Could Kroupys revolutionise the way in which we learn about art?
From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest, online social media and idea sharing platforms are thriving in today’s increasingly virtual world. One company is focusing on higher education with a question and answer format pioneered by the likes of Yahoo! and Ask.com.
In July 2012, three young entrepreneurs, Paul Beentjes, Pascal Baljet and Maurice Slot founded Kroupys in Zaandam, the Netherlands. Their main goal is the improvement of online knowledge sharing in higher education. “There is a world to win when it comes down to education and social technologies,” Paul Beentjes said in an interview with Art Radar.
To use the platform, all a user needs to do is create their own account and start posting questions and sharing learning materials by uploading photos, video files or written documents from university classes. Alternatively, they can simply browse through their peers’ findings on particular topics. Creating a question is simple, as Beentjes told Art Radar, “just create your own art history interest-group on Kroupys by clicking ‘create new group’ on your homepage, where you can invite other art scholars and ask them to share their artworks in that group”.
These are clearly still early days for the site with regard to art, and, so far, technology, innovation and science are the most popular fields discussed and researched on the platform. Beentjes is keen to note that Kroupys is not intentionally focusing on specific fields, “Kroupys is a platform for higher education in general, so we are not focusing on a specific area within higher education. Right now Kroupys is used by students to discuss study-related topics. Hence, my ambition is also to make Kroupys a place for doing research together and giving each other feedback on documents”.
Even if art history students have yet to discover and make use of the platform, its potential is clear. The company is currently focused on organising pilot projects at a number of universities, especially in the Netherlands, but with a strong focus on universities in the United States and Europe as well, in which classes of students in all fields will use the website to share the knowledge they gained in the courses.
Beentjes offered up an example to show the successful use of Kroupys in a university:
A few weeks ago a group of seventeen students of communication science at the University of Amsterdam used the platform in their classes and within sixteen days they gave more than 150 answers on questions related to their course. It made the lessons more interactive, social and fun and more knowledge was shared amongst the students.
To further encourage users to participate and upload content, active members can earn points by sharing useful information, a function that Kroupys will eventually develop into a scoreboard, and the relevance of a question or topic is determined at the click of the “useful” button, included on each. Users with the most points become “tag-leaders” and are considered to be the experts within a specific tag. As a future incentive, planned collaborations with companies will provide tag-leaders with prizes such as tickets to relevant conferences, dinners and social events.
While Kroupys is yet to develop an active community of art history scholars, there are other online platforms dedicated to the discussion of art on a global level, for example, ArtStack has a community of “stackers” that share their experiences and knowledge about art and MOOC list (Massive Open Online Courses) makes international university courses available online, offering art history, architecture and design courses.
Do you think platforms like Kroupys are a useful tool for those in higher education in the arts? Leave a comment below.
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