So I made the jump and decided to go back to school for a second time, after I told myself I would never do more school when I graduated college. This time though, it is so different than when I went to college and when I got my Master’s. For one, I have a family and, two, I am also working full time. I knew I had to stay disciplined and get organized so that I could get through school and still enjoy my family and job.
I came across a web app called StudyBlue a couple of weeks ago and decided to give it a try to see how I could possibly incorporate it into my life. They take the concept of the physical binder and turn it into a digital one, at least that is the best way that I can kind of explain it in a nutshell. One of the things you find is when you are a student is that you get so many papers to keep track of that, if you are not organized, you can easily lose a few.
Let me show you how StudyBlue tries to help solve this problem.
Adding Your Courses
When you first sign up for the app, you can choose to join or create a class. StudyBlue has a wide variety of schools in their list, but if you can’t find yours, you can always add it manually. Then you can create the classes you are in so that they can be added as well. Once this is done, you now can get into the heart of the app.
Using StudyBlue To Help You Study
There are two main features when it comes to using StudyBlue, and the first one is the ability to upload documents to a specific course. Let’s say you have the course syllabus or some notes that you took from class that you want to upload, all you have to do is select the file and upload to the specific class. After you upload the document, you can choose whether you want to make it private, public, password protected, or public and anonymous.
There are a few other things that you can do when your files are in StudyBlue. They can be shared out to Twitter and Facebook, as well as emailed to others in your class. You also have the option to download a file or you can view it in the web browser. What I liked was that with the few files that I did test to upload, I could read them in browser pretty well. In my experience, at least with other apps, I have noticed that it can be hit or miss when it comes to files displaying correctly in a web browser when uploaded from a computer.
One other major feature that is worth noting is that you can create flashcards within StudyBlue. These cards have a spot for a word and its definition. You also have the option of adding images and other media files to use in your flash cards, which I thought was a great idea. If you choose to go with the pro version, you have some other editing features that could come in handy as well.
Solid, But Want More
As I played around with StudyBlue, I liked the features where I could upload files and share them with others. I thought it was a great way for me to keep them in the cloud and they wouldn’t have to take up space on my hard drive or in a binder. I liked that I knew if I needed any document for a course, I just had to go straight to StudyBlue and not have to hunt around for it.
But the one thing that I was hoping for was to be able to interact from within the app itself. I know I could share my documents with social networks or email, but I wish I could have the ability to upload a document and have my classmates give me feedback or have the ability to have a discussion within StudyBlue. I think it is a great place to store files from a course, but I think it could be an even better app if it could be more interactive.
Granted, if you were like me, the first thing you thought about was that this could be a great and easy way for students to cheat. How easy would it be for a student to post the answers to a test and have his/her fellow classmates get all the answers? That is something that they really can’t combat against. But, if used properly, I see it as a great tool for a place to store documents for courses for both students and teachers.
There are three versions to choose from, free, Go, and Pro, which are very reasonably priced at $1 and $2.50/month respectively. With the Go plan you get no ads and offline mode, and with the Pro, you get a handful of more features. I really liked that they kept the price affordable enough so that most students can spring some change for this app.
In the end, I think in order for StudyBlue to be successful, it has to be more than just a place where I can store and share files and where I can make flashcards. They also have an iPhone and iPad app that has a lot of the same functionality as the web site, which is free to download.
What do you guys and gals think? For those of you in school, would you actually use something like this?