OpenStudy is a free web site that helps you connect with other people on the Internet to help you study online via Q&A. It is possibly one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time, because it is so simple and powerful in both concept and design.
There’s a lot of free web sites out there for education and many of them are great, but this one truly stands out to my eye as an excellent achievement in sense and usefulness.
OpenStudy.com is a website that, essentially, allows people to connect with each other with the purpose of teaching and learning. From writing to physics, chemistry to history, OpenStudy probably has some people on there who can help you learn about it, and what’s better, they can help you in specific ways with direct answers to questions you might have.
Just as, ideally, a teacher would do, if you were in the same room with them. When you’re in a classroom, you can raise your hand, ask the teacher a question, and get an answer, presumably and usually. Well OpenStudy is much like that in some ways.
You’ll need to start by registering for your free account, which can take two minutes or much longer, depending on how much time you want to spend filling out your bio/profile information. That’s up to you, but you can easily be done in just a couple of minutes if you don’t go into a lot of depth on that particular section. Also, you can register using your Facebook account if you’d like, as so many sites are now doing. Once your account is created, you’ll be able to jump right in and start asking and answering questions of the other people on OpenStudy. You can even connect those questions to a Tweet and/or Facebook post.
To start with, you’ll choose a subject you want to study. Don’t worry, you can study as many as you want and it costs nothing, ever, so pick whatever you want to learn about without reservation. This is truly, in my eyes, one of the best reasons the Internet was created in the first place. Science fiction writers like Heinlein and Bradbury, Gibson and Asimov and more I am sure, had all predicted something like the Internet and, moreover, predicted the future would be a better place because of them, in essence. That may sound a bit high-minded or lofty wishing, but if you take a moment to think about it, you may see that the easier it is for each of us to become educated and ‘smart’, then the better our society in general will advance and the overall quality of life will improve. Isn’t that what drives us all? So, to me, this website is a great representative of why the Internet is important to the human race.
So, once you’ve chosen a subject, you’re given two columns that take up most of the screen. These consist of Questions, on the left hand side, and You can ask your own question, like you see I did in the screen shots. On the right hand side is a listing of members currently online who are also studying the same subject you’re currently in. At the bottom of that you can see tabs for the other subjects you’re studying. That’s the screen, basically. You can pick a question on the left side and offer your own answer for it, as well as read previous answers, or you can post your very own question and get answers from other people. There’s a round robin kind of time system they use to ‘bump’ questions, but it works out quite well, from what I could see.
That’s the heart of OpenStudy. There’s not much more to it than that, but that is what makes it so good. It is simple and powerful if people decide to use it. We can all take a few minutes a day to help someone else learn something, and that’s a thing we can all feel good about at the end of that day.The central methodology is almost Socratic. Ask questions, get answers, and ponder them. OK, so not all questions are deep thinking marvels, like “What is the difference between effect and affect?” but those are still very important to answer because whoever asked it, presumably, genuinely wants to know the answer, to further his or her understanding of that subject, and perhaps ultimately, the universe in general. As my father always said: “There are no stupid questions.” Until next time, my friends.