Online learning mechanisms cracking the surface

StudyBlue offers students online academic help, University program prefers to help in person.

As finals for college students are creeping around the corner, several student support programs are attempting to get more students engaged in asking for assistance âÄî even to the point of paying students. One such program, StudyBlue, is a relatively new website that offers incentives to its users based on the popularity of their respective pages. For every click a user receives on his or her page, StudyBlue pays the student 50 cents, and for each person they refer to the site, they receive $2 . Ben Jedd , StudyBlue spokesman, said the websiteâÄôs staff is trying to âÄúrevolutionize education.âÄù âÄúWe like to reward students for the best content. We would like the best quality content on our site,âÄù Jedd said. StudyBlue gets money to pay students through advertising and investors who chose to remain anonymous, he said. The website offers a central homework hub for college students nationwide where they can share notes and flashcards for similar courses. Established in the fall of 2007, StudyBlue has grown dramatically since its inception. The website is currently used by more than 1,600 colleges nationwide including the University of Minnesota, where more than 2,000 students use the website. Family social science sophomore Tiana Hardy heard little about the website, but did say it would be a helpful tool for students preparing for exams. âÄúA lot of students do well by learning from peers,âÄù Hardy said. She did mention that she prefers to learn on a face-to-face basis and that sites like this could promote lackadaisical study habits to students. âÄúIt says a lot about where weâÄôre going. In this technological world, everything is easier and readily accessible,âÄù she said. âÄúItâÄôs kind of impersonal.âÄù Although, there are academic resources that utilize online technology programs like TRiO Access to Success Program in the College of Education and Human Development prefer to help students offline. Director of the program, Bruce Schelske said TRiO doesnâÄôt have significant plans to convert its resources and use the Internet as a learning tool. Schelske believes there are plenty of students that may not utilize the many University resources available to them âÄîboth online and in person. âÄúThere are a lot more resources than there are students utilizing them,âÄù Schelske said. âÄúAppropriate help seeking is a very important skill.âÄù Jedd said the company expects to see further growth, especially with students approaching finals. âÄúWe like to help students study more efficiently,âÄù Jedd said. âÄúWeâÄôve gotten a lot of great feedback all over.âÄù