Tutoring with Zoom

How to tutor online with Zoom

Since the COVID-19 pandemic pulled students away from their traditional method of learning, students, teachers, and parents had to adjust. Fortunately, the online video platform, Zoom, has helped with the difficult transition. However, this new type of learning environment has left many wondering if it really works or if students are struggling. To explore this issue, let’s take a look at how to conduct an effective Zoom tutoring session and the pros and cons of online learning.

What is Zoom?

Zoom is an online video-conferencing platform with a range of applications, such as business meetings, catching up with friends, and virtual tutoring sessions. It provides students with a place to learn and progress academically without having to be in the classroom. Useful Zoom tutoring features:
  • Screen sharing
  • Audio sharing
  • One-on-one or group chat
  • Closed captioning
  • Online whiteboards
  • Screen and audio recording

Pros of Using Zoom for Online Tutoring

Zoom tutoring benefits students in several ways:

A Familiar Medium

Most students use a computer for just about everything. Using a familiar medium for tutoring means there’s no learning curve and they can focus on the task at hand.

Protection and Comfort

Since illness prevention has become such a focus in all of our lives, social distancing in education has become particularly important. Zoom tutoring allows students to learn in the comfort of home, where they are protected.

Cons of Using Zoom for Online Tutoring

While there are advantages to using Zoom for tutoring, it has its limitations:

Limiting Distractions

Since there are so many things to do online, it’s easy for students to get distracted by their devices. It’s also more difficult to tell when they are getting sidetracked because their learning and their distractions are coming from the same place.

Too Impersonal

Since there is no one-on-one time with a tutor, some may find Zoom tutoring to lack a personal touch in their learning. They may find it difficult to engage with a tutor when divided by a screen and might find the information harder to understand or retain.

Technology Discomfort

If either the tutor or the student is uncomfortable or inexperienced with technology, Zoom tutoring could be particularly difficult. When trying to learn how to effectively use a laptop or tablet during a lesson, there’s the potential to waste a considerable amount of time. It may not be realistic for those who struggle with learning new technology.

5 Tips for Tutors Conducting an Online Zoom Session

Here are some tips for conducting a successful online tutoring session:
  1. Dress appropriately. It might be tempting to dress casually in an online tutoring role, but looking professional has its benefits. You’ll appear more prepared and focused, and will probably feel that way too.
  2. Identify students’ abilities. It can be difficult to gauge where they are in their studies without an assessment. Find out by giving each one a short exercise to complete. It may give you a sense of their level without overwhelming them from the start.
  3. Make sure you’re giving them enough individual attention. Online tutoring can sometimes lack a personal touch that might be missing from in-person learning. Be alert to the strengths and weaknesses of each student to make sure you’re facilitating their needs while making the work appropriately challenging.
  4. Be engaging. It can be difficult to stay captivated by a lesson on a screen, so you might need to try harder to hold their attention.
  5. Build relationships. Since online tutoring can leave students feeling disconnected, it’s even more important to build strong relationships with them. By doing so, you’ll have a stronger sense of how the student is developing academically and what areas need more attention.
  6. Stay organized. Keeping track of everything you need for each student can be a challenge, especially if you’re working from home. Keep everything you need for tutoring in one place and label or separate what you need for each student. Time spent fumbling with papers during a session is time not worth losing, and can make you seem sloppy or careless.

Tutoring online beyond Zoom

Zoom was designed for video-conferencing and has limitations when it comes to true collaboration and online teaching.  A common alternative for Zoom in education is TutorOcean.  Our virtual classroom was built with students and teachers in mind.
Key features include:
  • Easy file uploading with markup
  • Recorded sessions with easy download
  • Side by side code editing
  • Multiple whiteboards in one session
  • Fully-immersive whiteboards
  • Easy to navigate student tools
  • Upload files for tutor editing
With TutorOcean choosing a tutor online gives you the opportunity to look farther away from home. The right tutor may not live nearby, and without the right tutor, a student might not advance as much academically as he or she is capable of.

Jonathan is the VP Growth at TutorOcean. Jonathan previously worked at Klipfolio, Invest Ottawa, Irdeto and IBM. Jonathan is also the Co-Founder of STEAM Foundation who successfully launched a Kids Coding Camp helping inspire students early in their educational development. Jonathan is also an active startup advisor, giving back to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.

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