Coming into college, students are overwhelmed with questions, and most of them aren’t even related to their coursework. More often than not, students are afraid to ask a “stupid question,” so they tend to remain uninformed about many things available to them on campus.
Kirk Scheidt, sophomore business finance major, decided it was time to create a resource that would answer students’ questions, allow them to meet their peers and learn more about UTSA, so he crafted UTSASource.com.
UTSASource.com is a new Web site where UTSA students can communicate with each other about anything, from information on their major to the location of the next tailgating party.
“[My friends and I] wanted to be able to talk without having to meet up anywhere, so I bought the domain and created the site,” Scheidt said.
The online forum was initially RowdyR.com (Rowdy Racing), a simple site for Scheidt and his friends to talk about car racing. However, Scheidt wanted a more general site for UTSA students and transformed RowdyR into UTSASource.com.
“I decided I would take the RowdyR.com idea and apply it to the general masses,” Sheidt said. “I wanted to create a central hub of communication that students could enjoy without having to open up tons of browsers to do so.”
UTSASource.com became available in late August. The site offers discussions on general issues, academics, extracurricular activities, student organizations and classifieds.
“There is a place for everything at UTSASource.com,” Scheidt explained. “For example, in WebCT, if students want to form study groups, they can only do so with their section of the course. Yet, on UTSASource.com, all sections of a course can communicate [with one another] and form study groups or share notes openly.”
Contrary to what many may think, UTSASource.com is not the same as social networking sites such as MySpace.com and Facebook.com.
“I was tired of having to use Facebook, MySpace, WebCT and so on that I decided I would take the RowdyR.com idea and apply it to the general masses,” Scheidt said. “It’s a forum, which means no personal pages…[it’s] strictly communication.”
The goal of the site is simply for students to talk about anything and remain anonymous, if they choose to be.
“Now students can ask questions or engage in debates like the current election and have a choice to be anonymous or not,” Scheidt said.
Without the formality of creating a personal profile or dealing with releasing their identity, students are able to comfortably communicate with one another quickly and effectively.
“Students will be more engaged because information will travel faster than ever before around campus,” Scheidt said.
At the top of the page are two links-“active topics” and “unanswered posts”-where students may respond to postings just as they would on a discussion board.
The basic layout allows students to register and get online within minutes. Students are able to pick a username and provide their location as well as a fun icon or graphic that is displayed next to their usernames.
“I feel the simplicity of the design and ease of use are a few of the main attractions that UTSASource.com has to offer,” Scheidt said.
In addition to the Web site, Scheidt manages his busy schedule as a full-time college student.
“I don’t know how I find the time, but I take about 15 hours per semester, work full-time as a supervisor at Circuit City and still find a way to have fun,” Scheidt said.
While college is demanding-with homework, student organizations and keeping up with friends-Scheidt finds it extremely important to prioritize.
“My main recommendation is to get a PDA, daily planner, calendar or a smart phone, because without my to-do list and calendar on my iPhone, I would be lost everyday,” Scheidt said.
Of course, UTSASource.com is also a great way to keep up with life on campus.
“I hope that students will see the benefits it has to offer and that it elevates their college lives to an entirely new level,” he said.