Real-time Collaboration: The Next Frontier in Ed-tech

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by Saad Malik & Jeffrey Chin 

Web-based learning and assessment platforms are steadily becoming more important in college classrooms. The rise in the availability of ebooks has made it easy for professors to pick a textbook without concerning themselves with issues such as physical weight, availability in the university library or inventory requirements at the local bookstore. In some cases, these ebooks can even be integrated with a university’s learning platform.  The integration provides new opportunities for all stakeholders. Students can collaborate with their classmates online while they consume the ebook. Professors can keep track of this collaboration and identify students who might be in need of assistance or pick topics that need to be reinforced in the classroom. For administrators, collaboration can be used as a predictor of classroom success.

 

Research has repeatedly shown that on average, “groups” are more efficient at solving complex tasks when compared with individuals. Every person has a unique way of thinking. When students have the opportunity to interact with each other, they are able to draw more in-depth conclusions than they would be able to individually. Problems are easier to solve when you have broader perspectives as each student has a unique background.

 

Developing a product that focuses on real-time collaboration, in an education context, presents certain unique challenges. From the student’s perspective, real-time collaboration may just be a fancy word for direct messaging. Thus in student focus groups, participants find it difficult to find value in various collaboration technologies. So how can Edtech firms stand out? At Omega Notes, we believe that integration is king. Edtech developers must ensure that no feature, no matter how advanced, disrupts user workflow. In other words, the best tech is also the least visible. The Notebook by Omega Notes is seamlessly integrated into our Course Packs platform. What does seamless integration mean? We wanted to make it extremely easy for students to collaborate in real-time while they consume course material. A major flaw of old-school collaboration platforms such as (Google Docs, Online Chat, etc.) is that they require the student to navigate to a different window or tab. We felt that doing so interrupted the learning process. The Notebook panel is highlighted in yellow in the image below. Students can collaborate with peers or even interact with their professor without navigating away from the course content.

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Making the Case

Product designers need to make the case for highly integrated collaboration platforms. And ultimately, the case needs to be made to professors. With the increased adoption of online learning resources, convincing professors is a much easier task. When course material is consumed digitally, it makes it possible to collect accurate analytics regarding student learning habits. We can now show professors that real-time collaboration results in higher rates of student success. With actual numbers, we can quantify the benefits of real-time collaboration.

References

John Kania & Mark Kramer, Collective Impact, SSIR, https://ssir.org/articles/entry/collective_impact# 

Matt Davis, How Collaborative Learning Leads to Student Success, Edutopia, https://www.edutopia.org/stw-collaborative-learning-college-prep

 

 

 

Earning While in the Classroom!

time=money

Every college student knows that free time is a blessing. The time I spend on my hobbies and social life gives me brief moments of freedom that I need to make it through each day. Not to mention having time to eat meals in between classes and taking afternoon naps to compensate for my lack of real sleep. This, after I told myself I would fix my sleep schedule after winter break (which still hasn’t happened by the way).

Unfortunately, every college student also knows that these moments are few and far between when so much time is spent in the classroom taking notes during long, drawn out, and energy draining lectures. The worst part is that all of my free time and the time I spend on academia earns me a whopping $0. So much for spending the night out with friends since I’m already broke after paying hundreds for tuition and books. I suppose getting a part-time job would compensate for this outrageous imbalance between the inflow and outflow of cash, but that means saying goodbye to my precious free time. Suddenly I remember that college life can be dreadfully unforgiving.

But what if I told you that you could get a paying part-time gig just for being a student? Well, being a notetaker isn’t a formal (or traditional) job, but it’s a perfect fit for students who value their time. Omega Notes seeks to optimize students’ time in the classroom by providing a platform where they can upload notes they have taken and earn each time someone purchases them. Whether you are a freshman who wants a little more spending money, a senior ready to graduate, or anyone in between, Omega Notes will reward you for being an attentive student.

The best part about Omega Notes compared to other note sharing platforms is how simple and non-intrusive it is to use. Students from any region or school can sell their notes at any reasonable price and put them out there for fellow students to purchase without any shady hidden fees or subscriptions. We also don’t bombard students with annoying emails constantly reminding them to upload their notes with us. Feel free to upload what you want and when you want, then watch the money flow in. Start using Omega Notes and start making your time in the classroom worth your while!