Calgary’s Nasrif Mohamed Nazeem had been toying with this idea for some time.
Nazeem had wanted to put together a more robust tutoring platform, something that pulled together many different areas. He’d started documenting the different iterations on his YouTube channel, to chart the progress.
When COVID-19 hit, he began to put his plan into action. His mom, who is a tutor, was hit hard by the pandemic.
The project became Tutorship.
“(Mom) couldn’t get the students she normally got because she had to transition online,” he said.
“It was harder for her because the existing platforms didn’t really serve her needs.”
Still, he wanted to help his mom, and that put some urgency on the project. Nazeem, a science graduate in university and current digital marketing agency entrepreneur, recruited two contacts to help him begin development. That was in June.
Now, he has a minimum viable product that solves his mom’s problem: Making an easy online transition for tutoring.
Nazeem said that most of the tutoring platforms are student-centric; it didn’t really address the needs of the tutor.
“We’re taking the approach that tutors can bring in their own students and have the same tools that all of these other platforms use, in one space, that they can use however they want.”
Building a better tutoring platform
Nazeem said a lot of the current systems require a ‘match’ system to set up tutors with instructors.
The Tutorship system allows tutors to bring in their own students.
He envisions a sort of Discord for tutors, where they can build an online community among themselves. Tutors are creating their own server, their own private workspace. Tutors can invite their own students and invite other tutors themselves.
(Discord is an online group chatting/communication server system that allows for the flexibility of streaming video and audio.)
It will integrate collaborative workspace, where both the tutors and students – and sometimes other students – can work together at the same time.
“We what to allow the tutors to build a community with their students, where you have students helping each other, complemented by the sessions that they have with you,” he said.
Tutors can also create channels where the students and tutors can work on specific areas while having others contribute to the conversation.
One of the other barriers in tutoring software is they’re typically subscription based. The number of clients a tutors has fluctuates. What that means is regardless of the number of clients, a tutor must pay for the platform.
Nazeem wanted to eliminate that. He introduced a transaction fee instead.
“We structured it so it’s a free app and there’s no upfront cost to them. We only get paid when they get paid,” he said.
“On existing platforms, they may not have an abundance of students. So, they’re losing money as opposed to getting anything in return.”
A full education-focused platform
Nazeem said right now it’s easier to build out the entire Tutorship system with a specific segment – tutors.
“The more we execute properly, the easier it is to branch out and capture different areas,” he said.
Up until now (like many entrepreneurs), Nazeem had consulted the Google machine when he was faced with a problem he couldn’t immediately solve. With Platform Calgary’s Junction program, what they’ve learned is what they didn’t know.
“Some of the stuff we haven’t even accounted for,” he said.
“We’re learning about so many different aspects briefly, but now I’m exploring on a much more detailed level.”
They have their milestones broken down, and a plan to get there. They want to expand in North America and Asia.
In three years, Nazeem said he wants to be a multi-million-dollar corporation.
“I want tutors to be able to expand their online space and take control of their tutoring,” he said.