The expanding online tutoring format poses unique challenges when attempting to maximize communication and productivity in a 20–25-minute writing center session. Relatively recent literature has revealed that discontented students have reported in feedback surveys that their sessions felt unhelpful or fruitless. This situation has been termed: "non-productive non-directivity,” and it may be attributed to an over-reliance on open-ended questions. It is of interest to determine whether this is truly helping students in online settings. While tutoring roles have not changed, the impersonal nature of an online session requires a more perceptive approach to tutoring: recognizing that a student may need more specific direction to feel sufficiently instructed. This is a practice known as scaffolding.
Franson, Nathan, "Scaffolding in Online Tutoring: Addressing the Issue of Productivity" (2021). Tutor's Column. Paper 70.