The ESL Teacher Toolkit Celebrates 3 Years in March

On 15th March 2015, Off2Class went live. The ESL Teacher Toolkit is now 3 years old!

After a year in beta, we launched our ESL teacher-led tool. At the time, we had 65 lessons and homework activities combined with a basic student management panel.

How we’ve grown

Since that time, we’ve grown to 700 lessons with homework activities and an expanded student management system. We introduced a placement test to provide a starting point for your potential and actual students. We added our version of a whiteboard, games, quizzes, and lesson summaries.

As we grew, so did our ESL teacher community. Some of our independent teachers started their own businesses. Private language institutes and K12 schools partnered with us. To help users with multiple teachers and large classes, we built an enterprise panel. We allowed users to white-label the product and brand the site with their logo. After all, we want to grow with you, and we want to make you look as professional as possible.

We launched Live Mode, which allows you and your online students to interact without screen sharing. It has improved the teaching experience by removing screen sharing and allows for greater adaptability of the lesson plans with chat and annotation tools.

We’ve persevered, and it’s starting to pay off

ESL Teacher

Serdar, always thinking about code, even on a beautiful summer day!

Recently, we took some time to look at our strategy and how to improve our product. For the last few months, Serdar, our technical co-founder, has been rebuilding the site from scratch. We want to make Off2Class stronger, more robust, and easier to use. In 2018, Serdar is going to make Off2Class an even more streamlined and user-friendly experience. Specifically, we intend to add features to enable users to see items such as all outstanding homework activities. Serdar is also adding features to improve interactivity between teachers and students.

We’re working with great people and organizations

When we started Off2Class, we really wanted to help our ESL teacher community provide their students will beautiful and pedagogically sound digital ESL content. We’re over the moon to know that not-for-profit organizations like CARECEN and La Providencia are using us, to reach newly arrived US immigrants and at-risk children respectively. It’s good to know that our product is reaching students who may not otherwise benefit from quality ESL materials.

Larger commercial enterprises like Blyth Academy, FluentBe and Tutor Doctor franchises are using us in North America, South America, and Europe. Our reach is becoming broader.

A (slight) change in direction

If you’ve used Off2Class, then you’ve probably provided feedback to us at some point. Regarding content, we created special categories to instruct TOEFL and IELTS students. We’ve added speaking activities on controversial topics to create more interesting classes for advanced students. This year, we’ve started building a curriculum.

Our content mission was to be non-prescriptive. We wanted teachers to pick and choose the content that their students needed, as and when required. However, many of you have asked for a curriculum, a series of lessons that would cover all skills and language to take a student from beginner to advanced proficiency. To meet this goal, we’ll have fewer releases of lesson material over the upcoming months. Afterward, we’ll be releasing chunks of CEFR-based curriculum, a series of lessons designed to be followed in sequence, that will incorporate vocabulary, grammar, speaking, listening, reading and writing. Importantly, we have grown to a point where we’ve been able to hire a proofreader to help rid the lessons of a few pesky mishaps!

Soon, you’ll be able to teach students from A1 to C1 by following us lesson by lesson. Of course, you’ll still be able to select from our categories to teach other topics as and when you need. As an ESL teacher, you know your students best!

A growing team

We always knew that strong customer service would be the primary key to success. We now have two new team members, Ryan ESL Teacher ESL TeacherGilroy and Chris Rush, to assist Kris with account management. If you have contact with us, you’ll probably already be familiar with them. Kris continues to oversee our client base as it grows larger, currently serving thousands of users in 85 countries. We pride ourselves on the fact that everyone in the Off2Class team helps with customer service. The people who build and manage the site are the people you communicate with.

ESL TeacherFinally, Alicia is helping us with the design and user experience. For three years we made the decision to release content and features as quickly as possible. Now it’s time to bring it all together and improve the overall look and feel of the site. You may have already seen a few design changes, and there are more to come. We’re confident that Off2Class will be looking more beautiful and stylish by our fourth birthday.

Some of you reading this have been with us since before we launched. You’ve trialed and tested the content and functionality and helped us improve the site. We’re grateful for the opportunity you’ve given a very small company in an extremely large market, and we hope you’ll stick with us and enjoy the year to come.

We also hope you’ll forgive the self-congratulatory tone of this post, but we think achievements are worth celebrating!

As always, we’d love to hear from our ESL teacher community.

25 Comments

  • Wen Bong says:

    March 19, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Congrats on 3 years! Here’s to 3,000 more!

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      March 19, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Hi Twisted Sifter,
      Thanks for stopping by and getting the first comment slot on this year’s bday post!

  • Cameron says:

    March 19, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Happy Birthday and I am a huge fan of what you are doing. Growing from the starter package monthly to boosting up to 20 and branding. All my students love it.
    However I hope that there is plans to upgrade existing programs such as IETLS speaking to include audio recordings
    TOEFL lessons are the only area I have had criticism from students mostly around the audios that were recorded and not TOEFL caliber either issues with background noise or normally it is a woman and man rather than the same sex for students to explain who said what.
    As well a feature I would love is the ability to build my own lessons in the platform. I teach other exams but have to do it somewhere else. For example CELPIP (The Canadian exam equal to IETLS)
    Other than that! Great Job Happy Birthday! Keep up the good work and keeping us informed.

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      March 19, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Cameron,
      Thanks for your message and feedback.
      We hope to accomplish your suggestions this calendar year. Allowing teachers to be able to upload their lessons on the platform is something we really hope to aspire to. However, we’ve discovered that the technical challenges are enormous! Nonetheless, we do intend to continue with this though I can’t offer a delivery date.
      I really hope to review TOEFL and IELTS audio recordings when possible.
      Regards,
      James

      • Peter Williams says:

        August 14, 2018 at 12:28 pm

        Just another suggestion, it would be good if we could write our own homework and quizzes similar to other websites like Quizlet.

  • Gavin says:

    March 19, 2018 at 10:30 am

    ..Well Happy birthday to the Off2class team. While I’m not a trained teacher as such, I would like to say from the moment I came across your platform, I was hook. Primarily because as an expat Kiwi living in China, with little experience in making lesson plans, Off2class had it all packaged up in a super professional system for non-teachers like myself to teach the lessons with greater confidence and without falling over my tongue and making a complete twat of myself.
    All the Best team for the next 12 months and beyond.
    Gavin Williams
    Guangxi, South China

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      March 19, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks Gavin for your wishes! You’ve been with us for quite a while, and we’re pleased to know that you plan to stick with us.
      All the best,
      James

  • Claire Ellis says:

    March 19, 2018 at 11:41 am

    I love the Off2Class lessons – I have two clients who use it regularly and a few who use it occasionally (mostly children). Keep up the good work.

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      March 19, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Thanks, Claire!
      James

  • Craig Lockley says:

    March 19, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Happy Birthday to the site that literally changed my life. When I discovered Off2class, I had no teaching experience and no material of my own. Since then I have built up my business, teaching well over 1000 hours of one to one lessons using the platform and currently have a roster of 25+ student, all in under 2 years. Thanks guys!

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      March 19, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Thank you Craig! We’re really pleased to be part of your online success!
      James

  • April Mills says:

    March 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I heard about Off2class on a beautiful Turkish beach whilst on holiday last summer! Friends running their own online business in Turkey told me about Off2class. I was already teaching English online using a different platform and so when I got home I thought I’d check out Off2class. I was amazed how much better it was. Not only is Offclass user-friendly, the content is great and it’s reassuring to have the prompt support and online chat feature whenever I have questions.
    As pointed out by another teacher (Cameron), it would be good to be able to build my own lessons into the Off2class platform because some of my students require support in exams such as Cambridge IGCSE. I teach French as well as English and it would be good to be able to use my own French teaching resources using Off2class.
    Happy Birthday!

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      March 19, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Hi April,
      Thanks for your feedback. I’ve answered Cameron with regards to uploading your own content, so yes, it will arrive eventually on the site.
      Regards,
      James

  • Douglas Amrine says:

    March 19, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Congratulations on your third anniversary! Off2Class was a huge help to me when I was teaching online, and I also enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to your content from time to time.
    I know that you are improving things all the time – making a good thing even better is a wonderful philosophy.
    And it’s really great to hear that not-for-profits are using the site as well.
    Douglas
    Curitiba, Brazil

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      March 19, 2018 at 7:26 pm

      Hi Douglas,
      Thanks for your message of support. Hope that all is well!
      James

  • Urmila Devi says:

    March 19, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Many happy returns to Off2class ?Congratulations on your achievements so far and best wishes for future ?

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      March 19, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks, Urmila!
      James

  • Lynne says:

    March 20, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Congratulations on this milestone. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      March 24, 2018 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Lynne!

  • Brettell Hone says:

    March 24, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Congratulations and many happy returns! May you grow from strength to strength – you have a wonderful product.

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      March 24, 2018 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks, Brettell!

  • James Elwyn says:

    March 31, 2018 at 6:12 am

    Happy birthday and a great read to get an insight of you guys. Customer service is invaluable and you guys are star quality. I’m looking forward to the child friendly classes you will be releasing. Happy Birthday and Keep doing what you doing guys. Good luck on your continued future.

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      May 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

      Hi James, thanks for stopping by on the post. We really do pride ourselves on customer service and it’s nice that you’ve noticed!
      Kris

  • Omar says:

    May 3, 2018 at 4:08 am

    Congratulations. Fabulous product 🙂

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      May 3, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Hi Omar, thanks for the kind words. We really appreciate the product feedback you’ve been giving us for the last couple of years,
      Kris

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