Two student-run online companies offering academic services are set to launch this week at Queen’s. Both companies state that the services offered, including online forums and note distribution, don’t infringe on academic integrity.
Eversity provides three different online forums that students can use to answer school-related questions.
The discussion boards allow students to provide explanations for questions, upload relevant links and upload news articles relating to specific topics or threads.
Creator Noah Opolsky said students can rate explanations and the highest-rated comments are awarded points.
“It’s basically an academic home base that you can access online and get free stuff in the process,” Opolsky, ArtSci ’13, said.
Students will also be able to earn points by participating in surveys provided by sponsors. These surveys help sponsors collect market data to better understand the student demographic.
Opolsky said he’s looking to establish sponsorships with companies like Cara Foods and Cineplex. These companies would be given a section on the website where students can use points to buy gift certificates and movie tickets.
Despite planning to launch first at Queen’s and then expand to other universities, Opolsky said Eversity is in no way affiliated with Queen’s.
“We aren’t saying ‘upload your essays here for other students to use.’ That’s not at all what we’re going for,” Opolsky said.
Loopnotes creator Kris Harris, Sci ’12, said his company is a platform to facilitate the buying and selling of class notes.
Students can also rate courses offered at Queen’s in order for other students to get a better sense of a class before registering.
“[With the current system,] you’re just dealing with a one-paragraph description of a course. On our website you can read actual feedback of the course when thinking about registering for it,” he said.
Students can upload their class notes and sell them at a price of their choosing.
The student will only receive 60 per cent of their listed price. The other 40 per cent goes back into the company.
Though LoopNotes provides class notes, Harris said it doesn’t condone plagiarism and cheating.
“We don’t feel that it in anyway is cheating, rather creating more of a dynamic learning experience,” he said.
Jill Jacobson, an associate psychology professor, said she doesn’t believe the companies threaten academic integrity unless they provide direct answers to assignment questions.
“With all the paper writing sources that are now there, I’m not surprised that there are services like this,” she said.
Jacobson said though that the services would likely discourage students from coming to class and learning note-taking skills.
“In the real world you’re not going to have this opportunity,” she said.
Online forums on Moodle already exist to help students with their questions outside class, she said.
“I like to see it when my students answer each others’ questions,” she said. “Those students who do answer the questions stand up to me, they become names I know and recognize.”
Jacobson said Moodle allows instructors to monitor the content and correct student responses that are incorrect.
“If it’s offsite, I would have no idea it was happening,” she said.
— With files from Katherine Fernandez-Blance