Varsity Tutors Adds App to Extend Online Model

(Photo: Adrianna Calvo, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Adrianna Calvo, Creative Commons)

Varsity Tutors, the technology company that offers over 20,000 experts through its online learning platform, has announced the addition of a new mobile application.

The company began in 2012 by matching tutors with students for in-person consultations.  Since that time, the company has grown to include digital efforts that allow tutors to meet with students online through a web chat.  Complementary digital content for tests and quizzes is also offered and are built directly into the web app.

Over 50% of the company’s revenue currently comes from its digital product.  The launch of the mobile application is expected to increase that.

Mobile app users will have the ability to use video chat with tutors as they are looking over content on the subject they are discussing, which includes interactive tests and quizzes.

Available on iPhones and iPads, the app includes a suite of features that look to enhance the tutoring experience.  For example, users will be given access to live, video chat-based, one-on-one sessions with tutors who have been through a rigorous screening process and have been matched to the needs of the individual student.

In addition, the app allows users the ability to switch between video, written messages and content.  Photos can be uploaded featuring homework problems, assignment instructions, and test results through the use of real-time camera interaction.  Concepts are able to be outlined instantly with the help of illustrations and graphics through the Workboard feature which allows mathematical and scientific notation to be used.  Essays can be written and formatted using a Document Editor that features real-time collaborative technology.

Students will also be given access to over 150,000 professionally-written practice problems for over 200 subjects, as well as standardized tests that have been used over 75 million times.

The company noted that the goal of the new app is to allow tutoring to occur anywhere there is a wireless connection.

“Today’s students and professionals are busier than ever juggling demanding schedules—they are constantly on the go, relying on their phones to communicate, go online and access and share information,” said Chuck Cohn, founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors. “The first-of-its-kind video streaming technology used in our app gives people who need expertise the flexibility they want and need when it comes to getting live help in any of more than 1,000 subjects. By putting instant video-chat access to our expert network in the palms of their hands, we’re furthering our mission of ensuring every student and professional can get the help they need no matter where they are.”

The app currently only allows existing tutors to connect with students they are already helping.  However, it is the hope that in the future, on-demand tutoring will be included that will offer new users tutoring on any subject with just a single click.

For example, a student looking to brush up on chemistry before the AP exam would be connected with a Chemistry expert in the event that their usual tutor is not available to go over questions before the test, writes Jordan Crook for TechCrunch.

Varsity Tutors hires individuals from schools such as Harvard and Princeton.  These tutors are then tested by the company on their knowledge on a particular topic, in addition to their confidence level in that subject.

There are currently over 20,000 tutors available on the platform, with prices averaging around $50 per hour.