Stu.dicio.us is a new AJAX driven note taking service that allows the sharing of notes between students. I decided to take Stu.dicio.us for a test drive to see if it should be added to every students toolbox.
The main page is very clean and simple like any Web 2.0 page should be. While you can play around with the page, and search other notes before signing up, we are just going to get down and dirty and sign up.
You sign up for stu.dicio.us without any email varification or screen loading. Nothing turns me off more than a complicated signup process and stu.dicio.us “gets it”.Then we are taken to our dashboard. We can enter in new classes, add things to our “todo” list, and add more notes. I added three classes for kicks and the dialog box is the same as the signup. Awesome.Now for the bread and butter: the notes. Adding notes brings up the familiar dialog box as we pick the class and the topic(!).
Although I originally thought this was a bad idea, picking a topic before the class even starts, you can always go back and change it.
Everybody takes notes differently and that could be the downfall of a public notes system. I would guess that most people use bullets, and this is exactly was stu.dicio.us implements.
As you type your text stu.dicio.us automatically saves what you are writing avoiding any lost information from something like a power outage.
However, the markup leaves a little to be desired as you can only use bold or italics, and when you want to color something you have no choice over what color it is. I know most people would use color just to emphasize, but I’m sure some students used color coding highlighters to organize their info.
On the plus side, you can tab your notes seemingly to infinity emulating a true outline. All mark up is done with keyboard shortcuts that are fairly intuitive for any body that has spent significant time in Microsoft Word.
Another cool feature is that you can save your notes as a DOC or a HTML file.
Stu.dicio.us is also a sort of P2P network where one could fine what other professors are saying about a similar topic. To me this is what makes stu.dicio.us special. It also helps if you have a bad professor.
After searching for “Math” and receiving only one result, and searching “Journalism” and getting zero, I received two pages worth of hits on “science”. Stu.dicio.us seems to search on the lecture topic first and then the content of the notes.
When viewing the notes of others you can’t edit their content, but you can copy the notes to your set. In a way it is a voyeuristic peek into the learning habits of your peers.
In summary, the note taking is a great start, but I would love to see implementation of a free drawing area. Also, spell check would help terrible spellers such as myself and make notes easier to share. Sharing would also help if there was some sort of collaboration ala Writely. And wouldn’t it be cool to chat with other online users, especially ones in your given note topic? Regardless, the sharing feature needs more students to use the service before it becomes ideal. Although I am aware most schools are not currently in session. But I plan on test driving the site my first week of class.
Anyway I give kudos to stu.dicio.us for not slapping some “beta” tag on the site, but it needs a tad more features to really make mainstream use feasible.
And seriously, stu.dicio.us is really hard to spell.
[via Lifehacker, thanks BM!]