27th May 14: What's being worked on?

(This weeks un-related photo is of the active Volcano on White Island. It smelled terrible.)


Ok so these haven't been the bi-monthly updates I wanted them to be. But nevermind let's move onto what's been happening,


Job Alerts


Completely forgot to mention this. We now have job alerts!


You might have spotted that the job search doesn't directly order adverts by how new they are. 


This is avoid a case like ESL Cafe where people have to repeatedly repost  the same advert to get it seen.  (Instead the job search also takes into account how detailed the advert is and attempts to put the better adverts at the top).


The problem this does create though is how do you find the new jobs if you've been searching for a couple weeks?


The answer: job alerts! When you find a search you want, you can save the search into your account and get Daily or Weekly alerts on any new jobs which match it.

So for example you could filter down on the job results page for 'China', 'Accommodation provided' and '1 years teaching experience' and save that. Then whenever new jobs are posted which match those criteria you'll get an email.

New Front Page & Better Knowledge Base


The two obvious changes. The front page has been re-designed to focus the site towards the two areas which are getting are getting the most attention at the moment, the job search and the knowledge base.


The job search is the heart of the site and the knowledge base is becoming the big focus for my attempts to bring together useful content.


Hopefully it also makes it a little clearer what teflSearch is useful for if you randomly end up on the homepage.


Knowledge Base


The previous knowledge base was a little clunky for trying to scroll up and down through so now it has a brand new sticky menu that should make it easier to find what you want.


Especially as some of articles have become very long (looking at you Japanese tax and social security guide), I thought it was important to make it as useable as possible.

Knowledge Base Korea


South Korea will be the next country to be covered in the knowledge base. Rather than posting it all at once, I might try to introduce it article by article as they're completed if it's possible to write it that way. 


School Directory - Improving Reviews


Now this won't be coming very soon, but because this area of the site has been recieving less love and attention, I wanted to keep everyone with some idea of what will happen to it.


Reviews have a couple problems.


  • They take a lot of effort.


It takes time and effort for a person to write a high quality review of a school. That's one of the reason's there aren't many high quality reviews and far more one line threads of people either praising or putting down a school.


If a review focuses on just one aspect, it might miss the parts you care about and not be much use.


  • Reviews need to be truthful


A proper review can be a big part in someone's decision to choose a school or employer.


This means there could possibly be a lot of pressure put on the person reviewing a school, they might feel the need to post a good review to avoid angering their employer or they could be so angry at a single person that they post a bad review just to get back at them.


  • You need to understand the person writing the review and their expectations


You see this a lot with hostels, lets say someone leaves a 1 star review on a super cheap hostel because the dorms weren't that clean. 


Whether or not you agree with the review depends on your expectations. If you think that by staying in the cheapest of the cheap hostels you're going to have to sacrifice some cleanliness, then 1 star might seem unreasonable.


On the other hand if you think dorm rooms should always be clean regardless of the price then this person might be spot on.


So how do we solve this?


Not easily.


Eventually the solution will probably end up something like this:


The school directory will still exist, it'll hold basic information about the schools. However rather than just having the reviews on the site there will be two options:


  1. Teachers can write reviews on their on blogs and they'll be linked to the school pages.
  2. If the reviewer would prefer to be anonymous they can post it on our blog and it'll be linked to from there.


The caveats:


  1. We'll contact the teachers for reviews as opposed to people offering them to us, probably with some sort of incentive.
  2. There will be guidelines for the post which teachers will have to follow, so that's a ban on swearing etc. along with certain area's that'll have to be covered and so on.


The hope is by talking to people in person and reaching out to people (as opposed to vice versa) we can keep the reviews reliable and relatively unbiased.


Then by linking to blogs and giving incentives rather than putting them all on teflSearch, we can motivate people to create the high quality reviews which will help highlight the good schools.