UI alumnus creates new online study platform

By Yi Zhang

Study Cloud, founded by University alumnus Ravi Pillabr, is an educational platform that hosts class syllabi, lecture notes and other course materials — similar to Compass and Moodle.

The platform offers additional features, such as a calendar that syncs with course syllabi, assignment alert notifications and a chat functionality for classmates.

Study Cloud has been used by professors at the University’s Chicago and Urbana campuses, as well as at Northern Illinois University and Northwestern University.

Sanjay Patel, professor in electrical and computer engineeringbr, decided to use Study Cloud in his classes this semester.

“I am glad to be working with a UIUC startup. The platform allowed me to easily manage my large course and several TAs,” Patel said. “This saved me a lot of time by having one place where students could answer questions and get immediate answers from TAs, other students or myself.”

He said students appreciated the modern interface and a feature that syncs course events to their personal calendar.

Students can access Study Cloud by purchasing a $20 a semester subscription to the platform.

Ann Abbott, director of undergraduate studies and associate professor in Spanish and Portuguese, used Study Cloud for her Spanish class last semesterbr.

“Study Cloud looks more interesting visually, it has a feed and comment section which works more like social media,” she said. “It becomes a place that students can interact, do the work on the web and is a good organizer as well, which helps me plan the classes.”

Karittha Liewchanpatanabr, senior in psychology, said she would be open to using StudyCloud, but does not see a problem with Compass.

“Though I am satisfied with Compass, which I am currently using, if there’s a more student friendly platform I would like to try it,” she said, “For better improvement, I would suggest to include ability to access all past course assignments you have done so far in the college.”

While the platform may have potential benefits for students, Abbott said she believes Study Cloud could benefit professors as well.

“Study Cloud should become more common, it’s a better experience,” she said. “But faculty members should be convinced as to why they should learn to use something new. Does it save time? Why is that important for my course?”

According to StudyCloud’s website, the platform is intended to be used as an “add-on” to current learning management systems to improve their functionality.

“Visually, it is much better than Compass and encourages students’ interactions which also facilitates students’ connections after class,” Abbott said. “If faculty members want to think about how to increase students’ interactions with each other, it is likely to happen on Study Cloud.”

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