Sunday, July 26, 2009
I actually didn't know this until a week ago but it seems the new version of Skype allows screensharing. For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept, screensharing basically allows the person you're calling to see exactly the same thing that's on your screen. It comes in handy when you want to discuss a document online because the presenter can flip through pages, point to relevant parts of the document, etc. This should be good news for some tutors who frequently use their own teaching material. (Check out the original post to download.) I just did a conference call with China this morning using the new feature and it worked *perfectly*. I was quite blown away with the smoothness of graphic transitions. But then again, I have a pretty fast connection so you might want to test it out with friends living overseas before you start using it for your lessons. And I still need to check whether this works if the person you're talking to has an older version of Skype. If you have any ideas as to how you can use this for your lessons you're welcome to share them through comments.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I think it would help you guys to know what the most common complaint is on Cafetalk. And that is...
"Tutors don't respond to lesson requests"That is, quite frequently lesson requests are left unanswered and students are left feeling very disappointed as a result. Imagine you're a student. You just came across Cafetalk and you find all these great tutors. You pick someone you think you might like and request your very first lesson. You're all psyched up and motivated. But then 24 hours later you receive an email saying "Sorry, your tutor could not confirm your lesson request." This is the all too familiar message that is automatically sent out from Cafetalk when a lesson is not confirmed before the expiration time set by the student. If the student is new to Cafetalk we usually lose her at this point. Figures show clearly that students who have a bad first lesson (including unanswered lessons) don't come back. So the gist of this message is ... confirm your lessons promptly and you'll probably be rewarded. The other announcement I'd like to make is that from now on we will be posting a list of tutors who have good response and confirmation rates on our student blog. The confirmation rate shown here is basically the percentage of completed requests to total requests. I know this is a little unfair because some lessons have to be canceled for reasons beyond the tutors' control. So before you start bombarding us with complaints please rest assured that we will try to improve the logic of this indicator to make it more accurate. Anyway, it's just a start. Currently students don't have any means of knowing which tutors are more likely to respond to their requests and which are likely to just ignore them. This kind of list should help them out a little. We'll be posting more of these "top xxx" type lists on both our student blog and in the Cafetalk system in the future. "Tutors who offer unique lessons", "Tutors who can teach concentrated lessons during the Summer" are just a few of the ideas in the pipeline, but if you would like to propose a list topic please send them in through the comments.
Friday, July 17, 2009