Online Tutoring Implementation & Training Guide for Learning Centers

Contributed by:
Jonathan James
A tutoring philosophy differs from goals, values, and even mission statements. This philosophy statement should be a way to define much of what occurs and does not occur within the scope of a tutoring program. In essence, the program’s tutoring philosophy should describe who will be tutored, how they will be tutored, why they will be tutored (including why they will be tutored in the fashion described), when they will be tutored, and should clearly account for situations which are not considered tutoring both practically and ethically.
1. Online Tutoring Implementation
& Training Guide (ITG) for
Learning Centers
2. Many thanks to the universities and colleges that participated in the pilot project year to
refine and build this Implementation and Training Guide (ITG). We couldn’t
have done it without their support and they contributed to every portion of this guide,
providing you with practical advice on how to make online tutoring successful in your
learning center.
Project Lead, Melissa Thomas
Technology Lead, Mike Wear
Consultant, Johanna Dvorak
Participating Institutions:
American University
Austin-Peay State University
Cardinal Stritch University
Lower Columbian College
Loyola University Maryland
Monmouth University
Northern Kentucky University
University of California at Davis
University of Georgia
University of Louisville
University of Southern Indiana
University of Toledo
Spelman College
Southern Connecticut State University
Texas A&M University, Mays Business School
Weber State University
West Kentucky Community and Technical College
3. Table of Contents
A. Institutional Buy-In………………………………………………………………………………. 5
a. Considering Your Landscape (Online/F2F/Summer)…………………………….. 5
b. Strong Tutoring Philosophy………………………………………………………………….. 6
c. Faculty Buy-In………………………………………………………………………………………. 8
d. Getting Past Challenges……………………………………………………………………….. 8
i. Top 5 Challenges to Starting Online Tutoring……………………………… 8
ii. How to Sell Administrators on Online Tutoring…………………………… 10
B. Using GoBoard for Online Tutoring………………………………………………………… 12
a. What is GoBoard?…………………………………………………………………………………. 12
b. GoBoard for Institutions………………………………………………………………………. 12
c. Hardware……………………………………………………………………………………………… 12
d. Implementation……………………………………………………………………………………. 13
C. Online Tutor Training Best Practices……………………………………………………… 15
a. Communication & Behavioral Etiquette……………………………………………….. 16
b. Communicating with Students……………………………………………………………… 16
c. Online Tutoring Expectations……………………………………………………………….. 17
d. Online Tutoring: What to Expect…………………………………………………………… 18
e. Types of FAQs from Students……………………………………………………………….. 20
D. Learning Agreement between Student and Tutor/Learning Center……….. 22
E. Marketing Strategies…………………………………………………………………………….. 23
F. Surveys…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 25
4. A. Sample Learning Center Policies & Procedures…………………………………………………….. 26
B. Sample General Online Tutoring Instructions……………………………………………………….. 29
C. Sample Online Tutoring Instructions for Tutors……………………………………………………. 30
D. Don’t Forget! A Checklist for tutors using GoBoard………………………………………………. 36
E. Sample Online Tutoring Instructions for Tutees……………………………………………………. 37
F. Sample Mock Email to Tutee…………………………………………………………………………………. 40
G. References & Resources……………………………………………………………………………………….. 41
5. Institutional Buy-In
Online tutoring offers a convenient alternative to face-to-face tutoring for students who
cannot make it to campus for scheduled tutoring sessions for their courses. It is
especially useful for those already enrolled in online courses because they may not be
physically able to make it to campus. Online tutoring is also useful for those who work
full-time and/or have family-related responsibilities, which may make it more difficult to
get to campus regularly for a tutoring appointment.
As a university, it is important to understand why you are implementing online tutoring
first before you proceed. Are you implementing it because a supervisor said you should?
Do you want to be on the forefront of technology? Have students been asking for online
tutoring? Are you are out of space yet want to expand your tutoring? Knowing, owning,
and understanding your “why” will help you understand the landscape of your campus
and how online tutoring fits into it. It will also increase the likelihood of a successful
launch when you match demand to meet your new supply.
Considering Your Landscape (Online/F2F/Summer)
There are quite a few questions to consider as you assess whether online tutoring is good
fit for your learning center and your campus. Some items to consider are:
● Who is your student population and how will you market to that specific
population according to your campus culture?
● Survey students to identify the appropriate disciplines for online tutoring and ideal
scheduling for the support to occur. For example:
○ Students who commute may need hours that are offered later in the
evening and weekends
○ Graduate students may identify support needed for writing and statistics
○ Online students might live near campus so therefore might not need online
tutoring (have the registrar run a mailing address list for you)
○ Face to face students might be the ones who would benefit most from
online tutoring because it better fits into their schedule
● Survey departments and faculty to identify historically difficult courses that are
conducive for an online academic support environment
● Do you offer summer courses? Are tutors historically not on campus in the
summer? Could they offer tutoring online from their hometown?
6. Strong Tutoring Philosophy
A tutoring philosophy differs from goals, values, and even mission statements. This
philosophy statement should be a way to define much of what occurs and does not occur
within the scope of a tutoring program. In essence, the program’s tutoring philosophy
should describe who will be tutored, how they will be tutored, why they will be tutored
(including why they will be tutored in the fashion described), when they will be tutored,
and should clearly account for situations which are not considered tutoring both
practically and ethically.
Why do we tutor? Also, who can learn?
To be clear about the program’s intentions is to also be able to clearly define its scope
and purpose. Some conundrums and even conflicts of interest arise because of problems
with the program’s day to day operations not aligning to the same philosophy.
Adequately describing who will be served by the program is a first step in narrowing the
scope of the program to a level appropriate to completing the work required of the
In describing who can learn, the program can reinforce many of its components as well as
clearly articulate the place of tutoring in a larger scope of learning on campus. By being
specific, tutoring personnel can return to the core philosophical statement in times of
ambiguity and be able to make consistent professional judgements in a more objective,
and ideally transparent, manner.
Who and what are the participants?
The participants involved in the learning process may differ from institution to institution;
however, at any institution there are variations of at least three as a tutor becomes
involved: faculty, student, and tutor. Defining these individuals by role and tasks can be
useful in creating training and daily practices by helping tutoring personnel stay focused
and avoid problematic approaches to their professional commitments.
7. What is the mechanism for learning?
The primary concern here is, “How does learning occur?” This might also be stated as
“When does learning occur?” Many tutoring programs utilize structured approaches to
learning while others are more informal. Briefly describing the logistical workings and
choices of the program can assist invested actors (tutors, supervisors, administration,
faculty, etc.) and address concerns about practices and policies within the tutoring
program. Specifically, online tutoring will require careful attention to the mechanisms in
place. Describing the rationale and types of tutoring that will occur will encourage a
proactive strategy and allow for adaptation that is still in line with the overall scope of the
tutoring program.
What is the relationship between the tutor and the student, and why is it important?
Because this philosophy concerns tutoring, the program should take time to explain the
relationship between tutor and student. This can help frame expectations and help
internal and external educators distinguish tutoring from other forms of support and
from more formal instruction. The way the relationship is described and the implied or
implicit importance of that relationship assists in addressing the culture around tutoring
as a learner’s support.
Why is effectiveness important in tutoring? What is the role of assessment at both the
macro and micro level in tutoring?
Tutoring programs generally have many levels of tutoring professionals and with these
varying levels of professionalism comes different skill sets in assessment in the learning
process and even for the evaluation of the program. How effectively learning is occurring
within tutoring sessions is one of the key characteristics of the tutoring program whether
or not it is being formally assessed. In being direct and having a formal statement and
description all actors can work towards improvement through training and other
personal professional growth.
8. Faculty Buy-In
One of the challenges encountered when beginning an online tutoring platform is getting
the faculty to “buy-in” to the program. Here are some tips for gaining faculty buy-in:
● Meet with faculty face-to-face. Explain the platform and allow them to work with it
and understand it.
● Share your hiring process and encourage faculty to recommend qualified
● Invite faculty to share academic resources that may be beneficial to both the tutors
and the tutees.
● Invite faculty to meet you in the online tutoring room so they can see the robust
services it provides and the two-way communication.
Once the faculty have “bought-in,” ask them to help you market your online tutoring
services and perhaps even offer extra credit or participation points to those students that
use it. Perhaps offer to stay in your office on the other side of an online tutoring room
and then do an online “class visit” to promote the online tutoring.
Getting Past Challenges
When starting online tutoring there are some significant hurdles to be overcome in order
to make it a successful opportunity for your campus and your students. A few of the
schools that participated in the GoBoard pilot project have offered to share their
perspectives on this topic below.
Top 5 Challenges to Starting Online Tutoring
In our experience, a desire to provide an effective, timely, and convenient online tutoring
program for all of our students came with a number of challenges. Listed below are the
challenges we encountered along the way, and how we addressed them.
9. 1. Infrastructure
The first step in developing the online tutoring program is determining how the program
should be set up and organized. After securing support from administration to provide an
appropriate budget for the program, a point person within the current staff needs to be
identified to provide oversight as the program is implemented. Additionally, a space
where online tutoring can take place will need to be identified; this space should not
interfere or distract from any face-to-face tutoring that might be taking place at the same
time. Choosing which technology platform to use is an important decision, as is
determining a contact method for students to use to make an appointment. Tutors with
the specific skill-set required for online tutoring who are willing and able to tutor in an
online format need to be identified. Professors who are willing to promote the online
tutoring venue should also be identified.
2. Technology Challenges
The level of technological savvy varies among students and tutors. Providing an online
tutoring program and platform that is easy to use by all involved is key. Determine what
type of hardware and accessories will be needed, such as headphones, microphones,
webcams, and computers with updated browsers. Decide who will provide technical
training and support from your staff and/or the campus IT Department.
3. Scheduling
Decide how many courses to offer through online tutoring and which days and times will
likely have the biggest demand for help in these courses. Write a protocol for scheduling
appointments and the directions for accessing the online sessions that can be distributed
to students. If email is used for communication between tutor and student, a unique
email address for the tutoring program may need to be requested so that tutors’ names
and contact information can be kept confidential.
10. 4. Marketing and Promotion
It’s important to identify your target market – the students who might use online tutoring
as well as the subject areas most likely to be in demand by students. Once the target
market is identified, options for marketing the program can be explored. Possible
opportunities for the marketing and promotion of the online tutoring program include
fliers within the tutoring center and across campus and direct emails to students in those
courses. Encourage professors to include online tutoring information in course syllabi
and reference the online tutoring program within their own online course management
system (Blackboard, Moodle, D2L, etc.) individual course sites. See the section on
“Marketing” for more detailed instructions on how to carry out an online tutoring
marketing plan.
5. Training and Supervision
Once tutors are selected to tutor via the online platform, they will need opportunities to
become familiar with the platform and resources. They can provide feedback as to what
worked and what did not work. Ongoing training will need to continue that involves
guided practice, best practices for interacting with students via the internet, and how to
handle technology issues.
How to Sell Administrators on Online Tutoring
Compare the academic resources available to students who might be distance learners,
transfer students, re-entry students, military active or veteran to those who are the
“traditional student.” If there is a discrepancy, this is the first step to getting the
administrators support.
If your in-person services are well attended and well received on campus consider
discussing ways to grow your services. You should also be offering online tutoring
If you have any schools that you routinely compare yourselves to, look to see if they’re
offering online tutoring services. Presenting administrators with a list of all the other
universities currently using an online tutoring platform is also a selling point.
11. If space is limited for your program, share that this could be a way to increase access and
help more students.
Comments to consider making:
“Consider the low cost to provide this type of support, and we would be using our tutors
who we know and trust.”
“This is a valuable service that we can afford to provide to students.”
Many of these things can be compiled and put into a report to show administration that
there can be an easy return on investment using this option. Consider proposing a pilot
year, where you select a historically difficult course that would work well being supported
online in a visual format. Then select tutors who are already experienced with tutoring
and with your tutoring philosophy and principles, providing students with the best
possible online tutoring experience.
12. Using GoBoard for Online Tutoring
What is GoBoard?
GoBoard is a first-of-its-kind, free online tool that combines video conferencing with an
interactive canvas, designed to help students collaborate one-on-one, on virtually any
topic. Simply create a GoBoard by going to, sharing the link, and
begin exchanging information, face-to-face. There is never anything to download.
GoBoard for Institutions
As an institution partnering with GoBoard, you can request access to special features to
enhance your administrative capabilities. These include:
● A unique URL for your tutors (example:
● Custom administrative dashboard to track your tutors’ hours and much more (full
reporting and Excel exports)
● Fully recorded and archived sessions (audio, video, text chat, and drawings)
● Customized Resource Library: load your documents for tutors to access at any time
during a session
● Screen sharing capabilities
● 100% free for educational institutions
In order to control for as many variables as possible, it makes sense to use the best
equipment available on the tutor’s end. In this case, GoBoard works best with an iPad
and the Apple pen, and the GoBoard App. If this is not in the budget, then a computer
that has a good quality webcam and microphone plus a Wacom/Bamboo tablet makes
for a good alternative. Google Chrome is the preferred browser for GoBoard.
13. Platform Differences
GoBoard is run on two different platforms: an iPad App and the desktop version available
via the web. Each platform can support different features, as seen below:
Desktop Version iPad App
Recording of Sessions Recording of Sessions
Group Tutoring Group Tutoring
Screen Sharing
When implementing online tutoring you need to decide which tutors will tutor online and
how you will integrate this into your existing systems (if you have any), such as TutorTrac,
etc. Do you need to add a new “center” or option in your tracking system?
If you need to utilize an online appointment system, then using Tutor Matching Service is
an option that over 100 universities currently use. With Tutor Matching Service, you can
list and manage your tutors on a web-based platform, with full administrative access and
downloadable reports. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Once you are ready to start tutoring, the staff at GoBoard will create a unique URL for
your institution. This URL will be customized and feature the institution’s name, in the
format: “”
Once you have this URL you can then create a board (or online room) for a tutor and
student by adding any six alpha-numeric characters after that, such as:
You might want to create them randomly, which can also be done at your university’s
custom URL or you could make boards that correspond with their student ID numbers.
There are pros and cons to creating one board for each student. The pro is that the
student then has all their work contained in that one board for ease of reference. The con
is that it could get cluttered with work. Some schools choose to create new boards for
each tutor/student match therefore the board would contain all the work related to, for
instance, economics in fall 2018, but not contain all their tutoring across content areas.
14. Once you have been granted access to your institution’s GoBoard, the administrative
panel for your school can be accessed at:
Once you have set up your GoBoard account you will receive your access credentials for
this administrative panel. Here you can find information about sessions, PDFs and video
recordings of sessions, length of time spent, tutor name, and student name.
15. Online Tutor Training Best Practices
We believe it is important to introduce to all tutors so that there is a
common language around online tutoring and all are aware that learning center is
engaged in this type of service. Also, this could attract more tutors who want to tutor
online because the platform is more appealing and easier to use for tutoring than other
online platforms.
Some topics to cover with your tutors should be:
1. Online etiquette.
2. Communication skills in an online setting.
3. Similarities and differences between online and face-to-face tutoring.
4. Problem-solving or growth mindset: applicable to both in-person and online
5. Empathy: also important in any tutoring relationship.
Additionally, Johanna Dvorak and Kevin Roessger’s (2012) chapter in the Handbook for
Training Peer Tutors and Mentors titled "Training for Online Tutoring” recommends that
trainers cover four themes in training sessions: introducing the web-conferencing
platform, utilizing the web-conferencing tools, integrating interactive whiteboard
technology within the platform, and encouraging student interactivity. In addition, Dvorak
and Roessger (2012) recommend that each session “incorporates approximately 25%
trainer modeling and 75% guided practice” (p. 289). Therefore, utilizing active learning
strategies to cover this content is key. Some suggestions include conducting mock
tutoring sessions or games to create a fun and engaging way to acclimate even hesitant
tutors to GoBoard. Some suggestions include:
a. Hangman
b. Pictionary
c. Battleship (need a graph paper “board” and 2 shared graph “boards”) — This
has them utilize downloading a resource/tool.
d. 20 Questions (each question must be communicated a different way)
e. Logic Puzzles
f. Jeopardy
16. Communication & Behavioral Etiquette
Tutors will be communicating with students in a variety of ways. Here are some things to
recommend to your tutors as you train them in establishing successful tutoring
relationships online:
● Be polite, courteous, and professional in all emails.
● Be clear and precise in your language. This is especially important if you are trying
to explain a concept to a student through written communication.
● Become familiar with GoBoard before your appointment so that you can help
students troubleshoot issues quickly.
● Be understanding, but set boundaries. You are not there to answer every question
the student has at any time of the day—the professor should be the main center
of information for students.
● Apprise supervisors of any changes or issues that may occur with online tutoring
● Use the video feature whenever possible. Students like to see who they are
working with!
Communicating with Students:
● Email your students prior to your first online session with instructions on how to
use the online tutoring program.
● Students may email you with more specific questions about the material or the
course outside of any tutoring sessions or test review sessions you have with
them. Be sure to set limits with students when it comes to responding to emails.
This means letting them know that you will get back with them within 24 or 48
hours. Your tutoring time should be limited to the duration of the scheduled online
session. If you are receiving multiple emails from a particular student on a regular
basis, report it to the office.
17. Online Tutoring Expectations
Setting expectations for your tutors prior to online tutoring sessions can be helpful in
clarifying new boundaries that may need to be established in the online setting. Here is
an example of an agreement you may provide to tutors before they begin online tutoring:
1. I will not hold online tutoring sessions at times when tests for online courses are
open for students to complete.
2. I will learn how to use GoBoard so that I am prepared for my online sessions, and
so that I can assist students with troubleshooting or setting up a session.
3. I will login to the GoBoard room several minutes prior to the beginning of the
appointment to ensure that it is working properly.
4. I will log in and out of the TutorTrac Kiosk to track my time for payroll purposes.
5. I will check my email regularly and keep track of my appointments.
6. I will not assist students with assigned homework that is to be graded, including
work to be submitted to the teacher for completion grades. Instead, I will help
students with the concepts involved in the assignment and may do similar
problems with them.
7. I will stay focused on the session. I will not bury the internet window for the
session behind other windows while waiting for students.
8. I will not multi-task during a session by surfing the internet, listening to music, or
writing or reading online or offline during the session. My attention will remain on
my students.
18. Online Tutoring: What to Expect
You may want to provide a FAQ to tutors as they begin online tutoring. Here are some
common questions or situations experienced by tutors at the GoBoard pilot schools:
What kinds of students will I be working with?
When you are tutoring online, you will encounter a number of different personality types
and learning styles, which may be different from what you encounter in traditional
tutoring or classroom settings. You will need to work with many different types of people,
so before you begin, it is important to understand just who you may be meeting.
Non-Traditional Students
Non-traditional students include those who have been out of school for a while, those
working full-time or part-time jobs outside of school, parents, and others with major
responsibilities beyond their school work, more so than traditional college-age students.
These students may be more motivated to complete their work since they have more
real-world work experience, and their obligations require them to complete their
degrees. However, they may not all be as tech-savvy as traditional students, who will be
more familiar with current technology. Tutors may be required to answer more
technological questions for these students.
“It’s more work than I thought it would be!”
Some students may sign up for online classes because they believe it will be easier to
make a good grade (due to things like open-book tests), or that it will easier for their
schedules when it comes to work, leisure, etc. In fact, some online classes may require
more work of the student because of the lack of face-to-face instruction. This may involve
more tests on reading comprehension to make sure that the student is doing the reading,
and presentations or lectures posted online for the students in written form or in video
or audio format. These courses require the same amount of work and effort as
traditional classes, if not more.
It is also important to note that online students must be motivated and self-disciplined in
their study habits. Their education is in their own hands, and they must put in the effort
to keep up with their reading and assignments. If students are having trouble getting
19. everything done, you may need to help them form a weekly study schedule that will
require them to carve out time to work on certain class assignments. Tutors may also
refer students to academic counselors or advisors, who can also help with this.
Ultimately, it is up to the student to put in the time and effort. The tutor should continue
to encourage, motivate, and support these students in their efforts to succeed in these
No Face-to-Face Time
It can be difficult to form the same rapport with online students because of the lack of in-
person communication. For the most part, you must work with these students via email,
text chatting, or drawing features within the online session. Students may also struggle
with feeling disconnected from their professors or classmates. They may become
frustrated with the material and the lack of personal attention that may come with
written communications versus face-to-face conversations.
One way to better help these students is to utilize the audio and video features. If you
and the student both have microphones and cameras, you can easily make your tutoring
sessions more personal. Sometimes all they really need is to talk something out with
someone in real time. You will also want to recommend that they contact the professor
via phone or instead of email (many professors will provide their work phone numbers to
their online students), or go in to the professor’s office hours. Some professors also offer
the option of using Skype for a video conference. This should speed up the process of
answering questions and make the student feel more connected to their class.
Problems with Written Communication
Many learners rely mostly on what they can see to learn concepts, something that any
tutor will encounter in traditional tutoring sessions. Therefore, these students may have
trouble weeding through lengthy written explanations to understand the general
concepts. These students may need someone to draw out a concept or idea in a chart,
timeline, or diagram. You may want to refer students to credible online videos that may
be helpful in explaining chemical, biological, or other concepts through real world images
and diagrams and auditory explanations. Make sure you are taking full advantage of the
drawing & diagram features in GoBoard.
20. Types of Frequently Asked Questions by Students
Online tutors should be prepared to receive many different types of questions from
students, ranging from how to use GoBoard to how to conjugate Spanish verbs. Below
are some examples of the types of questions you may encounter and how you could go
about helping the students. Remember that you should set boundaries with your
students, saying that you will answer their emails within, for example, 48 hours. This
gives you some time to find answers for them if you need to or provide them with
resources, referrals, or directions to find their own answers.
Technological Questions
● “How do I access or use GoBoard?”
● “How do I submit assignments online?”
● “How do I access QUIA (or any online homework website)?”
● “How do I join the online tutoring sessions?”
● “I accidentally submitted something early! Can you re-open it?”
Tutors may be able to help students with technology-related questions based on their
own experience as students or with technology. However, the tutor is not responsible for
knowing how to do everything online. Tutors are not expected to have access to all of the
online assignments that students have to submit (they cannot re-open attempts at tests,
etc.). When you receive questions pertaining to online assignments, it is best to refer the
student to the professor, who will be more familiar with homework, test submissions,
and other assignments. If there are larger computer issues (the student has trouble using
a certain program, etc.), the tutor may refer the student to student computing support.
Instructional Questions
● “I don’t understand what I am supposed to do for this assignment.”
● “I don’t know what the professor means by this…”
● “How do I write this paper/do this project?”
● “What are the requirements for this assignment?”
21. Students may have trouble understanding what they are being asked of them by their
professors. This may be a result of not being able to ask questions about the assignment
right when it is given out. It may take a professor a while to get back to all of their
students, so students may just assume that the tutor should know all the answers
immediately. When it comes to understanding or defining the nature of assignments the
tutor should always refer to the professor for details or clarification. Tutors can refer their
students to professors, perhaps suggesting that they call them or visit them for a more
prompt response.
Content Questions
● “How does this process of biology/chemistry work?”
● “How do I know when to conjugate this verb?”
● “I don’t understand this concept.”
Inevitably, all tutors—whether online or face-to-face—will encounter questions pertaining
to the material their students are learning. Here the tutor should be familiar with the
material and follow the Tutor Cycle (McDonald, 2000) to help the student understand,
process, organize, and restate the information. Tutors should use their skills to explain
material while helping students develop their critical thinking skills. Sometimes explaining
complex ideas or processes through email can be difficult and time-consuming; it is hard
for a tutor to be completely comprehensive when trying to type out everything they know
about a topic. For online learners, it may be useful for the tutor to supplement their
explanation by including links to videos or websites that might illustrate, explain, or
elaborate on concepts and help the student become more familiar with the material or
gain a better understanding by seeing it explained in a different way. Tutors may also use
their online sessions with students to draw things out or post links to other resources
that may be faster or more efficient in explaining an idea than writing it all out in a chat
feature. Another strategy for these content questions is to ask probing questions to see
just how much the student understands and what they are specifically unclear about.
If students need help with particular assignments the tutor can also refer them to places
that may be more helpful. For students who need help with papers, tutors should refer
them to the Writing Center. Tutors are not responsible for editing or proofing homework
or papers for students, and should not help students with specific questions or
homework that is to be graded.
22. Learning Agreement between Student and Tutor/Learning Center
Incorporating best practices is a common goal among academic support programs and
should be continued when developing an online tutoring policies and procedures. As with
onsite tutoring, a Learning Agreement between the tutor and student regarding
responsibilities and expectations during an online session is important. This agreement
can help set the tone for a smooth and productive experience and can be created in a
user-friendly form through Google Forms. Please click the following link for an example of
an Online Tutoring Learning Agreement by the University of Louisville:
This Learning Agreement should be completed by the student prior to the online tutoring
session taking place. It is recommended to include the link to the form in the
informational email sent to the tutor and student that includes the GoBoard link and
specific instructions on how to operate the online platform.
Some details highlighted in the online learning agreement are:
1) Logging into the session on time.
2) Ensuring that all technology works prior to the session.
3) Attend online tutoring sessions regularly (for weekly sessions only).
4) Participate and communicate.
5) Be aware of the tutor’s role (for example: not answering questions during online
exam period).
6) Be respectful (especially minimizing background noise during the session).
7) Giving feedback about the student’s online tutoring experience.
23. Marketing Strategies
When offering a new service it is imperative to market that service to students in many
modalities and venues so that you have a chance of catching their attention. If you have
an existing Tutoring Program Marketing Plan, place expansion or change to GoBoard and
online tutoring where appropriate.
a. If online tutoring through GoBoard is only available to online students or
classes, only market the service and platform directly to those students.
Include exceptions on marketing materials. For instance, “Only students
enrolled in online courses may schedule or utilize GoBoard for tutoring
session with _______ College’s Tutoring Program.
b. If online tutoring is available to all students regardless of course type
enrollment, include a tagline in any marketing materials and messages
already disseminated.
If Tutoring Program Marketing Plan does not exist, develop a comprehensive marketing
and advertising plan for the program. Below are considerations and suggestions.
c. Clearly define the program’s individual mission, vision, and goals.
d. Clearly define the program’s targeted student group(s).
i. Undergraduate students
ii. Graduate students
iii. Residential students
iv. Commuter students
v. Nontraditional students
vi. Satellite Locations of classes(eg. Providing tutoring support where 4
year institution might offer classes at a community college)
vii. Student athletes
24. e. Explore all communication methods available to contact students and begin
to identify which will be effective and appropriate to distribute a message to
potential clients of the tutoring program.
i. Mass emails to students/faculty (refined to targeted students/faculty)
ii. Mass texts (refined to targeted students)
iii. Classroom presentations: could range from 5 minute advertisements
to 1 hour study skills presentations, potentially facilitated through so they see the platform ahead of time and you don’t
have to be present in the classroom.
iv. Writing on windows and sidewalks
v. Flyers to be posted in academic departments, bulletin boards around
campus, outside faculty offices for which it applies
vi. College website prominence
vii. Social media (Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) featuring an
online tutor each week
viii. Visibility at campus events: open houses, orientations, fairs on
campus, faculty orientation, program specific orientations and
conferences (summer bridge programs, honors college, TRIO).
ix. Posters and messages in high need courses classrooms
x. Inclusion in syllabi
xi. Coffee and info for advisors
xii. Televisions on campus (include screenshots of tutoring sessions)
xiii. Computer backgrounds in computer labs around campus
xiv. Student activities and clubs, especially if there is a commuter club
xv. New student and transfer student orientations
xvi. Announcements in learning management systems (eg blackboard)
xvii. Online classes
f. Include marketing attempts in satisfaction surveys
g. Develop educational/training opportunities for students to learn GoBoard:
i. Deploy as a presentation medium for First Year courses and other
heavy need courses.
ii. Include in orientation materials for new students
iii. Set up a monitored relay to the Tutoring Program in places across
campus (devoted computer in a computer lab, for instance)
25. Online tutors should encourage their students to fill out the online tutoring survey. They
will need to send this to the student at the end of each session. They should also give
students a verbal reminder while still in the GoBoard session, post the link into the chat
box, and send a follow-up email with the link. The format and contents of these surveys is
determined by the Coordinator but a suggested survey can be found here:
26. Appendix A: Sample Learning Center Policies & Procedures
As a learning center administrator you will have to incorporate this new tutoring modality
into your policies and procedures. Below are some some examples from other
institutions that might help in developing your own.
Recommended Job Description
There are two types of courses that may require online tutoring: courses that are offered
in-person and on campus (a traditional course); and those that are offered in an online
classroom. For both of these classes, the procedures will be the same for students when
scheduling appointments (through TutorTrac or in-person). These sessions are for
students who may not be able to make it to campus regularly in order to participate in
face-to-face tutoring sessions.
All tutors will be required to provide availability for online tutoring; tutors working in
other centers will have availability at the discretion of their supervisors. Appointments
will be for small groups (1-5 persons). These will be scheduled like regular face-to-face
appointments in TutorTrac, but the tutor will utilize a computer in the Center (or laptop
from home, etc.) during the session.
Prior to their first appointment, tutors will receive a confirmation email from TutorTrac
with their appointment information, as well as a copy of the email sent to the students
with instructions for using GoBoard and the unique link for their tutoring room. Tutors
and students will need to save this email and link so as to access the same room
throughout the semester. The tutor will need to make sure that they are familiar with
27. Appointments & Notes
All online tutoring sessions will be scheduled through the Center. These sessions will be
scheduled at least 24 hours in advance and will automatically be weekly.
All tutors should record what occurred in the tutoring session in their notes immediately
after the tutoring appointment. The “Status” of the student should be marked as
“Attended” so that they do not receive a Missed Appointment email. Notes should include
the date and time the student attended, for instance: “9/10—Student attended from
12:05pm-12:55pm. We worked on….”
If a student needs to cancel an appointment, they should contact the center or the tutor
prior to the start of the scheduled appointment. Cancellations for legitimate reasons
(illness, meetings with advisors or professors, etc.—to be determined by your supervisor)
may be excused and will not count against the students in terms of dropping them from
the appointment. Illegitimate reasons (not prepared, etc.—also to be determined by your
supervisor) will count as one of two strikes against them in terms of being dropped from
the session.
If tutors are contacted by their tutees about canceling, they should email or call
the Center in order to have the appointment canceled in the computer by the
No Shows
Students who do not communicate with the Center or the tutor to cancel their
appointments PRIOR to their session will be considered “no shows.” If students are “no
shows” two weeks in a row they will be dropped from their tutoring sessions. Tutors are
responsible for indicating in the Tutor Notes that a student missed an appointment, like
so: “9/10: NO SHOW;” or “10/04: 2nd NO SHOW, PLEASE DROP.”
28. Drop Policy
Students who cancel their weekly appointment for two weeks in a row without legitimate
or specified reasons, or those who are “no shows” for two weeks in a row (or a
combination of cancellations and “no shows”), may be dropped from the scheduled
appointment. They may sign up for tutoring again after they contact a supervisor, who
will explain the weekly attendance policies.
29. Appendix B: Sample General Online Tutoring Instructions
Getting Started:
1. You will receive two emails:
a. The first will be from TutorTrac with the usual appointment information.
b. The second will be a copy of the email sent to the student with instructions,
and it will include the unique link to your tutoring room.
2. Make sure that you are using a Google Chrome browser to access your GoBoard
room; this is the best browser for this program. GoBoard is not compatible with
Internet Explorer or Safari.
a. Need to download Chrome? Go here:
b. GoBoard does not work as well in Mozilla Firefox, but if you have to use it,
try disabling Add-ons to make it work more smoothly:
i. Open Firefox --> Click on “Help” in Menu Bar --> Click “Restart with
Add-ons Disabled”
3. Prior to your scheduled session, you are welcome to play around with the features
in your GoBoard session.
a. Follow the link and provide your name and university/college email address
in order to access your tutoring room.
b. Allow GoBoard to access your webcam and microphone.
i. Headphones with built-in microphones are available
ii. Tablets with styluses for easy drawing are available
c. Feel free to play around with the many features in GoBoard!
4. After your first session, you can re-enter the same room by clicking on the link in
your email.
30. Appendix C: Sample GoBoard Instructions For the Tutor
1. Save the unique link between you and the tutee
a. Upload into a previously made Excel document for easy access and to
ensure organization
b. Designate each link with a new tutee and list the date and time of your
2. Get familiar with GoBoard before your session
a. Be sure to enable both the video and the microphone setting
b. The camera and microphone should both be enabled
c. However, if one or both are not working, use the chat box to the right
d. If you have trouble with audio, make sure to seek help to ensure that the
next session goes more smoothly
e. Headphones with a microphone are recommended for the best quality.
3. Once you enter the GoBoard room, you can invite the tutee to join the session
31. 4. Tools within GoBoard that enhance the session (right click on your computer, or
double tap the screen on your iPad)
a. Draw with a pen, in a variety of colors.
b. Draw lines, including dashed lines and lines with arrows.
c. Enter text, enlarge text, and change the color.
d. Select items or text that you’ve drawn on the board.
e. Erase single items.
f. Undo or redo your last action.
5. If you are unsure what the function of the tool is, simply hover over the tool and
the name will appear. Clicking “more” will open up these further tool options:
a. Shapes
b. Export your board
c. Import Images (from your phone, your computer, or the web)
d. Background options (graph vs. solid background)
e. Graphing calculator
32. 7. The last thing you draw will remain in blue until the next item is drawn
a. If you make a mistake, simply use the ‘Eraser’ tool or press the ‘Undo’ button
b. *Tip to mention to your tutee: only the text written within the dotted lines
that mark the outlines of the screen can be seen by the tutor
8. Use the laser tool to point to a specific area on the screen without writing and
keeping the text clear.
9. If the space gets too cluttered, add a new page for a fresh start. You can also clear
your page, but then you won’t be able to go back and review what you’ve covered.
33. 9. Upload saved work
a. Text in work from your notes (Send in a Photo/File), upload from computer
(Input my own PDF/JPEG), or search from the web (Search for images from
the web).
34. 10. Wish to view saved work?
a. Simply return to the same link for your GoBoard room, all your work will stay
there unless you clear the pages.
b. At the end of the session, export your work so that you can view it offline or
print it out.
Using GoBoard:
1. To import your own files, click on the hamburger menu (3 horizontal lines under
the video box, see image below) and select “Reference Library,” and then “Add.”
Files you add will be saved in your reference library for all your future sessions.
2. Right click on the board to see the wheel of tools.
3. Click on the “More” button on the bottom right of the wheel of tools to access
graphs, symbols, and other useful tools.
4. If you and the student would like, at the end of the session, click on the hamburger
menu again and select “Export and Exit.” This will end the session and send an
email to both you and the student with a printer-friendly PDF of the GoBoard
pages you created together.
a. Try using the last page of your GoBoard as a homework assignment page,
that way when your students export their session they will have their
homework included in their notes.
b. REMEMBER: Don’t delete your work if you’re feeling cramped for space. Start
a new page by clicking “Add Page” under the video box. This will make the
PDF more helpful.
35. ● Make sure you are using an updated Google Chrome browser.
● Log out and log back in to the GoBoard room, close out your browser and reopen
it, or restart your computer to complete updates.
● You should have at least 5 Mbps internet speed for the best experience. You can
go to to test your internet speed.
● Use the “Text Chat” tool in the hamburger menu if you or your student have issues
with or do not have access to a webcam and microphone.
● If nothing works, you can use another application to communicate with the
student for that session: Skype, FaceTime, phone call, etc. Then let the
supervisor know about the issue so that it can be resolved before the next
● GoBoard Technical support: Email [email protected] or call 877-919-8886
36. Appendix D: Don’t Forget! A Checklist for Tutors Using GoBoard
✓ Send the student an email 15 minutes before your appointment to make sure
that they are still planning on attending and include the GoBoard link.
− Log in to GoBoard 10-15 minutes early so that you can help the student
troubleshoot if needed.
✓ Log In & Out of TutorTrac
✓ Student Feedback Survey:
verbal reminder, post the link into the chat box, and send a follow-up email
with the link. The student’s feedback is very important!
✓ Tutor Notes
− Click on the date at the top of your schedule, click on the reserved block for
the online appointment, then type in your notes in the text box.
− Mark the student’s status as “ATTENDED,” or they will get a missed
appointment email.
▪ EXAMPLE: “Student attended: 7:06pm-8:01pm”
37. Appendix E: Sample GoBoard Instructions for Students
I’ve requested an appointment. What do I need to do?
Once you have requested your online tutoring appointment, you will receive two emails:
1. The first will have information with the day, time, and tutor for your appointment.
2. The second will include instructions for using GoBoard and the unique link to your
tutoring session. SAVE THIS EMAIL & LINK!
What Now?
1. Make sure that you are using a Google Chrome browser to access your GoBoard
room; this is the best browser for this program. GoBoard is not compatible with
Internet Explorer or Safari.
a. Need to download Chrome? Go here:
b. GoBoard does not work as well in Mozilla Firefox, but if you have to use it,
try disabling Add-ons to make it work more smoothly:
i. Open Firefox --> Click on “Help” in Menu Bar --> Click “Restart with
Add-ons Disabled”
2. Prior to your scheduled session, you are welcome to play around with the features
in your GoBoard session.
a. Follow the link and provide your name and university/college email
address in order to access your tutoring room.
b. Allow GoBoard to access your webcam and microphone. (You may need
to turn off any pop-up blockers you have on your browser.)
c. Maximize your screen to see as much of the board as possible.
38. 3. Using the board:
a. Right click to see the menu of tools.
b. Click on the “More” menu button to access graphs, symbols, and other
useful tools (see image below)
c. Use the hamburger menu on the right of the screen (3 lines) to access other
features as well (see image below).
4. Feel free to play around with the many features in GoBoard!
5. If you would like a PDF copy of the pages you and your tutor created during your
session, click on the hamburger menu and choose “Import/Export.”
39. ● Make sure you are using an updated Google Chrome browser.
● Log out and log back into the GoBoard room, close out your browser and reopen it,
or restart your computer to complete updates.
● You should have at least 5 Mbps internet speed for the best experience. You can
go to to test your internet speed.
● Use the “Text Chat” tool in the hamburger menu if you or your student have issues
with or do not have access to a webcam and microphone.
● Email your tutor to let them know about any other issues.
● GoBoard Technical Support: Email [email protected] or call 877-919-8886
40. Appendix F: Sample Mock Email to Tutee
Dear Jordan,
You have been scheduled for online tutoring appointments with Mariah on Fridays at
1:00pm for CHEM 101. Please remember that this is a scheduled weekly appointment, so
your tutor will be online at this same time every week until the end of the semester
(unless he/she or you have to cancel for some reason or if you would like to cancel the
rest of your sessions). You may access it from anywhere: on campus, at home, or
This is the permanent link to access your weekly session on GoBoard:
Please test this link before your first appointment to ensure that everything on your
computer is ready to go. Please contact us during normal business hours if you have
questions: [email protected] or phone number.
Just a few reminders for your online session:
1) Review the attached instruction sheet on how to download Google Chrome and
use GoBoard.
2) For this session we highly recommend you have access to a microphone and
headset (and/or a webcam) that will allow you to talk back and forth with the tutor.
3) Make sure you are using the latest version of the Google Chrome browser. If you
are using FireFox, you may need to disable Add-ons. GoBoard does not work in
Safari or Internet Explorer.
4) Need help with GoBoard? Call PHONE NUMBER during normal business hours.
You can also contact GoBoard tech support at [email protected] or call
5) Before your first online tutoring session please complete this Online Tutoring
Learning Agreement:
6) You have been added to the “REACH Learning Resource Center” BlackBoard
organization. The instructions for accessing your online session can be found
here, and they are attached to this email.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you!
41. References & Resources
Dvorak, J., Roessger, K. (2012). "Training for Online Tutoring.” In Agee, K. S., Hodges, R., &
College Reading and Learning Association, Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors
(pp. 288-291). Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning.
MacDonald, R.B. (2000). The Master Tutor. Cambridge Stratford.