Handy help for stressed students
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
When Douglas College business student Miguel Kudry was looking for last-minute help on an assignment and couldn’t find the resources he desired, he didn’t just give up—no, the entrepreneurial student decided to construct HelpHub.me, an online tutoring marketplace that he says is going to change the face of the tutoring industry.
“We connect tutors and students over the phone and we do conference calls,” Kudry told the Other Press. “Everything’s done online. In terms of phone calls, we actually never share anybody’s phone number.”
Kudry explains that all the calls are placed through the website. Students seeking tutoring place a call to the tutor of their choice on the site by clicking their profile (they can choose tutors based on the tutor’s classes, grades, and ratings given by other users), and then HelpHub.me places a call to the tutor. The tutor then accepts the call, and the calls are merged. This way, students aren’t able to constantly call their tutors on their personal phone lines, which, according to Kudry, allows tutors to monetize their spare time.
“The cool thing about it is that students pay on a minute basis, so nobody has to commit to an hour of tutoring. If you only have a question that can be answered in 10 minutes, you only pay for 10 minutes,” says Kudry, adding that tutors can choose how much they charge for an hour of tutoring.
He tells us that most tutors currently charge $30 per hour, but that the site allows them to charge up to $200—a number that seems really high, but is a realistic rate for advanced tutoring in specialized subjects. Students can top up their accounts with any major credit card, and HelpHub.me takes five per cent off of every transaction to pay for the interface.
HelpHub.me launched in February 2013, and Kudry says that the site is growing fast and keeping him busy—he is also attending classes full-time and working full-time. The website currently has over 750 users, and they recently launched a videoconferencing platform.
“We allow students to change files in real time, to change drawings, so it’s sort of like an interactive whiteboard, integrated with a videoconferencing application,” Kudry says.
Kudry is excited to grow the website beyond the Lower Mainland market, and hopes to be in on the ground floor of the tutoring industry, which he says is booming.
“[The tutoring industry] will be worth over $100-billion by 2018, so we want to be growing as much as possible within those five years so we’re there in 2018 to hopefully change the way people get tutored,” Kudry says.
In addition to the paid tutoring offered by HelpHub.me, there is also a discussion board where students can ask quick questions for free. This is a good way to get to know tutors before committing time and money to them. You can also sign in via Facebook, allowing you to check out your tutors on the larger social network, adding more credentials to the ratings already contained within HelpHub.me’s interface.
About being a young entrepreneur, Kudry says the hardest part is getting started once you have a brilliant idea.
“You have the idea, and then you think, ‘Oh that’s impossible, I’m not able to do it,’ but you don’t really know until you start doing it,” he says. After that, he says, “It all gets a little easier… and busier.”
Kudry tells us that HelpHub.me won’t replace the current face-to-face tutoring model, which he approves of and says has been working for hundreds of years. It will instead offer a different option to students. He stresses the convenience of the online marketplace: paying by the minute in an interface that we’re already familiar with, last-minute convenience, and the ability to stay in your own home.