Several college juniors from Washington University launched a new Web site, Schoology.com, which helps make studying and understanding classroom material easier.
Founder of the Web site, Jeremy Friedman, and a few of his friends, Timothy Trinidad, Greg Mervine, and Ryan Hwang, introduced this site last month as a helpful tool for students to share notes.
Schoology also offers students a fast and easy way to earn money by paying them to share quality notes and spend time as a tutor.
The Web site’s network has expanded since its launch on February 25 to more than 2,000 students from 60 various universities. Friedman said that this type of growth was unexpected.
“From the beginning, our service has been successful nationwide,” Friedman said. “In the three weeks since our launch we have experienced very encouraging growth. We have close to 1,000 registered users with over 350 uploaded documents. Additionally, we have more than 200 people registered as PeerTutors.”
He also added that with Spring Break coming to a close and finals week ahead, they expect an expanded growth of their user base.
Friedman explained the Web site can help students with any subject with their PeerTutor chatting system.
Students can chat with a tutor for free to make sure that the tutor has knowledge of the trouble topic and “get a feel for what they have to offer.” After being connected with the right tutor, the student can then click “hire” to officially begin the session. The session is based on a minute rate that is set by the tutor and is charged to the student for the tutor’s services.
Furthermore, individual sessions can be combined together to form a group tutoring session as long as all the members agree to the tutor’s fees.
The Web site also offers classroom notes that are free to download by searching for the title, subject, course or popularity. The site states, “Notes are rated and commented based on their usefulness. The more popular a note is, the more useful.”Pharmacy student Harjinder Suniar said that he likes the new concept of online tutoring.
“It is really helpful because some people are too lazy to actually go to tutoring,” Sunjar said. “I think that the advantage is that you don’t have to go anywhere physically. If I don’t get something [while] reading at home, it could help.”In addition, Schoology allows students to make more money by posting their class notes, which are rated on a five-star scale.
The Web site pays the student based on quality, popularity and downloads.
“By giving students monetary incentives,” Friedman stated, “we can ensure a higher quality of knowledge and services.”He also explained that it takes “a substantial effort” to run a service like Schoology.
“In addition to brainstorming ideas and putting ideas and design onto paper, the development alone took almost an entire year,” he said.
“A large portion of the development time went to designing and developing the chat system.”
Now that their Web site is up and running, it has received requests and suggestions to “improve usability and performance,” according to Friedman. Ever since its launch, they have been through three different drastic designs and they are “devoted to working quickly to implement those changes to give our users the best possible experience.”
Friedman stated that he is planning to expand the site’s resources to teachers as well.”Teachers will have access to analytical and organization tools similar to Blackboard,” he said.
“Our chat system, PeerTutor, will soon have a whiteboard feature, MathType, and the ability to merge tutor sessions into group lessons.”
Co-founder Ryan Hwang added, “With new innovations in technology and the internet, the world is becoming more and more digital. Our platform is the next logical step in the education revolution.”