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"Online social learning"
If you want practice taking college entrance tests, check out the
free website Examville.com. But don't log off once the timer runs out. This new
education megasite offers a wealth of online resources to help you with your
current classes, too.
Post a question about neuroscience in one of Examville's dozens of Q & A boards.
Download some physics study tips that another user put up. Sit in on a free live
interactive anatomy review class. Or form an organic chemistry study group with
"It's just like with E-Bay, where buyers and sellers link up without any
middleman," explains Examville founder and CEO Nilanjan Sen, who launched the
site in time for the start of the school year. "At Examville, students and
teachers can connect in an open global classroom without having to formally
enroll in an institution or pay a hefty tuition. It's a new way of collaborative
Sen, a New York-based entrepreneur whose resume includes a test prep company
offering classes abroad to international students, came up with the idea when he
noticed the rising popularity of online classes as well as social networking
sites like Facebook and MySpace. "Most online sites use a traditional teaching
model where a teacher imparts knowledge to a student. I thought, 'Why not
combine the social and educational and create a community so members could teach
each other and learn together?'" he said.
Sen is banking there's a big market, especially as students increasingly demand
expensive educational extras, such as individual tutors, private review sessions
and test prep courses. But the big advantage of the Internet is that a free site
like Examville allows students of all backgrounds to have equal access to the
same class notes, lecture sessions, tutoring and experienced teachers, says Sen,
who worked as a private math and science tutor in Manhattan during high school
and college. Users can connect to people at their same academic level and at
their own convenience and pace, he added. There's another section to seek advice
on life matters like how to deal with a messy roommate.
The site's format also allows any user to host live classes on any topic. "If
you're a high school chemistry teacher in California, you can schedule your own
class with live video and audio feeds and have a global student audience," he
explained. "It's a true free flow of information."
Examville will be supported primarily by ad revenue, and the content that is
shared among members will be free. But Sen eventually hopes to introduce a
subscription plan that would allow users to download certain copyrighted
materials from publishers and test prep companies. Also, schools or qualified
teachers would be able to charge a fee for some classes.
"Initially, students will go to Examville to take the free SAT or LSAT tests,
"he said. "We're hoping they'll discover what else is possible."
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New Educational Networking Site Offers Free Test Preparation, Study Help in
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