How to optimize your online tutoring equipment setup

Lawrence's picture

Lawrence

CEO of Owl Tutors

October 31st, 2017

How to optimize your online tutoring equipment setup

Online tuition is fast becoming a ubiquitous alternative to face to face tuition. Although you may have a lightning quick internet connection, the latest hardware and most appropriate software, there are a number of other factors to consider if you would like to deliver the best quality tuition. Here are Lawrence's tips to go from good to great!


Ensure that you have the best quality sound

You may be the best tutor in the world, but if your student can’t hear what you are saying this will count for very little. You will need your sound to be clear, crisp and free from noise interference. We recommend that all of our tutors use headsets whilst delivering online tuition as the microphones in headsets are better quality than those that you will typically find embedded in laptops and they will be closer to the font of all knowledge (your mouth). Not only will this mean that your voice is clearer but will help to filter out background noise that is typically picked up by embedded mics.

Owl Tutors’ top sound tip

Align the microphone on your headset along your jaw rather than in front of your mouth. This will give a clearer sound and prevent the student having to listen to you breathing!

Ensure that your lighting makes you look fantastic

No student wants to be taught by a tutor lurking in the dark. Please make sure that you are sat in a well-lit corner of a well-lit room. In order to provide the best lighting of your fine self you should aim to have either good natural light from a window or good lighting. Although you will want either windows or good lights in the room, you should aim to have this light falling on you but not to be within the camera angle. Lights or windows, if they are within camera shot, will make your camera adjust the lighting of all the other elements in order to compensate for the bright lights in view. They will dazzle (not in a good way…) your student and make you look poorly lit.

Owl Tutors’ top lighting tip

Make sure that there is plenty of light in the room, but make sure that none of these light sources are in your camera shot!

Make sure that your camera is positioned effectively

Attention all of you laptop users out there! One of the most common mistakes that I see from online tutors is that they use a laptop without a laptop stand. Most laptop users will place their device on a table and tilt the screen backwards so that they can get their face into the camera shot. At best this means that the student will have the impression that you are looking down on them. At worst they will have to look up your nose! In order to deliver the best online tuition, please make sure that your camera is pointed directly at your eye level.

Owl Tutors’ top camera tip

If you are using a laptop, purchase a laptop stand. This will mean that your student will not have to look up your nose, and it will help with your posture as well.

Create a background that inspires your student

All too many online tutors give no consideration to the background that sits behind them as they deliver online tuition. If you do not want to have any distractions other than your amazing tuition, then I would suggest sitting in front of a plain wall so that the only image the tutee will be looking at is you. If you have a cluttered background with all sorts of distracting objects, don’t be surprised if you don’t always have the full focus of your student.

Owl Tutors’ top background tip

Position yourself against a plain background or one that can be used to support your learning. A periodic table in the background for those chemistry teachers perhaps…

Find a professional yet comfortable seating position

If you are working as on online tutor, this is your job. Adopting a good seating posture will not only make you look more professional but it will also be good for your health too! I would recommend that you take a seat at a desk with a good quality chair that allows you to sit upright.

Owl Tutors’ top seating tip

Sit up straight.

 


Lawrence's picture

More about Lawrence

Lawrence is CEO of Owl. Previously, he worked in the City and trained to teach through Teach First. When he isn't running Owl, he loves triathlons.