Penn State may soon add another accolade to its expansive collection — top Sporcle school.
Sporcle, the quiz website launched in 2007, recently began publishing a ranking of schools organized by the amount of time students spend on the site.
The rankings, published weekly, have Penn State at No. 5, behind Maryland, Notre Dame, and fellow Big Ten members Michigan and Ohio State.
Michigan holds the top spot for the week.
While most students view Sporcle as a means of distraction from their schoolwork, others said they use the site as a way to quiz themselves on their studies.
Mike Montgomery (senior–economics) said he’s used the site in the past to prepare for quizzes.
“There’s a good bit of economics quizzes there. I used to use them when I was taking Macro, kind of like flashcards,” said Montgomery, who still admits to spending much of his free time taking the quizzes.
The rankings were compiled using a computer algorithm that takes into account individual visits, games played, page views and average time on the site, Sporcle Public Relations Associate Ian Henry said.
Penn State students who live off-campus can also help the university rise in the rankings by creating a user profile and listing Penn State as their school, he said.
Sporcle Vice President of Products Derek Pharr said the rankings are just the beginning of what they hope will be further university integration.
“We’d love to work directly with universities to have all this data line up better,” Pharr said.
Many of the academic quizzes are created by individual users, in addition to quizzes about their specific universities and fraternities, Pharr said.
Sporcle views itself at a crossroads between social gaming and online learning, Henry said.
The ability for users to help test one another on various subjects gives the site a social networking feel, much like other popular websites Twitter and Facebook.
The idea of the rankings came to the employees at Sporcle, Inc. as a result of their sports obsession, Pharr said.
“It’s easy to get drawn in to the competition of something like March Madness or the BCS, so we wanted to build something like that,” he said.