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This is a question about moving my courses online. I'm aware of the FAQ posted on this site to help these issues, but haven't seen my specific question addressed there. I also asked a version of this question on softwarerecs.stackexchange a few days ago that has not received any attention.

I'm teaching three different math courses. The students will be working on exercises assigned from the textbooks and also on exercises written by me. I am planning on posting videos of my lectures at the beginning of each week and treating normal "class time" as office hours via the zoom service. I can record and post these office hours in case any students miss them or would like to use them as a reference.

I imagine that many students will have questions about the same exercises. I'd like to be able to do some sort of triage on these questions. I'm curious if there is any online platform that would allow me to:

  1. Collect questions from my students.
  2. Allow students to "upvote" questions to measure popularity.

Such a tool would allow me to gauge where the students are struggling as a group. As far as I can tell, tools like google forms and surveymonkey do not have these features.

Does anyone have ideas?

  • Most campuses either use MS Office or Google's GStuite. does yours use either of them? Worst case scenario is that you create a spread sheet and use it as a polling tool. – Richard Erickson Mar 18 at 18:37
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    I haven't used it, but I hear Piazza can do that. – ff524 Mar 18 at 18:39
  • @ff524 Yes, I suppose Piazza would work. It's not exactly what I'm looking for though. I'd rather not use an environment designed as a "forum" but it is of course nice to have something to fall back on. – Brian Fitzpatrick Mar 18 at 18:44
  • Something like a wiki for your class will work. There are servers that are low impact that the department or IT might be able to manage. – Buffy Mar 18 at 18:44
  • I've been using Piazza for a couple of years now, and I can confirm that it could be used in that way, even though the students would have to understand clearly this unintended purpose. – Massimo Ortolano Mar 18 at 19:23
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At one time I had a lot of success running a private wiki for my courses. Students could edit pages as is typical for wikis. I could distribute material, etc. But the advantage was that the wiki lived on from year to year, building up a resource.

There are a lot of servers, though they require a bit of management. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wiki_software. Work with the university's IT department to deploy one of them, perhaps. There may be security concerns they can help keep track of.

But a simple email list server that subscribes students and course staff gives a way for students to ask questions at any time. And an answer you give to one student will be seen by all. This can help you avoid repeat questions from individuals.


There is more at this link than you ask about here, but notice at least the advice about short videos rather than full lecture videos.

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    Moodle has also a wiki activity. For courses already using Moodle it could be a simpler solution than dedicated wiki software. However, I've never used it. – Pere Mar 18 at 23:22

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