Teaching Online


Tips for Tutoring Online


Communicate to your students about the new context you’re all working in. It may take some time for you all to get used to it – be patient and accept it may take some time to work out the logistics of the situation.

Don’t Lose Sight of The Goal of each class – set a clear objective for each session with your students.

Practice and prepare

Just like a normal tutorial, prepare and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in the session.

Make it relevant

Be sure the material taught in your course is up-to-date and relevant for the learner. Give examples. How can the learner apply this material in real life? A great way to show the learner how the material is relevant to them is through different examples.

Use Different Techniques to Keep Your Participants Motivated

Zoom virtual classrooms offer features such as HD audio and video, Screen sharing, Whiteboarding, Annotation, Breakout Rooms, Virtual backgrounds, In-meeting chat, Local recording, Nonverbal feedback.

For those who want to introduce flexibility to their teaching outside of a virtual classroom, asynchronous techniques can be used. Activities based in discussion forums or collaborative documents can be an excellent way for students to work at their own pace. Pre-recording lectures, using podcasts or self-guided modules are another way to introduce a flexible element to your teaching.

Use Visual Elements to Convey Your Message

Try using infographics, videos, charts, and diagrams whenever you can along with writing or drawing on the whiteboard to make your live classes more interesting.

Online presence 

This is possibly the most important aspect of your role - your presence is noted by your absence (from the discussion boards) – don’t be a lurker, make sure students know that you’ve been there. Stay active within your course – check and respond regularly to email and discussion boards and set clear expectation for your students around the timing and methods of communication.

Poor or slow connection?

Try asking your students to turn off their webcams and just use their microphones. If any of your students cannot attend your tutorial via Zoom you will want to offer them an alternative way to interact. Perhaps provide with some questions in the discussion forum or perhaps use a service like PADLET which allows student to access an asynchronous collaborative space online.

Want your students to do group work? 

Use the breakout rooms function in Zoom to divide the class up and get them active.


Feedback is crucial for online students. Provide feedback to online discussions and forums and acknowledge their contributions. If you have many students, consider summarizing their questions and providing feedback to the class at the end of the week. Marking in relation to specific topics, online tutors should mark with a view to encourage further engagement with course content, terms, concepts, readings, e-readings as a starting point. The objective here is to meet the learning outcomes - This also reduces follow-up of queries regarding grade and remarking.

Engage your audience

 Try to create a sense of accountability for each learner in your class. This can be done by asking them to respond individually to specific questions in the chat window, addressing them directly or asking their group to report back after a session in the breakout room.

A great way to engage students from the moment they register for your course is by creating a pretest or survey. Keep in mind, it is important that your students engage throughout the entire course, not just at the beginning or end. Try to maintain a consistent presence through the whole course.  

Learning to Teach Online series

Below are two videos on highly relevant topics to online tutors, 'Engaging and motivating students’ and 'Conducting effective online discussions'. They are from the Learning to Teach Online (LTTO) series from UNSW and focus on, possibly, the two most important aspects of your role as an online tutor. These are just two of a series of videos from this project - the rest of the videos can be found here

Engaging and Motivating Students [VIDEO 1 - 6 mins] 

Engaging students in online learning is critical for success.  This video is about strategies for improving engagement and motivation in online learning environments. Effective facilitation, creating learning communities, strategies for motivating students, and encouraging and sustaining participation are discussed.

Conducting Effective Online Discussions [VIDEO 2 - 6 mins 41] 

For students to benefit from an online discussion, it is important for teachers to generate relevant topics, effectively moderate student activity and participate regularly. This video highlights several strategies to help you manage online discussions more effectively and make them more beneficial for your students.

Online Teaching Resources - External