For schools that can’t afford to start an after-school tutoring program, a new internet-based tutoring service claims to have the answer. Called Tutornet.com, the service launched Aug. 25 and offers scheduled live tutoring in math and science via the internet, with additional courses to be added in the near future.
“There are estimates that over 75 percent of math and science students at some time need additional help, either to stay up with grade level performance or to truly excel,” said Euburn Richard Forde, founder and chairman of Tutornet.com. “Many schools no longer have the budgets and resources to support after-school tutoring. Tutornet.com is designed to fill this need.”
It’s a bit pricey, as far as the internet goes. But its $60 a month subscription rate for unlimited, individual tutoring wouldn’t buy a day’s worth of private face-to-face sessions, by average fees.
Tutornet.com holds scheduled tutorials from 1:30-3:30 p.m. EST, when students can access the site from school or at home, and also from 4:30-11:30 EST to help students with their homework. The tutors are all high school and college teachers with advanced degrees, according to the company.
How it works
When students log on to the site, they select the specific class they’re interested in–algebra, algebra II, advanced algebra, geometry, advanced geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, AP calculus, biology, AP biology, chemistry, or physics–and are automatically placed in the tutorial with the least number of students.
Each class is offered at least twice per day, said Deborah Lansdowne, vice president of marketing. A schedule of each day’s classes is posted well in advance–but if a student needs immediate help with a question, Lansdowne said, he or she could always log on to another class to post a question.
Tutornet.com’s applications let students and tutors create and work out even complex math and science formulas and problems using numbers, letters, shapes, and symbols just as if they were working together on a sheet of paper, Lansdowne said. The site incorporates features like a shared whiteboard, a moderated chatboard, and group web browsing. To view the site, users will need Netscape or Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher.
Students don’t have to install any software to use the service. They simply log on, enter their username and password, and the software is automatically downloaded to their computers for immediate use. The service also lets students print or save their work for later reference.
Tutornet.com is offered by subscription, with a monthly fee of $59.99 per student. The fee includes unlimited access to tutorials, and Lansdowne said the company offers special pricing for schools.
“Schools can provide subscriptions to students who don’t have home internet access, for example, or they can make the slots available during study periods to anyone who needs extra help,” she said.
Tutornet.com also is working with corporations to fund school subscriptions. One such company is Novant Health, which is funding 30 subscriptions for West Forsyth High School in Winston Salem, N.C. Barry Samms, benefits specialist for Novant’s human relations department, said the donation will supplement a mentoring program that Novant runs for West Forsyth students who are identified as “at-risk.”
“I thought this would be a great way to freshen up our relationship with the school,” he said. “These kids need practical help in math and science. Tutornet.com can help with that, and also provide them with computer skills at the same time. These are kids whose families can’t afford either tutoring or computers.”