February 28, 2011: Gainesville, Fla.—Two years ago, Chad Corbitt, Florida State ’06, and Ethan Fieldman (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) founded Tutoring Matching Service (TMS), a Facebook-based academic tutoring marketplace. Recently, the company won the inaugural $50,000 Cade Prize for Innovation, which is being used to continue developing software and expanding.
Both Group Interactive Networks, Inc. (“GIN System”) employees, one of Phi Kappa Tau’s technology partners, the pair developed TMS with the single-minded intention of bringing students and tutors together by utilizing the wealth of tools, users, and information available through Facebook. The company’s overall goal is to increase GPAs, as well as graduation and retention rates.
“It allows students and tutors to easily connect with each other in a safer, less expensive, and more effective way than ever before,” said Corbitt, who serves on Alpha Eta chapter’s BOG. “Students can browse tutors’ profiles, see ratings and reviews from past students, and communicate directly with the tutor through Facebook message as a means to establish the tutor’s credibility first-hand before spending any time and money with the tutor.”
TMS was started as an answer to several problems: to help students with upper-level courses (where campus tutoring centers typically do not provide free services), provide after-hours tutoring, decrease the work load on university department staff by eliminating the need for “tutor lists,” make tutoring safer by bringing tutoring out of the shadows and under the umbrella of the college/university, and provide students with more options.
The service is not just aimed at higher education though, TMS provides parents of middle and high school students a less expensive option for tutoring as well, as it cuts out the middle man.
“The implementation of TMS was fueled by the wealth of experience our development team had with developing Facebook applications,” Corbitt said. “Until recently, TMS was just a hobby and a passion. Now we are able to put a lot more resources towards it.”
Along with the prize money, TMS won free office space, which will help the company grow. Currently, seven schools use the service, but TMS is expanding as more and more universities hear about the $250-per-year service.
“TMS’ goals are ambitious,” Corbitt said. “As tablet PCs become more and more popular, TMS will move towards providing online tutoring so geography does not matter for the student and tutor. Imagine students in New York tutoring students in California. Or better yet, imagine brothers from one chapter tutoring others across the country, or the world.”
If you are interested in bringing TMS to your school, e-mail Corbitt at firstname.lastname@example.org.