TutorOnline from Zen e-solutions on Vimeo

For many Singaporean parents, tuition has become an essential tool for their children to get ahead in the competitive education scene. That said, the current private tuition scene is still dominated by low-tech house visits, which waste both tutors’ and students’ precious time and energy in the form of travelling.

Now, web and mobile development studio Zen-e solutions has launched SaaS teaching platform TutorOnline, with the aim to take the tuition and private education landscape in Singapore online. TutorOnline, together with its institute-oriented brother TeachOnline, is a virtual classroom portal that allows students to attend virtual lessons from their tutors, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

How it works
One feature that makes TutorOnline interesting is that at the beginning of a course, only the tutor needs to sign up for an account. From the tutor’s dashboard, she will be able to prepare the video lessons, as well as invite students for class.

Once a student receives an invitation by the tutor, he will be able to log into TutorOnline using his email address. Subsequently, he’ll be able to link his TutorOnline account to his Facebook account, and log in from there.

With that done, the student will be able to see the upcoming lessons the tutor has for him. In a departure from many other online courses, the video lessons will be streamed live to the student, and hence, both tutor and student need to be online at the same time. According to Senthil Nathan Jayaraman, Technical Director of TutorOnline, this is done to track attendance and to ensure a shared learning experience.

Other features of TutorOnline include file sharing for notes and assignments, as well as live voice and text chats. There is also the option for students to pay via Paypal, taking the last offline component away from the entire tuition process.

In addition to TutorOnline, Zen-e solutions is also introducing TeachOnline, which is targeted at tuition agencies and educational institutes. The functions of TeachOnline are similar to those of TutorOnline, except that it contains organisational features such as the ability to assign different tutors to the same course, and grouping of tutors into departments.

For a budding private tutor looking to expand her clientele and teach more students online, TutorOnline can be considered a good investment. With private tuition rates in Singapore averaging S$30 (US$24) an hour for a student, TutorOnline’s prices, which range from S$50 (US$40) to S$70 (US$55), do seem affordable.

Currently, both TutorOnline and TeachOnline are only available as web apps. Jayaraman explains that a mobile version is in the works, and an Android app could be ready by end-2014.

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