User-Generated Content in Education/MentorMob
What is MentorMob
MentorMob is a website that gathers media (videos, pictures, files) from the internet and groups them based by topic in what MentorMob calls a "learning playlist." Users can create a "learning playlist" based on a selected topic and share it over the internet, while also allowing collaboration similar to a Wikipedia model. Users can also search for topics and view "learning playlists" created by other users.
MentorMob boasts that the website is an accumulation of all of the quality media information from across the internet, grouped in playlists. MentorMob groups its playlists into 12 general categories: Math, Science, Technology, Social Studies, For Teachers, Business Studies, Art, English/Reading, Language, and Music. These areas are further broken down into specific topics called mobs.Users can rate "learning playlists" so that the most relevant and beneficial playlists on the website can be easily viewed. 
MentorMob is the brainchild of creators Vince Leung and Kris Chinosorn. The idea for MentorMob grew out of a previous startup the pair had creadted called BigGroups. BigGroups was designed to function as a social networking site similar to Facebook, connecting people with similar interests instead of people who already knew each other. MentorMob was launched on November 1st of 2011. It was self-funded at first with about $40,000. Since the launch date, traffic on the website has increased by 91% per month. 
How MentorMob is Used in the Classroom
MentorMob playlists can be created by teachers to supplement textbook content with media-rich and diverse resources. Teachers may also find use in providing tutorial and extra exploration playlists related to the content and skills being covered in the classroom. Teachers can upload all handouts to a specified playlist.
Mentormob uses a learning concept called SOLO taxonomy, which stands for ‘Structure of Observed Learning Outcome’. The five basic steps of SOLO taxonomy used to classify a student’s understanding are: pre-structural, uni-structural, multi-structural, relational, and extended abstract. Using this method of instruction, students begin their learning process of a concept with a basic and general understanding. As they gain knowledge and comprehension of the material, the level of complexity of their knowledge increases.
Mentormob applies the concept of SOLO taxonomy to help students learn through ‘learning playlists.’ Learning playlists organize Internet content (e.g. articles, diagrams, or videos) into different steps, which start with a basic understanding and then progress to become more complex. Progression to the next step only occurs after the current step has been mastered. A learning playlist titled ‘Nuclear Chemistry’ that demonstrates the correlation between different degrees of learning ‘steps’ and the scope of this taxonomy is seen below.
- Mentormob Learning Playlist Step --- SOLO Classification Step
- Introduction to Radioactivity --- Pre-structural
- Patterns of Nuclear Stability --- Uni-structural
- Types of Nuclear Transmuations --- Uni-structural
- Rates of Nuclear Decay & Half-lives --- Multi-structural
- Nuclear Fission & Fusion --- Relational
- Biological Effects of Radiation --- Extended-Abstract
Playlists can be organized for homework purposes to supplement in-class activity and instruction. The pop quiz feature can help students check their understanding of the material being covered. Teachers may ask students to create playlists to document the sources used to answer webquest questions or the research progress behind the construction of their final reports. Students can also collaborate to produce a group playlist.
To capitalize on peer to peer learning, teachers can require students to create playlists to introduce a new concept to their peers with the “best content on the Web” (“Peer learning,” 2012)  or to include how-to tutorials on perfecting certain skills. Additionally, teachers can share their own lessons with other teachers via MentorMob playlists (Tomaszewksi, 2012).  Likewise, MentorMob can compile information for professional development purposes.
Pros of MentorMob
MentorMob states that “creating and editing Learning Playlists is a free and easy process” (“About MentorMob,” 2012).  With an email address, Facebook account, or Google account, individuals can sign up for MentorMob and begin creating playlists for free. Signing up is not necessary for simply viewing public playlists. A search bar allows one to search for a concept covered in existing playlists or steps.
Organization, Sharing, and Maintenance
Instead of adding multiple webpages to one’s “Favorites” or providing a list of individual links for viewing, all related content is incorporated into one playlist. The URL for the playlist can be shared in a variety of ways including distributing the link to the playlist, embedding the playlist in other websites, and sharing postings in popular social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Playlists are easy to update as links become broken or content becomes outdated. Playlists can also be deleted.
Playlists are able to be titled, to include a description, to be marked as “recreational” or “academic” and within a certain category, and to be tagged with keywords. Additionally, creators have control over who can view or edit their playlists. Creators can mark each playlist as viewable to the public, in which anyone can view the playlist, or unlisted, in which only individuals given the link to that particular playlist can view it. Similarly, creators can mark each playlist with the capability to be edited by the public or by only the creator. Within each step of a playlist, the creator has the option to do one of the following: paste a link, upload a file, write an article, or add a pop quiz. Each of these is chosen for individual “steps” in the playlist. These steps are organized by the creator in the order in which he/she feels the information should be viewed.
Incorporated links to webpages are also chosen by the creator. This eliminates noise on the Internet from unwanted or inappropriate search results. These websites are incorporated in the playlist and viewers are not directed to new windows when viewing as each step of the playlist is contained within one window. YouTube videos are embedded within the playlist without the undesirable comments and unwelcome related videos that sometimes hinder the viewing experience. Content is easily accessible to the user via both Firefox and Google Chrome extensions. 
MentorMob supports a variety of file types including but not limited to Word documents, Excel files, PowerPoint slides, PDF files, and multiple image file formats.
Creators can write articles of their own to accompany the following steps or review the previous steps.
Pop quizzes allow multiple choice or true/false questions, which can allow users and students, in particular, to check their understanding of the material.
Cons of MentorMob
While user content can guarentee the most recent information and allow a multitude of information, one still needs to view content with an eye of skepticism as the user may not be an expert in the field of the "learning playlist" that was created.
MentorMob boasts that the website takes all of the quality resources and complies them into one website and one playlist. Therefore, reducing search time for the best media files are on MentorMob. However, one still needs to search on the MentorMob website for playlists. Also, the quality of the content is based on what the creator deemed as important, and one may not agree with the quality of the media complied on the "learning playlist."
- 2. Carney, M. (2012, June 8). Chrome mentormob gets an interface redesign to make learning more addictive. Retrieved from https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mentormob/injlnhfmhbmfeplgpfkbioijghttp://pandodaily.com/2012/06/08/mentormob-gets-an-interface-redesign-to-make-learning-more-addictive/faebgfj?hl=en
- Melo, D. (2012, July 23). Mentormob founders are inspired to aid in learning, and it shows. Retrieved from http://www.killerstartups.com/bootstrapping-money-makers/mentormob-founders-are-inspired-to-aid-in-learning-and-it-shows/
- Ho, Sharon. (2012). MentorMob turns textbooks into playlists.' Retrieved form: 'http://blogs.reuters.com/small-business/2012/03/06/mentormob-turns-textbooks-to-playlists/
- Atherton J S (2011) Learning and Teaching; About the site [On-line: UK] retrieved 3 March 2013 from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/about.htm
- MentorMob Nuclear Chemistry. (2012). Retrieved fromhttp://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/nuclear-chemistry-2/radioactivity
- Peer learning. (2012). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_learning
- Tomaszewski, J. (2012). Site review: MentorMob. EducationWorld. Retrieved from: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/site-reviews/mentormob.shtml
- About MentorMob. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.mentormob.com/splash/about