As coronavirus cases have increased, so have the number of companies asking their employees to work from home.
With many also implementing remote-work policies.
As travellers cancel flights and stocks fall, a global health pandemic now has become a global economic crisis.
In any health pandemic, our first concern is with the health of those affected.
COVID-19 has brought about many more death worldwide and more and more cases are being confirmed daily countries all over the world.
But unfortunately, the economic impacts also have dramatic effects on the wellbeing of families and communities.
For vulnerable families, lost income due to an outbreak can translate to spikes in poverty, missed meals for children, and reduced access to healthcare far beyond the pandemic.
While the spread in the United States and Europe absorbs much of the media coverage, confirmed cases from many low- and middle-income countries mean that many of the economic impacts may affect the world’s most vulnerable populations.
It’s not unreasonable therefore to think that many who are home now due to the coronavirus may be going through major economic crises.
What then can you do even whiles at home to generate income for yourself and your family?
ONLINE TUITION JOBS
Online tuition is one-to-one tuition where tutor and student are not in the same room, or even the same continent.
Online tuition and face-to-face tuition are often compared, but it’s worth noting because online tuition uses live streaming video, so student and tutor are face-to-face, just not physically.
A better comparison could be online versus in-person tuition.
HOW IT WORKS
Tutor and student connect through an online platform that allows them to see each other, hear each other, share documents, and collaborate on problems together.
Desktops can be shared so each can see what the other has on their screen.
A tutor can present a PowerPoint and annotate slides whilst the student watches and takes notes. Or, a student can load a question they’re stuck with, share their desktop and ask the tutor to guide them through it.
It’s normal to use an online whiteboard, which is an interactive space where tutor and student can collaborate.
Either can write, sketch, or drag-and-drop documents onto the whiteboard ready for annotation.
It’s easy to load an exam paper and then answer it together using either a digital pen, or by simply adding text boxes.
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SOFTWARE’S FOR ONLINE TUTORING
Online tuition is often portrayed as some new-fangled, highly-technical activity needing sophisticated software and equipment.
The truth is, all you need is a platform that allows two people to see and hear each other and share documents.
This is something people in the world of business started doing and then perfected decades ago, so it’s no surprise that business videoconferencing platforms like Skype, Zoom, WebEx, Adobe Connect and newcomer Google Hangouts have been adopted by online tutors.
There are more sophisticated solutions, such as learning management systems (LMS) allowing delivery and management of complete online courses, but for most tutors and their students, a free Skype account will do.
WHAT YOU NEED
Obviously you need either a desktop computer or laptop.
Online tuition can work using a tablet or phone but squinting at a small screen isn’t ideal.
For best results, student and tutor should be settled in one location, looking at a decent-sized screen, with hands free to write or do calculations.
A headset is necessary, so you can hear and be heard. Most students also use something very simple like their phones’ hands-free kit.
Some tutors prefer speakers and a desktop microphone. It’s down to personal choice.
A webcam is also mandatory. The ones built in to most laptops and monitors are fine, but if you don’t have that, decent USB webcams is also fine.
BENEFITS OF ONLINE TUITION
More choice of tutors.
It’s difficult to disagree with this claim. The online network of tutors spans the globe, so you have the choice of hiring the best tutor, not just the tutor that’s within driving distance.
This extra choice can prove to be a huge advantage for niche subjects, or students in places where there aren’t that many local tutors.
More choice is also an advantage for popular subjects, such as the sciences.
For example, if you search for a GCSE chemistry tutor on one of the larger tutor directories, you’ll find that there are just few in your area. However, if you search for online tutors though, there are more than you can expect.
No need to travel.
Traditional face-to-face tuition needs either student to travel to tutor, or vice versa.
That means travel time must be factored into scheduling and costs.
This is why traditional tutor will normally charge their travel costs to the parents.
Removing the need to travel 20-3o minutes for a lesson is a big advantage for tutor, student and parent, particularly if you’re a busy parent that doesn’t have time to ferry your child back and forth for tuition.
More scheduling flexibility.
Online tuition requires two people to be online at the same time, which is far easier to organise than arranging for two people to be in the same place at the same time.
It allows for short lessons, longer lessons, multiple lessons per week, lesson arranged at short notice, quick revision lessons on Christmas day and lessons to be booked en route to your holiday destination.
There is no doubt that scheduling flexibility is one of the major advantages of online tuition.
You can study anywhere.
True also, provided ‘anywhere’ is a place with an internet connection.
You can tutor students whilst they are skiing on holidays in the Alps and in a Dubai café.
The point being, you can be anywhere in the world and if you can get online, your tutor can be there to help.
It enhances learning.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have noticed that young people love technology and love being online.
You may be surprise about the number of hours that teenagers devote to staring at their screens, but if they’re going to stare at a glowing screen for hours, isn’t it better if they take something positive away from it?
Online learning helps with engagement, because an online tutor has at their fingertips a host of apps, animations, games, and video that they can instantly call upon.
These things draw the student in. Even the interactive nature of online whiteboards, on which you can scribble, highlight and label diagrams, can inject some much-needed zest into a dull topic.
The benefit with online tuition is that your audience is captivated and engaged, which makes learning more likely to happen.
Allows more regular contact.
Nowadays, if you work online, it’s difficult to not be always online.
How many of you find yourselves constantly checking for emails from colleagues, or from your boss? Now imagine you’re interacting with people that are barely offline – school children and students.
You can take an ‘always available’ approach with your students, meaning they are free to message you via text, Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype or email whenever they feel like it.
It’s common for you to receive scanned questions wanting your feedback at 8am on Sunday morning, or a text asking for something to be explained late at night.
You can oblige because technology permits this level of interaction and it’s beneficial for your students.
Online tuition is cheaper.
The argument is, since online tuition saves on travel costs, the tutor can pass those savings on to the client as a lower hourly rate.
However, the view for most professional tutors is that clients are paying for your time, which you value at the same rate whether you’re there in person or online.
Safer than face-to-face.
The argument here is that because you’re not leaving your child alone with an unknown adult, then they are at reduced risk.
I agree with this, but children unfortunately do come to great harm online.
Parents must be vigilant in asking to see references and criminal record checks for online tutors.
Less risk of cold and ‘flu.
Coughs and colds spread through schools like wildfire and every teacher knows that once the new school year is underway, it’s only a matter of time before the sniffles start.
Tutors are in the same position. One of the advantages of no contact is it means no more catching whatever is going around.
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You can’t assess progress.
If you couldn’t see or hear the student, you would lose the vital cues – body language, posture, tone of voice etc. – that tell you whether they’re understanding or not. Except that you can see and hear the student since you have live audio and video.
Assessment of progress for online tuition is no different to in a classroom.
You ask questions and listen to the responses; you work through problems and look for misconceptions or knowledge gaps; between lessons, you set homework that you mark and periodically, you test the student.
It’s harder to build relationships.
We are social animals, and we rely on physical interactions to form relationships.
Back when people really started connecting online, there was scepticism over whether it was possible to form meaningful relationships without those interactions.
That turned out not to be true; people form great friendships and even fall in love online.
I don’t personally believe online interaction is as meaningful as face-to-face, but the question here is does lack of physical interaction hinder learning?
No, it doesn’t. Teaching is highly effective and students make excellent progress. Plus, you can get to know students very well online and have fun.
A really good way to overcome the intercontinental gulf and connect with online students better is show them pictures of where you live.
I’m lucky to live on the stunning north east coastline so have a few pictures saved in a presentation that I show my overseas students.
They are always eager to return the favour and show me pictures that capture the sense of the place they live.
Notwithstanding that, I do have to admit that with online tuition, you lose the ‘buzz’ of the classroom – the energy and enthusiasm that comes from being around young people in a learning environment – though that’s more about classroom teaching versus tutoring.
Also, online tuition is very business-like and can be quite intense.
You login, connect and bang! within 30 seconds you’re learning.
Classroom teachers that think every second of a lesson and are devoted to learning would love online tuition.
Technology is too unreliable.
Certainly, a stable internet connection is necessary as is a modern computer that won’t crawl to a standstill if you have too many applications running.
In terms of unreliability, the most likely risk is network failure, which based on experience is no longer an issue in most places today.
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You can’t do practical work.
You can teach students about apparatus and techniques from a theoretical perspective online, which helps them to prepare for practical exam questions.
However, for GCSE and above, where students need to get ‘hands-on’ and work in a properly-equipped laboratory under supervision, you are left with videos and simulations, which is no substitute.
Not suitable for younger children.
Of course with much younger children, there could be issues with engagement, focus and possibly even behaviour without the physical presence of a teacher.
However since it is done online, it’s common practice for parents to participate with their kids since that helps to reduce focus and engagement problem.
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Although traditional forms of tutoring, including face-to-face lessons and residential placements remain as popular as ever, online tuition has also been gaining traction over the last few years.
With a distinct rise in online tuition websites, many tutors have begun to work exclusively online and some schools have even started offering online programmes.
As the world comes together to solve this coronavirus pandemic, the demand for online tuition has also become more and more in demand.