Paper, formerly known as GradeSlam, is a free online tutoring service founded by Phil Cutler in 2014 to assist students and provide extra help in their studies.
With the complications of COVID-19, it has become difficult for students to receive help from teachers outside of class. Fortunately, Paper has risen in popularity as a free and trusted tutoring service, and the Huntington Beach Union High School District has partnered with the company to support students during this time.
However, students should evaluate some aspects of the service before taking advantage of the website to ensure passing grades.
Paper offers two main features:
If you have a question that needs to be answered within a specific subject, you can select a specialized tutor for that subject. If you have a math question, for example, you can open up a direct conversation with a math tutor and quickly get one-on-one help.
The live chat allows for instantaneous communication with a Paper tutor, which may be beneficial for students that need help right away and for subjects that are concept-heavy, such as science and math. For such STEM classes, tutors can help by defining concepts or by breaking down each step and explaining what is required to perform that step. For an English or a world language class, they can help by explaining grammatical rules.
You can use the essay review feature to receive comprehensive feedback. Paper asks you to submit your essay, essay prompt and rubric along with an explanation of what type of feedback you want on your essay. Once you upload your essay, a tutor will look over it and provide personalized comments based on the type of feedback that you requested from them.
The essay review feature is practical for obtaining constructive feedback and criticism within 24 hours on any piece of writing. The feedback that you get will highlight the strongest parts of your essay and identify the weaker parts of your essay. The tutor may also give suggestions on how to improve those weaker parts so that your writing can become stronger and more coherent.
While there are advantages to the free tutoring service from Paper, one potential flaw could be the credibility of its tutors. For example, teachers receive formal education and training to receive a teaching credential.
However, no where on the Paper platform does it mention the teaching credentials of these tutors, meaning that help from Paper tutors might not be as reliable or useful as help from your teachers.
Paper intends to provide academic help to students in new learning environments caused by the complications of COVID-19. Although it is a free tutoring service available to everyone, it may be best to only use the live chat feature for immediate help and seek essay feedback from teachers or peers you trust.