Student's virtual study aid launches
StudyOnBoard promises online white board capabilities
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 23:10
Between the late nights and the scattered Greek symbols, library whiteboards are something of a hot commodity in the world of mathematics and engineering study groups. But with a little student ingenuity and some beta testing, the campus market for study group whiteboards just might go virtual.
Chris Findeisen, sophomore computer science major and founder of StudyOnBoard, an online white board program capable of displaying abstract symbols, said even though the beta site still requires substantial improvement after the Thursday launch, the end game is to provide students with a free learning resource.
“In its essence, we offer online study rooms,” Findeisen said.
Findeisen said his struggles as an off-campus freshman without a car last year sparked the idea for StudyOnBoard.
Faced with only textbooks at home, Findeisen said he wished it had been easier to work with classmates on assignments. He said the ability to work online would have been an ideal solution, but faced limited options for online group study.
“The stuff that they are using, all the fun notation that our professors throw at us is not supported online,” Findeisen said. “Your keyboard has 63 special characters on it and none of those have theta, mu, nor have your integral sign. All of that stuff is not supported by your traditional text editor.”
Findeisen said while StudyOnBoard’s Thursday launch exposed bugs, several hiccups in the site were expected and dealt with.
Findeisen said the server crashed on day one, but they managed to salvage the situation by putting up the old version of
the site. As the concept is new, Findeisen said a large part of starting up will be responding to user feedback to fix problems.
“The key for students to realize is this is the future of studying, and we’re starting right now,” Findeisen said. “We are giving this to students right now because we want to get their feedback on it. So we’re having any student beta test it.”
For Findeisen, the first step was to apply to Startup Aggieland, a campus resource center devoted to helping students with their projects.
“They gave us tons of resources, mentorship, office space,” Findeisen said. “Basically they gave us everything we needed except motor power and money.”
Chris Black, junior philosophy major, said the project and others like it are indicative of a bigger trend that actually puts students at a disadvantage by limiting face-to-face learning.
“It sounds like just another step on the road towards an impersonal, distant and technologically understood educational experience,” Black said.
But while some students see the project as toying with a dangerous prospect impersonal education, junior biochemistry major Connor McBroom said he will likely be trying out the site when studying for his upper level math classes.
“Even in its preliminary stages, I think this website offers useful and powerful tools for mathematicians and students and teachers alike,” McBroom said.
Findeisen said the end goal is to also allow for professional tutors to have a portal on this site for a small transaction fee, which will go towards the costs of handling the service. Findeisen said this would not change the original purpose for the site.
“It will always and forever be a place for students to meet up and study together, but professional tutoring is something we will be offering for students who want it,” Findeisen said.