CPP StudyMode a new study alternative

By Gabrielle Peearanda

Professors often advise students to ask classmates for their notes after missing a lecture, and as technology becomes more integrated into education, one website aims to make borrowing notes an online community effort.

StudyMode Drive is a website where students can access documents, from lecture notes to exam keys for nearly every major. However, before gaining access to this mine of information, students must contribute their own documents to the drive.

StudyMode Drive launched on Oct. 2 and already hosts several thousands of documents from 57 universities across the country. Its parent company, StudyMode, also offers StudyMode Research and StudyMode Answers.

Since its launch, nearly 3,000 Cal Poly Pomona students have submitted thousands of documents to the drive. And of all the universities featured on the drive, CPP is second to UC Irvine in the number of documents submitted and the number of students who have contributed to the drive.

“We are trying to make it easy to help connect students with high quality free resources that will help them study smarter and save money,” said StudyMode President Thomas Swalla in a question and answer session on The Huffington Post’s blog. “Our vision is that the best student in the class will share [his or] her study guides to help out others, and in exchange, [he or] she will be able to get help in another class.”

The idea of StudyMode Drive came from a student at UC Irvine, said Swalla. Because she was working part-time, the student found it difficult to attend class and make friends with whom she could share notes.

Aaron Enriquez is a second-year construction engineering technology student and a campus representative for the Hollywood-based company. He has been working with StudyMode to expand the drive’s reach at CPP.

“Not everyone is social or comfortable sharing their stuff with people they haven’t really met,” said Enriquez. “It’s easy when you’re friends with them, but when you’re more to yourself, you prefer to go to a place where you can easily, on your own time, get the information.”

Though it was the intention of the StudyMode founders to create a collaborative online learning environment, and the drive’s user guidelines forbid copyrighted material, what students can and should post is still ambiguous.

“Students can contribute whatever they think is helpful to other students whether that’s lecture notes, problem sets, coding assignments, tests, quizzes, or syllabi,” said Swalla to Huffington Post contributor Viputheshwar Sitaraman.

The computer science folder in CPP’s drive contains almost three hundred documents, the most of all featured majors.

Blaine Vess and Chris Nelson founded StudyMode in 1999, and it is only one of a host of companies aimed at student success through technology.

With the oft-used Blackboard application, CPP students have access to documents that their professors can choose to share, which may still leave students without access to resources outside of class if professors do not post on Blackboard.

Second-year communication student Alyssa Wong frequently uses the online study aid Quizlet. On Quizlet users can add terms to create a study set, which is then generated into flashcards, practice tests and even games.

There is nothing wrong with students posting and sharing notes because the lectures are meant for students anyway, said Wong. However, she added that when it comes to StudyMode Drive, students should not post exam answers.

Wong recalled an incident in high school when a classmate posted the answers to an exam after taking it himself. She and her other classmates were upset because the student who posted the answers gave students from subsequent classes an “unfair advantage.”

According to Susan Ashe, director of the Office of Student Conduct and Integrity, the essence of academic dishonesty is whether a student has gained an unfair advantage. Another factor in determining academic dishonesty is whether the student had the right to the documents he or she shared.

“We have a firm no copyrighted material policy,” said Enriquez. However, the dissemination of other materials such as lecture slides, are dependent on the professors and the departments, added Enriquez.

Ashe said there has yet to be an academic dishonesty case involving StudyMode Drive at CPP. She added, however, that academic dishonesty in other forms is still a prevalent issue at all campuses.

Students can anonymously upload anything to StudyMode Drive, which ultimately leaves the credibility of the website in the hands of its users. The drive, being a new but unofficial campus resource for students, leaves user activity and the content of the site in an ambiguous area between upholding academic integrity and getting the most of educational technology.


Courtesy of StudyMode Drive


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