Together We Pass Study groups enable home study students to come together online to discuss the subjects they are studying. Primarily created for UNISA students, Together We Pass study groups are now available for many distance-learning colleges and now, matric students as well.
What are study groups, and why do they work?
So what is a study group? It is a group of students coming together to learn from and with each other. This is called peer learning or social learning. The group benefits from the combined individual insight, perspective and understanding that each individual brings to the table. This is a highly effective way of learning, and it has come into the lime light in recent years. Technology is being harnessed in many innovative ways to improve the experience of students, and also to ensure the groups in different locations can meet easily online to enjoy the benefits of a study group.
Face-to-face study groups
Face-to-face study groups are encouraged by any traditional institutions, including UNISA. They encourage students to create face-to-face study groups. UNISA will supply students with the contact details of other students in their area if you apply to them in order to make this possible. With UNISA students they can also post on the MyUNISA forum to ask other students to join them for a face-to-face study group.
However, if you look at the MyUNISA forum you will see a tale of woe regarding the face-to-face study groups. Page after page of students post their location asking for other students in their area to join with them in a study group. Very seldom do you see anyone taking the initiative to contact the students back and pro-actively engage to get a study group happening.
Besides this the situation of the home study student is unique. Most are working and have to juggle work, study and raising a family. Finding a time that suits all members of a study group is difficult, and soon discourages students from meeting regularly. In the end, you seldom see successful, ongoing study groups that meet face-to-face.
Online study groups
Online study groups are much more effective for the home study student. They don’t need anyone to travel, and they can often mean each member can engage in their own time.
Online study groups can come in a variety of forms, and students have become very innovative as they bend technology to suit their particular needs. If you are wanting to set up your own study group read through these ideas carefully and see which would work best for you personally.
Platforms created by your university or college
Many universities and colleges now provide a space for students to engage. Skills Academy, UNISA, UCT and even Get Smarter all have spaces dedicated for students studying the same subject to come together, often with their lecturer, to discuss their studies.
Some are very well managed and have daily input from the lectures. Skills Academy is one of those, that ensures a high level of contact inside their study groups. UNISA is renowned for not giving any help via the MyUNISA forums except for on a few unique programs.
One incredibly simple way of creating an online study group is to have a group of people that email each other. You can get to your email when you have time, and respond when you need to. Ask and answer questions, and keep in touch with your classmates. This is one of the more low-tech, high effect methods of hosting a study group.
WhatsApp, Line App or other Chat Apps
Another excellent way to keep in touch with your class mates is via the variety of chat apps that have come onto the market. This immediate way of communicating means a high level of engagement. Remember to ensure that you only invite people to the study group that want the intense communication of a chat App.
Facebook study groups have sprung up everywhere since its inception. It is a great way to bring different students together, and you can post images, videos and share study tips and questions in a variety of ways.
Some colleges that do not have their own study groups are even using private Facebook study groups as their main means of communicating with their students.
Together We Pass study groups
Together We Pass study groups have been crafted carefully and thoughtfully over the past 8 years. They have the distance learning/ home study student in mind in every aspect of the service and has many small features that vastly change how students engage with each other.
One aspect is how easy it is to access. You can log in any time, from a PC, tablet or smartphone whenever you have the time and the website is carefully designed to change itself depending on the size of your screen.
Another key element is the notifications. You get emails to tell you when there is a post in your study group, and you can set the frequency so that it really works for you. You can decide if you want updates on every post, once a day, once a week or even never. Keeping motivated to study consistently through the years it takes to qualify is one of the key downfalls of home study. The notifications on Together We Pass study groups is a critical element designed to bring students back to their studies time and time again.
You access whenever you have time – not whenever there is a message. So whenever suits you; be it late at night or on the weekend, you can catch up on what has been happening, answer students questions and post your own.
This convenience and constant reminders from the platform bring students back to their studies regularly, which is the hardest part of distance learning studies. You need to practice over and over, and not cram in at the end if you want to really learn and pass your exams with high marks.
Together We Pass study group features
Together We Pass study groups have often been likened to Facebook for Students. In this section, we look at the different features on the study groups and see how they help a student to pass their final exam, and get qualified.
The Together We Pass discussion forum
The Together We Pass discussion forum allows the lecturer or a student to create specific topics they need to discuss. This allows different threads to develop and can be on anything from the study notes for the week, to motivational quotes.
There is also a unique feature inside the assignment comparison tool that allows you to discuss a question where you see your answer differs vastly from the majority of the class. If you press the discuss button in the comparison app it creates a topic in the forum with the details of the assignment and question number so that students can really hone their understanding and difference approaches to the answer.
Comparing assignments on Together We Pass
Comparing assignments on Together We Pass is one of the key elements. Remember they do focus on cheat free work, and this includes in the assignment comparison. Many students are very intimidated by the assignments, especially at UNISA where the assignment marks count towards your year mark. A student works through the assignment alone, and has no idea whether they are on the right track.
By comparing and discussing an assignment before submitting it for marking the student increases their understanding, and potentially through this their mark.
Remember that in Together We Pass study groups you cannot cheat. You will not see the answers until you have submitted your own. And you will only see how many students agree with your answer – you will never see another students answer set.
If you compare your assignment, and discuss problem areas where your answer differs greatly with others you will better understand every topic. This will improve your marks for the assignment, as well as your understanding for the final exam.
The Together We Pass resource library
The Together We Pass resource library is where you find all the extra reading material, past paper memos, notes etc that fellow students or your lecturer have shared.
If you have resources you think will benefit the other students in your group email them to the firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be loaded for all students to enjoy.
The Together We Pass activity feed
The Together We Pass activity feed is the life blood of the study group. It is the main page that you land on, and it shows all the activity happening in the various parts of the study group. New members joining, posts in the forums. You can reply to posts here, and it immediately puts you in touch with what is going on in your subject.
Together We Pass Notifications
Together We Pass notifications are emails sent to you by the website tell you when someone posts in one of the study groups that you signed up for. We recommend that you keep your email notifications on Daily unless you are really keen to get every post so you can immediately see what is happening in your study group.
These emails give you a summary of what is happening in all your study groups that you are signed up to, with links so you can go directly to the post and read the full post.
Remember you have to be logged n for this to work, so it if does not take you where you want to go log in, and then go back and click the link again.
Making friends on Together We Pass
Making friends on Together We Pass is really easy. Like with Facebook you can also Friend any other student on the website. This is a fun feature and allows for one on one chats outside of the forum.
Together We Pass study group packages
Together We Pass study groups come on many different levels, or packages. This is to cater for the different levels of input different students need in their studies.
Together We Pass Free study groups
Many of the Together We Pass study groups are free. These have been created at students requests at some time in the past 4 years. You can use the forms to talk to other students studying the same course as you, compare assignments and use whatever resources are in the library. However, in these groups, there are usually not many resources available for students to use. There is no facilitator, and no subject expert to assist. However, you can vastly increase your understanding and your marks by working with other students in your study group.
Together We Pass Standard study groups
Our standard study groups have a reasonable number of resources as they have been created by our staff and were facilitated at some point. Again you can use the discussion forum, assignment comparison tool and browse the resource library. These groups are also not facilitated and do not have a lecturer.
These are for students who are able to work alone, and are happy to start conversations with other students by posting on the forums and actively asking questions. Also who actively put their answers into the assignment comparison in order to compare and discuss with other students.
Together We Pass Gold study groups
These have all the benefits of free and standard groups, but they also have the set of study notes created by our lecturers. This is an excellent resource that gives a student a good grounding of what they need to cover to pass the exam.
We do not recommend that students do not buy the text book, as it is always advisable to study as much information as possible when writing your degree.
However, the notes will cover all the basics of the subject.
Together We Pass Premium study groups
Once again you get the platform with all its benefits. Discussions, assignment comparison and the study notes created by our subject experts.
You also get an up to date exam pack, covering the latest UNISA past papers.
You also have a subject expert in your study group, answering questions, assisting with assignments (no we don’t cheat and give you the answer), reminding you of key dates and in general keeping you in line with your studies and passing your degree.
Together We Pass History – where does this all come from?
The Together We Pass study groups have been offered to students since 2008. In the very beginning these study groups were run via a Yahoo email account and an excel spreadsheet!
Founder Tabitha Bailey says of that time: “They were incredibly simple, and incredibly effective. I came up with the idea when I was studying my UNISA BCom degree while living in Thailand. Having absolutely no access to other students to study with I had to come up with an alternative way of studying with other”.
She ran the groups for her own subjects for a few years, and then decided to see if she could offer them as a paid service to other students. And the online study group was born!
By 2012 the business was so big that it needed to automate or it would no longer be able to help the number students now signing up for the service. So Together We Pass partnered with a technology company and they launched their first online platform in early 2013.
A huge amount of thought and planning went into the study groups. Careful attention paid to the assignment comparison tool meant that it is the only multiple choice comparison tool that allows you to compare answers without cheating. It allows you to see what percentage of the class agrees with your answer without ever seeing the answer set of any other student.
In early 2014 Tabitha decided the online groups were not working the way she wanted to, so had the entire website rebuilt from scratch. It was not ok to be good enough, she wanted great study groups
In September 2014 she was approached by SA College of Home Study Pty Ltd, and they bought the company. The platform was to be used for all the colleges in the SA College of Home Study group. This was the first time that the platform started to be used for more than just UNISA students.
Today a number of home study colleges use the platform as their primary means of support and communication with their students. Together We Pass has now been bought by the Home Study Group, and continues to service both UNISA students, as well as other home study students.
Which students are using Together We Pass study groups
The Together We Pass study groups were initially offered exclusively to UNISA students, but have branched out to offer the service to other students studying via distance learning. When you are studying at UNISA you are studying from home, as with any of the distance learning colleges or universities. Unfortunately you do not get to see other students every day with home study to help you easily set up a study group. People live far from each other, and are juggling jobs and family life so time to get to a study group is limited. This means that seeing each other face to face is not a real option for home study students.
So which students are currently using Together We Pass?
Together We Pass is in no way affiliated with UNISA. They do not have a license to assist UNISA students and has in the past been investigated by UNISA to ensure that Together We Pass was not unfairly advantaging UNISA students.
However, despite not being granted any form of license Together We Pass has helped over 9,000 students with their UNISA studies over the past 8 years. UNISA students are currently the largest group of students that are using the Together We Pass study groups.
There are over 300 different UNISA subjects offered on Together We Pass study groups.
Skills Academy is a home study College recently bought by Home Study Group Pty Ltd. Skills Academy concentrates on Skills, and offers many short courses as provider programs, Skills Academy aims to give students their firs step towards a brighter future.
The Skills Academy lectures run study groups for their students using the Together We Pass platform to be in constant communication with their students. Every student that signs up with Skills Academy is added to a study group, and given training on how to use the system.
Everyone has the right to study!
The Learning Group
The Learning Group is a very new member of the Together We Pass study group family. Having been bought by Home Study Group in February 2016 they are in the early stages of bringing quality education to the South African student.
The Learning Group concentrates on more creative courses, and has an excellent range of Décor and Design courses.
Lectures run study groups for their students on the Together We Pass platform.
Inspired by their success with UNISA students the Together We Pass team has launched a distance learning College in the TWP brand. Having received accreditation from ICB and Fasset in July 2016 they are opening their doors to their first students this year.
Together We Pass will offer study groups to all ICB students, in conjunction with their TWP Academy students. If you are studying bookkeeping you will want to join these vibrant, intense study groups.
Matric study groups
Yes, Together We Pass will soon offer study groups for Matric! That is why we are so interested in them. You will be able to use this service for a number of subjects by early October 2016.
Positive students experiences
Students who study with Together We Pass have very positive things to say.
“Together We Pass is my secret weapon” said one student in 2016.
“I could not have done it without you” is our most frequent comment.
What are the challenges for students using Together We Pass study groups
What do I do if I get stuck?
You can call our offices during office hours to speak to an advisor, regardless of which college or university you have a study group for.
You can also email, and our friendly staff will get back to you shortly.
Where are the help files
Together We Pass has awesome help files, mostly with picture by picture instructions on how to use the system. As well as a very comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions section. To find this click on the FAQ button right at the top of the page.
Together We Pass study groups are online. This means you have to have access to the internet to use the study groups.
The good news is you can use a computer, tablet or a smart phone to do this.
If you are really stuck, find an internet café and check out the website. We certainly think they are worth the extra effort.
Matric.co.za is looking forward to hearing more about Together We Pass. Most especially about their study groups for matric students! You can also click here if you want to find Together We Pass contact details.
Last updated: October 14, 2017