Recently we made a video about the benefits of studying abroad and we used the UK as an example destination.
We’ve decided to showcase this in real life and interviewed Lars Eric Tveit Ødegård, Co-Founder at AskIt Student. Lars Eric and the rest of founding team of AskIt Student are currently final year students at Newcastle University Business School. They moved to the UK from Norway for studying abroad and discovered a problem with the way student-lecturer dynamics function at universities.
AskIt Student is a mobile application & platform that enables students to engage academically and aims to remove the need for emails as a communication tool between students. We found their background story to be very inspirational for other international students who are planning to or are currently studying abroad.
1) Tell us about yourself and your role at AskIt Student
My name is Lars Eric, I’m 22 years old and one of the three co-founders and CFO of AskIt Technologies. Currently, I’m a third year Business Management student at Newcastle University Business School. I am planning to work on AskIt Student on a full-time basis after graduation.
2) Can you tell us a bit about AskIt Student app and what it does for students ?
AskIt takes away the peer pressure and stigma involved in asking questions during and outside of lectures. We are trying to show all the questions that students would be wondering about but do not dare to ask.
It’s about giving them a platform that enables students to communicate in their own language. So it’s using that informal aspect of social media to trigger enthusiasm whilst not sacrificing the security that the lecture needs to incorporate these in the classroom so that’s what it all builds on.
3) What inspired you to pursue this project ?
We were initially inspired by Yik Yak in our early university days. Seeing the problem of peer-pressure and stigma placed us in the right direction.
4) So it was a business model that you saw, which was a motivation ?
No it was actually the opposite, it was enthusiasm. We know for a fact that people do not speak out in lectures. That is not necessarily the case with UK students but happens considerably with international students.
So we just want to give students a platform where they can ask whatever they like in a seamless way and take away the need for emails.
5) Very interesting, peer pressure can be an issue in the academic environment. Would you argue that the app also enables learning ?
There’s been one academic article on the learning outcomes of AskIt to see how the anonymous aspect is encouraging learning. The conclusion was that there is a lot of passive learning everywhere such as signs. What AskIt does is expose students to questions that they did not realise they were wondering about.
So our hypothesis is that if you can actually ask a question, your understanding of the material is already quite good. It’s for those who don’t even know what to ask. This is the kind of platform for them to not feel clueless. It helps them build their learning by exposure to all questions and encourage discussions.
6) If you could summarise the key present & future objectives of AskIt Student in two goals, what would they be ?
Very concisely it is to:
- Take away emails in universities
- Encourage everyone to ask their questions that they are really wondering about. That perhaps goes under the goal of taking peer pressure away.
7) Last question, in terms of future plan, let’s say in a 5-10-year timeframe, where do you see yourself ?
We aim to distinguish ourselves in the market. We want to not only provide a good idea but also a technically advanced platform that’s following adaptable trends in technology. Trends that people would actually like to use.
So as an example, you have ChatBots in academia which was a big thing a couple of years ago. People thought this will revolutionise the way people ask questions. Because basically you type a question and the Chatbot will process and roughly understand the topic and then produce an answer.
The problem with it is that people don’t like talking to robots and a standardised interface. For this reason, I personally think that Chatbots will fail in academia. Therefore we need to find ways to go around that. We still need to make it more efficient for lectures to answer questions but in a non-robotic sense.
So having the sufficient technological advancement for enabling the latter is one of our key goals.
If you want to find out more about AksIt Student, visit their website at: www.askitstudent.co.uk.