How This Works
Tutoring via the internet inherently comes with its quarks. Hopefully after reading the information on this page you will have a sufficient understanding of the process to be able to get the most out of your session.
First off, here is a brief overview of how an online tutoring session with me is suppose to work:
- Before the session starts you complete any prep that you feel is necessary.
- You start up a computer that meets or exceeds my minimum computer requirements, pull up your email inbox and then test your microphone and speakers (here's a good site to test that).
- At the start of the session, (well actually a few minutes before the start of the session), you receive an email from me containing the link to the session.
- Once you open the link in Google Chrome, accept any necessary permissions, and join the session, we should be connected and able to hear each other.
- I verify your age if needed, send you the link to my payment page, and you pay me for the session.
- I help you with the applicable material. If you need to send math problems to me, the easiest way to do that is to take a picture of them with your phone, and then email the pictures to images at tutoringbyroger dot com.
- Once we are finished working through the material, (or your time is up), you can simply leave the session by clicking the red phone icon and closing the applicable browser tab.
In reality however, there are a bunch of things that can come up that may prevent your session from going as smoothly as the above summary would suggest. I will address them in order from pre-session to post-session:
Potential issue #1: Not preparing for your session sufficiently. This preparation doesn't have to take a long time. However, if you spend a few minutes organizing your notes ahead of time, you will save yourself from having to spend time flipping through your notes during the session. I typically advise students to make a brief list of the problems that they would like to cover and have that ready before the session starts. That way we can get through more problems in a given amount of time. Furthermore, you might also consider taking pictures of the applicable problems ahead of time so that you don't need to worry about that during the session either.
Potential issue #2: Not having a sufficient computer/internet/microphone/speaker setup. This should be fairly easy to avoid. Just make sure that your setup meets the minimum requirements outlined on my computer requirements page. Also be sure to verify that your microphone and speakers are working before the start of every session. It is very easy to forget that you adjusted a setting somewhere and then spend the first few minutes of the session fiddling with your audio settings to find the issue. Avoid that by testing your microphone and speakers.
Potential issue #3: Not receiving the email with the link to your session. This can happen for a few reasons, which I will cover in the order of likeliness: 1. The email went into your spam folder or is taking its sweet time to get to you. Unfortunately, even today with high speed internet and fast computers, the email may not get to you instantly. While you are waiting though, you should check your spam or trash folder to ensure that it didn't inadvertently end up in there. If it did end up in your spam or trash folder, please mark it as not spam so that you don't have that issue the next time you schedule a session with me. 2. My internet is down. While this is unlikely, it could be possible that I don't have any internet connection. In this case, there isn't much I can do until my internet comes back up. Thus, please have patience and I will let you know what happened as soon as I can get back online. At least you won't loose any money on your session since you haven't paid for it yet. 3. I have been summoned for Jury duty, am in the hospital or have been struck by lightning. This is extremely unlikely, but here again, if I am not able to communicate with the outside world, there really isn't much I can do. Please be patient and if I can let you know what happened, I will certainly do so. Above all else, I will always try to either send you an email with the link to your session a few minutes prior to the start of your session or let you know that I have to re-schedule. I make it my goal to avoid leaving you hanging. If you haven't gotten any response from me, assume that it is because it isn't possible for me to contact you. You should also check my main homepage if you haven't already done so as there may be a notice at the top of the page.
Potential issue #4: Not being able to open the link and/or connect with me. This is usually caused by not opening the link in the right browser or some other technical issue. First off, ensure that you have Google Chrome installed on your computer and working properly. Ensure that your computer/internet/microphone/speakers setup meets or exceeds the minimum requirements on my Computer Requirements page. Make sure that you are opening the link in Google Chrome. You may need to right-click on the link and copy the address or URL and then open Google Chrome and paste the link into the address bar. If you don't feel particularly comfortable with technology, it might be beneficial to have someone help you who is fairly fluent with technology. That way they can get things set up for your first tutoring session and hopefully show you how to do it next time. If you are fairly comfortable with technology generally, you shouldn't have any issues. Some other things to check would include the following: 1. Make sure you are not trying to access the session through incognito mode. It may not work that way. 2. Make sure that you accept any and all requests for access to your microphone/speakers and camera. 3. Disable any browser add-ons at least temporarily. Sometimes these can cause issues. 4. Make sure that you are using a network that allows videoconferencing. Some public/corporate/school networks are very restrictive and might block such connections to save bandwidth. 5. Ensure your computer is free from viruses and malware. These can cause all kinds of issues by hogging system resources and your internet connection. 6. Ensure that no other programs are using system resources or accessing the internet. Sometimes other programs can be using your internet connection behind the scenes. For example, Dropbox might be backing up your files, or Twitter might be checking for new posts. This can prevent you from being able to video conference with me because they are hogging the connection. If all else fails you may want to have a qualified IT technician take a look at your computer to see if they can solve the issue.
Potential issue #5: Not being able to prove your age. I would rather not have to verify your age. However, if I don't do that, some youngsters will take advantage of that to spend their parents money on tutoring that their parents might not have approved of. Thus, please have either a driver's licence or some other form of government issued identification handy so that I can verify your date of birth if needed. You can cover up any other numbers on it when you show it to me, but I will need to see at least the year. If you just turned 18 this year, I will need to see your whole date of birth. If you are indeed over 18, we can proceed directly to payment and then tutoring. However, if you are under 18, I will need to verify with your parent or legal guardian that they are agreeable to you receiving tutoring. If you wish to avoid this step at the start of every session you can have your parent or legal guardian write and sign a letter explaining that they are agreeable to you receiving tutoring from me, and then simply show me that letter each time you need tutoring from me.
Potential issue #6: Having trouble paying for your session. My payment page should allow you to pay with any major credit or debit card or by logging into your PayPal account. If you wish to pay me by logging into your PayPal account and you haven't logged in there in a while, you might want to make sure you can log in there before the session starts. Also, please don't attempt to pay me prior to the start of the session. If you do pay me before the start of the session I will assume that you are donating that money to me with no expectation of anything in return. Also, please understand that I require payment at the start of the session rather than at the end. The reason for this is because you will ultimately always have the ability to close the session whenever you want to. Thus, if I wait until the end to handle the payment you could theoretically simply leave the session without paying. If we have technical issues during the session I am typically willing to refund your money. See my tutoring policy for more details.
Potential issue #7: Needing help with something that I can't help you with. As much as I would like to know everything there is to know in the world, that simply isn't possible. Furthermore, there are some things that I cannot help you with for academic integrity reasons. An example of this would be any sort of test, quiz, exam, evaluation, assessment, mid-term, final, or any other assignment that is used by your instructor to determine your understanding of the material. I can certainly help you with bulk homework as that is typically intended to allow you to practice and learn the material. I can also help you with problems from an assessment that you have already taken and help you study for an assessment that you will be taking in the future. However, if I was to help you while you are taking some kind of test/quiz/exam I would be artificially increasing your performance on that assessment and would therefore be violating generally accepted standards of academic integrity. Thus, I cannot help you with such assessments. Beyond that restriction, there are also certain areas of mathematics and computer programming where I have limited knowledge and thus, would not be able to help you. Two such areas would be higher level Calculus and Databases. I have an extensive knowledge of mathematics up to the beginning of Calculus. However, after that point my knowledge starts to become spotty. Regarding Programming, I can almost certainly help you with any introductory programming course, but beyond that I may have limited knowledge. Please also refer to the list of subjects on my Appointment Scheduling Form to get a more detailed list of the subjects that I can help you with. You can also refer to this answer on my FAQ page that gives some relevant info.
Potential issue #8: Having trouble sending me pictures of your math problems. The easiest way to accomplish this is by emailing the pictures to me at images at tutoringbyroger dot com However, if you are unable to do that, you can also try the following: 1. Start a new text messaging conversation on your phone. 2. Where you would normally enter a phone number type in the email address, (images at tutoringbyroger dot com). 3. Add the applicable picture or pictures. 4. Send off the text message. Using this method is not guaranteed to work, and may take more time to get the image to me, but if you can't email the image to me, it is really the only alternative.
Potential issue #9: Having trouble navigating within the session. If you have ever used Skype, Zoom or a similar program to talk to other people through the internet you shouldn't have any issues navigating within your session. However, if you have never had this experience or would like a refresher, please go through this presentation to get oriented with how to navigate your session.
Hopefully that covers any potential issues that you might encounter. If you run into something that isn't listed here please ask for help by emailing feedback at tutoringbyroger dot com and I will do my best to help you. Otherwise, I hope to see you at the start of your session!