Time is the alternative, more affordable currency than money!
TimeBank Romania is an online platform where individuals can exchange their knowledge and skills. It’s about donating their time to teach those who are interested and in return they are taught by others as well.
It’s also a place where “teachers” meet “students” and switch their roles continuously. Everybody has a an opportunity to find an appropriate teacher, expert skilled in art that he is interested in. Each member has his own profile updated with what he is capable of teaching others, as well as the skills or knowledge he is interested in gaining. They can start using their valuable potential to teach others and learn something in exchange, which makes the users producers and recipients at the same time.
The mail goal of TimeBank Romania is to create an alternative learning modeled for individuals, not masses. Through the exchange of knowledge and skills, they hope to form a new community of individuals sharing the same interests and/or strengthening already existing ones.
Who are the e-volunteers taking part in the project? How did you start the cooperation with them?
Currently there are ~300 volunteers/users on the platform and we wish to grow this number to ~1000 within one year. Since there has been a lot of promoting the platform since May 2012 and our participation at the Restart Edu Competition, our networks of friends were already aware of the project and quickly jumped in. We are currently doing a lot of PR and advertising activities in order to raise awareness of the platform to a larger audience.
How do you verify the e-volunteers’ competences before you start the cooperation with them?
The platform is open for registration for everyone. We have little involvement in checking the competences of the users. However, we have devised means to make quality assurance easy and self-regulating. Firstly, each user can fill in the profile with relevant information about past and current studies and practical experiences. This gives a first glimpse into the expertise and passions of the user. Furthermore, whenever making an offer, the user can offer as much detail/proof of his/her expertise and experience, in order to convince the potential ‘student’. Secondly,there is a messaging option that facilitates the communication between interested users. They alone can ask the other for relevant proof of expertise in the domain, if they wish to do so. Thirdly, the platforms incorporates a public feedback system. In this way, users can confirm, recommend and comment on the skills of their teachers, which helps other users decide for themselves.
How do you ensure the safety and the quality of the e-volunteers’ work?
The platform asks for users to attest of being over 18 years old, in order to avoid any legal safety problems. The users can choose to meet for teaching online or offline and the place of exchange is entirely their decision. Therefore, TimeBank Romania does not assume responsibility for these actions and this is stated in our “Terms and Conditions”. We do recommend meetings in public places; furthermore we are developing partnerships with attested venues such as study cafes, libraries, non-formal education centers. As for the quality of the actual exchange of skills and knowledge, the feedback system, as described above, is the most important measure.