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The Sydney Morning Herald

Mouse roars as student masters Net effect

Author: Julia Baird
Date: 25/10/2001
Words: 341
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News And Features
Page: 4
When self-confessed cyber-addict Joel Nothman discovered how few online resources were available for new HSC students, he decided to set one up himself.

Because the official sites had closed, or their bulletin boards posted incomplete information, ``students have to fend for themselves in this wild world".

On August 13, he put up his site, www.hscstuff.cjb.net. Since then it has received more than 21,000 hits from students hungry for more material.

Last year, a cyber-war developed between students and the Board of Studies over censorship of students' comments on the board's official Web site. The board has since closed down the bulletin board.

Students flocked to alternative sites such as the Anti Board of Studies Screw Job (ABOSSJ), which is no longer operational, and Ozseek, which also has closed down its chatroom.

Mr Nothman, a 17-year-old student at Moriah College, said the board's official site, HSC On-Line, was ``very much an incomplete source of knowledge, leaving some topics and some subjects half-done".

Mr Nothman, who started programming computers when he was seven, posted his own set of study notes on his homepage, as well as links to other sites, and asked others to send theirs in. Now he has 2,000 hits a day, most of whom find it simply by searching for ``hsc".

``The fact is that resources are very scarce and people really needed to be able to get hold of something else," he said. ``For a lot of subjects, particularly design subjects, the material came in very very late. So I thought the resources are scarce, I have the Web space, I have the expertise, I might as well let people share it with each other."

Mr Nothman, who is looking for a suitable Year 11 candidate to take over his site, has not decided what to do next year. Nor has he made plans for Schoolies Week. ``I'm the sort of person who's pretty disorganised."

jbaird@smh.com.au

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