Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The start of it all

Start with a little background, shall we?

Google Helpouts is a service provided by Google (who else?) that allows people to provide services they can conduct online to other users.  For example, if you have expertise in math, you can set up a math tutoring Helpout.  You can get paid if you'd like (per session or per minute) or just list it as a free helpout.  You can also set up times in your calendar which shows outside users what time they can either schedule for a session or just ping you for immediate help.  These are all settings that you can setup.  Now the other end of this is requesting a Helpout; you simply search the database for someone who might be able to help solve your problem, anything from learning how to juggle to even basic healthcare.  Google Wallet will take care of the finances of the transaction.  Once the session begins, a Google Hangout (Google's answer to Skype) will be created and video chatting about the problem/lesson/solution/whatever will commence.

A couple months ago I signed up on Google Helpouts to teach beginner violin lessons over Google's version of Skype, "Hangouts."  I initially had a ton of traffic especially as my listing was one of the few that was immediately available on opening day and because my Helpout was free.  I quickly realized that A) I didn't have the bandwidth to support teaching ten classes a day and B) many people were just testing to see how it worked and cancelled right before class.  So, I turned the Helpout into a paid Helpout which pruned the "just looking" candidates.

So why this blog?  Well, teaching violin in person is complicated enough but over the internet there are even more challenges.  This is a way for me to document my teaching and hopefully others can learn a thing or two as well.  I've taught violin for over three years but only in person and this is going to be a new challenge, but one that's definitely worthwhile.  I had my first Helpout yesterday and check out my next post to see how it went.  Can you guess if I said that the user wasn't from North America?

Also, some shameless self-promotion: check out my Helpout below:

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