Innovation That Matters

Online note-swapping for college students

Publishing & Media

Students at Cornell, USC, Princeton and a handful of other US universities now can pool their resources in a handy online forum at TheCollegeFreeWay—a network for sharing notes, outlines, essays, problem sets, study guides and more. Users can search by university, course or type of document needed. While anyone can view the materials, students must register to upload or download documents, rate them or make comments. Students can register directly through the site or can sign in via their Facebook accounts. While the site might not be a huge hit with professors, the site was not designed with cheating in mind, but rather to streamline the process of combining notes and other resources—which college students have been doing for ages—in a more convenient and organized fashion. And as long as TheCollegeFreeWay sticks to student-generated materials, copyright infringement shouldn’t be an issue with school faculty. As the name suggests, the site is free to use and is financed through Google ads. As with any venture that relies on user-submitted content, getting off the ground can be tricky. But while the offerings are limited for now (the site currently lists ten schools, but only has documents available for half a dozen), once the buzz gets around campus, things could quickly take off. Now may be the time to start up duplicates for colleges or even high schools in other countries—or to consider how this type of sharing might make sense for professional networking in other industries. Spotted by: Bill McMahon



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