Do numbers tell a story? 2 Million, that is the number of learners who came to OpenStudy in September looking for help. 1,590,443 questions asked. 22,049,458 OpenStudiers we have helped over the last 3 years. What stories do these numbers tell?
There is the story of Pokemon23 who asked for help when he was failing his math classes and an OpenStudier helped. He blazed back a trail of glory that is helping him get through college. There is the story of Compassionate who came for help and has stayed to help, finding time between being a high school senior and his job and everything. Or Parthkohli who came to get help with homework, and then became our youngest to reach level 99 helping over and over again in Math, and we are not talking just middle school stuff. Or the story of countless learners who have made OpenStudy their home and like the night owls they are, flock to the site to make these numbers happen.
But these numbers also tell you our story.
A question is a cry for help. A raised hand. And we believe, very firmly, that it is a show of strength. So we built OpenStudy to put some power back in these hands – to give them the tools to ask for help, to offer the reassurance they seek.
How you respond to a raised hand can make a world of difference. It can make the difference between failure and success – and between an engaged or a disengaged student. By being there, at that crucial moment when a learner asks for help, we feel we play a small role in increasing the chances of success.
And from the numbers, it looks like we have done that over 22 million times.
To rephrase a quote from the world’s most famous headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, “Help is always given at OpenStudy to those who ask for it.”
This means a lot to me. Thank you
Data_LG2 is a high schooler in need of community service hours. Instead of volunteering at her local middle school, Data spends her time on OpenStudy. Its no different to helping out the struggling sixth grader at Middle School, Anytown, USA. Except, perhaps in that Data is able to volunteer around her schedule, and from the comfort of her laptop, at home, at nights, and whenever! Doing this Data has earned a Community Service Record with a tally of her time spent actually helping people on the site. She was willing to share it with us and Community Service Letter
Want a community service record for yourself? Coming in December. Sign up here
Our Faculty Club is off a great start. At the first meeting, one of our faculty OpenStudiers suggested a new study group for students studying for AP exams. “I am teaching AP calculus this year and there are about 10 students in my class.” said Martha Sorunke, a high school teacher from Texas. “It would be great if these students could study with a larger circle of peers! I would love for them to study for the AP exams together and get help from some of the OpenStudiers.”
So OpenStudy is going to help you out. Starting this week, anyone studying for an AP exam in the following subjects, Math, Chemistry, Biology, History, Economics, Computer Science, and Physics will have a special subgroup to post their questions and ask for help. And as for you, smart OpenStudiers, lets see who is smart enough to explain these challenging questions and help a high schooler learn!
Oh, if you know of anyone else that is working on an AP course this year, invite them to OpenStudy! Why study alone? Teachers, tell your students of this free resource!
And if you are a teacher and want to join the Faculty Club and help chart the future course of OpenStudy, here is the link.
Here is the latest edition of OwlBuzz, the OpenStudier’s own guide to the community, created by OpenStudiers and for the community:
This time, Akashdeep takes over the leadership role, with guidance from Kush and Shruti and Rebecca, check out what the talented team has put together for you!
Here is a little more about Nikolas, our Social Media Manager.
Greetings to the OpenStudy Community!
I am a California native who grew up in a Los Angeles suburb, then attended the University of California, Berkeley. I’ve always had a strong interest in language and composition and started taking English courses. I took an introductory programming course for fun, and found that I really enjoyed it. I started taking more programming classes at Berkeley, but quickly realized I wasn’t very passionate about coding. By now I had also begun taking several psychology courses and had been considering a move into that department, but wanted to incorporate the approach to problem solving that computer science offered. I found the Cognitive Science department and after taking a few introductory courses, declared it as my major. I was fascinated by its approach to understanding the brain and how humans navigate our world. What appealed to me most was that Cognitive Science draws from so many disciplines – Computer Science, Psychology, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Anthropology – and leverages all of their approaches to problem solving in a cohesive way.
To compliment my Cog Sci courses, I took a variety of music classes, earning myself a minor in the field. I filled a lot of my free time playing and performing with different groups, and music is still a huge passion of mine. I was a member of Berkeley’s Multimedia Orchestra and performed in the clubs first event. I worked for some time as a research assistant in the Affective Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Berkeley, studying human emotion in the brain using fMRI. Specifically, I was working on the role of salient emotional content in images and how it affects decision-making. After four awesome years, this past December marked the end of my undergraduate career at UC Berkeley. I made life long friendships, and learned more than I could have imagined inside and outside the classroom.
That’s a bit about the last four years of my life, and now I look to the future. Working with OpenStudy so far has been a great experience, and I look forward to what’s ahead. Providing free education assistance to anyone with an Internet connection is a noble cause, and navigating the OpenStudy community has already been an amazing experience. There exists an entire community of eager and honest students who are helping each other on the site, and having a lot of fun doing it. Spreading the OpenStudy message online has already brought me into contact with a multitude of educators and organizations. This is an exciting time for education, and I think that the connection many social media platforms provide can be leveraged to give educators an insight into what it is students need, and how they learn best. The classroom is an ever-evolving environment, and how technology is incorporated will be one of the most important aspects of future learning. If you want to chat, find me on twitter @openstudy. Send me your suggestions and feedback on OpenStudy, I’m listening.
Over 2500 schools are represented in the global OpenStudy community! Both students and educators come together to learn. So why a FacClub? I truly appreciated my years as a faculty at Emory University, especially the rich conversations about education with other faculty and administrators. Both students and faculty benefit from these conversations Many learning initiatives and programs were created in these water-cooler conversations! And so, the idea of a FacClub was born.
The OpenStudy FacClub looks to promote these conversations between the educators on our site. Uniquely, we host global teachers and educators across the spectrum of education, K-16 and beyond. Imagine the conversations and the exchange of ideas, and most importantly, the solutions for learning that could emerge.
We are looking for a few good folks to join the Club!
1. What will Club members do?
The OpenStudy FacClub will be a think tank in the emerging area of open social learning.
Members will in conversations and online gatherings, develop strategies to improve learning outcomes on our site, advise the OpenStudy team on educational issues and promote research efforts to understand learning on the site.
2. How much work is it?
We anticipate two one hour meetings in the beginning to set up the club, select a Chairperson, and develop an agenda. After the initial meetings, we expect monthly or quarterly meetings.
3. Who is eligible?
We invite educators at schools and colleges, administrators working in educational systems, and teachers in training, in graduate teacher training programs, currently employed or retired.
4. How do I apply?
The link to the application form is here. Please fill it out completely. We will need evidence of your status so we will need a school id to confirm that you are indeed an educator and a drivers license.
5. When will this get started?
We plan to launch the club by August 21st.
OpenStudiers are not only helping each other on the site, but have taken the initiative to create a newsletter to keep members of the community connected!
The OwlPost is by OpenStudiers, for OpenStudiers and well, about OpenStudiers! Need I say more?
The talented team led by Mathslover includes Shrutipande and Akashdeep, with some input from AshleyTrevino, and ParthKohli.
This year, we’re taking OpenStudy in a new direction; we are transforming from ‘studying social network’ to a true peer-learning MMO. First up in our arsenal, we’re introducing a new system to distinguish those who have excelled at helping their fellow OpenStudy peers. We want experts and excellent teachers to be recognized in the area of their expertise. We want to give distinguished OpenStudiers a variety of attractive options to show off both their braininess, work ethic, and commitment to their fellow students. We also want people in need of assistance to know who is the top users are for each field, ensuring that everyone can connect with a reputable source when they need serious study aid.
We hope you will enjoy these new changes,described more fully below by the game designer. As always, tell us what you think.
-Preetha Ram, CEO
First, We are turning our Study Groups into more complete environments. In a university you have all sorts of characters, ranging from the ‘cool’ professors who eat lunch with the students, the creative writing / poetry experts, the TAs who everyone loves more than the professor, the grad students who teach English 101, the sophomore math aficionado who helps seniors with their GMATs, and the students who are just struggling to get by. Each person adds some value to the ecosystem and each person often offers a specific area of style of help that will appeal to a specific type of student.
Often times, people will change their role and we see that every day in OpenStudy’s rooms. The student who desperately needed help will learn the material from a generous expert – and that same student will then become a teacher himself, helping 5 other people with similar issues. After a few months, that student who was asking all of the questions and needing help everyday will be the one dispensing help, often raking in 20 or 30 medals a day for his brilliant responses. We want this student to stand out and be able to broadcast to everyone that he excels as a peer helper. In the real world, your unique achievements make you stand out and make people gravitate towards you. Your reputation and appearance to others changes on a day to day basis as a result of what you have been doing. As OpenStudy evolves and becomes a peer-learning MMO, we will create the same environment. You will be able to have infinitely more control over how you market and portray yourself to others, while others will be able to tell a lot more information and make qualitative judgments about you from observing what you have chosen to do with these new options.
How do we plan on doing this, you may ask? With SmartCents and Titles!
When you answer questions inside of our Study Groups and receive a medal when a user feels you gave them a superb answer, you will now receive an equivalent number of SmartCents. 1 medal = 1 SmartCent. As you build up medals in a Study Group, you’ll be able to unlock several “Titles” and other goodies by trading in your SmartCents. You can then display your intellectual triumphs right by your name and on your profile. These titles, the first of which are up for grabs as we speak, are going to speak volumes about your expertise and achievements here on OpenStudy. Check them out!
People will be more inclined to listen to you and seek out your calculus help if you are “Owlfred Smith, Olympic Mathlete” than if you are just Owlfred Smith. But hold your horses; because these titles speak to your intelligence and character, you will have to prove yourself worthy first. You will need to qualify for these titles by gathering enough SmartCents to purchase the title, as well as enough medals in the relevant room. For example, to obtain a Biology title, you will have to have earned those medals in the Biology room.
We will offer three levels of titles. Let’s start with the Math room and take a look at the three titles in Math. The easiest is the green level, The Human Calculator. You can qualify for this title, if you have just 50 medals in Math. Once you have qualified, you buy the title with your SmartCents. Alternatively if you don’t want the title, you can hang onto your SmartCents and spend them elsewhere. When you unlock this title, 50 SmartCents will be subtracted from your account. The medals will stay with you. You will never lose your medals.
The next level, Olympic Mathlete, will require 500 medals in Math to qualify and 500 SmartCents to unlock. Last of all, the rarest acclaim, the Honorary Professor of Mathematics, is reserved for those who have racked up at least 3000 medals in that study group and 3000 SmartCents! We don’t expect many to achieve this exalted level of swag; this is for those who dream of unlimited e-respect and have the brainpower to back it up!
How do you get one of these for yourself? Go to your User Profile. You will now see a new Trophy Room icon. If you have earned medals in a StudyGroup, you will see the titles for that group there.
Click on Unlock Titles. You’ll see a list of Groups and titles, some of which you may be able to unlock! Go ahead and try it!
Your new titles will show up next to your name and when people visit your profile page, they will be able to see your Trophy Room, which will house all of your various distinctions.
And yes, some titles are hard to get, and some almost impossible. Show me what you got! This is, after all, only the beginning. New titles will be frequently added, meaning that if a room does not have titles released yet, your medals for that room will come in handy later.
Oh, and here’s a little secret. We are working on a way to allow top tier OpenStudy users to make money on the site (once again, we transforming from a studying social network to a full-blown MMO environment that reflects the real world) so I highly recommend the entrepreneurial OpenStudiers reading this to get a head start on accruing medals by answering questions and helping others!
——– by Nikhil Ram, Game Designer
About Nikhil. Nikhil is a hardened gamer, driving his parents to distraction since the age of 14. He claims to have aced his World History courses through Age of Empires and has applied strategies gleaned from World of Warcraft to college courses. He works at a Bay area games startup and is a free lance game designer. If you appreciate the wicked wit of the titles, you can tip your hat at this product of Emory English education.
If you have not had a chance to check your email, go right now and check out our newly redesigned newsletter. It is sitting in your email box right now. Yes, I know email is so – last century. But go check it for the newsletter.
The credit for the newsletter goes to the OpenStudy community that has been suggesting it for a while. And the credit for the design goes to Thomaster. He has also designed the OpenStudy Ambassador Certificates. Not only is he talented, he is patient and creative. He is truly amazing.
See those owls? The credit for those cute owls, goes to the OpenStudiers. A year ago, some of you, SnuggieLad, Swagg, Arripotta,, Dumbsearch, and ParthKohli, to name a few began creating these Owls. (The cool blue owl with shades – that is Parth’s creation.) And then so many OpenStudiers responded with enthusiasm, that we knew, that Owlfred was going to have buddies soon. So we put these Owls on the newsletter.
One more thing, you also wanted some trivia/contests and things like that. So our new newsletter has a trivia poll. Lets find out what OpenStudiers like to munch!
So if you have another good idea, or just want to suggest a topic for the next Totally Trivial Trivia, go post it on OpenStudy Feedback.
When the OpenStudy community speaks, we listen.
Mobile App helps OpenStudy connect students, professors, and learning enthusiasts on the go.
Palo Alto, CA — April 15, 2014 — OpenStudy, the world’s largest “studying” network on the Internet with over 10 million users worldwide and a motto of “Give Help. Get Help” today launched an iOS mobile app. Users can now access OpenStudy from their mobile phones and tablets to ask questions, get answers and help someone. “We know about 15% of our users prefer to use OpenStudy from their mobile devices,” CEO Preetha Ram stated. “Released just in time for the exam season, the OpenStudy iOS app will enable students and professors to offer and seek help from any location, at any time.”
With over 7 million page views a month, and registered users spending over 4 hours a day, OpenStudy boasts an extremely dedicated user base. The social network’s primary demographic, high school and college students, post thousands of questions a day, grouped into subjects such as “Chemistry”, “Computer Science”, and “English.” Speedy responses to questions are powered by students, professors, and other education enthusiasts lingering around to dole out wisdom and receive medals for their answers.
Often times, students in desperate need of help will find the explanation they need and then help other students out with similar questions. This student then becomes part of the everexpanding army of tutors, ready to step in where the students, textbook and teacher have failed. With these students now able to browse OpenStudy’s questions and engage in backandforth conversations around the clock on their iOS devices, we expect OpenStudy’s average response time to skyrocket.
OpenStudy is a Palo Alto startup funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and Learn Capital. In addition to providing students access to gradesaving answers, OpenStudy serves as a social community and safety net for students who either lack access to information or have become disengaged from their classes in school. OpenStudy’s design as both a MMO and a homework help site have created an environment that can succeed where schools fail.
“EducationFocused Startup OpenStudy is a platform for ‘massively multiplayer study groups’.” ~TechCrunch
-Written by Nikhil Ram, Long time OpenStudier, Writer, Gamification Expert, Social Media Consultant.