Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tutoring Gets Outsourced

It had to happen!

With rates for in-home tutors in the U.S. averaging around $60 per hour, and video conferencing software coming along that allows people across the globe to hold productive meetings on each other's computer screens, it was only a matter of time until enterprising companies found a way to outsource private tutoring of American students to India.

Now, for about $25 per hour (less than half price), a student in San Francisco can work with a tutor in India over the internet utilizing modern voice and conferencing software to communicate essential academic questions and concepts.

Apparently, the arrangement works quite well for many students, especially for those whose parents are unable to afford the higher cost of hiring a private tutor to work in person with their son or daughter.

Of course, nothing beats a face-to face one-on-one sit down with an expert private teacher. So much of communication is non-verbal, and many students will find internet tutoring to lack the fullness of instruction and personal quality that only live sessions with local tutors and coaches can provide. Students with learning differences or disabilities will almost certainly find that impersonal online sessions with tutors untrained and inexperienced in handling these difficult issues are inadequate to meet their specialized needs. Still others will want to be able to go into greater depth and detail than is possible through a remote, online connection with a teacher continents away.

But for simple questions, occasional sessions, or a low cost way to meet the needs of struggling students, online tutoring offers a viable alternative that may be worth considering for many families.

An excellent article recently appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, and offers a starting point for those interested in finding out more (to go to the article, click here).

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