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We’re making some changes to our terms and conditions

We’re excited to announce that soon students will be able to access lesson recordings after each lesson they have. You can find more information below.

Why are we adding recordings?

We’ve found that students gain significant value from having access to recordings of their lessons.

Providing students with access to their recordings will:

  • Allow them to revisit content for revision
  • Give parents the opportunity to review what was covered in a lesson and check whether their child was engaged
  • Enable language students to replay the lesson to review the tutor’s pronunciation
  • Give parents peace of mind that their child is in a safe space
  • Allow music students to relisten to recordings to gauge their level of improvement and to check how they compare to their tutor
  • Reduce the amount of time a student needs to spend taking notes, as they will have full access to all the content after the lesson has ended.

Happy and engaged students tend to go on to book more lessons, and we feel that giving them access to recordings will be something that many students will appreciate.

When will this change happen?

After the 19th August, students will be able to watch recordings of their lessons. Students will have access to each recording for a year, after which it will be securely deleted.

How will students access the recordings?

Students will be able to find their lesson recordings by going into the lesson details. Only students are able to access recordings and they are not downloadable for data protection purposes, but students can watch them as many times as they wish. Students will also be sent a link in their message thread to direct them to where recordings can be accessed.

Want to know more?

We’ve set up some FAQs with additional answers to questions we thought you might have. Student FAQs relating to lesson recordings can be found here and tutor FAQs can be found here.

We’ve also adjusted our privacy policy and terms and conditions to reflect this change. You are able to look at both by following the links below:

Privacy policy

Terms and conditions

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Hi, maybe it’s just me, but I actually really don’t like the idea of students being able to watch the recordings. I feel that it puts a lot more pressure on us to always perform to our very best if we know we’re being watched, and it also might put more pressure on students to succeed if they know they are being watched by their parents. Can we watch them too?
I’ve nothing to hide, just doesn’t sit right with me at all.

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I completely agree with Katie. I have no problem with lessons being recorded for safeguarding purposes, but I am not happy or comfortable that students and parents will have a one-sided access to recordings. I am also not sure how many parents and students will be happy knowing that they’re being recorded, even if they’re the only ones able to watch them.

@katywilson6 The FAQ states that tutors will be unable to access the recordings

In addition, not having to take notes is a bad thing! There has been plenty of research done demonstrating that information retention and understanding is much higher if you take notes. Having access to recordings makes it more tempting for students to skip this crucial stage of learning.

At the very least, Tutorful should have consulted us about this change instead of, once again, imposing it on us by diktat. Please give us the option to opt out of this if we want to.

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Will the parents be aware of this policy directly? Because many of my students were not aware they were being recorded - some were unhappy.

Why can students view it and not us tutors? I never thought I’d say this, but what are Tutorful doing to help/protect their tutors? It feels very student-centred at the moment, and that doesn’t sit right with me.

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I feel similar to @katywilson6 in that, I’m happy for the lessons to be recorded as they are, but I’m not sure how I feel about students being able to access these recordings (but not tutors). I think there are some benefits to having recordings of the class but I’m confused why I cant also see these recordings

Are we allowed to request the recordings if we want to see them? Since it is our personal data. So I dont understand why they are not available to tutors as well automatically

My other question is whether there is anything that prevents students sharing or uploading the recordings online? I’m not sure how comfortable I feel about someone without guarantee the data wont be shared further. Who is accountable if the recordings are shared?

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@katywilson6 @Julia The FAQ states the recordings cannot be accessed by tutors due to safeguarding concerns as many students are under 18. At the moment, there is nothing to prevent them from uploading those recordings and no protection for tutors…

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Will we also get paid for every time they listen to that lesson? I’m guessing not, but really we should…

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I was surprised by this email.

Of course, I have always been aware that lessons were recorded and kept by Tutorful for a set period of time - I signed up for this when I joined Tutorful. This seems sensible to me, especially in terms of safeguarding.

However, students access having direct access to the recordings (which includes my face, my voice, and therefore my data) is something that I think tutors should have been consulted on.

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I totally agree with these comments. I have no problem with parents sitting in on lessons, as they quite often do, and recording for safeguarding purposes. But I am concerned about what will happen to these recordings and who else will see them.

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According to the FAQ, the recordings have been designed not to be ‘downloadable’ by students. However, I think having them there in the first place does make it easier for students to record and share the lessons - for example, by just recording their screen.

I’ve also just has a look at the ‘student responsibilities’ section of the terms and conditions - I can’t see any update that means students are promising not to share our data.

From my perspective, this appears to leave tutors in a vulnerable position.

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Like others I am very uncomfortable with this. I see the benefit but it doesn’t seem to consider the fact that sessions will need to be prepared with this in mind. Conversations becoming permanent records (which are even presented as things for students to check back on) is a very, very substantial change. It means that Tutorful is debatably not even offering tuition specifically anymore, but rather an info source which is somewhat interactive at the start. If I stay then I am going to have to substantially cut down on the interactive side of tutoring for fear of being caught off guard by a student asking things too far off spec, seeming unprofessional by stuttering or umming and ahhing, etc. Instead, we will need to offer safe cookie cutter videos that they can probably get for free off the internet.

The issues are not only to the lesson itself though, but also personally. I share Rosie’s concerns, and also add the fact that no matter how much we try to soundproof rooms it isn’t always feasible to stop every loud noise. Children laughing, crying, etc can sometimes bleed though. People having access to recordings of this is deeply troubling and I will likely have to stop using Tutorful until I can do more to prevent this (assuming I can).

Saying they can’t be downloaded also doesn’t help much. They certainly can be saved even if it isn’t something Tutorful offers. Even if there is something to prevent screen recordings or accessing the file, these are easily circumvented.

I feel like this may be viewed as a fairly trivial change at Tutorful but if we had we been consulted we could have told you this small change with a small benefit has a disproportionately high cost.

I 100% support the recording of sessions for safeguarding and have been understanding of some of Tutorful’s less popular decisions in recent months, but this is threatening to be a dealbreaker even for me. Even for those who don’t mind any of these recent changes, the disillusioning of tutors on several fronts doesn’t seem viable in the long term. There have been multiple changes to the core agreement recently. I assume Tutorful would rather have tutors use this primarily or even exclusively, but for that to work the service can’t keep fundamentally changing. I used to use Tutorful exclusively, but that is no longer a safe or sensible business decision.

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This is beautifully put, and absolutely sums up how I feel. I’m genuinely considering my future with Tutorful, and that is something I never thought I’d seriously consider even after being unhappy with some decisions. That breaks my heart.

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Totally agree with you @Dylan. Thank you for putting this so succinctly.

@mark-tutorful

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My whole tutoring format is giving students a ‘safe space’ for students to make mistakes and not feel pressured at all - it’s deliberately not meant to feel like school, where they might feel scared and afraid. Having parents being able to watch their performances takes away that safe space that I offer - and I really do not like that.

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One more thing (can you tell that this has rattled me?!) - at the moment, the parents can go online and see what the students have done in the class. That, to me, is more than enough - I like that a lot actually! What does adding in audio add?

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Hi @katywilson6 - I was just thinking this.

Students have access to the notes / questions tried, and I always write a lesson plan on screen. I also give parents / students detailed feedback as to what has been covered. Some parents choose to ‘be in the background’ in lessons to see how things are going - of course, this is fine too and totally expected.

I suppose I’m confused as to what this new feature really ‘adds’ ?

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Surely by tutors being unable to access the recordings contravenes GDPR.

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I echo the comments above. Receiving that email made me feel deeply uncomfortable. I tutor English Literature, especially at A Level, and I try to make sessions as spontaneous and interactive as possible, which means there are times where I might, say, ramble a bit or not know the answer to something a student asks. It’s a conversation! Knowing that the sessions are being recorded for the student and/or parents to look at afterwards makes me feel really under pressure to produce something ‘perfect’ - and that’s just not possible. I’ve been with Tutorful for nearly five years now, but this really does make me think twice about continuing with the site.

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for letting us know your thoughts so far on this upcoming feature! I just wanted to address a few points that have been made.

  • Protection for tutors - although your lessons have always been recorded, they have never been available to view by parents/students. By having these recordings available, the parents have the opportunity to a) see the great tutoring you are doing and understand the value of what they are paying for, b) keep up to speed with their child’s learning journey c) clear up any inconsistencies or concerns that may come from the child and d) refer to the recording as a revision tool.

  • More value for students - many students will need to go back over content covered in lessons for many different reasons, by having recordings available it means that they don’t miss any valuable explanations and have the opportunity to revisit content if they are not feeling 100% confident with what they learned.

  • Tutors unable to access recordings - as mentioned in the FAQ, due to legal reasons, we cannot make recordings available to tutors due to having many learners under the age of 18. Unfortunately, we would have to gain consent from every single student for every single lesson to allow a tutor to view the recording - the value of watching the recording back for tutors is greatly outweighed by the value students get from this which is why we decided to go with this decision.

  • The recordings will not be available to download - all recordings will be available through the Tutorful lesson’s page and will be viewed on the website when a student is logged in, they are not available to download or re-upload anywhere. Each recording will also only be available for one year.

  • Being paid - as the student has already paid you for this time, they would not pay again to view the recordings. No extra work is required from any tutors for recordings to be available and they are purely viewing the content and learning that they have already paid for.

  • Value of audio in addition to read only files - by having access to the lesson recording, students can listen back to how concepts were explained within a lesson or how the learning built up throughout the lesson. It also allows us to offer revision tools that appeal to the learning styles of different students

  • Student awareness - Students are being informed about the changes and they will have clear options to opt-out of having the recordings to view should they not wish to have them

Finally, I’d just like to add that we trust our tutors do to a great job and that our students get the valuable, amazing lessons we know you provide - you are the experts! This to us is not about being monitored, but to give those students further access to these great lessons that are helping them with their studies.

We don’t expect that anything within your lessons should change, things such as noises in the background and unexpected questions are all part of the joy of live, one to one learning! We wouldn’t expect that you need to make changes to the way you teach due to the sessions being available to watch back. Your students are your students for a reason, and we absolutely wouldn’t want you to change the teaching style they have chosen you for. If anything, we would expect this to be a positive way of keeping a great relationship with your students and/or their parent or guardian.

Thank you for taking the time to respond @Rachel_Tutorful, and I appreciate that you are the messenger here. I can’t speak for anyone else but I am sorry to say that it doesn’t alleviate my own concerns. We already know the intended benefits of the change so explaining them again isn’t reassuring. There isn’t anything new here about offsetting the effect it has on tutors either (even the protections for tutors section doesn’t seem to include any). Tutorful saying that lessons shouldn’t be affected just suggests that they don’t understand the consequences of this change. We are telling them that this means lessons will have to change, that isn’t something Tutorful can control. If they didn’t know this was a necessary consequence then that is concerning in its own right, but it’s not something they can just say won’t happen either way.

You are right that the current situation has features that are part of live one-to-one learning, but the entire point is that it is no longer live and can not be treated as such. As for the pay point, Tutorful isn’t doing any extra work either yet apparently hopes to benefit from this.

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