Does the name Course Hero remind you of anything? Maybe, Guitar Hero?
Thats right, the founder Andrew Grauer was a big fan of Guitar Hero. When he started the website in 2006 from his college dorm he naturally landed on the name Course Hero.
At first the website was just for sharing documents at Cornell University where Grauer studied. He saw that people usually discarded lectures, class notes, exams and assignments as soon as the term was over. This seemed like a waste and Andrew knew that all this extra class information could be very valuable if properly indexed.
Although the website didn’t look the best in 2008 Course Hero already had a couple hundred thousand users. Of course it still cost money but it was way easier to submit documents. For only 10 submitted documents you could get an entire month free! Those were the good and easy days of Course Hero.
But soon all that began to change with a new website redesign.
Course Hero in 2010
Another year another Course Hero website redesign. Finally they stepped it up and made it a bit prettier, now they even had pictures of smiling and happy customers.
The prices continued to increase. Now instead of $5 a month the price was $10 a month and you needed to submit 20 documents for a free month of use. Demand was soaring, and with a massive database Course Hero could finally demand some more money.
The Course Hero Knowledge Drive was also introduced in September 2010, this philanthropist program donates 1 book to children in Africa for every ten documents uploaded. This is pretty cool, when you help yourself get a free account you’re also helping kids in Africa get free books. Since 2010 over 200,000 books have been donated(500 from my spamming documents effort)
2012: Courses and Leader boards
Three major changes happened in 2012 that shook the Course Hero world up. The first was that it got another redesign; the new 2012 website was elegant and easy on the eyes. No more 2000s looking gobble-gook.
Second, they added leader boards! In 2012 leader boards were hot in the education scene, everyone wanted to gamify learning, and Course Hero was no exception. You finally had a nice shiny carrot in front of your face to keep you burning through courses and documents.
And of course they added courses as well. Thats right Course Hero finally had full blown start to finish courses. Originally three “learning paths”: Entrepreneurship, Business, and Web Programming. With a total of 22 courses, all for free!
Finally the Course Hero of today was beginning to take shape.
Course Hero Today
No need to post a picture of this version, just head on over to the Course Hero Website. Pretty similar to the 2012 version although now they have done away with the leader board unfortunately.
If the history of the website teaches us anything its that submitting documents for free access is an important part of the Course Hero business model. Unless something drastically changes, we can relax knowing that getting free course hero accounts has a bright future.