MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The school year is in full swing and if some extra help is just what the teacher ordered, listen up.  Trekking to a tutor or arranging an in-home session aren’t the only options anymore.  Many are touting online tutoring.

When college senior Rafael Garcia was behind in accounting, with an exam fast approaching, help was only a few clicks away.

“I’m more of a last minute studier. I started using online tutoring because I realized I needed help and all the tutors were taken in school,” said Garcia.

Experts said online tutoring programs, like the one Garcia uses, are taking off.

“Screen sharing programs are now commonplace, webcams are now commonplace, and so it’s possible for a tutor to get pretty much the same view of what a student is doing, as is possible face to face,” said professor Chris Dede.

Webcams, virtual whiteboards, faster broadband connections and the ability to upload and share assignments, have given rise to a host of options for struggling students of all ages.

“Via screen-sharing technology your tutor can pull up a specific platform that your child can then see on the other end of that device. It allows for real-time working through a mathematical problem, or they can pull up an essay and the child can see as the tutor goes through word-by-word or line-by-line,” said educational consultant, Katharine Hixson.

Some companies offer instant help for students when they’re stuck.  Alison Johnston Rue co-founded instaEDU, which launched last year.  She said on-demand assistance is in high demand.

“No matter what time it is, 24/7, with online tutoring you can log onto your computer and connect with a tutor almost instantly.  We’ve seen our usage grow 50 percent month over month all through the year,” said Rue.

Garcia plans to log on whenever he comes across a confusing concept.

As for that accounting test?

“I got a high B actually, so I was very pleased with that,” said Garcia.

Since each company has its own criteria for tutor qualifications, experts said there are no industry-wide standards when it comes to tutoring.  Be sure to look at tutor resumes and go with a reputable company.


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