Amsterdam based note sharing platform StuDocu is providing access to course notes across the world.

Wits university has “almost 3,500 active accounts”, on a new university-level course material sharing application. This is according to StuDocu marketing and communications manager, Martine Peeters. StuDocu, which launched in 2013, is, according to the website, a platform for students to share their study material with other students around the world.

Peeters told Wits Vuvuzela that there are users from 76 South African tertiary institutions and 12,5 million users worldwide. Four Dutch engineering students who wanted to exchange study material to improve their results created the platform. Users can access academic material specific to their institution, and their specific courses at those institutions, as well as upload their own notes.

Those who upload material are compensated for them if the platform approves the material. Users upload their material to the courses, the documents are then analysed and “within 60 seconds we give you an offer for your documents” according to the StuDocu website.

Wits Vuvuzela asked five Wits university students from varying faculties about the value of StuDocu. Amirah Lamidi, a humanities student, found the ability to make money from the platform to be an interesting feature, “[Especially] during [covid-19], many people need extra sources of income”, she says. Science student Patricia Zongololo added; “many people spend hours making pretty notes that end up in the rubbish. Turning that into a money making vehicle can be very advantageous.”

However, StuDocu does not accept lecture slides, books, online content and copyright protected documents due to their strict policies. An automatic tool checks uploaded documents to ensure they are not infringing on any copyrights and not plagiarised. Users of the platform can enter a take-down request for documents they suspect of copyright infringement and “We will remove the document (s) from our platform” adds Peeters. 

Screenshot of the home page of a free StuDocu profile Photo: Kemiso Wessie

Commerce student, Anastasia Lungu, said she would use StuDoc because of the credibility of notes. However, another commerce student, Jabulani Mdluli, noted that although access to international material is great, “It may be of little value if testing requirements/standards are different.” When asked if he would be most or least likely to use the platform, Luke Nicholas, a fourth-year medicine student, mentioned that “I [am] very traditional with my resources and enjoy hard copy books, textbooks etc. but I would definitely be open to trying it considering [that] I have many of my own notes and resources to share as well.”

The start-up witnessed an increase in the platform’s use since covid-19 lockdowns. “Education was lagging behind significantly in the adoption of technology and [because of] Covid, this gap has been bridged a bit” CEO Marnix Broer told European technology media source Silicon Canals in August 2020. Zongololo said that despite efforts made by lecturers amidst remote learning, it has “Pushed students to seek additional information elsewhere. A platform like this could be the answer to that problem.” 

FEATURED IMAGE:  A student browsing through the content available on StuDocu Photo: Kemiso Wessie