The search for the perfect tutor has become an easier task thanks to Tutpack, a web application that simplifies transactions between students and tutors within UCT.
Tom Masojada developed an interest in programming during his final year of school. He and his business partner, who works on the development side, have been working on the Tutpack platform over the last six months.
Originally from Durban, Masojada relocated to Cape Town to pursue his studies.
“I was attracted to UCT because I wanted to be in Cape Town and because UCT has a global reputation for academic excellence,” he says.
“There is an obvious need for university students to be able to arrange extra lessons. The only options previously available to students were the tutoring agencies, or finding someone they knew with the skills to teach them. These are very limited options,” says Masojada.
“On the other hand, for students wanting to offer their services as a tutor their only options were to work for a tutoring agency, or to find someone they knew with the need for a tutor. Again, these are very limited options.”
The Tutpack platform allows students and tutors to act independently of the agencies, and helps to extend their personal network across the entire university.
Connecting students and tutors
Tutpack will initially only be available at UCT, but will expand to other universities across South Africa.
Tutpack has been designed to ensure that tutors have completed the same UCT course that the student needs help with. This allows students to search for tutors using their university-specific course codes.
“The platform is different to any existing service that I am aware of ... There is no middle man, students and tutors interact directly, essentially removing the role that tutoring agencies currently play,” explains Masojada.
Users can log in to the platform and search to book a lesson, or offer their tutoring services – the platform enables users to act in both capacities. Both students and tutors must have a valid student number in order to create an account and use the platform – and access to the platform is currently restricted to @myuct.ac.za email addresses.
Tutors may provide lessons on their own schedule, and will either supply their own teaching venue, or travel to a location of the student's choice to carry out the lesson.
Students will also have the opportunity to rate their tutor after each lesson. The five-star rating system is designed to ensure that each lesson is up to expected standards.
The beta version of the platform was tested during the deferred exams period in January, and Masojada plans to launch full-scale in March when the university resumes lectures.
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