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by StudyRoom

GRADES / Higher Education
PLATFORMS / Web Browser

Virtual study group space for MOOCs with collaborative whiteboards and document sharing


National media including the New York Times and The Washington Post have dubbed 2012 as the "year of the MOOCs," or massively open online courses. (See the New York Times here; or The Washington Post here.) One key challenge with such programs, however, is to support how students study together--or find one another and create virtual versions of online study groups. This is what StudyRoom, created by Emerson Malca and his three cofounders, aims to solve.

How Does It Work? Students create a simple avatar to represent themselves and then visit a study room to find others who are working on the same curriculum. Once a student joins a study group, they can share a white board, message one another and work collaboratively. StudyRoom itself creates the "rooms" for specific classes; it has created private rooms by request of teachers or schools. In November, the company expected to debut an easy way that students or teachers could "request" a private room.

Who’s Using It? StudyRoom launched in September and has started by supporting about a half dozen classes offered by edX and Coursera. It can support study groups from any school or organization. As of September 2014, the founders said that the company has been running trials of its program in six universities since the spring, and had reached 40,000 US students. (See this story in TechCrunch). 

Business Model: Use of StudyRoom will be free to students and (likely) to invidual teachers. But StudyRoom aims to build a model in which it can charge organizations--from MOOCs such as Udacity, Coursera or edX, to independent universities or even school districts--for setting up and maintaining high quality study groups. StudyRoom's founders believe that as online programs focus more intently on improving the proportion of students who successfully graduate from their classes, they will find StudyRoom a valuable partner.

Competition: Online programs (including MOOCs) have some support for online study groups; in other cases, students are left on their own to create study groups.


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