Spires uses the same instant messenger as Facebook, the same phone calling system as Uber, Lessonspace for a full online classroom, and a proprietary email and file sharing system.
It's high-tech and free, including international phone calls. It should allow you to do everything you need to communicate with your online tutor effectively.
Watch our video and read the article below for more information
Note: As part of the terms of using Spires, you cannot exchange private contact details with tutors introduced by Spires such as phone numbers, email addresses, PayPal accounts or social media links, or send inappropriate messages or engage in academic misconduct. Our house rules explain our terms in more detail.
To communicate with tutors click on the 'Messages' tab.
Conversations marked in red are unread. Selecting a conversation then takes you to the messenger, which connects you and that tutor.
This is also where you can schedule classes and share files.
Clicking on a tutor's name (blue link) will show you their profile. A green circle by their name means that they are currently online on Spires, a red circle means they are offline.
Clicking on the information button on the left hand side by their name will show you your original job information and it where you can close the conversation if you no longer need to communicate with the tutor.
*** There are five simple ways to communicate with a tutor ***
1. Instant Messages
You can message a tutor if they have bid on your request or you have contacted them directly from the website by typing into the text box at the bottom of the messenger and pressing enter to send.
A green tick by the time and date of your message means that the tutor has seen it.
Unread messages are sent by email to a tutor if they are not online and have not read the message within five minutes of you sending it.
You can reply to any email directly from your email and your reply will appear in the messenger automatically. Or you can login and visit the Spires messenger to reply to a message.
Their reply will appear in your messenger, and will be emailed to you if you have not seen it within 5 minutes of them sending it.
You will see the following notification below when a message email is sent:
3. Phone calls
You can add your phone number privately and securely on Spires to make use of our phone calling system.
You can either add your phone number when adding your first request, in the drop down notification visible when you first create your account, or in your Account Settings.
If your tutor has added a phone number you will see a purple call button in the messenger when communicating with them.
Clicking it will call their mobile phone directly from your web browser.
When you add your phone number, your tutor will see this button and they can call you directly from their browser.
The person being called will see an anonymous routing number beginning 01225 (City of Bath - UK).
*** All phone numbers are kept private from other users and we would never share this information with any third party ***
If your tutor does not pick up their phone, you can leave a message asking them to call you back.
4. File Sharing
Using the 'Share file' button in the messenger, both you and a tutor can share files with each other and create a drop box of resources for your classes together.
Anyone that receives a file will be notified by email to let them know a file has been sent to them.
For files that you share, you will see a green tick if the file has been opened by the tutor, or a grey tick if they have not opened it, but they have received it.
Files shared with you that you have not opened will be red and ones you have opened will be blue:
*** The maximum file size is 100 MB and files will only be stored for 30 days ***
You can also use 'Share File' function from your mobile phone, except when you tap it you also have the option to use your camera to take a picture to upload as well.
This can be very helpful if you need to get something checked over quickly by your tutor, such as a particular answer or problem that you would like to work on.
5. Video calls
Once a free meeting or paid class is booked you will be able to 'Open Classroom' and meet your tutor in Lessonspace.
This happens when either you accept a class offer from a tutor, or you request and the tutor accepts a class.
More about how classes work in the next section here.