Learning Chinese on italki: Ken

December 28th, 2009 | Posted by Toffler in marketplace | members - (0 Comments)

Here is another story of an italki member learning a foreign language with a teacher online.  Ken is from Osaka, Japan and spends a lot of time traveling for work, therefore he needs a flexible arrangement for learning Chinese.

[Translated from Japanese, original is below.] I joined italki almost 2 years ago. I started online lessons at the beginning of this year.

In Japan the fee of the language lesson is extremely expensive, and it is easy to forget everything if you have only one lesson a week, so I chose italki where I can learn everyday with local teachers.  I initially did the trial lesson with several teachers. Now I study with only one teacher. [I chose this teacher because] she is very kind when she teaches and she also generously spares her time, even very early in the morning.

[I started learning Chinese because] I wanted to talk more with my Chinese friends.  I feel that I progress day by day. Taking lessons everyday makes it easier to review the contents of the previous lesson and remember things more clearly.

[As for learning online,] recently, Skype has been working well, so there’s no such a big problem if you use it with video. I’m kind of an idle fellow, so it offers better condition to study continuously rather than to study by myself.  I’m hoping italki will continue to make a user friendly system,  and I expect them to succeed!

Original Japanese

italkiへの参加は2年ほど前に登録させていただいたと記憶しております。オンラインレッスンは今年に入ってから始めました。

日本ではとても授業料が高く、一週間に一度のレッスンではすぐに忘れてしまうため、現地の方と毎日勉強ができるこちらを選びました。何人かトライアルしました。
いまは一人の先生に教わっています。とても親切に教えて下さる上に、早朝であっても時間を割いて下さるからです。

中国の知人ともっと会話をしたかったため。日々少しずつ進歩しています。毎日授業を受けることで復習が容易で、記憶にしっかりととどめることができます。

最近のSkypeの状況はとてもいいので、カメラを使用しながらで あればさほど問題はないかと思います。怠け者の私でも、自習をするよりも毎日勉強する環境作りに役立ちます。これからも使いやすいシステム作りをがんばって下さい。期待しております。

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

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And now, what you’ve all been waiting for: Packages!

Packages are bundles of sessions that are sold together at one time. We hope this makes it easier for teachers and long-term students to schedule their sessions on italki.

Teachers can offer packages for both their courses and one-on-one sessions. As always, teachers set their own prices for both individual sessions and for overall package prices.  We recommend offering a discount for students who choose to purchase your sessions in bulk. In order to start offering packages, teachers should go to edit their teaching profile.

Teachers can set packages in bundles of 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 sessions.  All the sessions within a package must be the same length, for example, 30, 45, 60, 90, or 120 minutes.

Packages1

For students, when you purchase a package, you can schedule as many session as you want (with a minimum of one).  You can reserve the same time every week with a teacher by checking the box “repeat weekly.” By purchasing the whole package at once, you can generally get a discount from the teacher, so make sure you have enough italki Credits (ITCs) in your account for the whole package.

Packages2

The idea behind packages is to make it easier for long-term students and teachers to transact on italki. By prepaying for a course, and scheduling multiple lessons at once, students and teachers can spend less time on the system, and more time on learning the language.

We’re still improving the system, so if you have suggestions about packages or what other features you’d like to see on italki, please send those to us through our feedback form or via email at (feedback at italki dot com).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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