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January 28, 2020

UChicago Students Create Lecture Note–Sharing Platform

While most UChicago students were leisurely enjoying their breaks after a week of essays and finals, UChicago undergraduates fourth-year Adit Damodaran and third-year Joe Berusch were busy collaborating on the development of a new online app, NoteShare, a platform dedicated to fostering a collaborative space for students to share lecture notes and save time, and also to making information portable and accessible from anywhere.

The idea came about when the two were working together on a problem set for a math course. While reviewing their notes, they came across sections that weren’t quite comprehensible, finding that at times, it seemed as if chunks of information were disconnected or missing.

In talks with their peers, Damodaran and Berusch found that this was a common experience.

Damodaran and Berusch said that they created NoteShare to help students by creating a venue to compare and share notes from a given class.

Students receive a token for every set of lecture notes they upload to NoteShare, so long as moderators approve the notes for quality. The token can be exchanged for a folder that contains a classmates’ notes for that day’s lecture, the previous lecture, or the next lecture.

Damodaran and Berusch said they are piloting NoteShare in three courses (ECON 10000, PHYS 13200, and CHEM 22100) to see whether reaching out to students or professors results in higher student registration. Damodaran and Berusch obtained the student rosters for the economics and physics classes and sent out an email debuting the app.

For the chemistry class, Damodaran and Berusch worked with professor David Schmitz who supported their endeavors by announcing NoteShare with a mass email and announcement to all students via Canvas.

Since the app had no initial digital presence, Damodaran and Berusch said they did not have high expectations for registration from the economics and physics courses. However, they expect that this will change with time as the network slowly grows.

“It’s getting from 0 to 1…that’s the tricky part. The students we’ve talked to seem super interested. It’s figuring out how to translate the issue into implementation,” said Bersuch.

While Damodaran is pursuing a degree in economics with a specialization in data science, Berusch has a background in programming and is majoring in computer science, which has allowed them to collaborate on the development of the app.

Damodaran and Berusch said their focus this quarter is on testing the value of the app, and they also recently launched a website.

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