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How to find old homework and test files for free with a little help from a Hero

posted Jan 25, 2010, 10:34 AM by Danny Eusebio   [ updated Jan 25, 2010, 10:46 PM ]
Tomorrow’s the big test and you have no idea what is on that exam. You figure, I might as well go to sleep and just find out what happens. Well, you might want to reconsider. Why not call a Hero? Today, University Ninja does a light review of the controversial Course Hero. Yes, Coursehero.com. Some of you have probably heard of it and were shunned away from its hefty pricetag. I dropped $40.00 for a 1-month subscription. Is it worth your money? Will all your questions be answered? Continue reading and you’ll find out more. (img from: http://static.tvfanatic.com/images/gallery/hiro-nakamura-photo.jpg)




Coursehero.com is essentially a space for users to contribute documents. These “documents” could be anything academically related. For example, syllabi, lectures notes, homeworks, and exams can be easily searched. However, don’t quickly make this your panacea. Even though the website does a good job of organizing material and content, finding your answer might still be challenging. What’s more interesting, is the ability to share documents to prolong your access.

Now, I didn’t have to pay $40.00 to gain access into this community. I had the option of uploading 40 documents for 1 month access. As expected, the more you upload the more access you’ll be given. The idea is simple. I think coursehero found a smart way of encouraging individuals to upload. What can you do to get free access?

Tips: Don’t Pay

Here at University Ninja, we want you to get into the system and take advantage of it. So here’s my tip. First of all, don’t pay the premium. However, you can pay for the all year access, which comes out to 7 dollars a month (not bad), although you have to pay around $86.00 upfront. Before the year ends, collect all the documents that were uploaded for one of your classes, syllabi, notes, and homework included. About 2 of your classes can generate 40 documents if not more. Upload it. Coursehero says it takes about 1-3 days, so I would recommend doing this in advance.

The worst thing you can do to yourself is get caught at the last minute and forced to purchase an account. They aren’t cheap. Make sure you take the initiative and plan ahead.

Fig 1:Sample image of what the interface looks like. coursehero puts together a viewing window preventing easy copying.

Once you’re in, you want to do is scour there search database. Look for all the files that you need for the semester. Here’s the catch, coursehero limits the amount of downloads you can make of their files. (Seriously, these guys thought this through). By limiting the ability to download the files, you’re forced to pay or contribute more documents to access the files. With a $40.00, 1 month account, I got 10 document downloads. You’re allowed to view any documents; however, you’re limited on how many of them you can download.  With a little bit of ingeniuity, you don’t have to download any of the documents, and you can save them. If you’re running Windows 7 or Mac OSX, you can use the screen capture features to just capture and paste the documents into your Microsoft Word.

Figure 2: Sample search results.

Drop by this blog and see if you can find a free program that works for you: Free Capture Programs

This isn’t easy to do, neither is it fun, but you’re able to keep access to documents and print them. My suggestion, just download documents which are 10 pages or longer and just use the capture method for smaller files. However, if you use up all your downloads, then there’s a premium you have to pay to download more content. So think things through, while you download files.

Verdict:

Coursehero is a very useful system. It can help you find old homeworks and exams to give you that needed edge in a course. In addition, it’s actually useful to view notes from other schools. Don’t be intimitated when other class notes come up. I actually insist that you open them up and look at it. You might actually learn better from a different school’s notes then your own. I would recommend coursehero, however, I wouldn’t recommend the paying method. I would insist that one share documents to gain access. You won't find every answer you're looking for, but it's a start. Coursehero has something really innovative going for themselves, so take advantage of it.

Caution:

There are some things you should be concerned about while uploading documents. Ideally you want to confirm with the professor if this is okay. Obviously, who’s gonna ask their professor, right? Supposedly all uploads are anonymous, putting you in a position where your untraceable to the files. In addition, professors and educators have the right to remove a document if there are copyright issues.

 

 

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