Over the last few months, we’ve taken in feedback from both students and teachers about how the Language Teachers and Language Courses work. We’re now releasing a set of changes, based on your feedback, to make the system easier and more useful. In the next two blog posts we’ll tell you what you need to know about these changes.

New Scheduling System
We have made a number of changes to the scheduling system with the goal of making it easier for students and teachers to match up.

Scheduling

When requesting a session, students are required to select an available time from the teacher's calendar.

Teachers now set a schedule which shows when they are available. When students try to book a session with the teacher, they must choose from those times. This helps avoid the situation where students schedule a lesson for a time when the teacher is asleep. Therefore, it is critical that teachers update their calendars with all possible available times. If a teacher has no available times, students will not be able to request a lesson with them.

In addition, students must request sessions at least 24 hours in advance. This gives teachers enough time to respond and prepare for a lesson.

Teachers will allow be able to set “vacation times”, or dates when they know they will not be able to teach classes. (We will be sending a message to your inbox with a full list of changes.)

Language Courses
We have also made some initial changes to the way Language Courses are handled. Eventually, we hope Language Courses will give teachers a way of showing off specific classes or skills that they can teach. Likewise, we hope it is a way for students to find a specific teacher or structured teaching plan that fits their goals. Notably, if a student wants help on test preparation, translation, or business vocabulary, this would be the place for students to browse.

We are still making many improvements, and we are definitely interested in hearing your suggestions about how to improve Language Courses, the scheduling system, or anything else about the website. Please feel free to send us ideas through our feedback form or via email at (feedback at italki dot com).

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

New italki Help Pages

December 17th, 2009 | Posted by Toffler in feature - (0 Comments)

Sometimes people want more explanations of how to use the various features on italki. That’s why we’ve created the italki Help Pages: http://help.italki.com/

If you’re unsure how to use a feature on italki, simply click the image at the top of any page and it will take you straight to that Help section. The Help images look like this:

200911 help answers Bravo3

In the Help Pages, you’ll find explanations of every feature and policy on italki. For example:

helpPages

help.italki.com

We often hear from new users that they have no idea where to begin on italki. Even older users don’t know the details on how the teaching marketplace works. We wanted to start pulling together the best explanations of what italki can do, and put those in a central place where everyone can get access.  If you don’t want to view the help banners anymore, you can click on “hide explanation” in the upper right corner.

If you have suggestions for additional topics or questions to be covered in the Help Pages, please contact us through our feedback form or email us at feedback (at) italki (dot) com and let us know.  We’ll keep expanding these pages so that they’ll eventually cover everything you need to know about italki.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

italki is undergoing scheduled maintenance on December 17 UTC 9:00.  We’ll be back shortly with some improved features.

We apologize about any inconvenience we’ve caused.  The site should be back up shortly.

The italki team

Update: That took way longer than we expected. Sorry! We hope you like the improvements.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

Learning English on italki: Simon

December 14th, 2009 | Posted by Toffler in members - (0 Comments)

Over the next few blog posts, we’ll profile a few members, both students and teachers who’ve had success learning or teaching online.

The first is Simon, a mechanical engineer from Yancheng, China who is learning English.  Simon is a good example of someone who realized that taking lessons online was one of the best ways to learn a language.  Below is what Simon had to say about learning on italki.

Simon

Simon

[Translated from Chinese] I’ve been a member of italki for more than one year, but I only started using the paid online teaching service in May of this year.  I’ve had great luck in finding a very good teacher. She is a British national living in Brazil working as a professional English teacher.  Her professional ability, accent, and price, these three aspects, are in my opinion, ideal.  But more importantly, everyday she is happy, outgoing, and very open-minded toward all variety of topics–in my opinion, these things are even more important than teaching skills.  Of course, within the class, we also try to adjust to each other’s style and develop methods to help me understand the language and the culture behind it.  Overall, I’ve been enjoying my time learning with her.

From my perspective, the benefits of learning online are one-on-one lessons, saving money on each class, and saving time on each class.  In addition, it is very easy to find someone [online] who is a native speaker of the language and communicate with them.  One very small drawback is that communication is not just the language, over the internet you only get voice or video communication, which lacks the richness of face-to-face meetings.

If you’d like to share your italki story on our blog, please contact us!

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

Unwrap the Joy of Learning

November 30th, 2009 | Posted by Toffler in promotion - (0 Comments)

Throughout the month of December, italki is offering everyone, both teachers and students, the opportunity to Unwrap the Joy of Learning with special promotions.

BOW

For Students – Give Yourself the Joy of Learning and Get a Bonus

When you buy 200 or more ITC in a single purchase during the month of December, italki will give you 10% bonus on that purchase.  This applies to each and every single purchase of 200 or more italki credits you make during the month of December.  So that means, Buy 200 ITC and you will receive a total of 220.  Buy 300 ITC and you will receive 330, and so on.  If you haven’t bought ITC yet or tried finding a teacher online, now’s the time to start! More learning, more lessons, more time with a teacher to improve your foreign language skills.

bluebow

For Learners of English – Give the Joy of Learning English to a Friend

When you buy the 1-year SpeakENG multimedia course, you can give the same 1-year package to a friend for free!  The SpeakENG 1 year course gives you full access to the premier online teaching program from our Marketplace Partner Eleutian.  Also included is one 15-minute videoconference with one of Eleutian’s American certified ESL teachers. Give a friend a gift this holiday season and let him or her learn English too!  Please provide the person’s email address when purchasing this package.

GreenBow

For Teachers – Bring the Joy of Learning to New Students

No Commission on New Students:  For all *new* students you start teaching during the month of December, italki will waive its commission for those students. That means extra money in your pocket. That is, any students you’ve never taught before (for paid sessions) that begin lessons with you during December, there will be no commission on all of those lessons.  We highly encourage teachers to look for new students and try to get some lessons taught throughout the month of December.

These promotions are not exclusive and may be combined.  Promotions lasts from December 1, 2009 12:01AM until December 31, 2009 11:59PM China Time (GMT+8).

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon