Dr Duncan James > UPmaths > Online Maths Tutorials

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Online Maths Tutorials

This page is mainly for 1-to-1 students. Group students do not need to do very much setup. You are welcome to contact me to find out if I can help you.

This page has the instructions for getting started with the online tutorials.

Group and 1-to-1 Tutorials

1-to-1 tutorials often get booked-up very quickly.

Do you want group tutorials? You can simply go to Patreon and sign-up straight away. You are also welcome to contact me with any questions first. Once you have signed-up at Patreon you will have access to the list of up-and-coming tutorials that are available and be able to book on.

Do you want 1-to-1 tutorials? You must contact me first. If we decide it is the right choice for you then you need to pay on Patreon. We will then do the sessions using a writing tablet, Skype and RealtimeBoard. We will coordinate to sort out a writing tablet; often I get one posted to you. Skype is very common and I have not included instructions here. Sometimes we use alternatives to Skype such as a land-line but this is rare. RealtimeBoard is free and means we can both write on the screen and see what the other person is writing. Instructions for RealtimeBoard are shown below.

1-to-1 Students Only: Is Your Internet Connection Good Enough?

If the internet connection at either end is too slow it can cause so many drop-outs on Skype and crashes of the whiteboard that the tutorials do not work.

One option is to use the help page from RealtimeBoard on the topic of connection issues to try to solve the problem.

I recommend using a website such as http://www.speedtest.net/ to find out the speed of your connection. You could then compare the numbers you get with the real experiences below from using my online tutoring setup:-

18mb download and 12mb upload: Generally smooth user experience with some slow-down of pen response at times.

14mb download and 1mb upload: Couldn't hear the voice over Skype once every ten minutes for a few seconds and occasional lag on the pen when writing.

1mb download and 0.5mb upload: Slight pen lag the whole time meaning had to write slower and occasionally couldn't hear over Skype.

Skype have a good page about internet bandwidth which is useful. Remember this is for Skype and does not account for the extra requirements of the communication of the two computers about what is being written on the screen on the whiteboard.

1-to-1 Students Only: Tips for Using a Writing Tablet

I find an online tutorial with a writing tablet to be much more effective.

You can wait until the first session to try using this. If you want to try this on your own then I recommend installing the software before plugging in the tablet.

The pen may need batteries. If it is not working check this.

When you plug it in sometimes the microphone and/or speaker settings may suddenly change so if your headset stops working check the settings.

Your internet speed (and other factors) determines how fast you can write on the screen. I adjust my writing speed to be slow enough so that the letters still form correctly. If the connection is good and the website is working well I find I can write almost at my usual writing speed.

Writing with a tablet can be a bit buggy Chrome (at time of writing in 2017). One thing that can help is to disable the touchscreen settings in Chrome by putting chrome://flags/ into a new tab, loading and finding the relevant line. I recommend this as a last resort after we've tried a couple of other things first.

1-to-1 Students Only: Instructions For RealtimeBoard

I use RealtimeBoard as I have found it to be a very good whiteboard. I recommend waiting for me to send you an invite.

These instructions may not exactly match what you need to do because RealtimeBoard are regularly updating and improving their website.

1 I will send you a link to your first online whiteboard.

2 When you follow the link you will be sent to a login screen. You probably will not have an account. Simply create a new account. You may have separate emails for school and home. If you use your school email address remember that if that changes you will potentially lose access.

3 Enter your email, name and a password.

4 You will be force to make a team. Do so even though this is a bad idea.

5 You will be asked to add people to the team. Ignore this and scroll down the page and click on next.

6 You will be asked to watch a video. Click on start to skip.

7 You now have a team which you don't want. Click on "team settings" and from there delete the account. You will get an email confirmation. Please confirm. Hurray! The silly team they force you to make has gone.

8 Once I created an account I found I had to twice unsubscribe to messages. I strongly recommend unsubscribing from RealtimeBoard messages. I have a paid account meaning you do not need one and you also do not need to keep up-to-date with RealtimeBoard news as I keep on top of all of that.

9 To find your boards go to the "shared with me" set of whiteboards. I will be the author of the whiteboards and then share them with you.

10 Choose a pen colour that you like. Click on the pen icon once to make the menu appear. Click on it again to make the menu disappear. Please make it a fairly dark colour or I can find it difficult to see. I set the pen width to a minimum to make it easier to fit more working on one page.

Image to help you see how to change your pen style on RealtimeBoard.

11 The only other thing you need to do is change pages. Use the page selector on the side-bar to do this. Click on it once to make the menu appear. Click on it again to make the menu disappear. Depending on your browser and your operating system you may need to single-click or double-click to change pages.

Image to help you see how to change pages on RealtimeBoard.

12 The scroll function on the page selector can be difficult to see. It is on the side of the list.

Image to help you see how to scroll the pages list on RealtimeBoard.

13 Any more questions? Just let me know. If you are preparing for your first tutorial you are welcome to contact me for help or you might wait for the first tutorial so we can sort it out together.