What the f**k is OneClass?

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Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 11.41.14 am Have you heard of a service called OneClass? If you are a student at an Australian university with groups on Facebook, then you will soon. OneClass is a Toronto-based startup that promises to help students get better grades, by having said students share with each other study notes from lectures and textbooks.

According to TechCrunch, it capitalises on a trend in education where students are sharing notes with each other – which, as a current university student, is completely true. However, OneClass wants to expand this to the whole student body, for the purposes of “social learning”. And they’re making you pay for the notes, whereas you would get them for free from your friends.

And I take some issue with that. I am a notetaker, and I write very elaborate and detailed notes to study for exams. But I won’t be uploading those notes on OneClass because – and it sounds really petty – I want to give my notes to my friends, the people that I know who have done the work, listen to most of the lectures, and have collaborated with during the course of the unit.

I don’t want my notes to be used by someone who hasn’t done all of that and is looking to just pass the unit so he doesn’t have to repeat the class. In other words, I don’t want to help slackers who want the easy way – which, I feel, OneClass is inadvertently helping.

That’s not to say all of those on OneClass are slackers – there are some who want to make a quick buck in selling their notes (they have every right to do so), and those who have difficulty with the unit. With the latter, I am happy to help them in any form I can. But I rather do it face-to-face rather than face-to-computer-screen. That way, I can adjust on the fly if a person understands – for example – the difference between temporal and spatial locality (it’s a computer thing, so don’t worry).

Campus Spammers

How OneClass came to my attention was because their “campus ambassador” for Monash University spammed every Monash student connected to a university-only Facebook group about the service. The campus ambassador created their own group called “Monash Marketplace” in order to create a Facebook event to promote OneClass.

Said campus ambassador even admitted that the tactic was annoying, and possibly unethical, but justified her actions by telling a complainant, “If OneClass can help even just a few students do better in their course then they otherwise would or help other students earn a little but of extra money for taking notes they would have taken anyway and hence better increasing their quality of student life, I have done my job.”

According to some reports online, this marketing tactic has been used in the past by campus ambassadors in other universities. “Spammy fake groups plaguing Tufts, paired with fake admins banning anyone who asks why 5500 people got an invite. Garbage marketing tactics,” according to one student.

“Their advertising and marketing plan hinges on spamming student groups and maliciously trying to take town similar institutions on college campuses,” another wrote.

So, if you’re a university student in Australia – or the United States, Canada or New Zealand – get ready for a barrage of OneClass spam from your local “campus ambassador”.