The Role of Questions in Online Teaching

One of the most common mistakes I see among online faculty is to misuse questions under the guide of teaching by “Socratic dialogue.” Faculty will drop comments such as “Why did the author take this position?” into the margins of a student's assignment thinking that it will get the student to contemplate it. But the student is not clear as to how to interpret the comment. Does the instructor expect the student to answer the question? If so, then where is the student to answer, since the assignment is already done? Maybe the student's work is so interesting that it has raised a question in the instructor's mind about the issue, and the instructor is just expressing it? In this case the question does not invite an answer.

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