ensure that participation to the tutoring session appears attractive and easy to the students. A regular and consistent feedback is to be provided to the students. Further if the online tutor can find out ways to require or reward participation, it would facilitate dedicated participation by the student.

Content Limitations:

There are few subjects that require significant human face to face interaction like physical and biological sciences, and subjects relating to soft skills. The course activities may require specialized equipment or skills. Further the assessment in training for soft skills in based on direct observation of learner’s behavior. Online Tutoring might not prove to be very successful in such cases.

Developing New Techniques and different instruction methods:

The structures, techniques and methods of traditional instructor led classroom training are well known to all. However the e-tutoring requires a different set of structures, techniques and methods. E-tutoring cannot merely be a delivery mechanism; it must have the power to transform the learning experience. The learner should be given an opportunity to read, study and reflect upon the topic of discussion through interactive discussions, active participation, performance support and collaboration. The e-tutor needs to provide a direction and motivation to the learner.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

E Tutoring


The exponential growth of internet technology in recent years, have opened up new accessibility opportunities for education; and has caused seismic shifts in how distance education rather the education itself is perceived, and the way it is delivered and administered. The true potential of e-tutoring as 'anytime, anywhere' has finally started to be realized as the educators today use technology to make equivalent the experiences of all learners no matter when or where they learn. This paper provides a comprehensive coverage of effect that e-tutoring has had in the field of education. It then proceeds to discuss the chances that e-tutoring has to be the next best possible option to face to face tutoring.

Education is being transformed by the many and varied uses of technology, that support student learning. While this impact is being felt across the educational sectors, the demands of high-quality learning and teaching materials to be delivered online have resulted in the creation of a new form of tutoring - that of the e-tutoring.

What is e-tutoring?
E-tutoring can be defined as teaching support, management and assessment of individuals or groups on programs of learning where there is significant use of network technologies such as the World Wide Web, email and conferencing. E-tutoring provides us with useful tools enabling us to deliver an enhanced learning and teaching experience. Increasingly, organizations are adopting online learning as the main delivery method to train employees (Simmons, 2002). At the same time, educational institutions are moving toward the use of the Internet for delivery, both on campus and at a distance.

E-tutoring is similar to, but different in some key respects from, both face-to-face tutoring and traditional distance learning tutoring. This involves the vital difference in terms of involvement of technology, time and distance. These all have implications for tutors. The efforts put in by the tutors in e-tutoring can be quite different to face-to-face teaching both in terms of integrating technology into learning activities, and in managing and supporting students' learning online.