A suggestion: Instant conversations

It would be great if there would be the possibility to offer conversations for the next minutes. Sometimes I sit in front of my computer and think it would be nice to talk to a tutor or a student.
I talked about this with Helen during our last conversation and yesterday I came across edufire.com (Steve talked with Seam from edufire in a podcast on his blog) and as far as I could see they have this option.
Any idea if you could do this?

I agree that it would be nice to enable this. I think there are programming problems in terms of how this fits into our scheduling process but there ought to be a way to enable this, and still count the points and be able to use the discussion report.

One thing that can be done is to simply remove the restriction which prevents people from signing up 12 hours in advance. This would mean that your 1 on 1 time would stay available right up until the last minute and that you could add 1 on 1 time right up until the last minute. The problem with this is that people will sign up at the last minute and tutors will not realize it and miss conversations. This happens now sometimes because people are allowed to sign up for group conversations at the last minute.

However, it’s probably not that big a deal if a tutor missed the odd time. We can put a disclaimer if the conversation is less than 12 hours away that tells people their tutor may not have enough time to respond. Also, once tutors get used to the new system, they can make sure to remove time from their schedules so people don’t sign up late or check their emails more regularly for late signups.

I am in favour of removing all signup and event creation restrictions. What do you all think?

I like the idea of being able to do a last minute booking. Wouldn’t it add to your workload, though, if lots of points needed to be reimbursed?

Hi! I think that it could be nice to at least reduce the time restriction. For example, instead of 12 hours in advance, just 1 hour. Or even better, to be able to chose if you want to add a time restriction. Why that? For example, I work at home, so if my conversation are in the morning, it’s almost sure that I’ll be in front of the computer, so I don’t care if someone signs up in the last minute, because I’ll see it. So no time restriction in this mornings available times. Instead, for night times, maybe I’ll go to bed earlier or I’ll watch a movie or something if I don’t have anyone, so just in case, I’ll set up a 1 hour restriction or 3 hours restriction.
I don’t know, maybe this so personalized option is hard to implement, but if not, I personally think is the best option!

Another suggestion is that you have different options if you select a time:

  • Last sign up 12 hours before
  • Last sign up 15 minutes before
    My email program checks regularly if there are new emails.
    Or maybe tutor have to sign in and set an option that they are available for the next hour or something like this.
    Maybe there are more ideas from other users?

@SanneT - We are going to show the Cancel button for all events for which a report has not yet been sent. This will allow tutors to cancel and refund points for events even after the fact, if they miss them. Therefore, it shouldn’t be more work for us.

@alsuvi and Vera - attaching different options to different times in your schedule is obviously going to be a tricky thing to do. In the short term, we are only likely to change the restriction time or remove it completely. The next enhancement would be to let tutors set their own restrictions but again, this would be a future enhancement that will need to be built.

yesterday i had student sign up 30 minutes in advance of my session. there was no problem, but i was surprised she was able to do it.

As Mark explained it is possible for Group conversations to sign up late.

Mark, what is not possible is to add a new Group conversation. I tried to add one starting in 30 Minutes but I get an error. If this would be possible I would add Group conversations as a first solution. To remove the restriction time is maybe not a good idea.

We will do that. We’ll remove the restriction on adding conversations less than 12 hours in advance and see what effect that has. After that we can then look at allowing people to sign up for 1 on 1’s right up to the last moments.

I think that removing all restrictions for group discussions is enough. When a student and a tutor have arranged instant conversation, the tutor can set up one or several 15-minutes-long group discussions and the student immediately signs up.
I usually offer discussions at early mornings (6:30-8:00 am) and at evenings after work. At evening I watch if I have discussions next morning and decide how early I will wake up. The same I do every morning and decide what I will do this evening. One student once signed up for group discussion with me in 45 minutes before a session, just before the end of my working day. That evening I was not going to turn-on my home computer at all, as I had heaps of cups and plates to be washed :))) But I checked my private e-mail at work and was surprised that in 30-40 minutes I have a discussion. Now I know that I should cancel all unbooked discussions if I am not going to host them. But cancelling of 1-on-1s is too much… I would like to have the “last minute” restriction for 1-on-1s.

Back in the old days, when there were no restrictions on when students could sign up for 1-on-1 sessions, I was regularly missing sessions because students signed up at the last minute and I had forgotten I had even offered that time slot (one on one slots not showing up on the Tutor page until they are booked up). For me, the 12 hour restriction on one-on-one slots was a big improvement and it helps me to plan my day.

By all means, however, do what Rasana and Vera are suggesting, and remove all restrictions on group discussions. Group discussions are clearly signposted on the Speaking page, both for students and for the host. I wouldn’t mind someone sending me a Skype message saying “since you’re online right now, do you fancy setting up a group discussion to start in half an hour on the subject of baking cakes???”

yeah there should be 2 ways - the current 12 hour one and if it’s less there should be like a confirmation email or skype message - if the tutor accepts in time then everything goes ahead - a “simple” way this can work is, say, a student sees that the tutor is in skype - asks if it’s ok to have a conversation - if yes then the teacher can accept some kind of request from the LingQ site that would confirm that he is aware of the <12 hour issue and that the conversation will go on.

Hi Vera,

You have such ideas in your head, it’s amazing!

Lately, I think of the fact that sometimes, with unexpected free time, I wish I could talk with a tutor immediately. I did not think it possible with LingQ. But I thought it would be wonderful possibility, and then I saw this discussion on the forum. Wow! Exactly what I was dreaming of! Please Mark, find a way to do it, I beg you!

For the moment, you can sign up for group discussions at the last minute. We will think about what else can be done here.

Thank you Mark. I will watch closely for any news about it!