The way you organize a tutoring lesson is totally different depending on whether you're planning for a session in a student's home or for one done via the internet.

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Costs will be very different as well, for a variety of reasons.

So which to choose: lessons done via webcam, or "live"?

What's the better option in terms of educational benefit?

Superprof has looked at both methods to help give you some clarity.

By the end of this article, you should have an embarrassment of options to help you get started tutoring!

Tutoring: A Different Kind of Lesson

Traditionally, tutoring sessions have always been done face-to-face, with a teacher who visits the home of the student.

Today, distance lessons seem to be looked at more and more favorably by students and parents, whether it's for a simple review of materials, tackling a challenging subject, or intense test-prep courses for important exams (SATs, GREs, Regent's Exams...).

In terms of preparation, it's very easy to set up for an online lesson:

  • Turn on your computer.
  • Connect to the internet.
  • Use a video-conferencing application (see below for some of the most commonly used).

Just schedule a time to meet online with your student, it's very simple...

Giving these lessons to your student is just a matter of working together to figure out what works best. Are you both night owls? Nothing is stopping from you from fitting in an hour lesson at 10pm! It works out well for the tutor, who can spend time with family in the beginning of the evening, as well as for the student, who can take part in other activities after school, like sports or music.

On the other hand, if you both tend to get up early and work better in the morning?

Schedule your lesson for 7am, at the beginning of your work day.

It's win-win!

The Psychology of the Two Types of Tutoring

Bear in mind that the majority of students having academic difficulties are actually butting heads with the education system in the broadest sense.

According to a report published in 2013, 33% of students stated that their relationship with their teachers was the main reason for their struggles in the classroom.

As discussed elsewhere on Superprof, we've come to see that:

Having access to their tutor's Skype account or even just email address helps to detoxify this student-teacher relationship, turning it into a positive one! Instead of strictly professional interactions, student and tutor develop an ongoing discussion, one that's less stressful for the student.

Learn how to tutor well here.

Applications Used for Webcam Tutoring

online distance tutors
WhatsApp, a very popular smartphone app, is also a convenient way to conduct distance tutoring sessions.
  • Skype: Well known to everyone, Skype allows users to make free calls anytime both people have access to a computer. Skype also makes it easy to share notes.  You simply need to hold up whatever it is you want to share so it's visible on the screen. It's very practical in terms of making corrections on exercises. With mate lessons, it's easier to demonstrate geometric forms this way then by sending image files back and forth.
  • Google Hangouts: Hangouts is an instant messaging platform that also boasts a video-conferencing tool. The service uses a web browser, but there are also apps on Android and iOS.
  • WhatsApp: This one is generally more known as a free text messaging app that international friends use on their smartphones, but it can also be downloaded to a computer (both PC and Mac). For voice calls, students and tutors can talk for free, even if they're in different countries. Video conference calls require an internet connection on your phone, so make sure you have enough available data. But of course you can always connect to the internet via wifi, which makes it free!

You can even leave voice messages! Something like: "Thanks, tutor, I got a good grade on my philosophy paper thanks to you!"

With all of these tools, there's no excuse to miss tutoring sessions, even if you're hundreds of miles away from each other.

Compare the two with this analysis of benefits to in-home tutoring!

4 Advantages of Tutoring with a Webcam

webcam tutoring help
With a strong Internet connection, teachers and students can interact like they're right next to each other!

The flexibility, lower cost, and easy interaction—here are some advantages to giving lessons online:

  1. No more time lost to traveling: with private in-home tutoring, nothing is more frustrating than losing an hour of your day to commuting to your student's homes. On top of that, the stress associated with traffic could negatively affect the quality of the lesson. With online tutoring, you travel just a few feet to your computer. You don't even have to put on shoes.
  2. Less wasted money: that's a big point. All of the money you spend on gas or public transportation stays in your wallet if you tutor students in physics, chemistry, or Spanish from via the Internet. And with less time devoted to transportation, you can tutor more students if you have time in your schedule!
  3. It's mutually beneficial: take advantage of the Internet to give tutoring lessons to several students at the same time. It does of course require a bit more organization (the students all need to be free at the same time) and the needs and school demands of your students need to match.
  4. Easy exchange of information: send your comments, homework corrections, syllabus... it's very easy to send files through the applications themselves. The Internet is the easiest way to exchange information, in two senses!

Mistakes to Avoid with Online Tutoring

First, it's pointless to even consider online tutoring an option if you have a slow internet connection. You must have high speed service at a minimum in order to interact with your students properly.

An unreliable connection can also interrupt the lesson if you're an ace at handling these kinds of problems...

Set yourself up properly, with a high-quality webcam and microphone. Don't compromise on quality because of price, because the quality of your lesson depends on it! As does your reputation...

Don't forget that with Superprof, students and teachers can leave comments on teachers' profiles.

Find out more on how private tutoring works, in-home and online...

Is Face-to-face Tutoring Better?

The advantage to tutoring done in the home is that a teacher can very easily point a finger at a mistake made by a student and then easily and instantly explain the problem so it's not recreated.

There really is nothing that compares to a face-to-face interaction in terms of explaining complex problems, both for the teacher and the student.

webcam tutoring
Lots of private tutors on Superprof offer webcam lessons.

Without ever really meeting, it is difficult to establish a true sense of cooperation between a student and teacher. Without teaching by a student's side, it's equally difficult for a student to concentrate on the lesson or homework.

Having a professor by their side to bring the lesson to life and having the teacher's passion for the subject can be a great motivational factor for middle or high school students, who will take the process seriously and solve problems more easily with more dedication.

Tutoring Fees: Comparing In Person and Webcam

The average price of a private tutoring lesson in a student's home is, like a math teach might explain, something determined by a great deal of unknown variables...

Rates vary according to the age of the student and teacher, the subject being taught, and various fluctuations in other tutors' rates nearby.

Students in New York won't pay the same amount as students in Cleveland.

In 2016, 32% of private tutors on the Superprof platform gave lessons via webcam.

The average price of webcam lessons is $26.

It makes sense that the cost of video-conference lessons are a little cheaper than "real world" lessons, since the teacher's presence is missing.

Tutoring in the Home: Finding Students

There are currently 79 available Algebra tutors in New York City, and only 4 in Ames, Iowa. Why the disparity?

Densely populated areas and college towns naturally offer more tutoring possibilities from private tutors than those farther from major metropolitan areas.

If you're a university teacher looking to give private tutoring lessons in writing or grammar, via webcam, take advantage of these areas in need of academic know-how.

By definition, if you seize upon the opportunity to use video-conferencing tools, you can give lessons to student anywhere in the world, unlike a tutor who only gives "traditional" lessons and therefore limits their potential to reach more students.

Discover also how to organize your face-to-face tutoring sessions...

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