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Hi PhysicsPhreak - I'm really interested in hearing what you thought the problems were in the old OpenStudy and what you like about the new site
also - what do you think it's missing ?
Well, the freedom to make groups was nice, but grew unwieldy and made it difficult to help or find help because several groups on one subject divides people. I also think that it being so spread out made it difficult just to get responses from anyone or recognition for helping. That is all very improved with this new redesign. What's missing is greater variety in groups (but controlled), but from what I see that is coming. Also the greater influence on user input for this new redesign is fantastic.
Ok great points. And yes - we found the same thing. Having too many groups starting out led to too many "lame parties". Lots of students were studying, but never at the same place at the same time. Our focus thus far is on getting students better help, faster - ideally while on the site and in real-time. So we're taking the opposite approach - connect as many students as we can studying a broad area (like math), and worry about sub categorization/filtering etc.. once we hit an unwieldy critical mass.
What groups would you recommend? If you had to choose say three?
ps: guest - feel free to chime in. e.g. how come you haven't signed up yet =)
Well, whatever there's a high demand for, and I would guess math and physics would be at the top so its good that you already have that covered. I think the sciences (chem, bio, physics) and math will grow a bigger base than things like literature and history (for now at least), but Foreign Language might be nice too. So chemistry, biology, and foreign language.
But I think the survey is a great idea to decide this.
Right, so Sciences for sure. How about something like "writing"
so super-secret plan - we're thinking bout adding a more involved rewards system, starting with achievements based on say - answering questions well, participating in groups, earning lots of fans. Some achievements may be global - like logging on a few times earning you a loyalty achievement - but some may be topic based, something like becoming a physics guru. What are your thoughts on that?
Writing would be interesting, but if its possible, looking at the middle school/high school/college/other breakdown should play a role in the decision. (I'm not sure if you have those stats, but they would be good to get.) ps: I actually discovered this site through MIT OCW comp sci over the summer. The achievement system sounds like a great idea to keep people active on the site.
OK great, and good point. We definitely want to launch groups based on demand, so as you mentioned, we don't have too many groups for too few students. We really want to differentiate our give/get help flavor my making it as fast, from as many people as can help as possible. And critical mass is maybe the most important component.
Take a look around when you have a chance - maybe the mathematics group which always has a lot of people in it. I'd love to hear how your thoughts evolve as you get a better sense of what we're going for. Thanks for the feedback.
Yeah, the mathematics group is really what I'm basing my hopes for the future of this site on, because its such a noticeable difference. Thanks for the listening.
Not a problem - thank you. Please come back here if anything else crosses your mind - e.g. how would you improve the mathematics group in isolation?
The mathematics group could be improved by having an equation button which one could use when asking questions. As it is now people have to answer their own questions with the equation, or post the equation in a way which is very easy to misinterpret. As it is not favorable to answer one's own questions (then many will think the question has been answered already), most often the latter is the case. And you will have to answer a question which could mean three different things, depending on how you interpret the equations in it
Another suggestion I have (maybe it should have been posted in a new thread) is that each user can choose (if interested in, hm ..let's say physics and math) to have a small line just below the bar on top of the view, telling if there's happened anything new on the other topics he/she is interested in. (somewhat like a miniature of the former "home view" served as, informing about what was going on on different topics) However the old "home" served to have each user sitting and following his own "home" instead of participating in each study group like one can do now.
i think foreign language would be a good one like spanish. Also maybe like majors such as business or marketing or accounting
I also thought about having one study grop for e.g. Natural Sciences and one for Languages, and then sort after topics such as Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Spanish, English, Japanese, maybe you then could find a way to include discussion of topics which fewer users discuss, but still allow them to be discussed, if they were integrated into a larger main study group containing many different fields then still the users not interested in e.g. Bioinformatics, but in Math and Physics could just skip the topics marked Bioinformatics...
openstudy basically isn't very open anymore...