How to Ask Good Questions in an Online Class

By Brenda on February 4th, 2012


One of the most frustrating occurrences in an online environment is not getting responses to your questions from peers and professors. Research shows that questions that are carefully and intelligently crafted get much more response. Knowing how to ask good questions is transferrable skill set that will help you in your role as a student and professional. Below are some tips on how to ask quality questions that your teachers and fellow students will enjoy reading and responding to.

Before Asking the Question

Most people, especially college students and professors, know an unintelligent question when they see one. Most of the time the student is just looking for an easy way to get information without going over the course material. Typically they throw out a flippant question that tries to sound intelligent and informed, but it’s not. This is a good way to lose the respect of your online peers and ensure they will not respond to this question or any future questions you post.

Asking informed questions requires you cover the material. After you have studied the content you are able to properly frame your query based on a certain depth of knowledge. From there, the teacher or students can expand and clarify with salient points.

How to Frame Your Question

  • Sometimes a question does not get answered because it gets posted in the wrong area. Make sure your question is posted in the proper area of whatever content management system you may be using. Don’t start a thread on a topic in the wrong place – it probably won’t get any response.
  • Create a meaningful subject line. Marketers and journalists know the power of a good headline. You’ve got just a few seconds to capture the attention of your classmates and teacher. Your subject line should provoke a reaction that causes them to open up your post. Make sure your post lives up to the hype of your headline though!
  • Good grammar is a must. Nothing will make you sound more foolish and amateurish than poor grammar. This is college. College students should be able to use good grammar and spelling.
  • Proper formatting is essential. Nothing is more annoying than opening up a post that is one long paragraph. It’s overwhelming to the eyes and probably won’t even get read. The best web content utilizes short and succinct paragraphs and bullet points.
  • Being clear, concise, and to the point is important. Your point or question should be very straight forward. Avoid wishy-washy terms that make you seem uncertain. Be direct and to the point without sounding close minded or arrogant.


Category: Campus Degrees,Careers and Employment,Degrees,Online Degrees