Many online tutoring services appear to offer similar quality education, but looks can be deceiving. When deciding which online tutoring provider for yourself or your family, it is best to first isolate what features are "must haves", and what is nice to have.
These requirements differ depending on tutoring subject, age of student, and interface (computer, tablet, phone, etc.). As a general rule of thumb, the more features the better, because you never know when you need to just share your screen with a tutor, or get a tutor right now for a quick question. So without further ado, here are my personal necessary features for a tutoring service.
24/7 Tutoring - When I was in college and high school, I would always be studying at weird times of the day. It might be 2am and I have a midterm the next day or noon on a Sunday. Regardless of what subject I needed help with, I realized that scheduling a tutor was never beneficial for me as the student. Also, I often needed only 30 minutes of help or so, far less than what justifies a tutor to drive over to my house. The ability to quickly get a couple questions answered and go back to self-paced studying is paramount.
Virtual Classroom - With so many topics a student could need help with, it is important to have the tools available to help with every situation. The basics include text chat and document sharing but they should include many more such as audio / video communication, screen sharing, virtual whiteboard, text editor, and code editor. This ensures that every lesson will have all the tools to replicate the efficiency of an in-person lesson.
24/7 Support - Often students and parents will need some assistance in understanding exactly what they need help with, how the site works, etc. Other times, there will be technical issues with a student's computer for example and need help to enter a lesson. Whatever the situation, online support can provide the highest quality customer service with a wait time of under 30 seconds. This ensures the highest level of care for all customers. Here at TutorMe, we use Intercom to power all customer service and it works great! Check out our blue button in the bottom right and give it a shot. Not even Khan Academy has this!
Tutor Biographies - Who is your tutor? Why are they qualified? These are questions we get all the time and we wanted to create the most transparent answer to this question. This is why every tutor on TutorMe has a full biography. They talk about who they are, their passions, their interests and most importantly why they are qualified to be your tutor. In addition, they have past job experience and teaching experience as well as their university degrees. If this isn't enough, you can even see three example questions that each tutor has written. This shows their intimate knowledge of each subject they specialize in and gives a personal touch to the process.
Tutor Chat - Students and parents alike have the right to feel comfortable with their tutor. To make this process as seamless as possible we developed a tutor chat ability that enables students and tutors to chat. They can talk before tutoring is purchased, just to give the students an extra sense of confidence in their tutoring decision. Also, it's great for the tutors to be able to know exactly what the student needs help in. This way, no time is wasted once they are in the lesson space. Additionally, our chat was modeled after Facebook, so the user experience is familiar and easy to use.
Past Lessons - Just because a lesson is finished, doesn't mean that the student is done learning. Students often come back to review material, so the ability to see past lessons is the most efficient way to facilitate this. Also, this is a great way for parents to see exactly what happened during a lesson so that they can stay up to speed with their child's progress.
The need for these requirements is what led us to build TutorMe.com. As no other online platform provides these necessary features, in a seamless and easy to use environment, we decided to go and build it our self. Go try it out and let us know what you think.
Best, TutorMe Team