Learn how a growing online tutoring company is changing the way digital learning is delivered to attain student achievement and success while opening access for all students.
With a growing demand with for online courses, many students and parents are seeking affordable, convenient, and quality academic support for their children. The key here is convenient and quality as more and more students are entering a familiar and very popular method of learning - online. Through a digital platform, students get the instructional tutoring support online, anytime.
InstaEDU is an online tutoring company with a key objective to “level[ing] the academic playing field by making it possible for anyone to get one-on-one lessons.” According to InstaEDU, their “goal is to make sure that every student has access to personal academic support whenever they need it.” In a private tutoring world, this is a game-changing approach, where typically students have scheduled tutoring with their private tutors or at a learning center. In addition, some families are unable to afford quality tutoring due to cost. Cost is normally driven by the experience and background of tutors hired by the company, which makes tutoring a very costly expense. Fortunately, InstaEDU is making it possible to address the growing demand for online tutoring to support many families while receiving quality and affordable academic instruction fron tutors from top universities and colleges across the country.
InstaEDU is delivering innovative solution while opening access for many students who do not typically have access and resources to afford individualized instructional support. In an interview with CEO and Co-Founder, Alison Johnston, she shared the background of her company, insights to a growing demand for online learning, and its mission to help transform how online tutoring is delivered for all students. To learn more about InstaEDU’s website, check out: http://instaedu.com/.
Q. Why start an online tutoring program or virtual support for learning?
R. My brother Dan [Johnston] and I had been running an in-home tutoring company that matched Stanford college students with high school students in the Palo Alto area. As we ran this service -- which we eventually expanded to NYC and Boston -- we realized a few things. First, traditional in-home tutoring is too expensive for the vast majority of families. The vast majority of students can benefit from private tutoring, but not everyone can afford $75 or $100/hour for help. And second, while many students do want weekly, hour-long tutoring sessions, not every student needs regular support -- but every student knows what it’s like to run into a tough problem. That’s why we think online tutoring is a great option for students of all learning styles and backgrounds. It allows students to get academic support whenever it’s needed (from the perfect tutor, regardless of location) and at a much more affordable rate than traditional tutoring.
Q. What makes your program "different" from other companies that provide similar services? What would you say are the key unique features you offer to students and parents?
R. There are a few key differences that are game changers. We offer our tutoring services on-demand 24/7. Say you find yourself stuck on a physics problem set at 11pm, InstaEDU makes it easy to connect with an online physics tutor instantly. For high school and college students who need help last-minute when cramming for a test or finishing up a paper, jumping online and working with a tutor for 15 or 30 minutes at the moment they’re stuck can be a lifesaver.
A second thing that differentiates us is the quality of our tutors and tutoring platform. We recruit experienced tutors from top colleges like Stanford and Harvard. Each tutor also has a profile on our site (here’s an example: http://instaedu.com/online-tutors/Alan-R-42787/ ), so you can learn more about the person you’ll be working with, or even set up a lesson with a specific tutor. Once students are in a lesson, they can use video chat, audio or text chat to communicate, as well as several collaboration tools like document editing and a whiteboard.
Q. Describe how students are matched with the appropriate tutor?
R. When students request an on-demand lesson, InstaEDU uses an algorithm to find a tutor who is: 1) online, 2) a great teacher in that subject, and 3) ready to work with a student. For scheduled lessons, students and their parents can browser tutor profiles and message with tutors to find someone who is a good fit.
Q. Parents typically want to know how about the background of tutors. How are your tutors selected?
R. We focus on finding the best tutors at some of the best colleges across the country. When tutors apply, we require them to connect to us via Facebook, which allows us to verify that they’re part of the school network they say they’re from. Each tutor also must complete a tutor interview where we learn more about their experience teaching and tutoring, their academic and outside of school interests, and what subjects they can tutor. We only hire tutors that have prior tutoring or teaching experience and are experts in their subjects. We also display tutor reviews publically, so if a parent is looking for an online chemistry tutor, they can see that Jesse from MIT has gotten great reviews in chemistry.
Q. Can you share some or any critical factors for your success?
R. What makes InstaEDU successful is that it’s so flexible. You can spend 10 minutes clarifying a tricky geometry concept or 2 hours preparing for a big computer science exam. We’ve paid close attention to the actual work habits of our students and continued adding tools that help them get the most out of their time doing homework. We even have a chat window on the bottom of every page that lets students chat with our team so that we can help students if there’s something they can find and learn as much as possible about how we can improve our site.
Q. How do you think InstaEDU address the digital divide?
R. More so than addressing the digital divide, InstaEDU addresses the fact that traditional tutoring is prohibitively expensive for many families. Every student should be able to get high-quality, academic support -- and we’re working to make that happen. Every student on InstaEDU gets to try out InstaEDU for free, so if you’re curious about online tutoring or want to make sure it’s a good fit for you, there’s no risk in trying a lesson or two to see how you like it
The Examiner would like to thank Laura Oppenheimer for reaching out to me and connecting the readers and subscribers to InstaEDU. Visit http://instaedu.com/ for more information.