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Knodium has been around since early 2012, and in that time we’ve collaborated with hundreds of students and lecturers to ensure that we build a platform that truly benefits its users. We’ve met a lot of great people along the way, these people’s support has been invaluable, and the first question on everybody’s lips is “what does Knodium actually do?”

The answer is quite simple; Knodium is a platform that allows students and academic staff to learn and share information in a safe, online environment that is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

To do this, Knodium has been packed with nifty features that are designed to keep things simple – our users don’t have the time to learn how to use yet another piece of software!

So what are these features?
dropbox

By connecting their Dropbox, users can import and share documents quickly and easily.

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Knodium allows users to take snippets of their documents to aid discussion. No more trawling through 100’s of pages to find a single paragraph every time you need it.

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Science student? Here’s where Knodium really steps up the game. We’ve integrated a chemical editor in to our posts, making sharing chemical diagrams quick, easy and fun. Want to write LaTeX? We’ve got that covered too.

Staying informed is important, so you’ll be notified when there’s activity within your hubs – but in this age, spam can take over our lives, so you can tell us what you want to know, and we’ll make sure we don’t bombard you.

Knodium’s intelligent posting system will organise your discussions and hubs to bring you what you need to know, when you need it. It’s what makes us the best tool for student collaboration – and we’re pretty proud of that!

Well, now what?

We’re not done yet! We have a bunch of features in the pipeline, and we’re still working with students and lecturers to find out how we can make group study easier.

If you have something to add, be sure to speak to one of your university Knodium Campus Reps, or contact us directly using hello@knodium.com.

So there you go – that’s what we do. Join us on Knodium now!

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Back when i was an undergrad, I started what is now Knodium to solve a problem for me and my peers. We wanted a better way to study with each other online. We needed something that would take the pain out of having in depth discussions and that made use of all the techniques we were being encouraged to use such as making proper use of reference materials. Most importantly we just needed something that complemented our existing workflows. Not something that just assumed all studying was switching to online and trying to replicate the offline version of it.

We have come a long way since then. We’ve learnt a lot about how people study and work with each other. We’ve tested all sorts of concepts and now, with the new academic year just beginning we’re really excited to be opening up Knodium to every UK university.

It is our quest to give anyone with a spark of curiosity access to a world of likeminded people from whom to learn.

In the time we have been working on Knodium a lot appears to have happened in the education technology sector. People are talking about how education is changing, some even talk about an eventual overhaul of the system. Most seem set on disrupting it.

At its core the Internet has been driving change in education for years. Open access to information, the ability to break down borders and communicate in new ways is seeing both educators and students experiment with different education models. Arguably the biggest result of this is the emergence of MOOCs (or variants of). There is certainly a lot of hype and buzz around the likes of edX, Khan Academy and the newly launched FutureLearn, to name a few. But what do MOOCs mean for the universities involved and more importantly, what do they mean for the students?

Students now have access to more information and resources than ever before and this is changing the information monopoly that was once the foundation of universities. You need only talk to students (or to be one!) to understand that the ways in which they are now learning and exploring their subjects is powering this change. MOOCs are recognition of the fact that there is a considerable appetite to learn and consume information through, at least in education terms, a new medium.

I have a bone to pick…

The problem I see is that this has created a disconnect between students and universities; which is odd considering that, in so many other ways, the Internet is bringing people together like never before.

By moving education online (largely through students own doing but now with MOOCs) universities are struggling to see how this blends with a residential model of having students on campus with lecturers. They are failing to understand how students engage both with each other and with content, resulting in the online part of education being, by and large, separate from the offline part.

Left without any direction or support students find that the online world of education can be a lonely and unengaging place. And wow, students are so aware of this pain!

So it’s experiencing this pain and seeing the same in others that led to where Knodium is today. We’re not looking to disrupt education, there’s plenty of that happening already. Think of Knodium as a stable framework that complements the ways in which students and universities are moving online with the simple fact that higher education still has its roots very firmly in the offline. This offline model of education isn’t going away, but it must adapt to account for the online.

This is far from this being a gloomy problem for universities

It is a huge opportunity for them to recognise how they can engage with their students in a way that not only complements their offline teaching but actually gives educators greater freedom to teach. Imagine if lectures could be less focused on content delivery but with lecturers (and departments) having greater insight into how students are using the content online and engaging with each other. They could identify topics for discussion well before lectures or tutorials. Discussion and learning could properly flow from the lecture to online, back to the next lecture… maybe to a cafe with a study group, back to a tutorial and so on.

I see this as an opportunity for universities to strengthen the core of what makes them great: educating people through engagement with world class thinkers.

Maintaining quality is the cornerstone for any successful higher education provider.

I agree that MOOCs are exciting, but not for what they are at the moment. Opening up education to those that have previously struggled to get it is really exciting but I don’t see that existing MOOCs are the solution to this. MOOCs are the ripple before the wave but I question the value of MOOCs for universities with foundations firmly in residential education.

There is no doubt that education is changing and Knodium certainly intends to play a role in this.

Let’s use the the language of complementing and collaborating a little more, rather than the narratives of disruption and overhaul. We must critically evaluate the possibilities for change and be sure that in creating something new, we don’t break what was good about the old.

So for now, Knodium is here to help students get the very most out of their education and to help universities build on what makes them truly great.

Join in with the discussion and share your thoughts in this Hub or on Twitter

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Those exams that we thought were months away have finally crept upon us. Many of you will be sitting at home waiting for your photographic memory to kick in.

But should the rapid development of a superpower fail, you may need a little help – we’ve put together a few simple tips that should help to get you through to July without tearing your hair out.

Look after yourself.

Don’t be too tired, eat plenty of protein and get some exercise. It’s what your mum tells you all the time! Make sure you sleep the night before your exam, you won’t be productive if you are tired. Eat food that will keep your energy up for the 3 hour period of the exam, avoid energy drinks that will leave you lagging after an hour! And take a run, studies show that taking moderate exercise increases cognitive functioning.

Planning, Mark Schemes and Water.

Plan your answers, work towards the mark scheme and take water in to the exam. An exam is your chance to show your knowledge, so approach it with a strategy. Read the questions, plan your answers and ensure that you take the questions weighting in to account in the length and depth of your writing. Water is life, so take a bottle in to the exam with you – researchers say that it could increase your mark by 4.8%.

Share your tactics.

Remember during the exam period you should still be revising for your future exams. So why not use this time to complete past exams in teams. An exam is a problem, and problems need teamwork. You may learn other peoples nifty exam tricks and tactics at the last minute that will help you in the exam.

Remember that Knodium is always here for you to collaborate with your course colleagues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (remember to sleep).

Good Luck in your exams from all of us at Knodium!

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Collaboration is more about the people than information, without the people, the information would never be shared.

This week, Knodium hit a milestone with users from 32 institutions collaborating in one online community, that’s users from around 10% of all UK institutions.

That’s knowledge and skills from users all over the UK, coming together to learn and help others in their chosen subject area, pretty cool right?

It’s all about the community

Using online collaboration, Knodium helps its users to address the time-lag that occurs in conventional learning environments; shortening the time from requiring support, to the moment that support is available. An accessible, twenty-four-seven platform that is open to students and academic staff to use, when they need it.

In creating a self-supporting community with users across institutions, every member is encouraged to ask questions and engage in critical thinking. With users from a variety of institutions, questions and queries are responded to by people from different experience, knowledge and teaching backgrounds.

So how does that help you?

Well, with over 50,000 courses available to students within the UK, it’s easy to think that when enrolling in to a course, you are locked in to studying with your specific course peers. But, there are clear links between many university courses, with shared content that provides the potential for learning relationships that extend far beyond the campus gates.

So with 74 hubs and counting, Knodium gives you the opportunity to extend your knowledge base and share your learning and revision with friends and peers, wherever they are.

Try it now, and see how Knodium can help you to succeed.

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As the exam period is fast approaching, it’s time to think about those all-important revision sessions. Here at Knodium we have been working hard to set-up the perfect environment for you to revise successfully – and we’re just about there!

Go with the flow

Universities recommend working in groups as a good technique to learn and revise, but it has been found that people are much more likely to report being in a good ‘work flow’ (basically just being in the right state of mind for studying!) during work times rather than at leisure times.

So why risk your ‘flow’ being broken!?

By using Knodium to revise in groups, the constant temptation of social networking is minimised. You can set up your own hub for you and your course (or friendship) group to enter discussions and learn in a collaborative environment.

Where does Knodium come in to this?

Well, here are a few simple ways in which you can use Knodium to get the best out of your revision:

1. Make exam papers work for you

Take snippets of exam papers and discuss questions with your course mates. You can discuss how you would approach each question, or share those useful mnemonics that will help you to answer successfully.

2. Test your peers

Academics suggest creating your own exam questions and testing your peers. Why not share your questions and try answering those posted in to the hub. It’s a perfect opportunity to prepare for ‘surprise’ questions in the exam!

3. It’s not all about the students

Knodium is open to anybody within your institution, so why not speak to your lecturers and ask them to logon once a week for a Q&A session? It’s perfect for those last minute concerns, and means that you can solve a problem quickly, without leaving the house.

We are  working to create a network of students across all higher education institutions, a place where students can study together online in an open learning environment.

We’ll be here during this revision period and beyond, so don’t feel alone!

Knodium just keeps getting better, so stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, enjoy and good luck with your revision!

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Over the past few weeks we have released Knodium to our Campus Reps. Our Reps form a network of students across London, and they are dedicated to using and promoting Knodium within their universities. This preliminary beta launch has been really exciting for us, seeing the product we have worked so hard on be put to good use. But what did they think of it?

Students rule

When working on the design for Knodium, we wanted it to have the edge over all other possible means of collaborating online. So, as we developed, we continually showed our product to students, not only listening to their thoughts, but also observing their behaviour and paying attention to how they used our demos. We learnt about their various needs and designed for those, allowing us to create the product that does exactly what they want it to do. We listened, and we learnt.

We wanted to share some of the feedback we’ve been getting, so here are a few examples:

There’s nothing else like it for collaborating. Emails are so unstructured- stuff goes missing and it’s difficult to figure out what’s going on. File sharing sites don’t let you discuss what you’re sharing. Knodium makes sense of conversations and lets you keep track.
Mark, PhD engineer

In my projects there has been so much Facebook faffing and emailing. It is much better to have everything in one place. That’s what Knodium is doing. I like how pretty it is, too!
Aislinn, third year biomedical engineering

Facebook is confined to ‘friends’. Knodium is broadening education circles.
Peter, first year biology

I like the way Knodium makes things easy to find, even from a couple of months ago. Facebook blurs everything into one wall, but Knodium splits things up and lets you find what you want.
Conrad, second year computing

Equation editing is something physics forums are terrible at. Knodium has it as part of the platform, so it lets you stay focussed. And it looks good!
Christine, fourth year physics

Knodium puts everything in the same place. You can upload and discuss documents without having to use different platforms. Everything is kept together, and it’s pretty!
Hatty, second year medicine

Knodium fills in the divide between social media and education. If someone uses their laptop in a lecture, people assume they are messing about. There’s that gap where collaboration software could allow laptops in class to mean improved learning. Knodium is bridging the gap.
Julian, third year civil engineering

It’s exactly this sort of feedback that makes all the hard work worthwhile. We will be expanding our beta soon, so watch this space!

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Earlier this year, indie band The xx decided to investigate the word-of-mouth snowball effect that made them famous. A few days before their album’s official release, they shared the album with just one fan, and tracked the shares using a visualisation on the album site. The visualisation, available here, shows the shares radiating from the initial fan and spreading across the globe, spanning oceans and hemispheres. At times, the site crashed due to excessive use. It reached over 1.3 million fans.

This is the power of viral marketing.

But how does this relate to Knodium?

We are targeting the university market and our product is now ready for students to use. How should we spread the word? It works best to do as much as possible, but you can bet that word-of-mouth and viral marketing are right up there on our list.

At Knodium, we aren’t going to print excessive amount of flyers. We won’t pester people to sign up outside their student common rooms, and we haven’t hounded them at fresher’s fairs. We don’t just want people signing up to Knodium: we want them to use it! If they see how useful it is within their networks, then they are far more likely to sign up and start using it than if they had been handed a flyer. Students are some of the most connected groups of people on the planet. They are constantly online sharing things and talking to each other, and we have a product that is going to make their lives easier. It won’t be the only way that we get our name into the student community, but viral marketing is definitely our friend.

We are currently releasing Knodium to our Campus Reps, and inviting specific projects groups on board. As always we will be running student focus groups to ensure that we get feedback at every stage of development. In the next week or so we will be opening up Knodium to allow our Reps and existing users to invite others to come and get involved. We’ll also distribute Knodium to everyone who has signed up for the beta version on our site.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Knodium and join a growing number of people who are changing the way we study online!

studygals

We can socialise with our friends online whenever we want, so why is studying together so hard? This was the problem that Knodium set out to solve, and we think we’ve cracked it. So let’s look at why online collaboration gives us such a headache, and why Knodium is here to provide sweet relief.

  1. Online groupwork is a juggling act

There are hundreds of ways to share and communicate online, but there is nothing dedicated to students. By compromising, and using all sorts of different  resources and tools from all over the Internet, studying becomes harder than it should be.

Knodium is a single online tool that has been designed for students, by students. It has all of the resources and tools required for online collaboration: real-time chat, document sharing, creation of drawings, technical diagrams and more, and all organised intelligently to allow you to get on with the important stuff.

  1. Can’t focus- too many distractions

One of the most common compromises is the use of Facebook groups for collaboration. On the way to your study group you are bombarded with photos of last night’s party, your friend’s new hairdo, or your cousin’s cat doing something funny. All of these distractions are bad enough, not to mention Facebook chat popping up, and social notifications calling you away from your work. How can anyone be expected to work with this much distraction?

We like to keep things simple and distraction free. We don’t have ads, and our content is academic. Knodium lets you arrange yourself into Hubs based on courses, projects or even common interests. We only show you what is relevant to what you’re studying and learning and make it easy to move between topics and discussions – without getting distracted on the way.

  1. I want more than words

Some subjects need to be discussed using more than words. It’s really useful to share diagrams, sketches, formulae, and pictures. Typically people rely on photos of drawings on paper, long descriptions, or abundant use of *, / and ^. It’s just so much effort!

Knodium is building a whole toolbox that lets you create useful content and allows you to express yourself easily. You can click and drag images and documents into your posts. You can use our formula and chemical molecule editor to share mathematics and chemistry. We are constantly building in more improvement. In the pipeline is a sketchpad and links with Dropbox and Google Drive to make file sharing even easier.

  1. Where did my thread go?

Facebook groups don’t prioritise posts in a way that encourages discussion. No matter how important your conversation thread is, you can watch it sailing down the page as new posts and comments appear, until it disappears into obscurity. Once it’s gone it’s really difficult to find; especially in even bigger groups!

Knodium organises posts intelligently. Our smartest feature combines a series replies on one topic into that we call a block. Blocks can be given titles, making them more easily searchable. In each Hub, the blocks are displayed according to relevance, which is a combination of how recently they were posted, how much activity they have received, and whether or not you have participated in the conversation. You can also favourite blocks of particular interest, which will show up in your Personal Hub. Check out this screenshot of a hub:

  1. Can’t explore and connect with other learners

In your little group, tucked away safely on the Internet, it’s easy to believe that you and your peers are the only ones studying your topic. It’s really difficult to
connect with others who are studying the same subject.

Knodium opens up learning online with public Hubs, and the ability to make selected blocks public… even if your Hub is private! You can search across Hubs and collaborate with people there, or you can share their discussions within your Hub. We are creating a buzzing community of people talking about what they are learning, and learning even more by doing it.

When we were students we felt like nobody had ever really tried to understand what we wanted from online learning tools. Knodium is changing all of that. By listening to, and working with you we are creating something really valuable that just does what you need it to. We are constantly learning as well and love hearing from our users. We will never stop striving to improve our offering to you and look forward to sharing the journey with you!

So what are you waiting for? Term is starting, so sign up for Knodium to receive your invite as soon as we launch!

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Knodium is all about students. It wasn’t long ago that we were students ourselves! When we launch in the new academic year (extremely soon), we will be unleashing Knodium upon the student community. So what’s the best way to get a product like Knodium talked about it student circles?

Student-led design

We started with Knodium itself. The platform has had a completely student-driven design process. Each time we came up with a new version or feature, we got a group of trusted students to test it and give us feedback. This input has allowed us to continuously improve Knodium into something that all students will want to use. As we move on to the launch stage, we need to think more about what will be happening in universities.We have picked a team of motivated and friendly individuals from universities across London who are the pioneers of our Campus Reps scheme.

Campus Reps

The concept of Campus Reps is not a new one, but it is particularly ideal for Knodium. We have something that will make students’ lives considerably easier, whilst being easy to use and share. All we need is to spread the word. Students are far more likely to try out something recommended to them by a friend, so by getting enthusiastic students to introduce and recommend our product, we are making a better impression, and getting Knodium into the places where it is needed most. We have been working with universities in and around London, and the network now spans several of them.

Our Reps are ready to start spreading the word once term starts- let’s hear what some of our Reps from Imperial College London have to say about joining the Knodium team…

Aislinn Hayes, Biomedical Engineer at Imperial College London

I’m delighted to be working with Knodium as a Campus Rep because, as cheesy as it sounds, I really do believe in the site and the people behind it. It’s such a great, simple idea and so relevant for students, I can’t wait to start using it myself!

After suffering through design project woes with Dropbox, endless emails and Facebook groups, I’m completely positive that Knodium is going to be infinitely useful for us Bioengineers (And it’s free to use so I can happily keep funding my M&M addiction). The company looks amazing and, in my infinite Irish wisdom, it’s gonna be big.

 

Usama Asif, Medicine Student at Imperial College London

Being a part of Knodium is very exciting for me. The idea of Knodium intrigued me, as it has so much potential. The prospect of people working together on the Internet is not a new idea but the fact that Knodium puts everything together so well and allows freedom whilst keeping your work organised is great.

As a Campus Rep, I’ll be able to use Knodium and help other people to use it too, and I look forward to it!

 

So, do you like what you hear? Get in touch at hello@knodium.com

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This time next week I will be taking time out of the day to day running of Knodium and instead racing along the roads away from Paris and back towards Campus London, in the heart of East London. This is no holiday though: along with 40 other people from the startup community in London we are cycling a total of 300KM over 3 days to promote the tech scene in London and raise money for an incredible charity, Room to Read.

Knodium, a platform that lets students study online with each other, is gearing up for its launch at the beginning of the new academic year. We’ve been hard at work, fine-tuning the product, testing it and forging relationships with our community of users since the end of Springboard. It seemed about time for me to do something a bit crazy.

TechBikers (http://www.techbikers.com) is the brainchild of Eze Vidra, Head of Campus, and the culmination of a truly open-source effort by the community involved. We wanted to show that even though everyone is so focussed on their own startups we can all pull together to achieve something amazing like building a school fully stocked with books… and that’s exactly what we’re doing!

“Londonʼs Tech City community is amazing. I see it everyday in Campus. Inspiring projects like Techbikers allow us to come together, away from our individual goals, to pool our energies into a joint one. We want to build a childrenʼs library in the developing world, so get on your bike and join us.” said Vidra.

With Knodium I get to work with some of the worlds leading universities, helping to support the brightest minds in their studies. The internet is changing education at an incredible rate by giving students access to more information than ever, and allowing them to connect with others and learn in ways that haven’t previously been possible. But there are parts of the world that lack the basic requirements for education so we must not forget about the change that needs to happen there. By doing this ride to raise awareness, and through the kind donations and support from yourselves we can do our part to help others have the kind of education every child has the right to.

So watch as a collection of people all trying to do something incredible in their own rights, come together to do something incredible for thousands of children. Lets show others how amazing this community is and please donate to Room to Read at http://www.techbikers.com.

Don’t stop trying to change the world!

Michael

Room to Read:
Room to Read envisions a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world. To achieve this goal, we focus on two areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact: literacy and gender equality in education. We work in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.