Couple take knowledge online

Web site offers students live one-on-one math tutoring.

(Updated Wednesday, November 9, 2005, 5:59 AM)

Chander and Monika Joshi are known in their family as experts on picking a college, finding scholarships and tutoring.

Now they are taking their knowledge and sharing it with the world in their new Internet venture: studentnest.com.

Joshi, an accountant, and his wife, Monika, a registered nurse, have spent the past year fine-tuning their idea and about $125,000 of their own money to roll out their Fresno-based company.

They hope studentnest.com will be become a resource for students and parents seeking answers to everything including math problems and college majors. The Web site also has an area for posting jobs and buying and selling items. "We've realized that there really isn't anything like this out there," Chander Joshi said.

Among the Web site's more popular features is a live one-on-one math tutoring service Joshi is banking will be used by students at low-performing schools.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, approved tutors, such as studentnest.com, can be hired by school districts to boost student achievement. The state of California has set aside $146 million for tutoring under the act.

To that end, Joshi has met with school districts statewide and has plans to provide tutoring to 22 districts stretching from Yuba City to Santa Barbara .

The Joshis are running a pilot program at Cooper Middle School in west-central Fresno .

About 15 students will receive tutoring for five weeks at no cost to the school.

Dan Thomas, a Cooper math teacher, said studentnest.com will provide much needed one-on-one tutoring for struggling students.

"The class sizes are too large, and it is hard to get to those students who need the most help," Thomas said.

"This allows us to give them the extra help they need. We are hopeful this will work."

The Joshis have simplified the process. All the students need is a computer. The company supplies a headset, microphone and a mouse pen. There are no software downloads.

"For parents who know what it is like driving their children to tutors, this will be easy, they can do it from home," said Monika Joshi, co-owner.

A one-hour session costs $25, and each session will be recorded for future reference.

All studentnest.com tutors are credentialed teachers with some based in India . About 40 tutors are on the company's roster.

"We will have tutors from all over the world," Chander Joshi said.

"But all will be credentialed, and they will undergo background checks."

Karen Graff, the company's director of public relations, said studentnest.com is joining a growing number of online tutoring companies worldwide.

Graff said that although studentnest.com focuses on students in grades 3 through 12, she sees the potential at the college level.

"The market is almost limitless," Graff said. "It is just phenomenal how big this is."

The reporter can be reached at brodriguez@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6327.