NoteBowl social learning platform revolutionizes online learning

(Left) NoteBowl CEO and founder Andrew Chaifetz and Marketing Director Logan Stoneman pose outside their office at ASU SkySong in Scottsdale. NoteBowl is a Tucson based startup that provides universities with simple learning management system to connect students, professors and the campus community. (Photo by Shiva Balasubramanian) (Left) NoteBowl CEO and founder Andrew Chaifetz and Marketing Director Logan Stoneman pose outside their office at ASU SkySong in Scottsdale. NoteBowl is a Tucson based startup that provides universities with simple learning management system to connect students, professors and the campus community. (Photo by Shiva Balasubramanian)

NoteBowl, a Tucson startup company, is looking to provide universities like ASU with a social learning environment to connect students, professors and the campus community.

Andrew Chaifetz, CEO and founder of NoteBowl, created the company after he felt dissatisfied with his own university’s learning management system.

"As a former student myself, I went through the daily struggles of needing to manage multiple platforms, organizing all my course calendars, searching through scattered information and trying to keep up with campus life," he said. "NoteBowl is the first platform that puts it all into one place."

NoteBowl is pilot testing its program at UA and is discussing a pilot with officials at ASU through the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative.

Chaifetz said NoteBowl hopes to start a pilot program that can both validate the 1.0 version of its classroom environment and help students and professors reach their full potential at ASU.

"Ultimately, our goal is to increase student success in and out of the classroom, which in turn can lead to better retention and a better overall student experience," he said.

While Blackboard serves as the learning management system to supply the University’s basic needs, such as publishing grades and assignments, NoteBowl aims to incorporate many of the social networking tools that students already use for class work into one comprehensive platform.

By streamlining some of the features of Facebook and Blackboard, NoteBowl synchronizes students’ agendas with classroom assignments, as well as university and club events, in the hopes that this will increase student engagement and serve as a more efficient social learning platform as a whole.

NoteBowl’s many features work together with the goal of improving the classroom experience through creating a more efficient and effective organization, collaboration and course management.

These goals are accomplished, in part, through the NoteBowl’s use of one calendar to incorporate events from Google Calendar and iCal, as well as those pulled from course syllabi and group projects.

The calendar’s agenda feature allows students to view tasks in a list format and can provide push notifications for mobile devices.

While NoteBowl includes Google Hangouts and Google Drive in its interface, the program also encourages group work through functions for group messaging and studying.

NoteBowl’s “bulletin” allows class members to interact with each other, as well as with professors, in a Facebook-like format.

The bulletin allows users to post notes and comments, upload documents and view grades, assignments and class rosters.

Unlike Blackboard, NoteBowl’s platform includes extracurricular activities by allowing public groups such as clubs, organizations, athletics, student affairs groups and libraries to use the bulletin system, on which students can sign up for groups and events.

Each user would have a NoteBowl profile, which has the option of posting a résumé and contact information in order to network with other users.

Students are also given a digital student ID card, which NoteBowl created so students would not need to worry about losing a physical card.

These features, according to tests, have proven favorable with university students.

According to NoteBowl’s pilot case study at UA, 48 percent of students felt NoteBowl was more effective than other LMS, and 68 percent felt it was more efficient as well.

NoteBowl has already received attention and award for its innovative platform.

In February, NoteBowl was awarded $15,000 from ASU's Edson Entreprenuer Initiative.  The company was also given a new office in ASU’s SkySong facility, courtesy of ASU’s Edson Entrepreneur Initiative. The NoteBowl team is also being mentored by Aaron Matos, CEO of Jobing.com.

NoteBowl now plans to expand to other universities and launch a mobile app in the spring of 2015.

NoteBowl is looking for ASU professors to pilot the program. To learn more, contact the NoteBowl team at hello@notebowl.com.

Marketing freshman Ranta Rhummel said he likes the idea of the NoteBowl but worries about it crashing.

“I think it’d be a great idea, but it would suffer tremendously if there was some type of technical difficulty,” Rhummel said.

Nursing freshman Martine Desulme said she would like to use NoteBowl.

“I think it’s a really good idea, and it would be a lot easier for students to keep track of everything in the school and extracurriculars,” Desulme said.

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this article incorrectly stated where Notebowl received its $15,000 award from. This version has been updated with the proper information.

Reach the reporter at ekamezak@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @emikamezaki

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