A bad internet connection can be frustrating for both student and tutor when tuition is taking place online. Following these 5 simple steps can dramatically improve the quality of connection and allow students to connect with the world's best tutors, wherever they may be!
Technology is changing education. Online tuition is enabling any student to be taught by any teacher anywhere in the world. Although this is an incredible advance in the availability and flexibility of labour and learning, technology can sometimes let us down. One of the most common ways that online tuition will be disrupted is by poor internet connections which can make online tuition frustrating and inefficient. Video and audio streams freezing, repeating or missing content can have a large impact on the success of online tuition.
There are several different factors that can affect the quality of your internet connection when delivering online tuition. The purpose of this post is to suggest five actions that you can take to improve the quality of your connection so that you can deliver or receive the best online tuition available.
Wireless technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last ten years. We are now largely connected to the internet using wireless devices as this technology is readily available and relatively inexpensive. Most people tend to choose convenience (using wifi) over quality (using a cable). If your internet connection is not as good as you would like it to be, one possible solution is to purchase an Ethernet cable and connect your device directly into your broadband router. Unfortunately, not all devices will have Ethernet ports and so you may only be able to do this with a desktop and some laptops.
In most countries, you will find comparison websites that compare the broadband speeds of different providers that are available to you. It is worth using these websites to check your upload and download speeds to find out whether another provider in your area could deliver a faster connection. If you do find that another provider can give you a quicker speed you may want to consider switching.
The provision of internet services to all the many users is not infinite. Internet providers must divide the services that they can provide amongst all the users that are purchasing this service from them. To provide relatively consistent services to their users, many providers set limits on the internet speeds that any account is entitled to. Many providers then sell different packages with different limits to maximise their profits. If you are looking to establish a quicker connection it is always worth checking with your existing provider to see if they can increase your speed limit. Sometimes they may even do this for free (if you don’t ask you don’t get!).
It is likely that you will be delivering or receiving online tuition through either a desktop or a laptop. Although tablets and phones can be used for online tuition, we would discourage this as these devices have limited interactivity compared with computers. All devices tend to slow with time. The main reasons for this are that hard drives get clogged up with files and applications and that software providers write more and more complex applications which older devices are not designed to run. If you are looking to save money, your first action should be to clear your hard drive and reinstall your operating system (only if you know what you are doing!!!). Resetting your device will often return it to the speeds that you were used to when your machine was new. If it does not, the next best thing will likely be to purchase a new device.
There are many different programs that you can use to deliver online tuition. Some of these programs are more complex than others and therefore require more processing power from your device or more bandwidth from your internet connection. If you try different software solutions, you may find that some operate quicker than others all else being equal.
Good luck and get technical!