Kent State students to swap notes online

Daniel Bott

Kent State students who miss class and struggle to get the notes they missed should soon have a Web site to help them out.

Nearly 12 months ago, Louisiana State University students Ryan Grush and Daniel Patterson set up On the Web site, students can post notes from a class they attended and pick up notes from one they missed, all free of charge.

Grush said the site now has more than 8,000 notes and 3,000 subscribers, and its success in Louisiana inspired the creators to go nationwide. Seventeen other schools have been added to the site, including NYU and UCLA, and 50 more are planned for the near future.

The good news for students is the Web site creators recently added Kent State to its list.

Students can post typed or scanned notes because the site accepts Microsoft Word documents, text files, and JPG images, as well as other formats.

Grush said they opted for a “post notes to get notes system to avoid slackers.” The Web site operates on a point system whereby a user will receive quality points for his or her notes. The more points he or she accumulates, the more notes he or she can download.

Kate DeFrank, sophomore special education major, said it would be good “if you had an emergency and couldn’t make it to class, especially if it’s a class where they don’t take attendance.”

Katie Troha, sophomore conflict management major, said it would be handy “if you slept in, you didn’t go to class, you know that they take notes in there and you know (lecturers) don’t put them on the Internet.”

For students who do make it to class the site may still be useful. Senior justice studies major Kathleen Fetterman said she would use the site to “compare notes and see if others are more detailed to what I have.”

Grush said a lot of professors won’t be too happy with the site because some students might abuse it.

DeFrank and Troha both said they believed some students would abuse the site. Yet for the most part, political science lecturer Charles Jacobs disagreed.

“In an institution like Kent State where students have so many competing demands — work, family, their education — there are bound to be instances students can’t make it to class,” Jacobs said. “So a Web site like that can be very useful … for commuters who don’t really have strong relationships with other students in the class, those who have trouble finding someone who can loan them notes, and some students resist sharing notes. This is a great way for them to access notes.”

Jacobs said he didn’t expect a lot of abuse.

“It might be unfortunate for students who think it might be the same as going to class because I don’t think it will be for most classes,” he said.

Jacobs said the system wouldn’t work for classes with a high level of discussion, where the number of notes taken can be low, but students who attend have gotten something out of the lecture.

Grush said the site could be handy for professors too, saying the site would be an effective way for professors to communicate with students and hoped professors themselves would use it for this purpose.

“We’re striving for a more community feel,” Grush said of the site, “to be an academic counterpart to Facebook.”

Contact technology and information services reporter Daniel Bott at [email protected].