Audio-Visual-Textual (AVT) Conferencing is the newest way technology offers us to tutor. In this day and age, sometimes it is impossible to have a sit-down, face-to-face (f2f) tutoring session, so we had graduated on to email tutoring. In spite of the fact that students were working on their writing by actually writing (typing up questions, responses, defenses) to their tutors, there was none of the personal interaction that occurs in a f2f, with vocal inflections, facial expressions or any sort of body language whatsoever.
And so, AVT conferencing is introduced. It allows there to be all the elements of an actual tutoring session and some other factors besides. For example, many reactions over a technological system are often over-emphasized – hand waves to say goodbye, more exaggerated shrugs and shakings of the head. This could be helpful and is just a natural instinct (since it is still communicating long-distance), so it probably will not distract either party and help further communication. There is also the added bonus of being able to write as well as talk, and, along the same vein, easily access links or tips to pass along since you can get right on the internet. It could be a huge benefit to be able to make the changes on the document as the conversation progress or open up a link on a personal computer when the tutor suggests it, which would be impossible in a f2f conference over a printed document. One bit about the AVT conference that could be either way is that the tutee could be in their personal space, meaning that they may be more comfortable in the comfort of their own room and that may give them confidence to defend their work/argue their side. However, it could also make them feel strange that their tutor is able to see into their room.
AVT seems like a reasonable alternative when f2f is just not an option. As long as the student is comfortable with the technology and the concept, a very productive session might ensue.