Take a photo, get an answer



Julianne Calapa

Stuck on a challenging homework question? There’s an app for that.

The makers of StudyRoom, the world’s largest social learning network, launched Snapsolve for free download on the iPhone’s App Store on April 14. The app allows students to take pictures of difficult homework questions to be answered by tutors within minutes, according to a StudyRoom press release.

“Anyone who feels stuck while doing homework or studying can literally get the help they need simply by taking a picture,” said Emerson Malca, CEO and co-founder of StudyRoom. “So many people already share their food and selfies on social media because it’s easy to do. Getting help for school should be that easy.”

The app’s creators invited the top 50,000 StudyRoom college students to apply to become tutors for Snapsolve.

While the app itself requires no fee, answers vary in price depending on question difficulty and the speed a tutor needs to formulate an answer, Malca said. Easy questions are free and more challenging questions can cost $1.99, $4.99 or $9.99.

“The tutors really determine what level the question is at,” Malca said. “Some of them might not answer it, some of them might answer it for free or some of them might make an offer based on its level of difficulty. The student is notified when there is a price placed on the question or if it is answered.”

The average response time is about 12 minutes, Malca said.

While StudyRoom only allows access to students from about 100 universities around the United States, Snapsolve allows questions from all students, regardless of location, age or grade.

“I’ve definitely had those questions on homework where I couldn’t get the answer for the life of me, so I just end up guessing,” said Bryan Anderson, a senior computer information systems major. “This would be an alternative to that.”

Sarah Gillette, a senior fashion merchandising major, said she thinks Snapsolve is a really good tool for a lot of students but prefers to find the homework answers on her own.

“Homework seems more fulfilling when I do it myself,” Gillette said. “If a question was really that hard, I would just ask my professor to go over it.”

The easy access to answers raises concerns about students using the app to cheat during exams.

“Cheating is definitely a possibility with the app,” said Samantha Anderson, a junior exercise science major. “Though, students could look up answers or have notes on their phone to cheat anyway, so I don’t think having the app would make that much of a difference.”

Malca said the app actually aims to reduce the amount of cheating during exams.

“If someone goes into an exam and feels frustrated because they didn’t understand some of the topics while they were studying or doing homework, then they’re probably more likely to try to cheat on an exam,” she said. “If they could get an explanation and feel good about their understanding of the topics covered on homework, they might feel less inclined to cheat.”

Within the first two days of Snapsolve’s release, it received more than 2,500 questions.

 “You shouldn’t need more than your phone, you shouldn’t need to go anywhere and you shouldn’t need to make any appointments just for homework,” Malca said. “This app allows you to get the help you need right when you need it.”

Contact Juliana Calapa at [email protected]