Our product team has been working on a number of improvements on the website. Our latest improvement has been to reorganize the personal homepage.

As soon as you login, you can see the new blackboard and layout. First, it’s easier to comment and ask questions on the new blackboard. In addition, now you will be able to see your blackboard posts combined with questions that you have asked. You can also reply in a thread, so your replies can stay linked together.

We’ve also added a side column that has updates from your italki friends. We hope this will make learning a language more social. Now you can see what your italki friends are doing. We hope you’ll spend a little time to answer questions from your friends, or help them with an language issue they are facing.

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We’ve also made a change to timezones recently. Many of you may have noticed that you have been asked to reselect your timezone. This is important as many students are scheduling lessons on italki, and issues like daylight savings make it crucial to synchronize clocks.

As always, please keep the feedback coming through our feedback link or through email (feedback at italki dot com). Your opinions really help us work on where we can improve the site. And keep checking out our blog. We have many more updates coming up soon, and we’ll always let you know about them here.

The italki team

liz_teachingToday is our official launch of our new Language Teachers feature. Now with Language Teachers, students and teachers can now find each other and pay (or receive) money for lessons.

* For students, you can find a teacher that has right kind of experience, a suitable time schedule, and at the right price. You can search for teachers, choose from their profiles, view their ratings, and search for courses on subjects you want to learn. By purchasing italki credits, you can be sure that your teacher is qualified and your lesson money won’t be wasted.

* For teachers, you can now find students, and earn money teaching them. Create your own courses, and set your own rates. Students purchase italki credits before the lesson so you don’t have to worry about foreign exchange rates or how to get paid.

Now you can learn any language, on your own schedule, and from the comfort of your own home! We have many more explanations about the system on our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section. If you have further questions, you can always write to feedback at italki.com.

Latest Addition: Free Trials
In addition, we’ve recently added on is the ability for students to request free trial lessons. Students initially receive three free trials which they can use to find teachers and to better understand the system. Teachers can choose if they want to participate, and can use free trials as a way to reach out to new students.

Take a look at the Language Teachers feature, and let us know what you think. We’re actively going to be refining these features based on your feedback, so please let us know what we can do to improve the experience for you.

The italki.com team

New version of italki.com!

January 20th, 2009 | Posted by Toffler in announcement - (2 Comments)

Today a new version of italki went live!  There have been many changes to the layout, design, navigation, and features of italki.  A couple of changes we’d like to highlight are to Answers and the Language Index.

Answers
When you ask a question, you will be able to add additional information to clarify your question; however, you can not edit your original question.  While the question is still open (ie within 14days of initially being asked, with no ‘best answer’ having been chosen), respondents can edit their answer.  This may help respondents more accurately answer the question after it has been clarified by the asker.

Members can also now vote as to whether questions as related to language learning or not related.  Three votes indicating it’s related to language learning will move it into a category of “Educational questions.”  Members can then decide if they only want to see educational questions related to language learning.  We hope this will help those who are focused on language studies more easily access relevant questions, while giving others a chance to ask cultural and similar questions on the side.

There is now a quick “Ask a question” box on the right side of every Answers page, so you can ask questions more quickly and easily.

Language Index
The language index page for each language is now a one-stop shop for everything related to that language.  We’ve aggregated all the different pages and put them in each language’s index page.  That includes self-study resources like: podcasts, videos, documents, websites, and Knowledge, as well as interactive resources like: language partners, teachers, groups and answers.  You can still post on the blackboard of that language, too.

The new Podcasts and Videos tabs makes it much easier and quicker to find and share multimedia resources for learning that language.

Start browsing around the most recent version of italki to get an idea of the new features and layout, then tell us what you think.  We encourage you to send your feedback on these or any other features you’d like to see to feedback@italki.com or leave a message on our Contact Us page. We’re always looking for new ideas to make italki better.

porter erisman
italki has a new advisor — Porter Erisman, former VP at Alibaba Group. While at Alibaba, Erisman help lead Alibaba to its position at the global leader in B2B commerce. italki hopes to benefit from Erisman’s extensive experience as we seek to follow in Alibaba’s footsteps and become the most well-known global player in online language learning.

About Porter Erisman:
• Until recently Porter was Vice President for Corporate Affairs with Alibaba Group.
• Porter spent eight years at Alibaba and played a leading role in the company’s global expansion.
• His previous roles within Alibaba Group include Vice President of International Marketing and Website Operations.
• Porter has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.