What is the Study Pass? Amanda and Amanda Discuss.
For the past few weeks, Flat World has been graced with yet another fantastic intern, Amanda Brauer. What a huge help she’s been, especially to our Customer Service team in the weeks leading up to her first semester at the University of New Hampshire. Since we’ve just launched a new product (shout out to the Study Pass!), I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get her thoughts on it.
First, the 411: Flat World Knowledge has this super cool online textbook reader. Reading entire college textbooks online for free is huge, no doubt, but when we thought about what students do to their analog/dead-tree textbooks — you know, they highlight, scribble in the margins, go sticky-note crazy, dog-ear pages and generally bust up the books pretty good — we knew we had to offer the online equivalent. An equivalent that gives students far more, for far less!
Hello Study Pass.
Study Pass is our premium online reader. Your textbook is still there, but now you can take notes, highlight, and interact with study aids like flash cards and quizzes. But what’s really cool? Study mode. When you toggle into study mode, the section you’re reading is stripped down to the basics — you see just the learning objectives, key terms, definitions, key takeaways, etc. Any notes and highlighted passages that you created will appear, too. It’s like a self-generated study guide. (There’s a “C” word I use to describe it, that I’m probably not allowed to say, not because it’s bad but because it’s trademarked.) It gets better — you can print and your Study Pass doesn’t expire or self destruct like a rental.
Like all Flat World products, we are constantly optimizing and improving Study Pass based on user feedback. And when I have a wonderful intern who could potentially be a user of one of our textbooks, I have to get her take. So, Amanda-the-intern got on the case. She learned how to use Study Pass – no instruction, no leading questions. Here’s what she told me:
An Intern’s Take.
Amanda liked the way the key term definitions appeared on hover and that she could pick a section at a time as opposed to scrolling through the entire book or even chapter. (Best part, you don’t have to pay for the Study Pass to enjoy those features; they are standard in our free online reader.)
Note-taking and highlighting were easy, especially since there were some helpful hints about how to get started.
She liked the way you could see both your notes and highlights at the same time when you hover over that area of the book.
She gave the flash cards high marks, too. She could choose to view either the key term or the definition and could indicate that she “mastered” a term so she doesn’t have to see that card again.
The book she was reading happened to not have quizzes, so when I showed her another book that had them, she wished they were available in hers.
Here’s where her inner marketer really shined. She really liked the way only the important content showed up when she toggled to study mode. She imagined it being helpful in those last 5 minutes before a test, “a quick study alternative if you’re in a rush,” she said. I might use that line.
What she would change.
Once she highlighted something, she couldn’t edit it. For example, if she wanted to add to an existing highlighted passage, our tool instead creates two separate, overlapping highlighted passages. I agree with her; we’ll keep working on editing features. It also took too several clicks to highlight. Shouldn’t the colors just show up right away?
And finally, Amanda thought between $20-30 was a reasonable price to pay (we offer it at $19.95, per book), but I soon realized she thought that would give her a Study Pass for every textbook in our catalog, which would be more like buying a site license than buying a book. Interesting concept, something to think about as we further improve our products. But $20 sure beats $100-200, which is what many students are paying for a single textbook these days.
What do you think?
Check out Study Pass and tell us. Simply create a user account when reading any of our textbooks online (yep, you can still read them all free!), and Study Pass will automatically be activated for 14 days so you can try and decide if you want to buy. Don’t worry, there’s no give-us-your-your-credit-card-before-you-try-it funny business. You choose the format that’s best for you. Enjoy.