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Business, Society - Written by on Friday, August 21, 2009 10:40 - 0 Comments

Back to School Kit 2.0

As summer draws to an end, most students start to prep for the new school year by loading up on academic essentials. For older generations, the first thing that comes to mind may be a trip to Wal-Mart; picture a shopping cart stuffed with crayons, ruled paper, 3 hole binders, glue sticks, and so forth. However for the Net Gen, that one stop shop destination is none other than the internet.

In an age of collaboration, check out these back to school musts à la Web 2.0:

Time to pick your course schedule but undecided on which classes to take? Don’t panic…Do log on to http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/.  This popular forum is well known amongst university students and has well over 10 million peer contributions worldwide. You can search through its database of 1 million professors and browse through the collective ratings of past students who have taken his/her class. Profs are rated on a 5 point scale across four dimensions; Easiness, Helpfulness, Clarity, and Interest. And with an added twist, some profs even have the honour of receiving a red pepper badge when rated “hot” by their students. Now you’ll just have to deal with the trade-off of either getting an awesome prof or waking up early for those 7:30 AM classes.


Desperately needing a tutor for chemistry but not willing to pay the lucrative $20/hour rate? eTutoring.org may be the solution to your problems. The site boasts a network of talented peers who help each other either in real-time through web communication (Webcam, Skype) or offline through back and forth conversations. That knowledge is in turn pooled into the forum and recycled to future students, setting up another cycle for value creation, capture, and distribution.


Skipped one too many classes or just sick of taking notes yourself? No problem, just log on to NoteMesh and let your peers do all the work. NoteMesh self proclaims to be the Wikipedia of class notes, creating ingenious wikis for various classes across campuses. Students can upload their own notes, modify and edit existing notes, or simply log on to take a tour. This certainly puts a new spin on collaborative education but will it get you that A in history class? I guess we’ll have to find out…


I’m interested in hearing what your thoughts are on this school kit and if you have any additions to the list :)

Also, how do think these collaborative tools will impact education in general? No doubt, there will be a shift from traditional pedagogy, but what about other factors such as quality, costs, and incentives of education?

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