School has just started and I’m already tangled up in a web of course announcements, emails from my professors and fellow classmates, newsletters from the university, events listings from associations I take part in, college newsletters etc. It is exhausting trying to keep up with all the different possible means of electronic communication from campus. I compulsively check my Utor email, my home email, then blackboard, and occasionally ROSI (if I’m waiting on test scores). When you add to this the attempt to remain in communication with fellow classmates for group projects and socializing, the inefficiency of electronic communication on campus is just plain annoying!
By providence, after leaving a recent focus group on this exact topic, I noticed a poster pasted to a pole outside of the Koffler Building. I don’t know why I took notice; perhaps I was primed to pay attention to what sounded like a new social networking site. The sign read Ubuddy.org.
Later in the day as I was checking my email, I decided to find out what Ubuddy.org was. Indeed, it is a new social networking site created by U of T students for U of T students. Ubuddy is what you would get if Facebook and Blackboard had a baby. It’s a social networking site, where you can talk to classmates, exchange notes, organize study groups and events, and find support from fellow students.
Charles Qu, president of Ubuddy, explained to me that the service was born in 2011, to a group of proud U of T engineering students. Ubuddy’s two main goals are to allow fellow students to connect and to share course information, questions and resources. Ubuddy currently has about 3,000 students signed up, 2,500 of them being U of T students, but Ubuddy’s platform is open to students from universities across the nation.
In July of 2011, Ubuddy revamped their website to offer more services to its users. There is now a textbook exchange, as well as tutor listings, club pages, and student job listings.
We are all well aware of the shortcomings of Blackboard/Portal and I really don’t need to tell you all about the many elements of the site that drive students and professors mad throughout the school year. In comparison to the sites provided to us by U of T, U buddy is a breath of fresh air. It is a model that the university could look to for improving current web platforms.
Who knows, maybe someone important will read this post and realize how vital it is that we students have a single web platform that allows us to access all the online content we need to be successful and happy students.