I was recently asked to share some tips for instructors who were new to online tutoring. The research and documents published on this topic are impressive and maybe even overwhelming, so here is my very simple summary that I hope will be helpful to someone.
- Be Proactive
- Know your course – from the student point -of –view.
Actually complete the assignments as if you were the student; you might be able to identify confusing instructions before you get bombarded by questions from everyone.
- Seek information about your students. Send out a pre-assessment information request or include an information forum at the start. Knowing your students’ reasons for taking the course will help you to help them.
- Day one – Be the first one “there”. Post a welcome before the course begins.
- Post regular announcements; due dates can be helpful for students to manage the work load and pace the submission of assignments.
- Communicate clearly with students on missing or faulty assignments; encourage lagging students.
2. Be Professional
- Timely responses are expected; try to respond within one business day.
- Establish “Office Hours” when you can be contacted via phone, skype or eluminate.
- Create a standard of quality assignments and postings; model appropriate online communication.
- Use professional language; avoid “texting” abbreviations.
3. Be Personable
- Choose your comments carefully and try to add inspiration or suggestions to responses.
- Ask questions in your comments that might lead students to a new perspective.
- Tailor your feedback to individual’s unique situations and level of understanding.
- Recommend additional resources that might lead to a greater depth of study.