Grads Launch Tutoring Web Site
By CHRISTINE LIVENGOOD, Gazette Staff Writer
November 03, 2003
Scott Palat, left,
and Dave Farrer created ehomeworkhelp.com to help
students struggling in the classroom. (Gazette photo
by Michael Henninger)
When Indiana University of Pennsylvania student Scott Palat
was student teaching, he noticed that at the end of class,
some students would fail the quizzes, even when they seemed
to be paying attention.
Palat, of Indiana, decided to talk to them after class and
get their feedback. He learned that, for the most part,
students don't have long attention spans, maybe only 20
minutes long. And out of a 40-minute class, half the information
So he decided to do something about it.
While he was student teaching, he took the time after each
class to review the material the students had learned that
And Palat, who has since graduated with an education degree,
is looking once again to do something to help children. And
this time he has help.
Palat and his roommate, Dave Farrer, recently launched the
Web site ehomeworkhelp.com, an online classroom that offers
tutoring to students in need of learning assistance, in hopes
of curbing the trend of students getting "left behind."
"The truth is, most children have no one else to turn
to when they don't understand their schoolwork," Palat
said. "It gets a bit uncomfortable if they ask too many
questions during class. ... Some students like it better because
they don't feel inferior to the teacher. Some students are
After his experiences with student teaching, and speaking
with Farrer, who graduated with a computer science degree
from IUP in May, they decided to do some research to find
out the number of people looking for homework help.
"There were thousands," Palat said. "There
really aren't too many companies offering this service. (So)
we fumbled around with the (Web site) idea."
According to Farrer, they laid the groundwork for the site
in April. It took approximately six months to create the site
and thousands of dollars, which Farrer and Palat had saved
up from previous Internet marketing endeavors.
"A select few got to try it out from Sept. 15 to Oct.
15," as a test run, to see how the site would fare, Farrer
The site did well, and it's been open to the public since
Through the Web site, students get one-on-one interaction
with tutors from their own computers. Students log onto the
site and wait in an online waiting room, after selecting their
grade and subject they need help with, and a tutor will pick
up the student and take them to an online classroom, equipped
with a virtual white board, voice interaction and instant
The Web site costs $97 a month to join, which, according
to Palat, is much cheaper than private tutors who can charge
up to $40 an hour.
"We hired local tutors," Palat said. "All
tutors require criminal child abuse checks."
They also have to take a sample test.
"After they jump through the hoops, we set up an interview,"
he said. "We've started with six (paid) tutors, all local."
The tutors all work out of their homes. Most of the tutors
are certified educators or are working toward getting certified.
Students can log on anytime between 3 and 11 p.m. Sunday
through Thursday - school nights. If a student didn't understand
something in class that day, the student can go on at night
and not be lost the next day.
"We guarantee we'll boost grades if (students) log on
every night," Palat said.
The tutors are instructed to keep each session at no longer
than 20 minutes because of students' attention spans. If,
after a break or a snack, the student wants to log back in
and work some more, they can do that as well.
"No questions will be left unanswered," said Palat,
who added that the Web site has about 50 students currently
but that more log on each day.
The tutors are also instructed to not give the students any
answers. Instead, the students will be forced to think for
"Each student will learn how to use step-by-step processing
so they learn how to answer questions for themselves,"
"(The goal is) to force each student to think for himself,"
added Farrer, who said that they also offer a three-day free
trial period for those who are interested in the site but
may be skeptical. "We firmly believe once they see it,
Part of the reason is because of the quality of the site.
Ehomeworkhelp.com is one of only two Web sites that offer
voice interaction and a virtual chalkboard, according to Palat.
However, the other site, eSylvan.com, offers tutoring to students
in only grades 3-9 and is curriculum based. Palat and Farrer's
site offers help to students in kindergarten through 12th
grade and focuses on whatever the students' individual needs
are, rather than a strict curriculum.
"Our technology is now top of the industry as of today,"
In order to reach more local children, Palat and Farrer are
planning on trying to work with the school districts.
"Our big goal is to work with school districts so they're
not forced to pay for tutors" because of the No Child
Left Behind Act, which sets goals for student proficiency
in reading and math, Palat said. "And if they do, it'll
cost the schools less to pay for us than the price of tutors."
But while the founders have big goals for their Web site,
one fact still remains. The Web site's goal is to help students,
whether it be in Indiana the county or Indiana the state.
"We want to help children boost their grades,"
Palat said. "We look forward to helping students across
the country succeed in school. It will feel good to know the
staff of ehomeworkhelp.com helped so many students succeed
eHomework Help offers online homework help giving students the 1-on-1 attention
they need to succeed. Students can now get online homework help 5 days a week so
that they are never left without the help they need. eHomework Help features
advanced voice and whiteboard capabilities making their online classroom one of
the most advanced in the online homework help industry. eHomework Help offers
online tutoring help for many different subjects including: math homework help,
algebra homework help, science homework help and much more! eHomework Help is
partnered with other quality online homework help services including TutorFi.com, which is one of the top
online homework help Web sites offered. Please use the virtual tour to get familiar
with eHomework Help and the services offered. eHomework Help is an online
homework help service dedicated to helping students reach their educational