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Showing posts from 2006

eTutoring: Towards a successful business strategy

According to some industry estimates, tutoring is a $5 billion dollar market. The US government has budgeted up to a thousand dollars per public school student to provide her extra academic support. How much these figures are off the mark is open to debate. But everyone is certain about a few things. • That we need quality academic help for our children. • That this quality help is not really as easily available in spite of all the money flowing in the market. • That the problem is magnified in remote areas. We need to find some more efficient and acceptable solution to this alarming situation. In spite of all the media interest and a growing community of etutoring service providers, this form is yet to achieve a “critical mass.” By some estimates, etutoring forms perhaps five percent of the total tutoring market! A study of mainstream tutoring businesses reveals an interesting spectrum. At one end, tutoring is a highly personalized service delivered in person in the home. At t

An Idiot’s Guide to Online Tutoring

So, there’s been a lot of talk about Online Tutoring in these columns and elsewhere. It seems to be catching up, though, in relative terms, it still is the newborn baby in the big world of Supplementary Education Services. At last estimates, it would be around 3-4% of the total pond! A newborn needs an initiation into the real world by way of letting the world know about its arrival. Here is, then, the beginner’s guide to the exciting world of online tutoring. First things first. We all know tutoring, where a tutor comes to the student and provides a highly customized help. Or the student goes to a tutor to get the same in various forms like one-on-one, small group, or more rarely, a large group. One-on-one is the most personalized form. Small group is a way of clubbing “like” students to use the resources more efficiently at a lesser cost. Large group is typically used more for test prep, where the feeling of competition enhances performance. Online tutoring is possible in all of th

Education: Beyond boundaries of thought and instruction

Envision a world with no boundaries. All are free to move, to trade, to serve and to learn. Now guess where a student would go to get the highest standard of education in science, engineering, medicine or management. Her destination would most likely be somewhere in the United States . America - the ultimate destination of that learner, is ironically struggling to find enough educators to teach her own young! Education experts have estimated that more than 2 million new teachers will be needed in the next decade and say demand will increase dramatically because the new law requires a highly qualified teacher in every classroom by 2006. Another major cause of concern is a declining and ageing population, which is seeing a lot more retiring teachers than ever before. Take the case of India . According to a recent report in the Christian Science Monitor, India is short of engineering faculty by 10-30%. The reason: India ’s economic success story has attracted these college tea

Online Tutoring: Using a Global “Exchange” to Match Supply and Demand

Last week the Dean of Academic Affairs at one of the American university clients asked if our online teachers could help returning adult students without access to assistance off campus. This was not the first email of its kind. But it was the first time a client made no mention about cost savings to the institution. His sole motivation was the isolated students’ need for quality support. It is a good indication of online teaching’s growing “demand side”. Our experience on the supply side offers an interesting counterpoint. As a profession, teaching has never been the best paymaster - anywhere in the world. Talent tends to be pulled to more lucrative offerings, even when no small part of it hears teaching’s siren song. Only the most motivated actually take up the calling. Most are drawn to metropolitan areas; to be precise, suburbs rather than inner cities or rural areas. Many of the most talented who move to isolated schools end up as managers. These institutions are hard-pressed to