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So You Wanna Be an Online Tutor. Deborah Hardwick, Interim Director Houston Community College Online Tutoring Program. Contact Information. Deborah Hardwick, Interim Manager Houston Community College Online Tutoring Deborah.hardwick@hccs.edu 713-718-5340. Online Tutors are Special.

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So you wanna be an online tutor

So You Wanna Be an Online Tutor

Deborah Hardwick, Interim Director

Houston Community College

Online Tutoring Program


Contact information
Contact Information

  • Deborah Hardwick, Interim Manager

  • Houston Community College Online Tutoring

  • Deborah.hardwick@hccs.edu

  • 713-718-5340


Online tutors are special
Online Tutors are Special

  • Online tutors are in the forefront of a new method of academic support. We are inventing the rules as we go, and re-inventing them even more often.


So you wanna be an online tutor


So you wanna be an online tutor


Online working environment to many of us online tutoring provides an ideal work environment home
Online Working Environment face-to-face tutors, but in a different way. To many of us, online tutoring provides an ideal work environment – home!

  • We can work in our underwear if we want.

  • We can smoke, drink coffee, pet the cat, nurse the baby, and munch snacks as we work.

  • We never have to worry about fighting traffic or finding a parking spot.

  • We don’t have to shave, put on make up, or fix our hair.


So you wanna be an online tutor


So you wanna be an online tutor


So you wanna be an online tutor
But ... a hospital waiting room.

  • We work alone, lacking contact with others.

  • We have limited access to materials.

  • We have to make many more judgment calls ourselves.

  • We have to be self-motivated and self-disciplined.

  • We have to accept fluctuations in income.


Realities of the online life self motivation
Realities of the Online Life: a hospital waiting room.Self-motivation

  • Online tutors must be self-motivated. Just as Distance Learning isn’t right for all students, online tutoring isn’t right for all tutors.

  • Those with a tendency to procrastinate may find that other tutors have grabbed all the work.

  • Procrastination lowers the paycheck.


Realities of the online life self discipline
Realities of the Online Life: a hospital waiting room.Self-discipline

  • Online tutors are typically assigned days of the week rather than hours of the day to work.

  • It is the tutor’s responsibility to check online frequently to see whether or not there is work. No one is around to remind her.

  • It is the tutor’s responsibility to schedule the rest of his activities to leave time for tutoring.

  • It is the tutor’s responsibility to keep track of hours spent working.


So you wanna be an online tutor


How it works
How It Works keep the posted schedule. If students log in, they expect a tutor to be there waiting.

  • In our system, tutors can choose to be notified by e-mail when students submit work. Alternatively, tutors can check our web site throughout the day.

  • When there is work, tutors work. When there is none, tutors can do whatever else they have to do.

  • Our system tracks time online. Tutors keep duplicate records to double-check.


So you wanna be an online tutor

  • Tutors can access archived work from all tutors to see if a student’s question has already been answered.

  • Tutors can e-mail me (the supervisor) or call me at reasonable hours if there are problems.

  • I check tutors’ work frequently, so there is more oversight than in most traditional face-to-face settings.


Dealing with plagiarism
Dealing with Plagiarism student’s question has already been answered.

  • It may come as a great surprise to you, but students sometimes plagiarize. *

  • As a face-to-face tutor, you can point out the problems and ask for more information or for the definition of words you are quite sure the student doesn’t know. Adeptly done, the student will usually admit to the copying, and you can do a quick lesson on attribution and citation.


Plagiarism
Plagiarism student’s question has already been answered.

  • In the online environment, it isn’t as easy. If you suspect plagiarism, you can take a few minutes to Google a particularly distinctive sentence and send the link to the student.

  • If you know it’s plagiarized because of stylistic or vocabulary differences, but you can’t find the source, you can tactfully suggest that the student has “forgotten” the citation.


Stuff i shouldn t have to mention
Stuff I Shouldn’t Have to Mention! student’s question has already been answered.

  • All the following insanities have happened during our year and half of online tutoring. It’s sad.


It s a job
It’s a Job! student’s question has already been answered.

  • Just because you are working at home in your robe and fuzzy slippers, you can’t let your standards slide:

    • Coffee or a soft drink is OK; a six-pack of Budweiser or a bottle of Merlot isn’t.

    • Marlboros are OK; marijuana isn’t.

    • Aspirin are OK; Demerol isn’t.

  • Don’t work if your judgment is impaired.


You are a professional
You Are a Professional student’s question has already been answered.

  • Jokes that you can explain your way out of in person don’t work online.

  • Work the question whether or not you agree with the student’s point of view.

  • Keep your personal opinions to yourself.


You are not alone
You Are Not Alone student’s question has already been answered.

  • Supervisors watch what you do much more frequently than is usually the case in face-to-face tutoring. Lying about what you said or did will be found out.

  • Your time is tracked by the system. Lying about how much you work (padding your time sheet) will be found out quickly.


You need a computer
You Need a Computer student’s question has already been answered.

  • Working online, using library computers until you can afford your own, probably won’t work. Your availability to tutor is limited to the library’s hours.

  • A 386 won’t work, and neither will a slow dial-up modem.

  • You need Microsoft Word because that is what most students use.


You need to be computer literate
You Need to Be Computer Literate student’s question has already been answered.

  • One applicant told me that she hates computers, but would learn to use “those darned things” if she got the job. She didn’t.

  • Another asked if I could teach him how to turn on his school-supplied laptop because he couldn’t figure it out. He didn’t get the job, either.


You need to write english well
You Need to Write English Well student’s question has already been answered.

  • Even if you are tutoring math or science, you need to be able to explain processes. Terrible English is impossible for students to understand.

  • Likewise, we are part of the educational process. IM and texting abbreviations are inappropriate in communication with students b/c imho u r rol mdls.


You need to type well
You Need to Type Well student’s question has already been answered.

  • Messages to students that are riddled with careless typing errors send a terrible message. If we don’t care how we are perceived, why should students care?

  • Use spell-check, for heaven’s sake! But also check for those words spell-czech doesn’t ketch.


You need to understand how your system works
You Need to Understand How Your System Works student’s question has already been answered.

  • Take time to learn the ins and outs of the system you use before you actually start working with students.

  • If you haven’t had sufficient training, ask for more.

  • Know who to contact if there are system problems.


The joys of online tutoring
The Joys of Online Tutoring student’s question has already been answered.

  • Online tutors have much more flexibility than face-to-face tutors in scheduling and choosing a comfortable work environment.

  • For those to whom tutoring provides supplemental income rather than is the mainstay of the budget, it is a chance to earn extra money.

  • For those who love a challenge, being at the forefront of a new movement is exciting.


You can make a difference
You Can Make a Difference student’s question has already been answered.

  • Students who may never come through the door of a tutoring center because of time limitations or embarrassment use online tutoring in droves. We help students who would otherwise flail around in the academic sea.