Online Tutoring from India Part-1

Hi!

This is the first post in my series on online tutoring from India. Many people have been asking me about how this concept works and hence this series. Online tutoring is relatively new in India. It has been around here since 2005 and has gained momentum since 2006-07. I have been involved in online tutoring for over three years now and would like to share my experiences with you all. If you are an experienced online tutor/trainer, I invite you to share your experiences with me and the rest of the world and send your views/comments/feedback to me. For aspiring online tutors from India/abroad, feel free send in any questions that you have to me. You can reply to this post and I will make it a point to reply to every single post (That’s a promise!)

In the first part of this series, I’ll focus upon how I got involved with online tutoring. My advent into the online tutoring arena was accidental. It happened in the summer of 2007. I was doing my Masters in Biochemistry then and it was vacation time for me. Since I didn’t have the obligations of project work during the first year of my course, I had tremendous amount of time (65 days!) to kill. I came across the Yahoo Answers portal where people from all over the world can post questions on any topic and anyone across the globe can answer them. I began answering to questions under the chemistry and biology sections and soon got addicted to it.

One day I got a message from one of the members of Y! Answers asking me teach him some aspects of chemistry online. I was completely new to this and didn’t have a clue as to how online teaching worked. I spent the rest of the day, googling about online teaching and managed to gather meagre inputs. However, I did get some tips from him and hence my first student became my first teacher in online education!

After that, I had a discussion with Dr. P.T. Srinivasan, who was my professor and is the head of the department of Biochemistry of D.G. Vaishnav College. He is probably one of the very few professors in Chennai, who interact with his students through Yahoo groups and has a web domain for himself where he posts periodic updates for his students. Upon his advice I started my own Web site titled Biochemistry For U.

Initially, I was not sure as to how to market my services. Since I had other academic, co-curricular and extracurricular commitments, I couldn’t spend much time upon thinking on those lines. I posted some advertisements through some free ad portals. Within a month, I had about 4 students enrolled with me in school and college level from US, UK and Australia. This meant tremendous amount of work and I was spending a significant amount of time in preparing course material for the students. Over a period of time, as more students signed up with me, I began accumulating a substantial amount of study material in my repository. I then decided to make all of them open source and hence posted them on public domains. I later realized that this has, by itself, served as an advertisement for my services. By this time, I had also associated myself with a start-up UK-based company as a part-time online tutor. It is during this period that I was exposed to language and accent training. This proved to be an excellent opportunity for correcting my MTI (mother tongue influence) in my accent and in my language.

Today, I’m working as a senior online tutor, SME (subject matter expert)/content developer and a trainer with a private company. Apart from my work with the company, I am also involved in content development as a freelancer. I have authored four books so far and I should say that it was indeed a different and enjoyable experience. I will talk more about content development in another post. I am also involved in providing assistance for research students in their PhD studies.

Among many points, in my view, the following 5 points are extremely important for making a successful online tutor. A successful online tutor must

  • have a very good knowledge of the subject (Isn’t that obvious?)
  • believe in themselves (a.k.a. confidence)
  • never be a technophobic (We are on the driver’s seat and not the computer!)
  • understand the importance of language and communication
  • learn and appreciate the cultural background of the learner

I will be concentrating on the above points, among the other aspects of online tutoring in my successive posts.

Happy reading!

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Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 19:35  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well written blog. Its nice to share ur experience on online tutoring. This form of teaching crossing not just classrooms but national borders is indeed a milestone in teaching profession. I am sure this blog will help many ambitious teachers. All the best for ur blog and career.

    • Hey!
      Thanks for your comment!

      Vytheeshwaran Vedagiri

  2. Hi! Mr Vedagiri!
    I am a teacher in a reputed school in Mumbai, teaching IGCSE and A level Biology. I am also into private tutoring but now want to start online tutoring.
    I request to guide me on how I should start. I have registered with a few companies online but do not know their credentials

    .Awaiting your reply.
    Thanks,
    Kalpana Paprikh

    • Hi!
      As I had mentioned in my posts, it can be done either privately by posting ads or by registering with companies which provide freelance opportunities. Like you’ve mentioned, there are many sham companies in this area and hence must be approached with caution. Mail me the list of companies you’ve got and I will do my best to help you out with them.

      Best wishes!

  3. Thank you for your quick response. I have just registered with tutorvista, tutorpace, wiziq, emeritnation,myprivatetutor,india, tutorfi.com.

    Instead of registering with these companies, how can I directly advertise to my target audience?Appreciate your advice.
    Regards,
    Kalpana


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