EDITORIAL: Students should utilize study groups
Chances to collaborate should be initiated by professors more often
Notes and Tutors is a service founded by Rutgers alumni meant to allow students to help create a more interconnected network of student collaboration. The organization is specifically tailored to Rutgers students, which makes it unique relative to other organizations like Course Hero and StudyBlue. For free, it gives students the ability to share notes for a class they have taken in exchange for notes for a class they are in. Additionally, the service offers student-tutors that have been screened and bear the necessary credentials to teach other students. Notes and Tutors has garnered more than 2,000 student subscriptions and has more than 10,000 pages of notes available to students, despite the fact that it exists alongside other free and University-sponsored tutoring services.
The aforementioned may bring up an interesting question: Why are outsourced tutor-and-note services so prominent when the University has the ability to make these things available itself? This is not to say that outsourced services like Notes and Tutors are not a good help to students. They offer students the ability to exchange notes in an efficient way. But it seems that if one of the goals of Rutgers, or any educational institution, is to engage its students in effective learning, then it should be all over that idea.
A good and convenient move would be for the University to encourage more professors to initiate optional study groups and note sharing among their students, like what is done in classes such as Organic Chemistry. For one thing, collaboration among students can help them better learn and understand the information. By interacting with their peers, they are able to not only hear the information from a different perspective, but to gauge where they stand in the class and where they need to improve.
By initiating study groups within their classes, professors will also allow students who do not necessarily feel comfortable raising their hand show interest and engagement — especially with regard to lectures with hundreds of students in them. By putting shyer students in settings with less people in order to discuss the information from class, they may begin to feel more comfortable and eventually come out of their shell during the actual class. This is rather important because, with more students raising their hands, participating and asking questions during the actual class, it fuels the discussion and lets the professor know what the students need more clarification on.
In addition to study groups, though, professors should be more approachable in general. The professors, after all, are the experts in the class. The student should never end up having to rely on each other to fully understand the information. Of course, much of college education involves coming to understand the information on one’s own, but being a professor is no easy task — often times, they must also act as mentors and role models to their students.
Outsourced study groups and note-sharing systems are no doubt helpful to many, but there is no reason that the University cannot step up its game with regard to these matters — such as implementing a common note-sharing system of its own. Students should also be aware of the various services offered to them in order to help them grasp and learn information more efficiently. Students are not here simply to pass their classes — despite the costs of college, the value of education is priceless. Rutgers should do what is necessary to make sure that its students are not memorizing, but truly learning.
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