Cramster creates a homework helping community

Logo Top LeftA company that was started back in February, 2003 continues to help students with homework problems semester after semester. Cramster, which provides support for math, science and engineering subjects, allows students to connect to their peers as well as professors in order to help each other solve difficult homework questions. The site provides access to textbook answers (currently supporting over 150 textbooks), lecture notes (over 17,000), sample problems and practice tests. Much of the content on Cramster is original and provided by their users, while a portion is aggregated from around the web. If a student can’t find the answer they are looking for, they can go on the Cramster Answer Board where members can ask and answer questions, all under the moderation of Cramster’s “Subject Matter Experts.” Unlike a traditional message board, responses aren’t confined to text-only; complicated problems often call for complicated answers, which Cramster supports through a custom diagram feature.

Cramster’s focus on community building really sets it apart from other homework-helper sites out there. In the past, a student looking for an answer to a math problem would search around until he/she found the answer, at which point they would most likely copy it and leave. Cramster has managed to combat this pattern by creating a rewards-based system that provides incentives for students to help each other. Its working: a quick visit to any of their Answer Boards reveals thousands of posts made by students eager to show one another how to solve problems. Here’s how the rewards work: when you answer another student’s question on the Answer Board, your response is immediately posted. From that point, other members of the site rate the accuracy and helpfulness of your answer. A high rating provides you with “karma points.” Users that have a high number of karma points are able to ask more questions per day. In addition, the questions these members ask receive higher priority in the response que, meaning they can expect answers to their problems faster (typically within 2 hours). Users can also trade in their karma points for cool stuff, from $25 gift cards to iPods and even Playstation 3’s. Combine all of these benefits with a prominently displayed leader-board system and you’ve got Cramster’s solution to creating a successful online study group.

And the site isn’t just for students: teachers, who can join for free, have a surprisingly large presence on the Answer Boards, where their posts are distinguished apart from the rest of the users. For those who aren’t teaching, Cramster offers two different membership options: free and paid. Free members get access to half of the textbook solutions on the site (only the odd numbered problems), can view all the lecture notes and practice exams, and can ask/answer questions on the Answer Board (initially limited to 1 question per day, although they can raise this by gaining karma points). Paid members can view and print all the textbook problems and are able to ask more questions per day on the boards, in addition to their questions receiving priority responses. Paid membership costs $10/month or $40/year, affordable even for high school students.

Speaking of high school, while the site is currently geared towards college students, Cramster is in the process of making itself more accessible to those who have yet to become undergrads. The site will soon offer support for popular high school textbooks, in addition to breaking down the Answer Board into subsections that are more relevant for high school students such as algebra and trigonometry.

The company, which just released a Facebook app allowing students to compare schedules and textbooks, is located in Pasadena, Calif.

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2 Responses to “Cramster creates a homework helping community”

  1. By larry on Oct 13, 2021 | Reply

    i was wondering , you have the ipod video for 5,000 karma points and then the ipod touch for 8,000 karma points. It says that after redeeming points you mantain your board level, so does that mean i can get an ipod video and I’m 3,000 points away from an ipod touch or do i have to start over again. Plz answer..

  2. By Neo on Nov 2, 2021 | Reply

    Hi Larry,

    Write to servicedesk@cramster.com
    They will promptly reply you.

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