On-Demand Tutoring to Students Around the World

On-Demand Tutoring to Students Around the World

John J. Stuppy (TutorVista.com, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-876-5.ch012
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Abstract

The early groundwork for online tutoring was laid when the author led a team at Sylvan Learning Centers in the mid 1990s to find ways to increase the availability of tutors for the students who need them and make tutoring more convenient. The author invented and patented a ground-breaking tutoring platform and system that enabled a student with a home computer to work interactively with a tutor hundreds or thousands of miles away. The student and tutor talk using computer-based voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) Internet phone technology, and share diagrams and work problems on-screen through software known as a virtual whiteboard. Students and teachers can also use instant-messaging text chat to type notes and copy and paste information to share. Sylvan implemented this service launching the eSylvan business (now called Educate Online) for students to work with tutors for skill-gap tutoring all over the United States. Over the years, a number of companies also entered the online tutoring market to provide homework help or skill-gap tutoring. Most focused on homework help using an on-screen whiteboard and typed text chat.
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Case Description

Teaching to Standards

Clearly for the service we had in mind at TutorVista.com, serving primarily American students, we had to provide a way for overseas tutors to become knowledgeable about United States K-12 state standards and teaching styles. As a result, we developed comprehensive materials to assist the tutors. For example, if you are a child from Connecticut in the seventh grade, our tutors will know what the state standards for math by grade level are and then teach according to that. Also, teaching methodologies are very different in India where lecture-based approaches would be reduced to one-way PowerPoint presentations and rote learning would otherwise prevail. American students are accustomed to asking questions, trying things out as they learn, working interactively, analyzing data and applying skills in new ways for problem solving and deep understanding. Using features such as two-way voice interaction, the online whiteboard, and an interactive style are very important in our method to get students actively involved in learning.

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