Online Tutoring Industry Best …
  • RSS Feed

Last modified on 8/13/2019 2:54 PM by User.


Online Tutoring Industry Best Practices

Instant Access Tutoring

Based on the information found below and your subject expertise, please exercise your judgment in tutoring a Brainfuse user (K-12 students, college students and adults).

Brainfuse partners with live project facilitators who look over tutoring sessions in real time for sudden spikes in student traffic.  Live project facilitators can try to transfer students who require new tutors or if the tutor is stumped on a question. 

Live project facilitators are extremely tied up at all times with thousands of tutoring sessions and do not have time for non-emergency issues. 


#1      When a user logs in to receive tutoring, the standard, accepted greeting based on tutoring industry standards is “How can I help you?”

#2   How do I know when I have temporary overflow of users on the Brainfuse interface?

On the Brainfuse interface, an additional whiteboard tab with the Brainfuse user’s name will appear in the upper-right corner. There will also be a “cuckoo” sound, so it is highly recommended that you keep your volume at maximum level at all times.

#3   What are some of the recommended ways I can handle user overflows?

It’s distracting for Brainfuse users to hear about other users; based on tutoring industry standards, you can do your best tabbing between different whiteboards until the overflow slows down. Our live project facilitators will do their best to transfer so it is recommended that you do your best to help the extra user(s). Trying to message the live project facilitator will only slow down the transfer process. 

#4   Based on widely accepted tutoring standards, Brainfuse will exercise its discretion in terminating the tutoring contract with the tutor if the tutor engages in the following:

  • Referencing Wikipedia, YouTube, Purdue OWL or other web sites
  • Having personal conversations with Brainfuse users, project facilitators and other Brainfuse staff while tutoring
  • Asking a Brainfuse user for personal information (email address for example) or exchanging personal information with a user. 
  • Sending inappropriate links to a Brainfuse user.
  • Contacting a Brainfuse user outside the tutoring session.

#5    It is part of Best Practices to notify the Brainfuse user at least 15 minutes prior to logging out.  There usually is a live project facilitator on weekdays between 2 PM ET – 1 AM ET so you can try transferring the Brainfuse user to another tutor. On weekends, facilitators begin at 3 PM ET.

#6   I received a message saying that there is a new message in my inbox but when I check, nothing is there.  What does this mean?

This means that another tutor has accepted the student submission (through the Writing Lab or Send Question page on the student interface) before you.

#7   It is widely accepted tutoring industry standards not to refer online tutoring users to 3rd party sites.

#8   A Brainfuse user is extremely vulgar/using profanity/not using Brainfuse for its intended purpose, etc. What are my options?

We suggest that you inform the user that all sessions are recorded and can be reported to parents, teachers and administrators. If the behavior escalates, try notifying the Brainfuse live facilitator. If there does not appear to be a live facilitator, then you can ignore the student. If you happen to get the same abusive student repeatedly and experience the same issues with the student, you can try notifying Note that there is not much that Brainfuse can do, since we do not collect personal information and we are not a school. We recommend not taking the student comments and behavior personally. We are about customer service in education and our students/users are our customers/clients.

#9   Many Precalculus and Calculus courses allow students the use of graphing calculators such as the TI-89. We have compiled a list of third-party links that you can use to familiarize yourself with the functions. You can access the resources by going to Miscellaneous > My Curriculum > Brainfuse Lessons > College > College Algebra > Extras > TI – 89 Tutorial Pages.

#10   Brainfuse user is using or asking for standards/methods that I am not familiar with. What should I do?

With the introduction of the Common Core standards, more of our clients are aligning their curriculum to these new standards. If the Brainfuse user is specifying for a certain method to be used, a suggestion would be to ask him/her for a practice problem that they have done in class so that you can see how this particular user’s school district is applying the Common Core Standards. There is no one way of solving questions in Common Core Standards. Here is a site that details the Common Core standards:

Brainfuse is also working with clients from Canada, specifically Alberta.  For additional information regarding Alberta’s standards, please go to:

#11   Do Brainfuse users use mobile apps?

Yes, as shown below.

 #12   Currently, Brainfuse users can connect to a tutor using the HTML 5 whiteboard or the JAVA whiteboard.

#13   Clients have expressed concerns about tutors answering problems for students. Clients would prefer if tutors gave students practice problems with similar numbers and work through that problem with the student, so that the student gains a better understanding of how to solve the problem. It then allows the student to work through their homework problem more independently with the tutor there to remind them of steps from the practice problem if the student gets stuck.

#14   Please note that clients do not like effusive comments or comments that suggest the tutor is grading the student on writing lab reviews. Clients deem comments like “outstanding essay” or “you are an excellent writer” as unnecessary for tutors to add to reviews. Clients would rather tutors focus on how a student can improve than on praising them for what they did well. For example, instead of saying “excellent thesis,” a tutor may say something like “Your thesis clearly lays out your central argument. Make sure each of your paragraphs fully supports and advances your thesis.”

 #15   Even if you opt for direct deposit, the first check is always manually mailed.

 #16   The Writing Lab and Brainshare are two separate things, and they are not interchangeable.

During a live tutoring session, a student sends their writing assignment to a tutor via Brainshare. The tutor should actively review elements of the assignment with the student during the live session. All tutoring on that assignment must be completed during the live session, and if the tutor has anything to send back to the student, they need to send it to the student via Brainshare before the tutoring session is over. Clients do not want tutors to send documents to guests after a session has ended. 

Students can also submit assignments via the Writing Lab for tutors to review. When a tutor submits an assignment, that assignment is sent to all available tutors for a tutor to accept. Tutors must finish the review by the indicated due date/time on the task assignment, and return the review to the student through the Writing Lab.

#17   When a student asks for their essay to be reviewed, clients expect that tutors do the best they can to actively review the paper with the student on the whiteboard. Clients do not want tutors to review the paper without student input or tell students that tutors cannot review a paper during a live session. At the end of a session, it is acceptable to suggest that the student submits their paper to the Writing Lab if they would like additional help.

#18   If a tutor removes lower level subjects in a general subject area (such as removing Elementary Writing and keeping other Writing subjects such as College Writing), this will likely result in a decreased amount of hours.

#19   While not every computer science question requires a code editor and a compiler to be answered, it is a good idea for computer science tutors to download their own code editors and compilers in order to be more prepared when tutoring Computer Science students. This way, computer science tutors will have the tools needed to test out code. 

Code Editors:


#20   Some computer science questions can require extensive work—a large amount of code may be required to be written.  If during a live session a computer science tutor receives such a question, it may be good to ask the student to focus the question and to provide, generally, conceptual help.

#21   Tutors scheduling depends on a variety of factors:

  • Tutor availability.
  • Number of subjects with which the tutor can work.
  • How proficient the tutor is in his/her area of expertise.
  • How advanced the tutor is in his/her area of expertise.
  • Point in the academic calendar (our clients are K-12 schools, libraries and colleges so the student traffic is seasonal; super busy during midterms and finals and really slow during winter and summer breaks).
  • Peak hours are usually in the evenings, but we also need tutors in the mornings and early afternoons.

#22   On Transferring:

Clients expect tutors to handle the students that are routed to them.  If you need to request a transfer, the facilitator will ask for the reason.  To request a transfer, go to Tools à Contact à Session Monitor.  Though, keep in mind that the facilitator is not always available.

#23   For Nursing Tutors:

Brainfuse offers many services for nursing students.  We offer practice tests for the NCLEX-RN, the NCLEX-PN, and the TEAS exams.  Additionally, the TEAS exams are linked (in the LEAP) to lessons that can help students strengthen material that they have not yet mastered.  These resources are available under the Career Prep/Job Resources and TEAS course sets; lessons are available when students complete the TEAS in the LEAP platform. 

Please let us know if you have questions about nursing curriculum by emailing

#24   To determine a guest’s grade level: Right-click on the student’s username to determine whether a student is in College or K-12. If the user has a guest username, then they are probably in K-12. If they have a unique username, you can right-click or ask the student directly to find out.

#25   Inactive guests: If a tutor has an inactive student for an extended period (>30 minutes), they can notify the facilitator to have the student removed. Tutors should not try to “remove” problem students (verbal harassment, inappropriate content, etc.) but instead ignore them and inform the facilitator.

#26   Session Surveys: Please note that certain institutions that we work with have requested that tutors fill in information regarding the tutoring session. In such cases, you will see a Select Skill drop-down menu flash on the upper right-hand corner of the tutor whiteboard as soon as the student connects with you.

While you are tutoring the student, the institution has requested that you select the topic that the student is working on.  Even if more than one topic is covered, please just pick one topic. 

After the tutoring session, you will see the Session Survey again where you can indicate whether the student should be flagged for continuing to struggle with the content. 

PLEASE NOTE: Most students should not be flagged as struggling. Only those students who may require significant and ongoing academic intervention from their institution should be flagged.

We encourage you to visit the following link for additional information:

Clients appreciate the additional information to provide better support to their students.
For additional information or questions, please email

#27   If a student logs in under an incorrect or unrelated subject, please ask them to log out and select the correct subject from the drop-down menu before connecting with another tutor. If a student says their subject does not exist, let them know you will forward their issue to management. Send an email with their username and request. Do not assume that all students have access to the same subjects under Live Help.

#28   All live tutoring must be completed within QuickConnect. Tutors should not contact students via the inbox or outside of Brainfuse. Tutors are not to respond to students who send messages through the inbox. 

#29   When a tutor gets a question on what kind of training they receive from Brainfuse, or how they qualify to tutor for Brainfuse, the tutor needs to defer those questions to the office. Inform the user that the inquiry has been noted and forwarded to the appropriate departments. You can then jot down their username and send it to for the office to follow up. 

#30   We have customers/students who are logging in with class assignments mandated by their college instructors from various institutions.  When one of these students log in, you will see in your chat box a set of assignments/questions given by the college instructor for the Brainfuse tutor to follow and review with the student. The assignments from the college instructor can be lengthy so please be sure to scroll your tutor chat box all the way up so that you are not missing any information. The customers expect the Brainfuse tutor to review as many questions from the class assignment as possible and any that you do not get to with the student should be noted in the session survey that will pop up after you close out the tutor whiteboard.