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The days of emailing the whole class for notes are over

By in News
Right before the great coffee spill of '11 wiped out everything.
All university students run into this problem sooner or later: you miss a class and you need the notes, but you don’t have friends you could ask and you don’t want to spam the entire class for lecture notes. What do you do?

Notesolution, a note-sharing service founded by three University of Toronto grads, might be the solution for many students.

“When we first made our transition from high school to university, it was very tough for us,” said Jack Tai, one of the three co-founders of Notesolution. “We were kind of shy about going up to someone and asking, ‘Can I borrow your notes for the night?’ ”

Tai, along with his partners Kevin Wu and Jackey Li, launched in September of 2010 at their alma mater. Within a year, 10,000 students at the U of T were sharing about 12,000 documents.

Notesolution expanded to 29 more universities this year, including the University of Saskatchewan, where about 300 students currently use the service. There are now 25,000 registered users across Canada, according to the company.

There are other note-sharing services available, but unlike its competitors, Notesolution is free to use. Instead, it operates on a system in which uploading class notes earns you credits. These credits can then be traded for others’ notes.

If students run out of credits, they can purchase more from, which is how the site makes its money. Still, Tai says the focus isn’t to sell credits but rather to encourage sharing among students.

“It’s a really good idea,” said University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union VP academic Kelsey Topola. “I like that it was thought of and run by former students, because they obviously know what students need.”

Notesolution is currently listed as an academic resource on the USSU website. Topola and the rest of the executive decided to endorse the service after being contacted earlier this term.

Topola says she hasn’t heard any grumbling about the service yet from instructors, that “students can basically do it already” and that Notesolution just centralizes the note-sharing.

“Notes are students’ intellectual property,” said Topola, and they can share that property with whom they like. In fact, Notesolution practices strict quality control to make sure students only upload their own notes and not their professors’ lecture slides, for example.

Tai, the CEO of the company, says knowing that notes will be available allows students to focus on the content of the lectures “rather just putting their heads down and just taking down notes.”

He says even instructors may notice increased participation in class. He cited one of his former business professors as proof that note-sharing is a win-win for everyone in class.

“After Notesolution started being used at U of T… the interaction actually increased in class.”

Photo: Supplied

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