Home Education Wuolah, the marketing platform for university notes that worries teachers

Wuolah, the marketing platform for university notes that worries teachers

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A student develops her academic tasks 'online', last week in Madrid.
A student develops her academic tasks ‘online’, last week in Madrid.Santi Burgos

The idea of ​​founding the Wuolah note exchange platform came from four Sevillian university students in 2015. They wanted to offer the best notes and it occurred to them to create a container that today is a real business. They claim that one in three Spanish university students (500,000) uses their network; that in Andalusian universities those registered exceed 75% of undergraduate students, and that it is making its way in the rest of Spain (61% in the Complutense University or 31% in the Rey Juan Carlos University). A walk through any university library during exam time, already before the pandemic, gave an idea of ​​the invasion of its downloads. In Wuolah there are four million documents uploaded by 100,000 different people. The ESO and Baccalaureate students, say the creators of the website, are also joining the initiative.

Whoever uploads content the company pays an amount conditioned by the number of downloads. And the user can download the notes without advertising if he pays a bonus or with ads if he does not. The documentation of each university is organized by courses and subjects. “My notes are very good and I need some money, the university’s thirds are cheap, but not free”, encourages her colleagues Gloria, a student of Sound Engineering in Madrid. His idea is to get pocket money. It has achieved 42 downloads that have reverted 1.63 euros for the advertising it has inserted. Users can start charging when they exceed 20 euros generated.

Enrique Ruiz, one of the founders of Wuolah, explains that “good users already earn around 100 euros per month”. “We work so that in two years they reach 1,000 euros a month,” he says. Many students get tired before reaching 20 euros in downloads that allow them to start charging. It has been achieved by 9%. The company, sponsored by the business accelerator of the Junta de Andalucía and that of the businessman Juan Roig, owner of Mercadona, is going to add the video format. Those responsible claim that the youtubers who create training content move to Wuolah “to impact a more localized and delimited student community,” continues Ruiz, 30.

In the beginning, small businesses near Sevillian faculties were advertised in their downloads – for example, a sandwich shop – and today they are in contact with agencies that want to reach young audiences, who watch television less and listen less. Radio. They already have 20 commercials to attract publicity. For example, Disney announced on the platform the premiere of Toy Story 4.

Dropout in classrooms

Beyond its business aspect – they have had two investment rounds in which they raised 1.3 million euros -, there is the lesson. And there concern has arisen among teachers. Twitter is full of messages from college students who say they have stopped going to class – especially now that they are online – and trust their future to a classmate sharing good notes online. “Really, if the four cats that we upload points to Wuolah, and therefore we go to some classes, let’s stop doing it … the faculty collapses,” reflects a student on Twitter. Many teachers dislike the network, who point out that it promotes vagrancy. Students, for their part, sometimes complain online that their classmates upload their notes without their permission. In the face of complaints, Wuolah responds, checks and removes the stolen documents.

Ruiz sees “understandable” that someone gets angry if its contents are used, but insists that they are anecdotal cases and there are more robberies between students than from students to teachers. Complaints from different faculties have reached the legal services of the Autonomous University of Madrid, and that is why last March they contacted Cedro (Spanish Center for Reprographic Rights), highlighted from the press department. The communication services of the universities of Seville, Complutense and Malaga also confirm that they have received complaints from their teachers that are resolved by talking to the company. “Teachers are reassured when they see that things are often uploaded due to ignorance. Most of them do it to help, not for money ”, says Ruiz, who assures that“ some teachers also upload content ”.

Authorship problems

Javier Díaz de Olarte, head of Cedro’s legal department, believes that in the preparation and, above all, subsequent distribution and commercialization of the notes, there may be an infringement of intellectual property, since the class is a work that corresponds to the teacher, who he is its author, and the student acts only as a mere copyist, “a stenographer of the old ones.” What he does not doubt is that a breach is incurred when the cover, the index or a chapter of a book is uploaded to that web page. They violate the law, in their opinion, the student and the platform that they want to obtain economic benefit. Ruiz emphasizes that as soon as a case is detected, they react as required by law. “YouTube also removes content,” he recalls.

“It is a very suggestive page, but it can become a minefield. It seems very collaborative but there are losers. The teacher strives to improve the classes, to introduce new references … ”, continues Díaz de Olarte. “A culture of intellectual property is lacking. There is no infringement when one takes advantage of the creativity of others because it is something immaterial ”. Cedro has for 15 years a program for schoolchildren to learn to respect copyrights, called Es de Libro. 34,900 adolescents and 3,700 teachers have already passed through it.

A professor of letters at the University of Seville, from anonymity, ironically over the phone: ¿[Que] students earn money with our notes and we don’t? ”. He explains that he has stopped delivering the PowerPoint presentations of his classes. “If they sell them, unless they do it and take notes. My time and work have cost me ”, he reflects.

Yiyi López Gándara, who trains future English teachers at the University of Seville, has been worried about the Woulah platform for years, but says it is not supported by the campus or by employers. Every time he finds notes or other materials of his, he takes action. “The problem is that there is no legal mechanism to prevent it from happening. If you want to report you have to go document by document, put the name of the file, the person who uploaded it … and they remove it, ”he says. The problem is less, he assures, with the master’s students: “They have another perspective, as they have done a final degree project, they know what copyright is, to cite the sources …”.

López Gándara believes that this platform does not influence his evaluation. “There has always been a market for notes. I evaluate by competences, with work, presentations, activities … ”. Although he does believe that it can encourage dropouts in classes in which memory tests are proposed. “Although with the same notes one can get a 0 and another a 10,” he warns.

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