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JRI Launches OfficeHours(SM) Web Service - Dr. Sanza Kazadi, President JRI, Interim Director Office Hours



OfficeHours.Service.Mark.BThe other day, I received an email from the Caltech Career Center. As a vestige of a bygone era in my life, a link between me and that center is still maintained. As the Center receives requests from potential students outside of the school, it sends them out to a long list of students, former students, and other community members who have agreed to peruse the tutoring listings from time to time and then compete for the business of would be Learners eager to get help in one or more subjects. I went through the list of requests, knowing that I would not likely respond, as my own plate is very full.

In recent months, I've also been asked on more than one occasion whether or not I knew of someone who could teach one subject or another by people either in the business of providing teaching services or by people looking for teachers for themselves. It seems that many people need the services of individuals who have great expertise, and that these people can be very hard to find.

I am happy that JRI is now getting into a position to begin to address some of these needs using our OfficeHoursSM service. This service, which is now functional, is meant to bring Learners together with Experts in a way that is convenient, easy to use, and enjoyable. Located at the web address www.allofficehours.com, the service allows individuals seeking expertise to join the site and immediately begin matching their needs with the services of individual Experts already on the site. The site handles scheduling, advertisement, payment, search, and attendance of classes, and links to internet-based communication services of other companies provide additional functionality.

It is hoped that this site will be used by organizations, schools, and individual educators alike, both catering to Learners seeking formal classes or help in formal classes or to Learners seeking knowledge for its own sake. It is my hope that people will rediscover learning for the sheer joy of learning, as opposed to the relative drudgery of slogging through classes to obtain a grade or certification. The media can be used to provide a convenient meeting place for on-line discussions or to allow for the development of new cooking or craft skills. The limit is only one's imagination.

Already, the site is being noticed by educators catering to K-12 Learners. I have successfully used the method in JRI classes for more than half a year now, and have aided Learners in specific classes they were having trouble with in private learning sessions. Most recently, I have worked with a Caltech student, a high school student, and a group of high school students. Other educators are beginning to come to the site including Dr. Henry Lin, JRI alumnus, and a Research Professor in Canada, and Dr. Roudy Ekyalongo, a medical doctor working on his PhD in Japan.

Recently, Ms. Orenda Tuason of Crescenta Valley High School signed her school up to use OfficeHours' free program for peer tutoring and other uses within the school.

It is my sincere hope that this site will prove useful for many Learners young and old, and that it will provide many with educational resources they might not otherwise have access to. I am confident that when asked in the future, "do you know anyone who can teach ...", I'll be able to answer yes!

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