I’ve come across a lot of teaching and e-learning websites in my day, but Thattutorguy.com is one of those sites that seems like it could be really good and then kind of lets you down. Chris, the owner of the site, films himself tutoring on a variety of math topics and then stock piles them onto a website. His approach strays away from the traditional lecture because he shows students exactly how to do the problems. At first glance, the site is both comprehensive and engaging— Chris certainly is a character —however, something is lacking. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe after you read the pros and the cons below you’ll be able to help me figure it out.
– Chris’ personality is fun and I can see students really being able to relate to him. There are two students in my daughter’s class whose families have purchased the service and they both “enjoy his straight-to-the-point lessons.” He is relatively young, energetic, and has attitude. He tells it like it is and gets right to the point in his lessons. That’s highly refreshing and works great when catering to young audiences.
– There are a lot of math subjects to explore such as Pre-Algebra, College Algebra, Calculus, and Trig. He has archived a wide array of topics, which makes it super easy for subscribers to find exactly what they are looking for. The search tool is quick and effortless, and he also allows users to vote on which classes he should put up next.
– Chris has ten years of professional tutoring experience, however parents may want to see an outline of his resume or know more about his professional training/schooling.
– The website works on phones and tablets, which is excellent for busy students on the go.
– I also thought his “Flipping the Classroom” idea was great. This model works for a lot of people. Chris claims that it is better to use online videos to expose students to new material before class. Therefore, instead of seeing the material for the first time in a fast-moving lecture, students can get acquainted with the information by watching a pre-taped lecture on their own time.
– Chris says he isn’t a teacher, but in a later video on his philosophy page he explains his “teaching style.” Is he contradicting himself here?
– No free trial or coupons, instead subscribers can get 7 days for seven bucks.*
– Very casual vibe to the entire website. At first I thought this might be a good thing, but the more I read the more mistakes I found. For example, the poor writing: “The videos on this site are aimed exclusively at teaching students what they need to know, now how to prove or derive what they need to know.” I know Chris is a math tutor, but typos take away from a site’s credibility.
– Chris says you don’t have to watch the videos in order, but then he says that the information in the lessons builds on previous lessons. Isn’t that another contradiction? Wouldn’t it help to watch them in order? He explains in his welcome video that the chapters are designed to be self-contained, so if you just need help on one topic, you could probably just watch that chapter. Then he says that once you figure out which chapter you want to watch, it’s best to start at the beginning of that chapter because everything builds.
– Lastly, I found him to be a little rude. One his Frequently Asked Questions page he writes, “If you wanted to watch a math genius derive every equation in your book… you’re already getting that every day in math class! While those sites may sound great in theory, once you start trying to use them you find that they are so egg-head and lecture-driven.” Professors who have dedicated their lives to helping students learn are not egg-headed.
I think the overall issue I have with this website as a whole is not the content, Chris is an extremely intelligent and gifted tutor, but it feels too homemade. It’s lacking the professional tone and quality of its competition. this doesn’t matter, but I also find all those t’s in the web address to be highly distracting. The actual videos are clear and well-made, but the rest of the site could use some work. You can only watch a few videos for free, which may also be a problem for some potential clients. Paying customers, want more samples. It’s nice to know what you’re signing up for before you pay for the service. There are many similar sites to Thattutorguy.com (such as Mathworld.com or Educator.com) and I think Chris might have a hard time differentiating himself from the lot…especially when those other sites are free or very inexpensive.
*Prices have changed.
- Dr. Drew