Editorial: Students should embrace the good in GradeGuru

By Pitt News Staff

‘ ‘ ‘ Gone are the days when you need a study buddy in your lecture or you’d be out of luck to… ‘ ‘ ‘ Gone are the days when you need a study buddy in your lecture or you’d be out of luck to get the notes for that class you missed. ‘ ‘ ‘ A new Web site, GradeGuru.com, allows students to upload notes from a class to the Internet. In exchange for contributing material, students are monetarily compensated. After the Web site’s staff scans uploaded material for quality and quantity, students can be paid from 75 cents to $50. ‘ ‘ ‘ The GradeGuru websitel aunched this past June and the site’s creators specifically wanted Pitt students to be among the pioneers of the program. With this new resource in our hands, we should take full advantage of its academic offerings. ‘ ‘ ‘ Note-taking is a core skill that any successful college student needs to master. Sure, some of us learn better with our ears: We’re more apt to remember things if we hear them as opposed to reading or writing down the same material. But either way, the overwhelming majority of students need to fall back on notes when it comes time to prepare for a test. ‘ ‘ ‘ For whatever reason, we almost all have to miss class at least a few times a semester. Sleeping in might not be the greatest excuse, but for those instances when your alarm mysteriously failed to go off, GradeGuru has your back, even when your friends don’t. ‘ ‘ ‘ But the scope of this site’s service shouldn’t be limited to instances when you were absent from class. Additional notes can be a great resource for those who want to double check that they recorded the best material or those who just aren’t good note takers. ‘ ‘ ‘ Essentially, class notes serve to bolster proper learning. Studying from a friend’s notebook is acceptable if it helps one learn the material better. So why should studying notes from a Web site be viewed any differently? ‘ ‘ ‘ Critics of GradeGuru and the service it provides argue that the Web site only provides further incentive for students to cut class: Why should anyone attend class if the relevant material can be obtained online? ‘ ‘ ‘ The truth is, however, that GradeGuru has no influence over this issue. Students who want to go to class and take in knowledge first-hand would still go. Those who learn best by audibly absorbing a professor’s material and recording it in their own words won’t have to change their learning style in any way. Should they be so inclined, they might be able to make a few bucks off their efforts. ‘ ‘ ‘ Because the notes are vetted for worth and completeness, in some cases they’d probably be superior to the notes professors frequently post on Courseweb. Also, Courseweb notes sometimes provide only an outline of a lecture. ‘ ‘ ‘ Students have the rights to their notes, so they’re free to do with them as they please. Professors shouldn’t feel offended if a student uploads notes from their classes. Rather, they should feel glad knowing that the material they’re teaching has a better chance of reaching those who were unable to pick it up in lecture for whatever reason.