RIDGEFIELD, CONN. — Joe Alemany was tired of fighting with his PC. After buying a new computer last year, he needed to figure out Win-dows '98 and how to send e-mail.
"That threw me," says Mr. Alemany, who lives in Columbus, N.C. So after spotting a newspaper ad last spring, he hired "1O1 Online Tutoring," a service that takes a unique approach to teaching.
Rather than dispatching tutors to homes, it connects students and teachers remotely and in real time, as though they were in the same room.
Sitting at a separate computer and talking on the phone, the tutor can "see" what the student is doing, then guide him verbally or take over the screen and mouse using special software. (Called Microsoft Net Meeting, it comes with Windows '98, or tutors ship it to students for free.) With the click of a mouse, the software lets students and teachers share the same server.
"It was almost like she was standing over my shoulder," Alemany says. "She walked me through step by step and then covered it again with a fax." Alemany learned how to e-mail, write letters on Microsoft Word, select bullets, and change fonts.
The tutors can also teach people more advanced tricks, like how to handle zip files and archives, create or locate directories, get a printer to print, download files from the Internet, or fix a system when it freezes.
With permission, tutors can remotely scan for problems on their students' hard drives.
*For more information call (888) 84 TUTOR.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society