AMS Tutoring Services has partnered with Helphub – a Vancouver-based start-up that liasons between students to tutors – with noticeable results.
HelpHub connects the two parties through instant messaging, phone calls and video calls. The initiative was launched in 2014 and has since been used by students in over 1,200 schools around the world.
The idea for the start-up came in 2013 when CEO Miguel Kudry failed several classes at Douglas College.
“I’ve always been a bad student,” said Kudry. “I wanted to ask real people for help. I wanted to be able to just ask somebody any question that I had.”
Kudry developed the idea of having a directory of tutors that a student could search through according to subject. Students could then place a call via HelpHub without sharing a personal number. A year later, Kudry launched the instant messaging feature which proved to be an effective way to begin connecting students and tutors.
HelpHub has been developing a relationship with AMS Tutoring for over a year now. In order to help AMS Tutoring meet the increasing demand, HelpHub has accumulated a large network of over 320 tutors at UBC.
“If you’re a student at UBC and you go to the AMS and you need to pay for tutoring for their services, they'll send you to HelpHub,” said Kudry. “These tutors have been screened, reviewed and hired by the Alma Mater Society.”
After partnering with HelpHub in 2014, the traffic for AMS Tutoring Services increased by 600 per cent in the first semester, according to AMS student services coordinator Ron Gorodetsky.
“Moving to the HelpHub service let AMS Tutoring staff to focus solely on service quality and grow, as opposed to the day-to-day logistics,” said Gorodetsky. “This automation created significant efficiency [and] allowed us to grow our tutor base and better keep up to the increasing popularity and demand for one-on-one AMS Tutoring.”
According to Kudry, HelpHub is different from other businesses thanks to their open market concept that allows tutors to set their own rates while students are offered different options (per hour or per minute) to pay in lower rate in order to get help on what they need. To support itself, HelpHub will take commission of 15 per cent of all transactions.
“We’re not here to tell either tutors or students how to work and how to connect. We’re here to build a great communications platform [and build] great tools for them to work, engage and always come back to this site whenever they need help,” said Kudry.
In the long term, Kudry stated that his goals are not only to build a communication platform for tutoring, but also to reach communities where he can help facilitate the opportunity to learn.
“There are more people with a cell phone or smart phone than those who actually have a college education. If we can reach somebody with a smart phone and they can connect with somebody with a college education, imagine all the impact and all the opportunity we can give them.”