New site offers online access to college tutors

Susan Acker
Editor in Chief

When studying late at night and with no help readily available, the Internet just may be the place to search for help.

Sean McCleese, chief executive officer of Student of Fortune, an online tutoring service, said he came up with the idea for his site when he could not find help during his time in college as a physics student.

His homework problems were very specific and there were no resources online that could help him.

“I realized that you couldn’t search for something that specific,” McCleese said.

“It fills a hole in the market,” Nikhil Sreenath, the chief technology officer of Student of Fortune, said.

Student of Fortune is a site that allows students to post questions that they need help with and a price they are willing to pay for the help.

Those who sign up to be tutors on the site respond to the requests and the students can choose the one they like the best based on the answers and their ratings from previous recipients of their tutoring.

“If you don’t have access to a center like ours, it’s a good option,” Ebony Williams, interim coordinator of the University of La Verne Learning Enhancement Center, said.

Williams said that the tutoring at the center is free and that they try to accommodate every student’s tutoring needs.

But if students need help when the center is closed, the Internet could be a viable option.

McCleese said that students can pay as little as 25 cents for help and that he knows of one tutor on his site who helps students for fun and only charges 25 cents for his help.

“We offer a great value for students,” McCleese said.

George St. Louis, a tutor at ULV, said he thinks online tutoring might be useful for students, but that human contact that comes with tutoring is important.

“I’m not sure that would be as effective as having a tutor face to face,” St. Louis said.

Not only is there an issue with no direct contact, but cheating may be made easier by using the Internet.

“The reality of it is that some people are going to use the site unethically,” McCleese said.

In the terms of agreement students are asked to consider why they are on the site and to not use the site if they are merely seeking to have someone else do their homework.

Joe Stingel, a student from Arizona who has received tutoring from the site, and who now offers his help as a tutor, said he stumbled upon the site when searching for tutoring on the Internet.

“I liked the concept of it,” Stingel said.

Stingel, who was laid off, said he makes more money tutoring for Student of Fortune than he did at his job.

“It’s like a full time job for me now,” Stingel said.

Stingel said if he comes across someone who want to cheat he sends them a message telling them that the site is not for cheating.

“It’s great, it’s convenient,” said Toya Johnson-Moore, a ULV tutor and senior criminology major. She said students need to decide which tutoring works for them.

“Tutoring is supposed to be fun and rewarding for the tutor and rewarding for the tutee,” Johnson-Moore said.

Student of Fortune can be found at www.studentoffortune.com.

Susan Acker can be reached at susan.acker@laverne.edu.

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