Resell your courses on the Internet: StuDocu, the website that annoys teachers

College professors learn to hate him. The students gradually adopt it. Launched in France less than a year ago, StuDocu offers courses, tutorial summaries (TDs) or simple notes on the web. In return, students are paid or given free access to all content. The concept is being discussed more and more frequently in lecture halls.

What is the principle?

Created in May, the French version of this website founded in the Netherlands is based on the same model as its American, Belgian, Italian or Spanish versions. Students are encouraged to post their lessons or notes online. “People are responsible for confirming educational interest, but also for ensuring that these are not documents stolen from a teacher,” explains Marnix Broer, one of the platform’s founders. We also use artificial intelligence. »

There are already more than 60,000 courses available in France. A shortcoming, however, compared to the two million that StuDocu demands worldwide. There we find excerpts from legal tutorials, medical lessons and pages of explanations of economic fundamentals. 80% are free. However, to download it or get access to the remaining 20%, you must become a premium member.

Who pays what?

Initially (two months in France) StuDocu pays to expand its offering. “Depending on the quality, the costs are between 1 and 10 euros per document,” describes Marnix Broer. Law student Pauline* sold some of her notes last year. “I was able to earn almost 150 euros with that,” says the 22-year-old young woman.

To then become a premium member, the student has two options: put a course online and get free access for two weeks or pull out their credit card and pay a monthly subscription of 2.99 or 3.99 euros, depending on the formula.

“We refuse to make students pay,” says Arsène Lemaire, founder of Monamphi, a website that also offers online courses, albeit completely free. It is assumed that access to knowledge must be free. »

Is that legal?

Teachers warn their students in lecture halls and on social networks. Stéphanie Damarey, professor of law at the University of Lille (Nord), had the unpleasant surprise of finding papers she had written on StuDocu. “They removed them at my request,” she explains. I also called out the offending student on social media and he apologized. I don't think it's normal for people to make money from my work and charge students for documents that I offer for free. »

“Putting teacher courses online to profit from them is counterfeiting,” explains Lyon academic Edouard Trepppoz, an intellectual property specialist. Even note-taking is considered such if it is based on the plan drawn up by the teacher and therefore on the originality of its creation. » The perpetrators face three years in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros. Theoretical penalties. “They will never reach this level,” emphasizes Edouard Treppoz. And teachers should also take legal action…”

On the StuDocu side, we view the excitement of academics from a distance. “It shows that people are interested in what we do. You have to realize that we live in the 21st century and that young people have been sharing their lessons on Facebook for years, says Marnix Broer. France is a promising market and we are betting big on it. »

* The first name has been changed.

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