Tag Archives: kgb

May 10, 2010, 4:19 pm

Need Homework Help? Don’t ask us! A review of Course Hero’s reference service (Part 2 of 3)

I found Course Hero’s Homework Help to be very tempting. Here
is the screen you are greeted with when you first log-in:

  
CourseHero_welcome_screen
  

Inviting, huh? And pretty straightforward. Subject. Ability
to attach your assignment. Your Due Date & Time. Submit it and then you just chill and wait while the
experts work on your homework.

 

Here is how it works:

  
Course_hero_how_works 

And who are these experts? Tutors who are allegedly affiliated with top tier universities. Let's meet a few:

  
Coursehero_expert1
Course_hero_expert2
Course_hero_expert3 

Ok, great. Let’s give them a test. I started with a fairly common question that you might get at any ref desk or via email or chat or txt around the country:

"I need to find
three "peer-reviewed" articles for my english class. I have to write
about Hawthorne and the occult. I was looking on google but can't seem to get
the full articles, just some abstracts?”


 This is the response I received:

  
Course_hero_question1
  

"Us" huh? Got a team…

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March 26, 2010, 1:48 pm

If you have a serious question don’t turn to KGB: the story of how this for-profit text ref service fails

A few years ago during the
NCAA Basketball Tournament Questia
was dropping a lot of cash on commercials, essentially trying to lure college
kids (or their parents) into monthly subscriptions for materials that most of
them probably already had access to. The real product though wasn’t the books
and articles per se, but the idea of getting information via an easy-to-use
centralized interface. A dream that academic libraries have failed to provide
(although we’re getting closer with products like SUMMON.)
 

This year I’ve been seeing
ads for the text service KGB. They are
not a new company, in fact I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time but
it took a
state holiday
to free up the time. Anyway KGB purports to offer “high-quality
answers on the go” for 99 cents. They are appealing to mobile users everywhere
who just want answers. Looking at their sample questions online the…

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