Benefits of online tutoring in today's academic scenario
The current academic scenario revolves around examinations, marks and grades. As if the entire system of education is meant to prepare students to gain marks to achieve certificates and degrees. Marks have become so crucially important; they decide the careers and future prospects of aspirants. Classes are crowded to an extent where the student -teacher ratio exceeds the ideal limit. In the given circumstances, teachers are unable to pay individual attention to students. The teachers employ the same methodology for teaching the entire class; however, students have different learning capabilities. It is impossible for teachers to cater to the needs of each and every student. Hence, students are compelled to seek extra coaching outside formal classroom teaching.
Private tutors see a lucrative opportunity to earn money by providing individualized coaching. They charge exorbitant amount of fees and the extra cost has to be borne in addition to school/college fees. The students are required to pay annual fees in advance and secure their seats. In case they do not find a coaching class suitable for them, they cannot afford to keep changing classes and tutors frequently. Students attend school/college for five to six hours; in addition, they have to allot extra time for attending tuition classes. Sometimes, the classes are far from their residence so valuable time and money is spent in commutation. Private tutors and coaching classes are rampant in cities, making it difficult to decide which classes are really good. Some popular classes even demand a cut-off of marks for giving admissions. These classes are equally crowded and the tutors have no time for individual attention. The consequences of this system are that real education does not take place. Educational institutions and coaching classes alike have become machineries for producing exam-oriented masses of students. The root cause of the system is undue importance given to marks.
Technology has brought about revolutionary change in human life in recent times. There is deep impact of technology on the educational scenario. Human beings are drifting away from the real world into the virtual world. The internet has created a network of the virtual world and people from any part of the world can connect with people anywhere, anytime, within minutes. Video-chatting, video-conferencing and Skype bring people from various parts of the world together virtually. Students and teachers have found these new virtual meeting places to their great advantage. It has given rise to the concept of online tutoring.
Online tutoring solves most of the practical problems faced by students and tutors. Students save time and money required for commutation. Online teaching takes place on one-to-one basis, hence it is individualized as per the needs and grasping power of students. Students can select a time slot with which they are convenient. Online teaching sessions are conducted round the clock for 24 hours. Students get the advantage of getting guidance from teachers across the globe. They can avail of expertise in every subject from tutors in any part of the world. They can learn a foreign language from native speakers. Moreover, they are not bound to any particular tutor or organization permanently. They are charged session wise; hence if they are dissatisfied with one tutor, they can try another without any issues. Some online tutoring companies offer free demo lessons, thus enabling students to make the right choice.
On the part of tutors, they can maintain flexibility in working hours, they have the freedom to choose or refuse a student. Since teachers do not have to travel as in the case of regular classes, they charge reasonable fees on hourly basis. They get a chance to teach and interact with students from all over the world, thus enriching their teaching experience substantially. They get acquainted with students from different cultures and an opportunity of getting familiar with the curriculum followed in different parts of the world. The internet charges on both sides are almost negligible and worth a great deal, considering the benefits.
The greatest advantage of online teaching-learning is that tutors can not only help students to prepare for examinations but also make sure that students understand the concepts well. Immediate feedback is possible; hence, teachers can change their teaching methods and techniques to suit the students. They can go slow or fast, depending on the student's learning abilities for each topic. This leads to better academic performance. A study was conducted by John T. E. Richardson ( Richardson 169-85) in which he concluded that there were no significant differences between the students who received face-to-face tuition and those who received online tuition either in their perceptions of the academic quality of their courses or in the approaches to studying that they adopted on those courses.
Indeed, online tutoring is a great boon in today's academic scenario. There are a number of companies that provide online tutoring services for all subjects for all levels. They offer free trial sessions. The students pay in advance for each session. There is no compulsion of any kind and students can decide when to start or stop the sessions. There are few drawbacks in online teaching, for example, cooperative and collaborative learning advantages cannot be enjoyed by students. This too is possible via virtual classes, but these can be conducted only in well-established centres because they require a great deal of investment. Teachers cannot demonstrate, perform experiments or use the blackboard during online teaching. With further development in technology, perhaps the existing flaws and drawbacks will be overcome and online tutoring will be the order of the day. Sue Shellenbarger( 2013) opines that online tutors "fill a huge gap that can never be filled by parents."