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.
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!