Course Platforms Versus Tutoring Platforms

Course Platforms Versus Tutoring Platforms

What’s the difference between a course platform and a tutoring platform? We’ve all missed a lot of detail over the past two years, so let’s compare and contrast to see how tutors can become course instructors.

Independent Tutors

Jacob is an independent math tutor who takes private clients in their first year of engineering studies who need help with linear algebra. He has a niche in his community and most of his clients come through referrals from professors and past clients. He has created a substantial portfolio of his own teaching resources and materials. Over the last two years, he has noticed his students tend to bring him the same 10 problems over and over again.

As a tutor, he has helped his clients deal with those questions on an individual basis over a video conferencing program too many times to count.

The problem is, Jacob and his tutoring clients spend so much time on these individual problems that there is no time to address the students underlying issues such as learning gaps or missed lectures. To save time, he compiles those 10 questions into 10 lessons and offers it as a course on Edusity. His clients can enroll in the course and learn how to solve the most common issues Jacob has identified in a learning community. The students meet as a group every Tuesday or Wednesday evening, but the sessions are recorded and there are opportunities for further discussion in the forums.

In addition to the course, Jacob still conducts tutoring sessions, but instead of repeating the same material over and over again, he and his clients can address underlying issues in their individual understanding of linear algebra.

On-Demand Tutors

Alice is a graduate student in linear algebra who works part-time as an on-demand tutor for a tutoring centre. Every Tuesday and Wednesday evening from 6 to 11 PM, she signs in to their online portal and is on call in case one of the centre’s clients requires her expertise. When and if someone needs her expertise, they are connected over the platform and Alice has access to the centre’s library of copyrighted resources and teaching materials to address her client’s specific problems. If Alice wants to become an independent teacher, or create a course like Jacob, she will need to create her own resources and teaching materials as using the centre’s materials is a violation of copyright.

The clients Alice works with are not her clients, but those of the tutoring centre. She may never work with the same individual twice and there is no opportunity to address underlying issues or establish patterns in the problems they might have.

How Tutors Become Instructors

Recent disruptions in the tutoring centre industry have left many on-demand tutors looking for new opportunities. While independent tutors like Jacob, who can draw on their established clients and portfolios of resources and materials, can become course instructors very easily, it is more difficult – but not impossible—for on-demand tutors like Alice.

The first thing Alice has to do is review all of her work to see what areas of linear algebra tend to need the most extra attention. She needs to draw on her own expertise and imagination to create teaching materials to support her work. Then, she needs to structure and plan a course, offer it on the Edusity platform and market it. While Edusity will certainly help her with marketing, she also needs to build her own profile and champion her own knowledge and experience. When she was working for the tutoring centre, their emphasis was on their materials and resources, not the strengths of individual tutors.

Jacob, on the other hand, can use his course to expand his reach to new students while offering his existing clientele a new product. While Alice can catch up to him, he is in a better position to promote his course through his social media channels and word-of-mouth support from past and current clients.

In the end, both groups of linear algebra students will benefit from having more resources and different learning products to choose from.

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