For students, websites like notehall.com, which allows users to buy and sell notes and study guides, can be a tool to improve comprehension of course material.
Buying and selling notes, though, can sometimes come with hefty consequences for students.
â€œI donâ€™t find anything wrong with it, but again I would wonder about quality control,â€ said Ernest Chavez, a professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology.
Elaine Green, director of the Institute for Teaching and Learningâ€™s Academic Integrity Program and assistant director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, said she shares the concern that students may not be getting what they pay for, but students would not be breaking the academic code by selling their personal notes.
One way that students could find themselves in trouble is by posting notes that are intellectual property of their professors. For example, if students were to post a professorâ€™s Powerpoint, that would be considered breaking copyright laws. Students could be sued for posting things like this.
Students could also be in trouble for facilitating cheating by posting documents that students could use to cheat.
For example, if students sold or provided the answers to a test, they would be facilitating the cheating of another student, Green said.
Students buy â€œcreditsâ€ that they use to purchase study guides, lecture notes, and reading notes.
It costs $3.99 to buy 100 credits on the site. Study guides cost 100 credits, while reading notes cost 50 and lectures notes cost 25. Students can also earn credits by posting a document, trading in earnings from documents sold or referring a friend to the site.
The concept for Notehall, launched in 2008, started when the founders, Sean Conway and Justin Miller, were still attending University of Arizona and noticed that other students also had issues with note taking.
Conway has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and said he struggled to concentrate on lectures while trying to take notes. Miller simply wanted to be able see other peopleâ€™s notes to understand difficult concepts presented in class.
Jillian Hall, a freshman undeclared student , said she first heard about notehall.com on the RamCT discussion boards for her BZ101 humans and other animals class.
She said she saw a study guide for the class on notehall.com and thought it looked like it would be useful, but had already taken the first test.
â€œIâ€™m going to use it for the next test,â€ Hall said .
Two of the main groups of people that use this website are people with learning disabilities and those who speak English as a second language, Conway said.
Notehall has plans to create a professor lounge feature that would allow professors to manage notes for their classes and take down notes that violate their copyrights. Professors would also be able to discuss Notehall.
â€œOne of our primary objectives is to establish a good relationship with professors and universities which we have been successful with,â€ Conway said.
About 40 percent of documents on the site can be viewed for free, but students must use credits to view the other 60 percent of documents, Conway said.
Staff writer Keeley Blakley can be reached at email@example.com.
What is notehall.com?
What it is: a market place for buying and selling class notes, reading notes and study guides.
How to buy: students purchase credits that can be used for buying notes. Credits can be purchased in quantities of 100 for $3.99.
Website launched: 2008
What do credits get you?
- 100 credits for a study guide
- 50 credits for reading notes
- 25 credits for class notes