Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Math and Science FAQs

Q. What subjects do you cover?

A. The tutors are mostly undergraduate UH Mānoa students majoring in STEM fields - for example, math, engineering, biology and computer science. All are equipped to tutor mathematics up through Calculus I (and higher for many) and at least all high school level sciences and one or more of the intro college level biology, chemistry or physics courses. It will depend on who is working on a given shift as to what higher than high school level subject tutoring is available.

Q. How many students are tutored by one tutor at a time?

A. The drop-in tutoring is always one-on-one, unless it gets busy and multiple students are working on the same problem, in which case tutors can work with a small group of students if the students agree to it.

Q. Do tutors use the "Video"?

A. No, not at this time. Tutors use the audio and chat communications only.

Q. Does this work on PC and Mac?

A. Yes, absolutely! Please see the How It Works page for more information.

Q. Can I use an iPad or other handheld device?

A. Yes, there is a Blackboard Collaborate free app available for download for iOS devices (iPads and iPhones), BUT the big limitation is no ability yet to write on the whiteboard. You can see the whiteboard, talk to your tutor and use chat, but you will not be able to write your work on the whiteboard. Therefore, if you can access Blackboard Collaborate from a computer instead, it is highly recommended.

Q. Do I need to have a headset?

A. It greatly helps quality of the tutoring session if you can talk with your tutor, either through your computer microphone/speaker or a headset. Your tutor will always test the audio with you at the beginning of your session. If you don’t have a headset or built-in mic/speaker available, you can still get tutored, but the communications will be chat only.

Q. How does the tutoring session start?

A. You will be greeted via chat by a tutor or tutors in the "main room". The first available tutor will move you and himself/herself to a private "room" to begin the one-on-one tutoring. The tutor will test audio, collect a small amount of personal information for OLA’s records, and then get you started with the tutoring. If it’s your first time, the tutor will explain the tools and have you try things out. Ask lots of questions!

Q. Why is personal information collected at the start of each session?

A. We collect your name, school, teacher, grade and class information for the OLA database records to help monitor usage, verify that you’re a Hawaiʻi student, and track program progress. All supplied information is confidential.

Q. How long can I stay on for one session?

A. There is no time limit but if you’ve had a chance to work with your tutor for awhile and other students are waiting for a turn, the tutor is required to start helping a new student. You won’t have to log off, as you can continue working in your "room" and use the "raise hand" feature when you need help again, but you will have to wait for the next available tutor. The tutors work hard to ensure that all students get served.

Q. Why does my tutor ask so many questions?

A. Our tutors are trained to guide you, and they are expected to do this through questioning to assess your understanding. They will not simply provide answers, but will help you work through your areas of need. Please ask the tutors any questions that you have!


Writing Services FAQs

Q. What can you help me with?

A. (Almost) anything—we’re committed to helping you from beginning to end! If you need help brainstorming ideas for an outline or you want us to help you put the finishing touches on a twenty-page paper — we’re here for you. If there’s writing involved, come see us…no matter what class you’re taking.

Q. What are your hours?

A. We have tutors scheduled Monday-Saturday, between the hours of 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. We are "closed" on all state and federal holidays. Currently, we don't have the capacity to fulfill every time slot, everyday, but we have tried to ensure that there are multiple tutors throughout the day on any given day.

Q. How often can I see a tutor?

A. You can schedule as many appointments as you want, even if it’s within the same day! We encourage all students to take advantage of the program. Once again, we are here for you, so feel free to use us as a tool in your educational journey.

Q. How many students are tutored by one tutor at a time?

A. We will give you our undivided attention when you come to see us. All of our sessions are run on a one-on-one basis and we run the session at your desired pace.

Q. Does this work on PC and Mac?

A. Yes, absolutely! Although we can never predict any technical difficulties that may occur, our tutoring does work on both PC and Mac. However, not all tablets may work well with our site. If you use a tablet to join your tutoring session, it is possible that not all features will be available, but we will always do our best to accommodate everyone.

Q. Do appointments have to be one hour long?

A. Yes, all appointments are one hour long. You do not, however, have to stay with the tutor for the full hour. By having a full hour to look over your paper, we will be able to take the time to really focus in on the things you wish to work on or need help with most. This may take ten minutes or the full hour. Our goal is to help you as much as you need; we do not want to feel pressed for time.

Q. When can I schedule an appointment?

A. Currently, you can schedule an appointment up to two weeks in advance. We also accept same-day appointments, as long as they are created prior to the appointment time. So, if you want to schedule your appointment at 5:00 pm, create your appointment at least by 4:59 pm.

Q. How do I change my appointment time?

A. There are two ways to change your appointment time. You can click into the appointment you originally scheduled and choose a new start and end time and click "Save Changes." This will only work if the new time is available to be scheduled. The second option you have is to cancel your original appointment and create a new appointment at the desired time and/or with your desired tutor.

Q. How do I cancel an appointment?

A. If you wish to cancel an appointment, click into to the appointment you originally created and scroll to the bottom. You will find a link labeled "cancel this appointment" in red.

Q. Why is personal information collected at the start of each session?

A. Not only do we want to know who we are working with, but we also want to be able to maximize our time together. To allow us to do so, we like to know a few things about you, your class, and your essay.

Q. Why does my tutor ask so many questions?

A. We are trained to guide you. To do so, we like to work with you to discover your learning style. We do this through questioning to assess your understanding. Please ask the tutors any questions that you have!

Q. Will you edit my paper?

A. Sorry, but no. We are not an editing service. However, we are here to help you, so any comments we make on your paper will facilitate your learning outside of the classroom. For example, if you want help on your thesis, we will try to understand what your argument is and provide suggestions to make your thesis stronger and clearer. We may also direct you to outside writing resources. This way, the comments we provide will help you throughout your educational career.

Q. What experience/credentials do your writing tutors have?

A. All of the writing tutors are UH Mānoa undergraduate or graduate students with a range of writing and tutoring experiences. That, combined with our general love of writing, means that we are dedicated to helping you in any way that we can. If you want more information on any specific tutor, feel free to check out the tutor bios on our Writing Tutors page!