The Student Room

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The Student Room Group Limited
Trading name The Student Room
Type Private
Industry Student Community, eLearning, Higher Education Marketing
Predecessors Acumen Professional Intelligence Limited and Student Media Services Ltd
Founded England & Wales (March 1, 2002 (2002-03-01))
Founders Charles Delingpole
Headquarters Brighton, England
Area served Global
Key people
Products Subscription learning products for students & B2B engagement & research products
Brands Get Revising, Marked by Teachers
Owners Chris Newson, Charles Delingpole + others
Employees 55
Website tsrmatters.com

The Student Room Group (often referred to as TSR) is a UK based privately held Digital Learning Community company. It owns three major student facing websites:

As well as TheStudentRoom.co.uk, the company also owns MarkedByTeachers.com and GetRevising.co.uk. It's corporate website is TSRMatters.com.

This article is about the company as a whole, which refers to itself as The Student Room.[1]

TheStudentRoom.co.uk[edit]

The Student Room
Web address thestudentroom.co.uk
Type of site
Student Community and Social Learning Site
Registration Required to post. Viewable as a guest.
Available in English; also features a dedicated multilingual sub-forum
Owner The Student Room Group Ltd.
Alexa rank
negative increase 6,799 (October 2014)[2]

The Student Room (often abbreviated to TSR), established in 2001, is a large United Kingdom based community and social learning website for school and university students. It claims to be the no.1 UK education site according to Comscore[3] media metrix web statistics.[4]

It connects students with other students so that they can make more informed education choices, get help with their studies, and get support with student life.[5]

As of January 2014, the site has over 1.35 million members and 45 million posts, and gets over 6.5 Million visitors per month.[6]

In May 2013 the site incorporated versions of sister sites MarkedbyTeachers.com and GetRevising.co.uk to form a new social learning section called Learn Together.[7]

MarkedbyTeachers.com[edit]

www.markedbyteachers.com uses selected examples of real student work to help students learn. It has 150,000+ pieces of work written by UK students,[8] of which many are also critiqued by UK teachers or peer reviewed by students.[9]

GetRevising.co.uk[edit]

www.getrevising.co.uk contains a broad range of supplementary social learning tools including flashcards, quizzes, word searches, mindmaps, crosswords, revision notes, quiz searches and revision cards. Students create their own resources which they can then share with peers.[10]

Get Revising is also home to a study planner & revision timetable creator.[10]

Awards[edit]

  • The Student Room was announced as one of 3 winners in the Edtech20 Awards announced at the 2014 Edtech Europe conference. This recognises the company as being in the top 3 most innovative and fastest growing Edtech companies in Europe.[11]
  • The Student Room was the winner of the Fastest Growing Business Award at the Brighton & Hove Business Awards in 2013.[12]
  • The Student Room wins 4 prestigious Lovies Awards in 2013 for Best Community Site & Best Youth Site awarded by the judges, and the same 2 categories as voted by web users across Europe.[13]
  • The Student Room recognised as an Official Honoree for Social Media Websites at the Webbys[14]
  • GetRevising.co.uk wins Hi5 eLearning award from UK government funded Joint Information Systems Committee, the UK body concerned with information and communications technology in education.[15]
  • GetRevising.co.uk selected as finalist in the 2010 BETT Awards in the category for Best Tools for Learning and Teaching[16]
  • GetRevising.co.uk has claimed a Silver Award for Most Dramatic Business Impact at the Which Test Won 2014 Online Testing Awards.[17]
  • The Student Room medical forums voted Best on the Web by medicalnoises.com [18]
  • The Student Room wins INTO's Most Innovative and Useful Site for Students in 2013[19]
  • Ernst & Young short-listed for ‘Best use of Social Media Platform’ for graduate recruitment campaign on The Student Room[20]

The Student Room also runs its own annual "Student in a Million" awards, to identify inspirational UK students.[21] In 2013 David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, presented the awards whilst also opening The Student Room's new Brighton office.[22]

Partnerships[edit]

The Student Room Group has a range of high profile partnerships in the student information space.

  • In 2009 they partnered with the UK Government Department for Innovation Universities and Skills[23] (now DBIS - the Department of Business Innovation & Skills)to provide university information for Mature Students.
  • For several years The Student Room have partnered with UCAS[24] to ensure that the moderators on The Student Room are formally trained up as UCAS Advisers, and duly supported by UCAS to ensure they provide high quality advice - particularly during the university Clearing process.
  • The Student Loans Company (part of Student Finance England) partner with The Student Room[25] to ensure that UK students receive the highest quality and most timely advice directly within their own community on The Student Room.

Ownership, Staff & volunteers[edit]

Executive Leadership[edit]

The Student Room Group is run by Chief Executive Officer, Jason Geall, along with his leadership team, Pete Barnes (Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer), Pete Kelly (Chief Technical Officer), Tom Corfield (Chief Learning Officer, former PWC management consultant & entrepreneur).[26]

Other Employees[edit]

There are around 55 employees largely based out of their Brighton office.

Notable employees include Pete Taylor (username "P") - the longest serving staff member, Warren Oates (username "RK" and Head of Operations), Jack Wallington (username "Captain Jack" and Director of Community"). New staff member and admin: Damian Posener ("Dez").

Shareholders[edit]

Chris Newson (username "ChrisN") is the Non-Executive Chairman and largest shareholder of The Student Room Group.[27]

Volunteers[edit]

The Student Room sites are run by a team of over 150 volunteer Section Leaders, Section Moderators, Forum Assistants, Wiki Support Team Members, Personal Statement Helpers, CV Helpers & Specialist Advisers [28]

Section Leader[edit]

Section Leaders are long standing model TSR users handpicked for their understanding of TSR and their leadership skills. They specialise in and oversee a specific section of TSR and work closely with the moderators in that section. The majority of a Section Leader’s time is taken up responding to specific user enquiries and providing support and leadership to the other Moderators. Section Leaders have the final say on moderation matters. They work closely with the Community Team and the entire user community making sure the Members interests are adequately represented.[28]

Section Moderator[edit]

Section Moderators are active and respected members within a specific forum or group of forums. They are selected for their keen interest and positive contributions within that area of TSR.

Section Moderators are responsible for the day-to-day organisation, moderation and wellbeing of their site area(s). This encompasses everything from patrolling the forum for inappropriate or incorrectly placed posts and threads, dealing with disputes to answering queries, replying to post reports and developing articles on the Wiki.

In addition, Section Moderators work with users in their site area to make recommendations to Admin on improvements that could enhance their sub community on TSR. This could be updates to the forum; but also wider resources such as articles, blogs, photos, partnership suggestions etc. Section Moderators also discuss wider TSR moderation policy and development with the rest of the Moderation Team.[28]

Forum Assistants[edit]

Forum Assistants support Moderators operating in a particularly 'admin intensive' area of the site. They are responsible for keeping their specific forum area orderly, by moving posts, merging threads and tagging threads appropriately.

Forum assistants are chosen either by the Members of TSR within a sub community of the site (in the case of the House of Commons and the Model UN) or by the Moderators (in the case of the Personal Statement forum assistants) to perform an important auxiliary role.[28]

Wiki Support Team Member[edit]

The Wiki Support Team (WST) are members who have shown an interest in the Articles section of the site. Part of their role means they are responsible for patrolling edits that are made to the articles to ensure there is no vandalism or advertising occurring.

They also are active in editing the articles themselves and may try to coordinate efforts within the wider site community to develop certain groups of articles. In addition the WST takes a role in discussing the development and improvements to the articles section in the About Wiki forum.[28]

Personal Statement Helper[edit]

PS Helpers are university undergrads or graduates who volunteer to help other students who are planning to apply through UCAS with the wording of their Personal Statement.

TSR Members can submit a draft of their statement that they would like critiqued into one of the Personal Statement Helper Forums. Only PS Helpers are able to see any of these submissions.

Anyone can apply to become a PS Helper, as long as they are at University or have graduated.[28]

CV Helper[edit]

CV Helpers are usually people have entered full-time work who volunteer to help other Members who are planning to apply for jobs through the wording of their CVs and cover letters.

TSR Members can submit a draft of their CV or cover letter that they would like critiqued into the CV Helper Forum. Only CV Helpers are able to see any of these submissions.

Though there are currently enough CV Helpers, anyone may become one once you have entered full-time work.[28]

Specialist Advisers[edit]

Specialist Advisers have a particular specialism or expertise that enables them to impart reputable and credible help to TSR users. They may be people from TSR or from outside of the community who help out by share their knowledge and experience with others.

A TSR Member may be approached by Admin to become a Specialist Adviser if they have demonstrated that they have a positive persona on the site and are suitably knowledgeable about a topic covered in one of the TSR forums. Alternatively Admin may approach an external professional partner to provide a Specialist Adviser service into an area that it is felt into which real benefit could be given.[28]

The websites in detail[edit]

The Student Room Sections[edit]

The main sections of the site are:

  • Study Help - where students and teachers help each other out. This section now incorporates a range of social learning tools
  • University Courses - where students can get advice on any university course they may be wanting to study
  • Universities - with individual forums for each UK university for prospective students to get advice from existing students, and for existing students to connect with each other. The Student Room also has University Guides for every UK university which combine student & official content
  • Careers
  • Life & Style
  • Hobbies & Interests
  • Debate & Current Affairs
  • Community

The site is designed as a place for UK students and those looking to study at UK universities to find information about studying, courses and careers. There is however a significant international element (who have their own sub forum).[29]

Another section of the site allows members to use a free personal statement checking service for university admissions.[30] Members may post their personal statement in a forum ready for checking. For privacy, only the poster and members of the checking and administration teams (the former consisting of students already at university) may view the statement.

For paying members, there is a hidden section consisting of around two hundred arcade games and competition league tables, as well as a secret sub-forum. There are also several other benefits to subscribing to the service, which includes access to Learn Together (see above), custom User Titles and larger avatars.[31]

The "Debate and Discussion" section of the forum also hosts a Model Parliament based on the UK Parliamentary system and a Model UN.

The Student Room Discussion[edit]

A large part of The Student Room is the discussion forum, of which the major sections are:

  • University Applications
  • University Courses: most subjects have their own sub forum
  • Universities: most universities or university towns have their own sub forums
  • Exams
  • Academic Help: at any educational level though mostly focused on secondary school and college level; each subject with its own sub forum
  • Gap Years
  • Debate and Discussion: with politics, society, religion, Model Parliament, Model United Nations and philosophy sub forums
  • Careers: with teaching, armed forces and finance sub forums
  • Life and Style: with relationships, health, fashion and beauty sub-forums
  • Hobbies and Interests: with sport, entertainment, technology, gaming and computers, travel and motoring sub-forums.

In total the whole site has well over 300 forums and sub forums.

The Student Room Articles[edit]

As well as the forum, the site has developed its own wiki: the TSR Wiki. Written and edited by students on a range of academic, university, careers & life subjects. This provides a reference source for prospective and current UK students on matters of institutions, examinations, courses, applying and going to university, student travel, night life, careers and health, and other general topics of interest to students. Two of the largest sections of the wiki provided a wide range of revision notes, covering many subjects from GCSE level through to University level. It also offers dozens of examples of personal statements used to apply to UK universities and colleges.

Social Learning Tools[edit]

History[edit]

The forum was created in around 2001 under the name "UK Learning" as a site for students at university to talk to each other. Since then the forum has grown in popularity and developed into a forum consisting of dozens of sub-forums and thousands of new posts daily. In late 2004 the forum saw a change to its present name of "The Student Room".

UK Learning was originally a portal site, the purpose of which was to push traffic towards profit-oriented sites offering various educational resources such as sample coursework, essays and personal statements. The remainder of the site was a vBulletin-based discussion forum, most of the content of which was derived from usenet posts to which users of the forum could respond through the forum rather than via a usenet client, which enabled the site to rapidly build content (and thus search engine driven traffic) while having only a small user base.

Thus, UK Learning/The Student Room has never been a profit-oriented site in itself, though as noted above it does attempt to generate income in the form of optional subscriptions paid by users of the site, advertising banners and voluntary donations from users as a means to offset the large running costs of the site. The connection to the aforementioned profit-oriented sites can still be seen on The Student Room but are no longer the focus of the site.

In mid-2002 the portal aspect of the site was dropped in favour of focusing the site around the discussion forum, and the site has remained roughly in this state since.

In early 2006 the company which owns TSR was taken over. This new owner, known as CN, set about adding advertisements to the site in order to generate revenue for the running costs. This angered several users as a fundraising drive had recently been held, placement of the advertisements was widely considered intrusive and detrimental, and some of the advertisements were arguably inappropriate.

In mid-2006 the owner, CN, detailed ideas for the future of The Student Room; as part of this, CN met a small group of the moderators at a meeting in London. Many ideas were put forward and plans discussed, and over the next few months preparatory work took place for The Student Room to undergo a facelift with the addition of many improvements to attract new members,[32][33] and on 19 September 2007 the new look website was launched.

Media coverage[edit]

In summer 2004 the forum was also the subject of media coverage after examination questions, from papers yet to be sat, were leaked onto the forum. The user claimed the questions were sample exam questions based on the Edexcel Mathematics exam he was sitting the next day, and asked for help from other users.[34]

In May 2007 the site was heavily quoted by the BBC in an article relating to problems faced in an OCR A Level Biology Practical exam after reports to the media from an unnamed member. Some users on the site appeared to have been told far too much about the practical exam by their teachers while others heavily criticised and complained about the difficulty of the exam afterwards.[35] A similar incident was reported in May 2008,[36] again following discussion on OCR Biology A2 practical exams.

Following A Level results day in 2007, the wiki section of the site was mentioned in an article in the independent about preparing for university. It mentioned how TSR has a pretty much exhaustive list of what a student had to take to university with them.

The site was also mentioned on 16 August 2007 in 'crucial contacts' list for higher education on Nottingham Evening Post website.

In August 2008, the site was featured in a half page article in The Times as part of their students supplement produced for the A Level results day. The article looked at the content of the site, picking out key features such as the university discussion forums and the personal statement help section.[37]

In February 2009, The Student Room and DIUS (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) worked together to produce a resource for people over the age of 21 considering going back to education. The minisite features an interactive map of universities across the country, video interviews with mature students and profiles of members who went to university as a mature student.

In October 2013, the website decided to turn off a feature known as 'negative reputation' (or neg rep for short) which allowed users to negatively rate other users' posts. It was claimed by the moderators that the feature put people off expressing their opinions.[38] The change was met with much consternation, with many users calling for the drastic move's reversal; a few users supported the move as well.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "TSR Group website". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Thestudentroom.co.uk Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  3. ^ "Virtual Community Summit Speakers". Virtual Community Summit. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "World’s largest online student community launches a revolution in social learning to millions of UK students". The Student Room Group. 
  5. ^ Forum list 16-09-2013
  6. ^ Forum Homepage 16-09-2013
  7. ^ Press Release 16-05-2013
  8. ^ "Marked by Teachers Home Page". Marked by Teachers. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Marked by Teachers Why Sign Up". Marked by Teachers. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Get Revising - create a resource". Get Revising. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "EDTECH 20 2014 – The Winners: Bettermarks, BUSUU, The Student Room Group". edukwest.com. Edukwest. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Brighton & Hove Business Awards 2013 Winners". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Lovie Awards Winners 2013". Lovie Awards. Lovie Awards. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Student Room recognised as an Official Honoree for Social Media Websites at the Webbys". The Webby Awards. Retrieved 14 Nov 2014. 
  15. ^ "Joint Information Systems Committee, the UK body concerned with information and communications technology in education". www.jiscrs.ac.uk. JISC. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "National Web Archive". theguardian.com. Retrieved 14 Nov 2014. 
  17. ^ "Get Revising Wins Testing Award". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "The Student Room's medical forums voted best on the web". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "The Student Room wins award for most original, innovative and useful site for students". INTO. Retrieved 14 Nov 2014. 
  20. ^ "Ernst & Young shortlised for best use of social media platform". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  21. ^ Taylor, Nik. "Student in a Million Awards 2013". The Student Room Group. 
  22. ^ Shooks. "Student in a Million awards: celebrating success, remembering Lana Jennifer Maartens". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  23. ^ Gray, Steph. "Going where the people are". Post Bureaucrat. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  24. ^ Cunningham, Matthew. "UCAS and The Student Room will work together to help students during results and clearing". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Student Finance Zone by Student Loans Company". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "TSR Group - Meet the Team". TSR Matters. TSR Group. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  27. ^ The Student Room team pages 16-09-2013
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h "Who runs The Student Room?". The Student Room Group. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  29. ^ International Lounge - The Student Room
  30. ^ PS Help 16-09-2013
  31. ^ Subscription options 16-09-2013
  32. ^ "'The history of The Student Room". Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  33. ^ "'Plans for the future of TSR". Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  34. ^ Harrison, Angela (24 June 2004). "'No re-sits' after exam theft". BBC. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  35. ^ Eason, Gary (24 May 2007). "Anger over A-level science exam". BBC. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  36. ^ "Students 'had hints' before exam". BBC News. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  37. ^ Goddard, Louis (13 August 2008). "Dispelling university myths in The Student Room". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  38. ^ http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2490492

External links[edit]