Published on 2012/04/24

Synchronous Online Tutoring: Tips And Tools To Start Your Own Program (Part 3)

Synchronous Online Tutoring: Tips And Tools To Start Your Own Program (Part 3)
There are a myriad of tools available for higher education administrators and educators looking to establish an online tutoring program at their college or university. Photo by Judy.

This is the final installment of a three-part series on synchronous online tutoring. The first article focused on logistics of such services, the second article focused on free or low-cost tools that can be used for online tutoring, and this article will focus on essential features of the tools.

It’s easy to look at technology and wonder how someone could learn to leverage all of its features. Most people don’t need all the features that accompany technology, and they’ll need to determine which aspects are more relevant to their needs. Knowing what features of technology are needed for everyday use can decrease training time and make the training more efficient and focused.

Below are my recommendations on which features might be most relevant and, depending on the tutoring center, most frequently used. Using this information can help tutoring center administrators focus their training and use of online tools.

Appointment Scheduler

Features of Snap Appointments (

  • Embed Snap Appointments on tutoring center’s website
  • Input tutor information – availability and subjects tutored
  • Control lead time for scheduling appointments
  • Tutors to sync tutoring calendars with other devices (e.g., cell phones, laptops)
  • Text and email reminders to students who include cell phone and email information when scheduling appointments through the online system
  • Recurring appointments
  • Client accounts for students to view their tutoring history and cancel appointments

All features listed above are free. Some of the forthcoming features may include fees. Examples of forthcoming features include online payment for tutoring services, video conferencing, and multiple sign-ups for one meeting.

Essays and Similar Assignments

Features of TitanPad (

  • Send the web address for the shared site from which tutor and student will collaborate
  • Upload document, make changes to the document, and export the edited document
  • Note: all formatting is lost.

Features of Google Docs (

  • Student to upload document and share/unshare with tutor
  • Insert comments and chat in the sidebar
  • Export the edited document
  • Maintains most of the document formatting

All features listed above are free.

Math, Diagrams, Illustrations, and Similar Needs

Features of Scriblink (

  • Send the web address for the shared whiteboard on which tutor and student will work
  • Math symbols that could be difficult for the average person to conjure up on the computer
  • Conference call option
  • Varying colors and thickness of whiteboard pen
  • Graphing “paper” and multiple “pages” of whiteboard available
  • Exporting contents of the whiteboard

All features listed above are free.


The features list is not complete for any of the tools listed above, but they are the features I have found most helpful for tutors and their students to become familiar with. You should experiment and have fun figuring out what your tutoring center needs most and whether these particular tools meet your needs. This is the final installment of the three-part series on online tutoring tools. Please feel free to contact me or make a comment with any questions you may have regarding the content of the articles.

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Readers Comments

Helena DeVries 2012/05/01 at 9:39 pm

Thank you thank you thank you for this series!

At its surface, a really helpful guide to the products available.

At its core, a really important set of articles showing administrators that it’s possible to provide better teaching and learning (a) online and (b) on the cheap.

Thank you once again!

    Jennifer Brown 2012/05/09 at 11:50 am

    Helena – I’m glad you found the article helpful! With continued technological advances, I think it will become increasingly easier to find good quality, inexpensive (and often free!) tools to use for online tutoring, and even teaching.


David Schrock 2015/01/04 at 1:35 pm

Online tutoring is one of the best example of learning. It could be really useful especially if your child has some kind of problems which stop it to get the regular lessons at school. If you are looking for online chemistry tutor or any kind of homework help than you may check this web page here

Emily Merrell 2015/06/05 at 4:05 pm

This is one of the coolest things that I have read all day. I don’t think that I am smart enough to be a tutor, but if I was, I would definitely go for it. I’m going to have to share this with my little brother. He got a 35 on the ACT and is brilliant.

Kristianne Bernard 2015/08/05 at 11:01 am

HI! I’m very interested in your programs. Do you have online tutors for beginners? ( ) was recommended to us by my son’s teacher but I’d like to explore other options. I never thought of using Google docs!

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