Getting Started with InstaEDU
How can InstaEDU help?
InstaEDU is a great tool for anyone who needs help grasping an academic subject, preparing for a test or working through a piece of writing. InstaEDU allows you to work with a tutor from a top college who can not only answer all of your questions but also help you grasp the larger concepts. You'll connect in an online lesson space that includes video, audio and text chat, a shared whiteboard, homework uploading, and document and code editing.
How does InstaEDU work?
To get matched up with a tutor, simply visit www.instaedu.com and search for any subject.
From there, you can browse our tutors. You'll be able to choose to work with a tutor who is available at that moment or send a message to any tutor to set up a lesson. If you choose to work with a tutor immediately, InstaEDU will find you a match in minutes. We'll then connect you with your tutor in the lesson space where you can work together for as long (or short) as you wish. You'll have access to video, audio and text chat and be able to upload documents, draw on a whiteboard, edit papers, and collaboratively work on code in real time. You can try out the lesson space here: Instaedu.com/lesson-demo
If you want to message a tutor (or multiple tutors), you should receive a response within 24 hours. From there, you can get to know the tutor better and decide on a time to meet. When the time for your lesson arrives, simply click on the link in your confirmation email to enter the lesson space and get started.
What do I need in order to use InstaEDU?
To use InstaEDU, you must have access to a computer with internet, and you or your parents must have a valid credit or debit card. Please also make sure that you have the latest version of Flash installed so you can take advantage of video and audio chat (get it here: get.adobe.com/flashplayer).
Who can use InstaEDU?
Anyone ages 13 and older can sign up for InstaEDU.
What subjects can I get help with?
InstaEDU can help with all subjects through a graduate
level. You can view a full list of the subjects we support here:
If there's a subject that you can't find in our search box, please
let us know at
email@example.com so we
can add it.
Who will be helping me?
All of our tutors are individually screened for teaching ability and come from top education backgrounds. You can learn more about an individual tutor by checking out their profile and reading reviews left by other students.
What happens when I click 'Connect with a tutor'?
When you request immediate help with a subject, InstaEDU starts notifying tutors who are currently online and who we think would be a good match. When one of them accepts the request, you'll have a chance to review their information before connecting in our online lesson space.
How long will it take to match me with a tutor?
Our average match time is about 30 seconds, but it can take up to 3 minutes to match you with a great tutor.
Can I meet immediately with a specific tutor?
Currently, you are not able to choose a specific tutor if you want to get started right away, but you will be able to learn a little about him or her before you begin the lesson. If there's someone specific that you'd like to work with and you're not in a rush, you can easily send him or her a message and schedule a lesson. If you're already chatting with a tutor and want to get started right away, there's a 'Meet Now' button in every chat window.
What happens if InstaEDU can't find a tutor?
It's rare that there won't be a tutor available who can help. If you've waited for a couple minutes and we still haven't found a tutor, we'll help you message a handful of our best tutors to find a time to meet as soon as possible. Time isn't counted until you start working with a tutor, so it won't affect billed or free time.
How do I schedule a lesson?
Scheduling a lesson is simple. Visit InstaEDU's homepage and search for the topic you're interested in. From there, you can browse tutor profiles to find someone who you think would be a good fit. From each tutor's profile, it's easy to send them a message to find a convenient time to meet. You can schedule lessons directly from the chat window.
What does the 'Find the perfect tutor' message form do?
'Find the perfect tutor' allows you to start a conversation with several awesome tutors and choose which you'd like to work with. Simply use the message form to say what you're working on, when you'd like to meet and any additional questions you have. When you submit the message, we'll send it to a handful of tutors that we think would be a great fit, and you'll start receiving replies from them shortly.
How do written lessons work?
If you have something that would be easier to work through in written form (e.g. you'd like a tutor to provide comments on a paper), you can submit a written lesson. In doing so, you'll also specify the due date and the amount of time you'd like your tutor to spend on the lesson. You can also choose the first available tutor or a specific tutor who you've worked with before. When a tutor submits the lesson, you'll receive an email letting you know and the tutoring time you specified will be counted as tutoring time for billing purposes. If you don't receive a written lesson before the due date you specified, the time will not be counted.
Can I use InstaEDU without a webcam?
While we recommend working together over video chat for maximum effectiveness, you can also choose to work via audio or text-based chat.
Do I need any special software in order to use InstaEDU?
You don't need any special software to use InstaEDU. All you need is the latest version of Flash (get it here: get.adobe.com/flashplayer) and an Internet connection. That's it!
Can I use InstaEDU on a mobile device or tablet?
InstaEDU doesn't currently support mobile devices or tablet. For the best experience, please use a computer.
Payments and Trials
How much does InstaEDU cost?
InstaEDU tutoring starts at just $24/hour depending on how much tutoring you're interested in. We offer three subscriptions, which can be updated or canceled at any time. Each subscription includes a free trial. Subscription minutes do not roll over week-to-week. Our three subscriptions are:
- 15 minutes/week at a rate of $9/week (additional time just 60¢/minute)
- 30 minutes/week at a rate of $15/week (additional time just 50¢/minute)
- 2 hours/week at a rate of $48/week (additional time just 40¢/minute)
If you choose not to continue your subscription, you can still use tutoring time at a rate of 75¢/minute.
How does the InstaEDU free trial work?
We want to show you how awesome our tutors are before asking you to pay, which is why everyone gets the first week of their InstaEDU subscription for free. This includes 15, 30 or 120 minutes of tutoring time, depending on which subscription you choose. You can change or cancel your subscription at any time. If you use less than your weekly subscription time and cancel within the first week, your card will never be charged. Your trial time is valid for the first week you sign up and does not roll over into any additional weeks.
What counts as tutoring time for billing purposes?
The following things are counted as tutoring time:
- Time spent in a live tutoring lesson with a tutor while the lesson is in progress
- Time bid on a written lesson where a tutor submits an explanation
- Scheduled lessons that are missed without being canceled in advance
- Half of a scheduled lesson duration that is canceled less than 24 hours in advance
- Lessons less than 5 minutes will be counted as 5-minutes
- All partial minutes are rounded up to the nearest minute
Please note that subscription minutes do not roll over week-to-week and subscription rates are not reduced in the case of unused minutes.
How is my credit card information stored?
To ensure a high level of security, we use Stripe, a third-party payment processor, to handle all of our transactions. This means that there's an entire company focused on keeping your information secure, while we focus on getting you the study help you need. All credit card numbers are transferred over SSL and are encrypted on a disk with AES-256. You can learn more about Stripe's security practices here: stripe.com/help/security.
How does billing work?
When you sign up for a subscription, your card will be charged at the beginning of every week, starting one week from when you enable your free trial. Any additional time used that isn't included in a subscription will charged within one week of when the lesson occurs. Any changes to your subscription will take effect for the following week.
Can my teen work with the same tutor on a regular basis?
Yes, it’s easy for parents and students to schedule recurring lessons with a single tutor. You can easily browse our tutors, message with a few of them to find the right fit, and then schedule either a single lesson or a set of regular lessons.
Is InstaEDU safe?
Yes! Safety is super important to us. We manually screen every tutor, check their education info, and require them to connect with Facebook to help confirm their real identity. As a parent, you can easily view profiles and talk to tutors before setting up a lesson, so you know who your teen is working with.
Why should I choose InstaEDU over in-person tutoring?
InstaEDU gives your teen access to the best tutors from across the country, regardless of your location. The lesson space (with built-in video chat and collaboration tools) makes our online tutoring as effective as working together in-person. To top it off, there’s no need to drive anywhere and InstaEDU is much more affordable than most in-person tutoring options. Tutoring rates start at just $24/hour!
Why should I choose InstaEDU over other online tutoring options?
At InstaEDU, our top priorities are quality and effectiveness. We give our students access to the best possible tutors in a highly personal environment and make it easy to build a relationship with a single tutor. More than 95% of students say they would recommend their tutor to others, and over 90% students reported better grades, greater confidence and less stress after using InstaEDU.
Why can’t I access a lesson from my parent profile?
Parent accounts are intended to help you find tutors, organize lessons, control billing, and keep track of the work that your teen is doing. All lessons are set up for the student’s account, so just have your teen sign in, and he/she will be able to access the lesson space there.
What information is required to sign
up for InstaEDU?
To sign up as a student or parent, all you need to share is your first name and email address. Before working with a tutor, you'll also need to enter payment information.
What information do you use if I sign
up with Facebook?
We offer signing up with Facebook as an option solely to make things a little more streamlined for our members. If you choose to use Facebook Connect, we'll pull in your name, email address, birthday and education history. None of this is displayed publicly.
I'm a parent. Can I create an account for my student(s)?
Absolutely. We offer the ability for parents to set up InstaEDU for their student(s) and communicate with tutors. (A single parent account can have multiple student logins if you have more than one child who would like to use InstaEDU.) Once a parent creates an account, the parent can control billing and see details about the lessons, including length of lesson and which tutor they worked with. Payment information from a parent account is never shared with the student(s).
I'm associated with a school or other organization. Do you have accounts to support that use case?
Yes, all types of schools and organizations use InstaEDU. To learn more, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I delete my account?
To delete your account, just email email@example.com, and we'll delete it for you.
What browsers does InstaEDU support?
You can use InstaEDU on Internet Explorer (version 8 and up), Mozilla
Firefox (version 3 and up), Safari and Google Chrome.
I can't find the subject I'm working
on. What should I do?
If you have trouble finding something in the search bar drop-down,
first make sure you are searching for a subject, not a question. You
may also want to double check that everything is spelled correctly.
If that doesn't work, try searching for a similar subject. If you
are still unable to find the subject you'd like help with, contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org
and let us know so we can add it.
I can't see my tutor in the lesson. What should I do?
It can take up to 30 seconds for a video to load. While you're
waiting, you can still communicate with your tutor via the chat box
in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.
What should I do if I'm not being heard during my lesson?
First, make sure you have approved the flash dialogue on the left-hand side. Once you have, hover over the image to display the controls. Click on the microphone control to make sure it's turned on. If you still have problems with the audio, you may want to try another browser (Firefox, for example).
What should I do if I can't hear my tutor in a lesson?
If you can't hear your tutor, first check to see if your speakers are turned on. If they are and you still can't hear, send your tutor a message using the chat box in the lower left-hand corner to let them know. They'll be able to adjust their microphone controls by hovering above their video image.
What if my lesson isn't helpful?
The vast majority of our members find their lessons with tutors
very helpful, but if--for whatever reason--you feel your tutor was
not as helpful as you would have liked, please let us know at
sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and are happy to refund
lessons in almost all cases. Remember that you can also ask your tutor to void a lesson if they weren't able to answer your question. This will automatically make the lesson free and cue the search for a more qualified tutor.
What if something else goes wrong?
If you encounter any other problems during your lesson email us at
chat live with an InstaEDU team member by using the chat box in the
lower right hand corner of the page.
There's another feature I'd love to
see on InstaEDU. How can I tell the team?
We're always looking for ways to improve the site and would love to
hear your feedback! You can reach us at
Who runs InstaEDU?
InstaEDU was started by Alison Johnston Rue, Dan Johnston and Joey
Shurtleff, a team of recent Stanford graduates. You can learn more
about the team at
Where is InstaEDU located?
InstaEDU is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, but we work with students around the world. Our office mailing address is:
530 Howard St, Suite 100
San Francisco, CA 94105
How can I get in touch with InstaEDU?
We're always interested in hearing from members and potential
members. Shoot us an email at
us a live message using the window in the lower right-hand corner,
or find more ways to get in touch
here. We do our best to respond
to every message as quickly as possible.
I'm a member of the press interested
in writing an article about InstaEDU. Who should I reach out to?
We'd love to talk with you about InstaEDU. Please email us at
Where else can I connect with
We love chatting about both InstaEDU and education in general on
Come say hi!
Tutors and employees
Who can be an InstaEDU tutor?
Anyone who has teaching experience and currently attends or has graduated from a great college should apply. We only require that you have Facebook for authentication.
How do I become an InstaEDU tutor?
To become an InstaEDU tutor, start by signing up here: instaedu.com/become-a-tutor/. You'll be asked to complete a profile, let us know which subjects you can help with, and complete a brief tutor screen.