Module 2 – Minimizing Technical Difficulties

As you complete each step, check the box to help you measure your progress.


Explore Google Hangouts Independently

Estimated time to complete: 15 min.

Before you can use an online tutoring platform with a client, you need to know how it works! This week we will learn how to use Google Hangouts which includes both an online whiteboard tool and screen share capabilities.

Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a free platform used by many schools and businesses to communicate all over the world. All you need to get started is a Google+ account.

How to Explore Each Online Platform
Each of us have our own learning style and here is your chance to use it! To begin exploring Google Hangouts, select the path below that best fits your needs:

Path 1:  If you prefer the hands on approach to learning, jump into each platform and explore on your own without guidance. Set aside 20 minutes and try out each tool included within Google Hangouts. Don’t forget to fill in your Comparison Tool as you explore.

Path 2:  If you prefer to learn by reading step by step, you can do that too! Read the steps provided by Google before trying it out for yourself. Here are some resources to help you get started:

Get Started:
How to Use Screen Share:
How to Add an App:
10 Hangout Apps:
General Tips:
Hangout System Requirements:

Remember, you can always switch paths or try both paths! It is up to you. Don’t forget to fill in your Comparison Tool as you explore.

Step 2: Technical Difficulties

Estimated time to complete: 10 min.
Read the Article Technical Difficulties.

As you read it, begin putting into practice the suggested strategies for preventing and dealing with technical difficulties in the online tutoring environment.

Step 3: Create a Technology Checklist for Clients

Estimated time to complete: 20 min.
Create a technology checklist for clients that can be shared on your website or via an email. The checklist should include technology requirements (equipment and software) for online tutoring sessions.  The checklist should be specific for the online platform you plan to use. In addition, the checklist should include any steps you would like the client to take prior to logging into the online classroom.

View sample Google Hangouts Checklist here.

Step 4: Plan a 5-10 Minute Online Lesson

Estimated time to complete: 30 min.
One way to avoid technical difficulties with a client during an initial session is to minimize the number of tools and logins a client will need to use.

Many people have Google accounts which allows you to work online together without creating any new login credentials.

Google Hangouts provides screen sharing and can be used to share any website or online whiteboard with a client. This will allow you, the tutor, to have all control of what the client sees. This will prevent the client from using any of the whiteboard tools mentioned in our first module, but will allow you, the tutor to communicate ideas and lessons with the tool.

Create a 5 – 10 minute lesson.

Create a 5 – 10 minute lesson using Google Hangouts screen sharing capabilities.  While creating your lesson consider the following questions:

  • Will you be sharing a website, a file on your computer, a file in Google Drive, or an online whiteboard?
  • How will screen sharing accomplish your learning goals for the student while preventing some technical difficulties?
  • How does screen sharing improve the online tutoring experience?
  • What new tools are now available with screen sharing that were not available while using the online whiteboard?
  • When might screen sharing be a better tool for online tutoring than an online whiteboard?

*Use the provided Online Practice Plan and Review to help organize your thoughts.*  

Download the Practice Plan and Reflect Sheet here.

Step 5:  Improve Your Online Tutoring Invitation

Estimated time to complete: 15 min.
Now that you have a lesson created, you will need to invite a partner to join you in the chosen online environment.  Use the Google Plus community to post a link to your invitation.  Feel free to use the Doodle scheduler to tag tutors in your post to invite them to your session.  Or if you see another tutor requesting a time that works for you, comment and join with them to take turns practicing your lessons.

Remember, this is an opportunity to improve upon last week’s invitation. Since we are using a different platform, your directions will need to be modified. Also, take into consideration the technical difficulties that can occur. What directions will you include in your invitation to minimize or prevent many from occurring?

Edit your original invitation you created inside of Google Docs as needed. Tag Adrianne and Angela in the comments when you are done.

  • This invitation should be brief, easy to understand, and should include any directions needed to login.
  • Remember, your client (In this case, your partner), has never met with you online before.
  • When possible, choose a hardwired connection instead of Wifi. You will avoid latency issues that can occur when uploading and downloading information/video/audio.
  • If you need your client (In this case, your partner), to share any information with you prior to the session, give specific directions on how to do it.
  • Each tutoring software has required upload and download speeds. Check your speed at to verify your uploading and downloading speeds. The upload speed controls any of the information that is being transferred from your computer to your clients. The download speed controls any of the information that is being transferred from the client to your computer.

Do you want to see an example?

View Angela's Invite Here

Step 6:  Deliver Your 5-10 min. Online Lesson

Estimated time to complete: 1 Hour
Now it is go time! You are going to practice delivering your lesson with your partner.

It is important to remember, both the client and tutor roles during this process are important. As a tutor, you will practice delivering a lesson online. As a client, you will experience the platform from a client’s perspective. Pay attention to each experience and use what you learn to better guide your future lessons online.

  • Make sure you and your partner have an agreed upon time to meet online. Decide who will deliver the first lesson.
  • Both tutors should send their invitation prior to the lesson.
  • The first client should follow the directions in the invitation to join the first tutor’s Google Hangout at the agreed upon time.
  • At the end of the first lesson, discuss the reflective questions listed at the bottom of this section and take notes.
  • Once you have reflected on the first lesson, the second client should follow the directions in the invitation to join the second tutor’s Google Hangout.
  • At the end of the second lesson, discuss the reflective questions listed at the bottom of this section and take notes.

Reflective Questions to Discuss with Your Partner

  1. Did your online invitation work smoothly? What changes would you make for future invites? Why?
  2. Did you experience any technical difficulties? How will you prevent or manage them in the future?
  3. Did your lesson go as you planned? What changes would you make for future lessons?
  4. Do you have any questions about how to make your lesson go better?


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