Setting up for remote tutoring

(Updated September 3, 2019) – Added a new troubleshooting section.

(Updated June 13, 2018) – Almost half of my tutoring clients make use of a hybrid tutoring approach: both in-person and remote in order to avoid  rush hour traffic.

HARDWARE

A newer laptop or desktop (Mac or PC). Chromebooks or iPads are NOT compatible. If using a laptop, make sure it is fully charged or the power cord plugged in before the start of the session.

I purchased a Logitech h390 USB headset from Amazon and find that it works well.

A separate mouse. It is much easier for students to manipulate the tiles with a mouse during screen sharing.

A quiet room. Although this is not technically hardware, it is vitally important, especially if your student is not using a headset. Everything that is happening in the background, (i.e., people talking, unloading dishes, preparing dinner) comes through loud and clear. This is challenging work and quiet is an absolute necessity for effective tutoring sessions.

SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

Google Chrome is required since Whizzimo is built specifically for this browser.

Please visit Zoom to download the free video conferencing software. Walk through the registration steps, including start a test meeting. This step insures that the software is installed and working. If you have trouble setting it up, please email me and I can have my husband help you get it working before the first lesson. (He’s a software developer and loves this stuff… and he’s dyslexic, too.) Kimberly has a personal meeting ID 693-201-7115 that is used for all remote tutoring sessions. Students should log on 5 minutes before their scheduled start time. They will be in the waiting room until Kimberly admits them, at which time they will also need to turn on their audio and video options.

Finally, the most critical element is a fast Internet connection. Google provides an excellent speed test that gives an informative, simple message about your speed. If you find that your speed is slow or there are frequent problems with remote sessions (such as audio and video freezing or even worse, disconnects), try some of the troubleshooting ideas below.

TROUBLESHOOTING

If the problems described above are occurring often, ten minutes before every session, perform the internet speed test

and send me either a screenshot or the results, like this:

Download: 0.14
Upload: 0.12
Very slow

Other results might look like:

Download: 5.38
Upload: 11.5
Your Internet speed is slow
Your Internet connection should be able to handle one device at a time streaming a video. If multiple devices are using this connection at the same time, you may run into some slowdowns.

By emailing me the results before each session, we will be able to develop an understanding of where your numbers need to be.

In some cases, clients discovered that they were not receiving the speed advertised/promoted by their service provider.  To investigate this, call the company, provide the numbers you’ve tracked, and compare them against your plan.

For example, if I have the Verizon 100 Mbps Plan:

but my results are often:

then I should ask my provider to run some tests.

If the tests turn out fine, then request support for improving wireless in your home. Following is an example:

Often, a wireless router is in the basement.   The room where your student does remote tutoring is on an upper level and the wireless signal has to travel through two floors.  A dramatic speed increase is possible by running a cable run from the router directly to the room (and not using wireless).