Andrei Khramtsov, like many students, turned to online tutoring services for some extra help in his studies. The Ryerson aerospace engineering student quickly grew frustrated with websites that control the tutors’ payment process and didn’t offer reliable reviews of tutors.
Khramtsov, 22, decided to use his web-design experience to create Tutorical, a website that helps students connect to knowledgeable and peer-reviewed tutors. The site offers tutor profiles that provide information students need to choose the right tutor.
“I have tutored in my life, I have had to try and find a tutor, both of which aren’t the easiest processes,” Khramtsov said. “Once you have a tutor, it’s fantastic, but trying to sift through hundreds of people who pretty much say they are the best tutors in the world is a giant pain.”
Tutorical has over 300 tutors worldwide, including 100 in Canada. Khramtsov said that the site is growing at a rate of about two tutors per day. The website has also attracted Toronto student tutors from Ryerson and the University of Toronto, who want to earn some extra income.
Khramtsov started learning web design in high school and made a rough version of Tutorical one year ago, but he put it aside to focus on his studies. He began working on the redesigned Tutorical website in December.
“I put myself in the shoes of the student. If I’m a person looking for a tutor, what do I want?” he said. “Regardless of who you are looking for, you want them to be a good tutor.”
The site offers easy-to-access information, such as availability, location and reviews, so students don’t have to waste time wondering which tutor is right for them. Tutorical is also free for both students and tutors, different from other online tutoring websites that charge monthly fees or take a cut of the tutor’s profits.
Khramtsov said he wanted Tutorical’s rating system to provide more information to students than a simple star rating. Tutorial reviews tutors by four different categories: expertise, helpfulness, response and clarity. He said the process allows students to better gauge a tutor’s ability by seeing their rating.
“I wanted it to be a website where a student can go on and can see all the information clearly laid out. They don’t have to hunt around for availability or location,” Khramtsov said. “There is an easy way to contact the tutor and also, we can make it easier for a student to know the tutor is who they say they are and that they are a good tutor.”
According to Khramtsov, Tutorical has been getting positive feedback from tutors and students alike on social media websites.
Now Khramtsov is looking forward to getting more students and tutors on the site.
But Khramtsov said Tutorical isn’t just limited to students.
“I wanted to get away from the idea that tutoring is something that is just done for students because you may just want to learn something,” he said. “This website is for anyone who wants to learn.”
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on March 26, 2014.