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Cramster.com and Other Online Study Communities Transform Learning

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Expensive tutors and after school study sessions may be a thing of the past given the surge of online social media and a rise of school faculty reduction and program cutbacks. It is no wonder why students have increasingly adopted the newest and seemingly most accessible form of studying and homework assistance—online study websites.

Sites such as Cramster.com, one of the Internet’s leading online study websites, has seen more than 500,000 registered users, and competing sites have also shared in rising numbers. What’s the draw?

Popular Study Websites

Online study websites offer community between fellow students, educators, and subject enthusiasts who share and exchange information about pertinent academic topics in order to assist or gain assistance with their assignments.

CRAMSTER

Launched in 2003, Cramster offers comprehensive course material on subjects relating to math or science, including lecture notes, textbook solutions, answers to homework questions.

Features

  • Offers study guides to students which provide various material from practice tests, practice problems to customized quizzes.
  • 24/7 Q&A Forums
  • Provides a place to contribute student recommended lecture notes, formula sheets, course outlines, video lectures, etc, and a database of over 40,000 resources.
  • Offers affordable online tutoring.
  • Step-by-step answers to math problems from almost 300 textbooks.
  • Karma point system that allows students to answer questions, accumulate points, and win prizes.
  • Facebook application that allow students to post their school schedule on their profile, find friends in their class, and inquire upon the class roster.
  • Registration is an affordable $10 per month.

Drawbacks

  • Students in need of homework or course assistance in any other subject field aside from math and science will be disappointed.

COURSE HERO

Course Hero has coined itself as a learning social network or a sort of “Facebook” site for study information and learning exchange.

Features

  • Provides students with a myriad of student contributed materials, such as lecture notes, quizzes, etc.
  • Supplies over 200,000 textbook solutions.
  • Over 300,000 students to connect with in either anonymous or direct relationships for homework assistance or answers to questions.
  • Links directly to Facebook.
  • Registration is an affordable $20 per month or free if the student contributes 30 pieces of course material to the site.

Drawbacks

  • Due to the fact that material is submitted by students, accuracy may be called into question.

Other sites such as eNotes, emphasizing primarily literature, Koofers, which provides an assemblage of old tests, exam answers, and SparkNotes, which offers free access to over a thousand literature study guides, are also available to the student subscriber.

Controversies: What Are Educators Saying?

As this new model of study blossoms, some educators claim that these sites have given rise to misconduct and dishonesty. Other educators have been forced to reconfigure their methods of teaching. Anne Marie Chaker of the Wall Street Journal reported in a recent article, that “[these] study sites are likely to propel schools to rethink the way they teach.” Chaker continued to note educator lackluster, detailing one professor’s testament of having to adapt his grading scale to the new wave of open information sharing— “Professor Grams, the physics professor from South Dakota State University, said his students’ use of Cramster has forced him to lessen the weight of graded homework to 10% of the final grade from 30% in the past.”

However, some professors are themselves utilizing these study sites, according to the WSJ article, as an effective method to share and upload class material for easy student access.


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