Want to know something cool?

One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Virtual Tutors Leverage VOIP

The trend of moving traditionally American jobs offshore has now affected education. TutorVista, a young company based in the US, now offers tutoring services and test prep using VOIP and TCP/IP to connect students in the US with English-speaking tutors based in India and Spanish-speakers in Central America.

With rates for basic secondary subject tutoring as low as $20/month for unlimited tutoring, TutorVista dramatically undercuts live-in-person American services that can cost upwards of $50/hour. Preparatory tutoring in advance of MCAT, SAT, GED, and other standardized exams is provided at a higher rate, but nonetheless at steep discounts compared to live domestic services.

Questions for readers of Something Cool: Can offshore tutors supplant services offered by live teachers? Is this "the way of the future" for beyond-school learning? And with the growing number of virtual schools springing up across the country, could we see virtual teachers from India or elsewhere teaching full-on curricula? TutorVista, for its' part, claims that it does not have any "current plans" to supplant live teachers in the US. However, providing virtual instruction to virtual students would seem to be a natural extension of their business model.

So, you tell us: Is this something cool? Or is it merely chilling?

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