A primary task of professors is communication with their students. Communicating typically involves lecturing, clarifying uncertainties, and receiving feedback. Lecturing happens at fixed times, but receiving feedback and clarifying uncertainties are continuous tasks.

My question is related to clarifying uncertainties. This is an extremely important and continuous task. Although a professor resolves some of the student's uncertainties during lecture, students may have questions at any time and so there is a need for professors availability.

In this context, I want to know the best methods followed by top professors at top universities on uncertainty clarification.

Recently I came to know about Piazza, Slack etc., in which a professor can solve questions of students at any time.

Are they good methods for clarification during our times, or are there other better methods clarifying student uncertainty?

  • Please comment about quality of question w.r.t. this site – hanugm Oct 11 '19 at 7:17
  • This sense of the phrase "clarifying doubts" seems to be specific to some dialects of English (e.g. Indian), and sounds odd to speakers of other dialects where the word "doubt" has different connotations. Speakers of other dialects may just call this "answering student questions". – Nate Eldredge Oct 11 '19 at 21:52
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    Your question assumes that there are some methods that are inherently "best" in some objective sense. But I think this is the kind of thing where each professor just finds, through experimentation, some approach that works well for their own teaching style and student population. And I suspect that tacit assumption makes the question sound weird to people, like asking "What is the best, world-class flavor of pizza?" So I think that may have something to do with your downvotes. I would suggest changing it to something like "What are some efficient ways to answer student questions?" – Nate Eldredge Oct 11 '19 at 21:57
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    This question is very confused about how university teaching should be conducted. The whole premise is flawed. – Anonymous Physicist Oct 12 '19 at 12:11
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    You seem to be focusing on what software a professor might use to make themselves accessible to students all the time (which may or may not be a good thing!). But when it comes to actually answering student queries, that's far more interesting than just the mode of communication being used. I suggest reading about coaching techniques. – Flyto Oct 15 '19 at 20:05

I would argue that doubt clarification is not a continuous task. Working on a doubt by students is arguably the most important learning experience, regardless whether they finally succeed or not. All too often students just want to know the answer without first seriously trying to find the answer themselves. In my experience being available 24 hours a day 7 days a week just encourages that behavior. Limiting your availability to regular office hours is not popular, but definitely improves the learning experience.

This can be combined with a chat group where students can try to explain problems to each other. Nobody learns as much about a problem as a someone who tries to explain it. So both sides benefit. By keeping this in a chat group, the lecturer can keep an eye on the kinds of problems students are struggling with and spot any wrong explanations.

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