If you treat students as customers, this is what you get

January 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Posted in waffle | Leave a comment
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I came across a couple of online notes-sharing websites today; one based in Canada (NoteWagon) and the other in California (StudyMonkey) – and I guess something similar will arrive in the UK soon. Students can upload their study notes and get paid when other students pay to download them. The website obviously takes its cut to generate a profit. Notes get rated and reviewed, so quality is rewarded and poor quality notes will hopefully not be downloaded.

On the plus side, students will be able to access (pay for) good quality notes, maybe for a session they missed. Dyslexic students also find it difficult to take notes quickly in class, so may also value this service. On the other hand, taking your own notes is a key first step in deep learning and I suspect that below-average students will use these notes as a crutch for their surface learning.

Slighly more alarming (for institutions) are StudyMonkey’s ‘Course review’ and ‘Professor review’ features, where students can add their own critical comments and star ratings, well away from the University’s own quality assurance processes and control. It’s a bit like TripAdvisor, where a few disgruntled customers can skew the reputation of a hotel or restaurant because they have the motivation to complain and the majority of satisfied customers don’t.

Welcome to the world we’ve made…

Stop press: a quick Google search discovered GradeGuru, a note-sharing service that does cover the UK and is run by McGraw-Hill Publishers no  less. Southampton already has 51 members and 98 shared notes, mostly in Law.

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