Huskies Learn Better In Packs

A new study group website has been created for students at the University of Connecticut to connect with classmates more easily and coordinate study groups.

Jeffery Winston, creator of studygroup.uconn.edu and academic advisor for ACES, developed the idea while working as a program specialist for UConn’s Institute for Student Success’ program.

Winston designed the study group website to facilitate better study habits for members of ISS as well as the whole university.

According to Winston, this could be more effective than Facebook in tracking down fellow classmates who students don’t know well enough to add as friends or those who do not use social media.

The UConn.edu domain also adds a feeling of security since it uses the same information as HuskyCT and Student Administration and prevents any outside parties from acccessing to student information.

The uncluttered interface makes the site easy to load on cellphones and simple to use.

Anyone with an active user NetID can log onto the system and create a profile with all or some of their information, including their full or partial name and major.

Students can then create a “watchlist” by selecting each class they are taking and wish to be in a study group for. A list of future or past study groups will appear with their description, enrollment capacity and tentative meeting time.

If there are not study groups established for that class, the website will notify any students with the class on their Watchlist by email if a group is created. Any user can create a study group in any class by choosing a tentative meeting date and place and by writing a small description of who their professor is or what they wish to study pertaining to the class. The tentative date can be edited as many times as possible including after every meeting to reflect the date of the next planned time and place.

Winston also mentioned that professors could use the site as well to stop in on study groups or even lead review sessions of their own.

Study groups feature a message board connected to each student’s email account so each student will receive a notification if a member posts in the group.

The website does not give access to anyone’s email except the creator, making coordination between classmates much simpler according to Winston.

When Winston first developed and released the site, he sent out a mass email to the 15,000 undergraduates enrolled at UConn Storrs.

He placed his supplemental instruction groups in the system to spark interest and in the first week 30 study groups were made.

The majority of study groups are in the STEM majors, including chemistry and accounting.

Winston was also approached by a group of communications students who wanted to advertise the website for a project. They will be collaborating with Winston by advertising around campus and exploring student interests, somewhat like a record label’s “street team,” he said.

The nearing of midterms may increase traffic on the site in the coming weeks and Winston hopes to receive some feedback on how to improve the site’s functions and increase student success.

“Another reason I am so motivated to make this website a success is that UConn is the No. 1 public university in New England and I want to set the bar for the website at the same top level,” Winston said.

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