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Subject:

Students profit from diligent note-taking

From:

Dan Kern <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 29 Sep 2008 12:23:56 -0500

Content-Type:

multipart/related

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text/plain (168 lines) , image002.jpg (168 lines)

 

 

 

 

eSchoolNews



Monday, September 29, 2008 

Students profit from diligent note-taking


Mon, Sep 29, 2008 

Students profit from diligent note-taking 
Knetwit.com offers cash, gifts for students who submit lecture notes online,
but some faculty members fume 
By Dennis Carter, Assistant Editor 

 

 



Knetwit.com offers money and gifts for student who post class notes online.

Good grades aren't the only benefits college students can reap for faithful
note taking. They can get a paycheck, too-thanks to a new web venture that
has raised concerns among some professors.

Knetwit.com, created by two award-winning students from Babson College in
Massachusetts, invites students and professors nationwide to upload their
class lecture notes, making them available to anyone with a free Knetwit
account.

Every time a student's notes are downloaded, they are awarded "Koins," or
Knetwit currency. Every "Koin" is equivalent to four cents. When a student
reaches the $10 mark, he or she can cash in or buy a product-such as a water
bottle or Frisbee-from the Knetwit store. Students can search by keyword,
subject area, course, or school. If a student can't find a specific set of
notes, he or she can post a request for the material on Knetwit.

Although students appreciate converting classroom diligence into spending
money, some professors and academic experts are concerned that Knetwit and
similar sites could allow students to take shortcuts, offering little
incentive to attend class if they know a classmate will take notes and
provide these online.

"What concerns us is that students might potentially circumvent important
processes [that] teachers might want them to go through," said Teresa
Fishman, director of the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson
University. "[Students] could miss out on an important part of the course. .
The reason we have lectures in person is because you get something out of
it."

Knetwit officials insist the site is "legal" and "ethical." In a Knetwit
blog post from Sept. 19, company spokesman Phil Van Peborgh documented a
recent complaint from a college professor who wrote, "What you propose to do
is theft of intellectual property. ... Do you plan to compensate me for the
copyright of my lectures when one of my students sells it to you?? If not,
then I recommend you shut down now before a bevy of faculty sue you for
compensation (and based upon copyright law, we will win) for the piracy of
our material!!"

Van Peborgh said backlash from some educators was expected after the launch
of what he called an innovative Web 2.0 site.

"When you're starting something new and different, there's bound to be some
misunderstandings about what you're trying to achieve and how you plan to go
about it," Van Peborgh wrote, adding that Knetwit's designers worked closely
with academic advisers and attorneys and that the site has a "report abuse"
link that allows users to report copyright violations. "We will not tolerate
theft of intellectual property."

Van Peborgh said every posting that violates copyright law will be removed
from Knetwit.

Tricia Bertram Gallant, coordinator for the Academic Integrity Office at the
University of California San Diego, said sites like Knetwit trick students
into using a service that could undermine their education and potentially
draw the ire of university officials.

"Beyond modeling a familiar dishonesty in advertising, their
misrepresentation may fool some students into thinking that the use of the
site is a legitimate way to complete their academic work, and it may not
always be-thus potentially landing the student who uses it in trouble with
his or her own institution," Bertram Gallant said in an eMail message to
eSchool News.

Fishman said Knetwit is similar to common university policies that offer
payment for students who take notes that are later shared with special-needs
students who cannot jot down notes during a lecture. Sharing academic
resources-including class notes-is often encouraged by higher-education
officials, Fishman said, but compensating students adds a wrinkle that makes
some professors uncomfortable.

"If they are posting their own notes that they took, that's one thing," she
said. "If they're posting the professors' work, that's a violation of not
only copyright laws, but [also] the trust between the professor and the
student. . If students take that information and make a profit from it,
that's a whole other consideration."

Despite the controversy stirred by Knetwit over the last year, site creators
Benjamin Wald and Tyler Jenks, both 21, recently were included in
BusinessWeek's list of the 25 Best Young Entrepreneurs of 2008. They were
recognized for creating a site that connects students with common
educational needs, while rewarding often cash-strapped students for
diligently taking notes.

Knetwit has its practical purposes, but it also provides a social networking
forum. Students can find their peers through a search function, and Knetwit
users can track whose notes have been downloaded the most by tracking the
site's "leaderboard."

As of late September, the school with the most Knetwit users was Carnegie
Mellon University, with 622 students signed up for the service and 2,919
notes uploaded to the site. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was a
distant second, with 115 students and 63 sets of notes posted. 

Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Education show that sites like
Knetwit will never be short on material. From the more than 25 million high
school and college students with home internet access, 1.9 billion pages of
class notes and study material are generated every year.

"College students see social networking and online research as part of their
everyday academic life," Wald said, adding that he was "familiar with the
frustrations that often come with researching information online. And with
Knetwit, we strive to make it easier for people to find relevant information
around any topic."
 
Bertram Gallant, of UCSD, said posting notes without a professor's
permission is "dishonest and further undermines the educational environment
by commercializing the classroom experience," adding that colleges and
universities will struggle with these issues for many years.

"If we think we can legislate or moralize our way out of these issues, we
are mistaken," Gallant said.

Links:

Knetwit <http://www.knetwit.com> 

Center for Academic Integrity <http://www.academicintegrity.org/> 

  

eSchoolNews
7920 Norfolk Ave, Suite 900, Bethesda Maryland, 20814
Tel. (866) 394-0115, Fax. (301) 913-0119
Web: http://www.eschoolnews.com, Email: [log in to unmask]

Source:  http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=55374


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