On-Demand Online Tutoring

386px-Brack_Vocabularius_rerumTutoring over the Internet, and using technology to do it, can be tricky (difficult and challenging). An ideal (the best) tutoring situation includes a knowledgeable and skilled teacher working one-on-one (with one teacher and one student) with a student, with the tutor guiding the student over a period of time, similar to what our own Warren Ediger does with his students.

Recently, a new type of Internet tutoring service has become popular, and it has its advantages (good points) and disadvantages (bad points). These on-demand (get it when you want it) tutoring services allow parents and students to sign up (register) for the service, and either pay for a certain number of tutoring minutes in advance (before you use it) or have a credit card number on file (in their records) that can be automatically charged as needed.

Are you a high school student taking calculus (a type of advance math), a junior high student needing help with a history assignment, or a college student requiring help with an English paper? You can get on one of these tutoring services and find a tutor who is on call (immediately available to provide service).

Internet tutors generally use chat programs that allow them to type messages back and forth with students. They also use digital whiteboard programs that allow them to write or draw as they would on a chalkboard on the wall in a classroom.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, some parents say that this type of service is a godsend (very helpful and valuable), especially if the parents themselves don’t have the time to help their children with homework or don’t have the knowledge or skills needed to answer questions. However, while some who work for these tutoring services are retired (no longer working because of age) or moonlighting (taking an extra job in addition to your full-time job) teachers, some are not trained teachers, and the quality of the tutoring can be very variable (different each time). These services are not cheap, of course, and only students whose parents can afford them get this advantage – perhaps a case of the rich getting richer (people who already have privileges getting an added advantage).

Are these types of Internet tutoring services available and popular where you live? Have you or would you use such a service for yourself or your children?

– Lucy

Illustration Credit:  Brack Vocabularius rerum from Wikipedia

This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to On-Demand Online Tutoring

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Lucy and everyone

    Just to give you an idea of what I do online, while I was waiting for Lucy to post, I looked at:

    A video on youtube of a monk giving a talk on the dangers of sensual pleasures.

    On Fox News the O’Reilly factor ( I am not a conservative)

    On BBC a cute video of Birds playing an electric guitar. So cute.

    Now, about today’s topic.

    I think I have never used those kind of services. I have known a girl from Brazil, her name is Carol, that had English lessons on line like that. one-on-one.
    By the way, I got to know her here at ESLPod. Very intelligent girl.

    For the moment I will stop writing here.

    I want to see what my fellow learners have to say about it, and maybe later I am adding something more to that.

    Thank you

  2. emiliano says:

    More about the story I am going through, it was a difficult time for my dear Cuca and I was not
    aware of it.
    Sometime life could be complicated for a young girl as you may see immediately.


    from the last….

    After some months of coming to see her he requested her to be his girlfriend, what to say? what to do, being so grateful to him?.
    Evidently, yes, Cuca will be his girlfriend till the moment they will promised each other what could be a complete disaster for ever.

    After all this not happened as future keeps some surprises for this girl, either for Jose Luis and Emiliano, the boy who was out her life for the moment.

    This would be not for long, future has a paper for this boy who was outside of these events)

    to be continued….

    Up and Down

    What to say when a nice boy who is coming to see you every day? when you are going through difficult
    days? and this boy ask you to be his girl friend?, may be to go into your house easily, without any
    Now it could be seen as natural, a friend goes to see another friend but we are talking about what
    happened in Spain more than forty years and this kind of relationship was unusual.

    I don´t know really but it is necessary to be in the body of a girl that has to be a year with a plaster from
    just below her breasts down to the right foot and this person has to remain at home without going any place.
    She was so rigid that she can´t even take anything up from the floor or going to bath because she can´t
    bend and seat on a chair or upon the close toilet.
    Her vital functions have to be done on the bed upon a wedge along a year and she was really tired of being so.

    Yes, it was very hard for her, after her hip was broken everything goes wrong with the surgery and it was
    necessary to plast nearly all her body as I said before.

    What the girl says it is easy of imagine if she is a grateful girl that have a sense of gratitude and justice for this boy.
    So, little by little Cuca started to date Jose Luis, first in her house when he comes to see her, but once a year past
    when she was better and Cuca could walk the situation of being engaged with the boy was official, settle with an
    engagement ring.

    Nearly a year was necesary for Cuca to be bettar and coming back to work despite rehabilitation was necessary
    and not everything was o.k. with her hip.

    It is possible that a feeling of gratitude could be confused with love?. No, of course, when you first fall
    in love you know this is quite different, gratitude is not love and you need to love to see what this feeling is.

    This will happen soon to this girl whose name was Cuca, and she has to break with her engagement to
    get off from a confused situation that was carrying her to the abysm of a bad marriage, an anticipated
    disaster that was necessary to stop if she wanted to be happy in her life.

    Difficult, just difficult to stop her feelings with her fiance, how and why when gratitude are inside her
    heart and she didn´t want to hurt her boyfriend?.
    Good questions about what human feelings are but we are anticipating the story and we like to
    stand at the point of Cuca being engaged to this boy, Jose Luis, and returning back to her work
    after a year of stand by at home.

    It has been very hard for this young girl who was living her youth among other girls and boys of her
    same age. Stop to her trips to the mountains, stop with her funny life of twenty, daily pain was in
    her body that would change her life for long.

    Poor Cuca, it was hard for her to stay home so long with such a lot of difficulties and after a year returning to
    daily life limping with great pain in her hip. It was so painful that she had to do six months or more of
    rehabilitation to walk more or less properly while she was returning back to the bank.
    Everything was different to this young girl and her world changed so fast that she was an adult of great character
    instead of a young girl of only twenty years old.
    Yes, It has been like a nightmare but it will be real for this young girl who was living her youth among other girls and
    boys of her same age. Stop to her trips to the mountains, stop with her funny life of twenty, daily pain was iin her body
    for long and she would change her life some way stoping her funny cheerful way of living.

    Life was different, pain, responsibilities and suffering was inside her soul and she was looking life with new eyes.
    How long was going her to support this situation of not loving date with a boy?.

    Well this is left to next episode…..

  3. Mario says:

    I am in Korean.
    There are lots of Online education program there.
    It’s widespread like language, computer, sports and so on.
    Many students use this.

    It’s very convenient and cheaper than offline education.
    With my smartphone and coputer, I can excess it anywhere or anytime.
    I don’t need to go classroom and wait my tutor.

    But the most of people can’t finish it. Because anyone doesn’t motivate me.
    I think that the usability of it depends on the will of students.

    Anyway thank you Lucy

  4. Parviz says:

    Dear lovely Lucy,
    With internet accessibility world wide, internet based businesses are growing faster than ever.
    Also the communities are adapting to this changes that technology brings about.
    With the same token, education is being revolutionized by technology to suit people ever after.
    I remember many years ago, when for the first time I started using Internet, I was introduced to A language learning website by a friend.
    I remember I could make many virtual friends there, among them was a beautiful girl (called NANA) who could teach me a lot about English.
    She was a native U.S citizen, therefor I never wanted to miss a chance talking/writing to her.
    We did instant messaging (or as you said chat programs). It was just She and I (one-on-one).
    We used to share information, Or sometimes we wrote stories (I wrote mostly and she read and enjoy).
    I was very lucky to find her in the nick of time, Because I was preparing to take boring TOEFL exam.
    We enjoyed very much from that mutualism. She was amused and I was learning.
    I have a good impression of One-on-one teaching, not because of NANA, but because it works.
    You know there are a lot of scientific research that question the traditional (somehow ineffective) lecturing method, which has been used since 500 years ago.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great American essayist, lecturer, and poet in 1800s, not only believed in the ineffectiveness of mass education, but also provoked The One-on-one teaching.
    He believed that in education system there should be one teacher working with one student, with making the student do what he can’t do all alone by himself.
    And if I want to discuss his point, I believe he meant changing from teaching method to learning method.
    Thank you,


  5. Tania says:

    Hi! I have read interestedly this topic and “The Invasion of the Online Tutors” from the WSJ.
    We used the traditional methods in the education system up tp 2000.
    Since then , new ideas have been implemented every year. Bad, good ideas…
    Certainly it is necessary a new approach thanks to the technical progress and especially thanks to IT.
    Need a good pupil a personal tutor?
    Our homeworks are related with the topic taught at school. If you really want you can solve the problem.
    Of course, excepting the IT, maths, physics and chemistry problems.
    If the majority of the students can’t solve the problem, then the teacher solves it at the chalkboard.
    But for the other courses, it’s a pleasure to make yourself the topic, the essay, using the Internet.
    It’s amazing to see so many pupils using the public library computers.
    Most of us have our own computers.
    Only students whose parents can afford one-on-one system – for sure the rich getting richer – have their own tutor, sometimes even for more courses.
    Are these students the best of all?
    Without passion, without the fire of the spirit? Certainly not.

  6. Tania says:

    Hi! Avoiding the classical “we’d always end up bickering” and “the quick homework fix can ease stress
    and make evenings at home more peaceful”… yes, I’d like to access to a tutoring website providing me an on-demand tutoring.
    We have online homework-help options, too.
    But the best thing is your own desire to study, to learn…to be one of the best in your own activity field.

    The passion shines in your eyes.

  7. emiliano says:

    Well I only tried once and it has failed, I think it has been
    That has been all my experience about direct teaching
    trough the web.
    So, it is possible I don´t try any more.


  8. emiliano says:

    sorry, mistake



  9. Fardowsa Dayib says:

    very interesting topic, i was recently searching free tutor in online. I do really bad in wringing and i am currently taking college english course which contains a lot of research paper. Since we are talking about this topic, i would appreciate if anyone can give me advice of ways to improve my writing skills. i am unsatisfied my grade of this course and i am willing to take an action. I am very pleased finding this website and found helpful. I like to know if there is a way i can improve my writing in just 3 months during summer. please let me if you know websites and etc; even if i have to pay i am ready for it.Thank you so much.

  10. Dan says:

    Hey Fardowsa.

    Go to Warren’s website Successful English.

    There you’ll find everything you need.

  11. Tania says:

    Hi! During my school courses I remember that one of our classmates, a poor girl from the country side, was the best in maths.
    For all of us, our night-mare it was the analytical geometry. This poor girl could solve any difficult problem showing to us how simple it is.
    She is a maths teacher today.
    But her night-mare was the literature. She couldn’t keep in mind quotes, lyrics, a poetical dream…
    Did she access a tutor? No. She could manage at all exams.

  12. Parviz says:

    Hi Fardowsa
    I know how you feel, since it was my problem too.
    I am telling you that “there no writing practice, without having been reading a lot”. writing is secondary to reading and listening.

    As Dan said go to Successful English.com where professor warren collected nice resources and effective suggestions.
    The ESL blog is a good place for advanced students, who can fairly read and understand English.
    But, I am guessing that your big problem is your motivation (and you are in a hurry).
    I mean, you find it very difficult to do it by yourself or somehow you are unsure of the result.
    Below I leave a very effective quote from Dr. Stephen Krashen (who is probably one of the number one experts on language learning and
    language teaching in the world).
    Just follow his advance (as I did), and you will get where you want to go.

    “When second language learners read for pleasure, they develop
    the competence (ability) they need to move from the beginning ordinary
    conversational level to a level where they can use the second
    language for more demanding (difficult) purposes. Such as the serious
    study of literature, business and so on. When they read for
    pleasure they can continue to improve in their second language
    without classes, without teachers, without study. And even without
    people to converse with. When we read we really have no choice. We must develop literacy.
    We rarely find well-read people who have serious problems with
    grammar, spelling and so on. They write acceptably well because
    they can’t help it. They have subconsciously acquired good writing
    style as well as the conventions (rules) of writing. Our problem in
    language education, as Frank Smith has pointed out, is that we
    have confused cause and effect. We have assumed that we first
    learn language skills and then apply these skills to reading and
    writing. But that is not the way the human brain works. Rather,
    reading for meaning, reading about things that matter to us is the
    cause of language development.”


  13. Myo ko ko says:

    Hi, Parviz
    I totally agree with you and with Dr. Stephen.
    ‘Cuz it was and is the way I use to have acquired most of my E skills.
    Yup, here I echo some very important tips that Dr. Stephen stressed.
    (We ESL students should keep them in their minds.)

    >> We rarely find well-read people who have serious problems with grammar, spelling and so on.
    They write acceptably well because “they can’t help it.” They “have subconsciously acquired” good writing style as well as the conventions (rules) of writing.

    >>Our problem in language education is that we have confused cause and effect. We have assumed that we first learn language skills and then apply these skills to reading and writing. But that is not the way the human brain works. Rather, reading for meaning, reading about things that matter to us is the cause of language development.”

    Hope we stick to it. 😉
    Hey, I’m still trying to get a hang.
    Sorry guys, I can’t write that much. My phone is acting up.

    Myo ko ko

  14. November says:

    Hello Dr. Lucy,

    Online tutors are really popular everywhere nowadays.
    I 100% agree with you on the statement that people will get different experience with different tutors.
    Not all of the tutors are well-prepared or have a skillful knowledge at the subject that student gets stuck with.
    I’m pretty sure online tutoring is like eenie-meenie-miney-mo game, we can not be so sure about the mysterious “who” behind the keyboard and the white screen.
    However, some company requires payment prior the tutoring session, I don’t think that’s a smart move.
    How’s about let us verify tutor’s qualification for the first 15 minutes and payment .. of course, i will pay without having any questions or feeling of being rip off.
    This is a very nice topic and it catches my attention. Thank you Dr. Lucy.



Comments are closed.