Contributor: Michael Matousek, CEO/Founder,

For years, students have faced a limited choice in terms of the materials they could use in order to achieve academic success. While many students have been successful within this model, many others have struggled and have made it to graduation day only by a small margin. Still others grew so sick of failure that they dropped out of our academic system altogether, facing a world without the education that is becoming required by more and more employers and professions on a daily basis. This challenging situation also leaves instructors seeking ways to improve academic outcomes in their courses.

There has been no limit to the number of efforts made to get more students through our academic system. However, few of these efforts have utilized the people caught in the middle of the problem they’re trying to solve – the students. What if we were able to bring students together to help them solve their own academic challenges? What if we could connect students with one another to help them improve their own academic outcomes?

Improving student outcomes

These were the basic questions I asked myself when starting is an online marketplace that enables students to buy and sell their course-specific study materials — notes, flashcards, video tutorials, and live video help. It empowers smart college students to make money from their own study material, while helping other students study smarter to get better grades.

The idea for came about during my junior year at Kent State University when many of my classmates were struggling in a particular statistics course. I excelled in the class and the material came pretty easily to me, so my classmates started asking for my study guides and homework help. To make some extra cash, I started selling my study guides for $10 a piece – and quickly made over $1,000. Not only did I realize this was a great way for smart students to earn money, my classmates’ grades improved as well. This type of peer-learning was a win-win for everyone. With the help of friends, professors, and fellow classmates, I gathered other students’ study materials from more courses at Kent State and launched

Since then, has empowered college students from across the country to supplement and reinforce the concepts taught to them in class. These students are driving powerful change within the higher-ed ecosystem. They have figured out that there is an alternative to struggling through a class for an entire semester and that they can help each other to succeed.

Cengage Learning partners with

Today, I am excited to announce that Cengage Learning has partnered with to bring the platform to their entire audience of students, expanding’s reach even further and giving more students access to high-quality, course-specific study materials created by their peers.

I hope that as you learn more about and our partnership with Cengage Learning, you will be as excited as I am. Together, we’ll be making a tremendous shift within the higher education ecosystem and empowering students to play an active role in how academic content is created and consumed.
Michael Matousek co-founded Flashnotes in 2010 while a senior at Kent State University. He brings energy and passion to the company. While at Kent State, Mike studied and graduated with a degree in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Inspired by his personal experience and frustration while in school, Mike believes in the mission of Flashnotes: powering the student-to-student exchange of high quality academic materials to help supplement and complement the learning experience by harnessing commerce and the latest technologies.