Lucas Cioffi wrote:
Our startup is considering creating an easy way to form live, peer-to-peer study groups for the bar exam, and we'd love to hear your advice on any of the following questions:
- What would make live audio/video study groups most helpful to you?
- What is a reasonable monthly cost per participant?
- How long would you want a study session to be and how many times would you want to meet per week?
- Would you rather meet with people you know or people you do not know?
- It is important for all members of a study group to have the same materials. Does it make sense to arrange separate study groups around each different bar exam prep course?
- Any other suggestions?
Thanks for your feedback here. We've found strong success with our first pilot project in a different professional field, and we are looking for ways to tailor this to your needs in the context of the bar exam.
Are you offering a sort of "study group match.com" type deal where you put people together to study via live meeting technology? If this is the case, why wouldn't people just meet on a forum like this and use Skype or some other free live meeting software for free?
I don't quite understand what the strategic advantage would be of using your service over using a free, or cheap video meeting software. Is it technology? Do you have a better platform to do that on? Is it that you have a better database of people, or a better way to match them than people coming onto a site like this, posting a free thread and forming a group themselves? Is it in the study materials that you would publish? Would you perform more of an administrative function (scheduling, sending out "groupwork") The question is, what are you offering that I can't do cheaper or for free on my own? I know there must be something because you've been successful in another area of study.
Personally, I don't do many study groups. Having said that, I cant see how a study group could work with everyone having different study materials.
Preliminarily, I would say a better use of live audio/video in the bar exam context might be in terms of tutoring.
1) PT intensive/class -- In California, PT's count for about 40% of your written grade and as far as I could tell there aren't many resources available to succeed in PT's. I'm talking in terms of formatting, basic setup, what should be included in each type of assignment. The instructions for the PT will give you some of the information, but I think there is a lot of room for learning. A lot of people have made it through law school without learning how to write jury instructions, or what format would make the most sense for a memo or points and authorities. And, writing classes are typically done in the first year of law school, so some students haven't written an assignment like a PT in years. A live video/audio class on something like that would probably be something people would be interested in if you did it off hours. Barbri (which a lot of students use) takes up the day, so having something like that available maybe on the weekend so people could get the information but not have to drive might be useful
2) Essay feedback/grading -- I've read in a few areas people say that they didn't get much essay feedback. And I know for myself, sometimes I didn't quite understand some of the feedback that I was getting and it would have been helpful to have even 10 minutes to discuss with the person grading my practice essays what they thought. The past essays are available in many states, so if you have a few past bar graders the chance to actually discuss the essay grading with them might give you an advantage over other services.
But hey, those are just my thoughts at 3am