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Online collaboration between schools, teachers, and students has become increasingly apparent as our everyday routines become more and more connected via the internet. Of course, there are paid solutions that satisfy this need through Learning Management Systems, such as Blackboard Academic Suite, which frankly isn’t very good at all in my opinion. I can’t even count the number of times both teachers and students have complained about paid services that their respective institutions utilize. Well, now comes Studeous, a free (and better) alternative that allows for online collaboration in the world of academics.

Studeous allows you to communicate, download, upload, discuss, and pretty much keep up with your coursework. As a teacher, you’ll be able to register, set up a class page, and get an “enroll” link that your students can use to sign up and register for the class. You then have a multitude of features at your disposal. You’ll be able keep track of all your students in a roster and easily update grades online. You can also update information regarding homework, events, tests, etc. and even create a drop box, which provides a place for students to upload assignments.

Another feature is a test generator, which has a simple interface to easily create practice tests online that can be graded automatically. Additionally, the service includes the ability for you to share files with your students. Audio files can be created into podcasts, which students can subscribe to via RSS or iTunes. In case you have to quickly send out a message to your students, Studeous lets you send them text messages, provided that they input their mobile numbers into their profiles.

As students you can check all the information provided by your instructor. A great implementation on this site is a discussion board, allowing you to talk about assignments, homework, etc, with fellow classmates and teachers. There’s even a live chat option, letting you communicate with users outside of class, and an effective messaging system that works much like email. You can also look up your grades online, create study groups and events, and access course listings.

Both teachers and students have personal pages that they see when they log in. This page serves as their primary “dashboard” from where they can harness Studeous’ services. The interface is clean and intuitive. There are also privacy options, allowing you to hide certain information from others accessing, such as your email address or phone number.

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Academic institutions spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on services that Studeous does better, and for free. This means that schools with a limited budget can have access to this excellent and versatile service. Both teachers and students will enjoy Studeous to enrich their academic experience in an easy-to-use and integrated place.

However, right now it only lets you register schools within the United States. It will be nice to see an update on this that will allow schools from all over the world to register, particularly with schools from poorer areas that might not necessarily have the means to purchase something like Blackboard.

Studeous is planning a massive over-haul on the website over the summer. They will have new features and implementations that will dramatically improve the site and will be greatly beneficial when classes start up again in most places this August. I really recommend Studeous for anyone looking to change their Learning Management System for the better.

So what do you all think, especially any teachers and students out there? What’s your experience with the current services your school uses? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

  1. Graham Glass
    December 1, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Hi everyone,

    If you're looking for a completely free learning management system (LMS), I also recommend you check out edu20.org. EDU 2.0 has more features that Studeous, is 100% free, and is available in 10 languages.

    Cheers,
    Graham

    • DG
      July 6, 2009 at 11:28 am

      The problem with edu20 is that it's HOSTED by someone else. That's it's free right now is of little consequence, there's too much risk in having the app hosted by someone.

      Make the code available for download and install on a local server hosted by ME, MYSELF, AND I, and I'll take a look at the app...

      Finally, the website is very cutesy - but low on actual information. What if I don't want to signup to find out more info? Screenshots anyone? Demo?

      Final analysis: All Fluff, nothing to see. Move along.

      • Graham Glass
        July 6, 2009 at 3:38 pm

        Hi DG,

        You can backup all the content that you add under edu20, so you don't to worry about losing anything.

        There are several videos on the home page of the site that show what the site does. We're going to add more up-front information.

        Your last comment, "all fluff, nothing to see", is silly. Our site has a comparable feature set to Moodle and Blackboard, is free, and is much easier to use.

        Hope this helps,
        Graham

  2. Yin Kam
    May 12, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    I really like this idea! and esp cause its free. I think if they market the studeous idea properly, alot of money can be made off it. Using a PR building tool like MyPRGenie (www.myprgenie.com/technology/) will help greatly to connect directly to a wider and more interested customer base.

  3. Ben
    May 6, 2008 at 10:26 am

    I use etudes for one of my classes and it works just fine. However, you can't beat FREE.

  4. David
    May 4, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Don't forget the Sakai project (http://sakaiproject.org) which is not only free but also open source. It's more a replacement for Blackboard and meant to be hosted by individual institutions but it is a lot more powerful and broad than Studeous. Indiana University has been running a Sakai implemention called OnCourse since 2005.

    • David
      May 4, 2008 at 4:51 pm

      David,

      Sakai and moodle are fantastic products for higher education. However, they are still expensive to set up and maintain and they are not as easy to use as Studeous. Average teachers can get their classes set up on Studeous in a few minutes, whereas most teachers have no idea where to start with Sakai or Moodle (you're probably the exception).

      Studeous also targets k-12 more than higher ed, and we plan to roll out with a package that lets administrators get the admin controls for their school, allowing Studeous to completely replace any enterprise system for free. And we're not expecting schools to switch from their current systems; we're hoping that schools looking to have a system like this that don't have one now will choose Studeous.

      Vic Ramon
      Studeous Co-Founder

      • David Johannes
        May 4, 2008 at 6:44 pm

        I agree with Vic. What's great about Studeous is that its free, easy to set up, and easy to use. Also, schools won't have to worry about downloading and hosting the system themselves, which costs money to do so (for labor and equipment) even if it is open source.

      • Teacherdoo
        January 7, 2009 at 7:28 am

        I've been asked by my school to investigate different CMS's such as Studeous.

        So far this year, my class and I have sampled other CMS services which are open source and or free. Currently, we are on the Studeous system.

        I'm sorry Vic, but thus far, we feel that there are some things which need improvement:

        First, support from Studeous for free version subscribers seems lacking. For example, I've sent support questions via the site and not received any replies for some time.

        Second, I've noticed that the process of assigning homework seems unnecessarily complex. For example, although the child has a calendar on their page, homework assignments are not automatically appearing (from what we can tell). I may doing it incorrectly, but without support I can't solve it.

        Finally, Studeous states quite clearly, that they prioritise paid "suite" customer service questions, which I find very disappointing.

        I hope you will consider making changes to the site. We will be with Studeous until March, at which point we will be trialling another candidate site.

        Kind Regards,
        Teacherdoo

  5. Mackenzie
    May 4, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    How does it compare to Moodle?

    I *so* wish Blackboard had RSS. You have to go in and manually check that none of the classes have assigned homework. Ugh.

    • Aibek
      May 4, 2008 at 1:50 pm

      I *so* wish Blackboard had RSS.

      Yeah... that would be so cool. I wonder if there are electronic boards that mirror contents to web. Once the data is online it can be easily transformed to RSS feed.

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