Alumni create collaborative note sharing and tutoring platform exclusively for Rutgers students
Students helping their fellow scarlet knights is the goal for the organization Notes and Tutors.
Its goal is to create a more interconnected, personal community of students and tutors who can support one another’s academic achievement.
In a pay-it-forward-like service, the business offers a platform where students can share their notes from previous classes in exchange for notes for a class they are currently taking.
The creators and organizers of the service found that in between lectures and exams students needed an intimate 1-on-1 session with a tutor their age, who could break down class material and explain it back to them in relatable terms, according to the site.
“However, we wanted to do this better than anyone else on campus — better than the Learning Center, better than the freelance student tutors and better than anyone outside of campus,” according to the site.
Ryan Look, CEO and founder of Notes and Tutors, said that the website is similar to Course Hero and StudyBlue with notes, practice midterms and other resources that students can upload for other students.
“However, unlike those two sites, everything on our site is strictly related to Rutgers courses and only for Rutgers students to use. This makes it easier to find materials and hopefully creates a more interconnected student body,” Look said.
The website relies solely on students who voluntarily upload their course materials to help their peers out. Look said unlike Course Hero and StudyBlue, he wanted to establish a platform where students help others without getting paid. In return, the website remains completely free.
“It’s like the honesty policy where you trust someone to do the right thing — we make our site and materials free to use and in return we hope students help grow our library of materials and give back with a few study materials of their own,” Look said.
He explained that when the business idea first originated during his junior year at Rutgers, it started a bit differently.
It was originally a tutoring service that was limited to Rutgers students taking Organic Chemistry. After Look graduated, he wanted to continue and expand the idea to help more students from different academic fields within the University.
“I disliked the way professors taught at school. Many had just used powerpoints and talked strictly off the slides, making class useless and pointless to attend. If a student did not understand a topic, a professor often could not explain it in a way a student could relate to,” Look said.
Now, Notes and Tutors has more than 2,000 student subscriptions and 10,000 pages of notes and study materials that give students access to class resources from a wide variety of academic fields, from Biology to Dental studies.
The business contracts 20 tutors on campus that have been interviewed and screened for academic credentials and expertise. They can be booked at an hourly rate, Look said.
“By doing this, we help create part time jobs for students on campus who have excelled in and out of the classroom as well as opportunities for those studying to become a teacher/professor,” Look said.
The business occasionally offers free trials and discounted rates to help students who cannot afford it but have shown that they need extra assistance in their classes, he said.
Look said unlike the Learning Center at Rutgers, the tutoring service allows students to book the times and days they want tutoring to ensure they are not rushed or stressed to attend a certain, predetermined time slot. In addition, the service makes an effort to accommodate whichever campus the student would like to be tutored on.
“We do our best to accommodate every student,” he said.
The future of the company is promising, and he hopes to expand it even further, with more tutors and notes online, to become a hub for any and all academic support for Rutgers students, Look said.
“We want to be the ones who provide tutoring, notes, study guides and a place to discuss anything class-related. Our goal from the beginning has been to create a more personal, interconnected way to learning ... Once we can do that, we will consider sharing our model of learning to other universities and possibly high schools within New Jersey,” he said.