Advantages to Online Tutoring
Some people might claim that working online might prevent people from being able to fully express their concerns or that it might prevent tutors from fully understanding those concerns. However, we would argue that it simply depends on the preferences of the tutee. For example, when working with ESL students, online tutoring can lessen the anxiety of having to pronounce their concerns properly. It eliminates many problems that ESL students face in expressing their writing conflicts and allows for them and the tutor to focus on the writing itself. However, there are several hindrances in online tutoring that can prevent it from being considered an equal to face-to-face tutoring sessions. Asynchronous tutoring can hinder productivity. One of the biggest setbacks in asynchronous online tutoring is waiting for a response. However, with MSU’s online tutoring, this is combatted through the use of synchronous online tutoring; therefore, to a degree, the issues affiliated with online tutoring are mitigated.
Online tutoring also encourages both the tutee and the tutor to write. Lauren Fitzgerald writes, “Instant messaging and other forms of synchronous tutoring can encourage writers to write during sessions, which can help them generate text that they can use for their projects.” (179) In a face-to-face-session, many times students are waiting on the tutor to write for them. However, the medium of online tutoring scaffolds students to type. At the beginning of the session, the tutee is confronted with the reality that the session is interactive and requires writing in order to continue. In a face-to-face session, tutees will sometimes rely too heavily on the tutor to write down their ideas for them.
Another positive aspect of online tutoring is the detailed reference notes after the session. In a face-to-face session, sometimes the tutor will make notes throughout the session that the tutee may take with them. However, these notes are limited, and the tutee will more than likely forget some of the activity that took place during the session while revising their paper later. With an online session, they can see the entire session afterwards. By being able to review the entire session, they will not have to worry about remembering everything that happened or everything that was said because they will have the entire session at their disposal.
Additionally, online tutoring provides the advantage of comfort. In The Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors, Bill Chewning, an undergraduate tutor-researcher, states, “Online tutorials…allows tutors and tutees to address issues from places where and times that they feel most comfortable or “ready” to take on particular tasks” (179). Here, Chewning discusses how tutoring has changed over time, allowing to have some freedom in regards to their locale while in their sessions. For instance, a tutee can be at home in his/her bed, drinking coffee while participating in a session online. The tutee is in a comfort zone, which may allow him/her to feel more comfortable to express themselves in a way that they would not feel comfortable doing so in a new, foreign environment.