Guest Author - Elizabeth Stuttard
As with any student, distance learning students sometimes need extra help with one or more of their subjects. Since you are likely taking online courses, then you are likely to look for that extra help online too in the form of online tutoring or homework help. There are many such services available online. The problem is to discover which of the services would be best for you. There are many factors to consider when determining which company will serve you best. You can narrow down the companies that you check out by doing a Google search for reviews of the tutoring companies. There are a couple of sites that do a comparison type of review which is really helpful. Here is a list of factors which you may want to consider.
1. What is the grade level of the course you need help with? Help is offered from kindergarten to college level courses.
2. Which subject do you need help with? There is tutoring available for almost every subject from the maths and sciences to English to music to the social sciences.
3. Do you need help with homework or do you need the whole course taught as a backup to your regular teacher? You may need help with one or two specific topics being covered or you may be having great difficulty understanding the whole subject.
4. Do you want general information about the subject or do you need a tutor to help you with a specific problem?
5. What types of resources would be helpful to you? Some companies provide resources for parents. Some provide dictionaries, encyclopaedias, maps etc.
6. What type of activities would benefit you or your child? Some companies use videos, games, quizzes or other activities to help the learning process.
7. If you are paying for a service, you should get technical support from the company. Companies offer different levels of support such as online help, forums, e-mail support, telephone support or sometimes just FAQ’s. Some companies offer no support and some offer 2 or 3 different kinds of support.
8. How much are you willing to pay for the help? Different types of payment plans are available at different companies. The rates for one-on-one tutoring can vary from $15 per hour to $40+ per hour. Some companies offer monthly plans such as $100 per month for unlimited tutoring or $50 per month if you sign up for 12 months. Of course there are some free services available online too. These may be perfect for you if you only need assistance with one or two problems you come across while studying.
9. What extra costs are involved? Sometimes you need specific computer capabilities or a microphone with a headset.
10. What can you find out about the tutors? They vary from having only a regular teaching certificate to having a master’s or doctorate degree. Any of these may be fine but the tutors with higher qualifications will probably have higher rates and you may need someone with higher qualifications to help with higher level courses.
11. How easy is it to use the company’s website? It should not be tedious or difficult to get from one page to another, especially for children. For everyone, the easier it is to navigate, the better.
12. Does the site offer a free trial? Some of them do. One site even allows the students and/or parents to choose the tutor.
13. Does the service offer voice interaction between the student and the tutor? Some offer only whiteboard and chat type interaction.
14. Does the company offer a guarantee? At least one company does.
Online tutoring and homework help services are a type of distance learning services. There are many of them online at the present time and it is best to do some thorough research on them before choosing the one that will be most suitable for you. Decide which of the above factors is important to you and check them out for the services you are considering using.