Introduction to a new edX discussion tool Askalot
Askalot is a representative of so called Community Question Answering (CQA) systems. In the most popular and successful CQA systems, such as Yahoo! Answers or Stack Overflow, communities consisting of millions of users share their knowledge by providing answers on questions asked by the rest of the community.
Askalot represents a novel concept of an organization-wide educational CQA system that fills the gap between open and too restricted class communities of learners.
In contrast to the standard CQA systems on the open web, the design of Askalot takes into consideration educational specifics (e.g. presence of a teacher or different levels of students’ knowledge) and organizational specifics (e.g. lower number of users or users’ mutual familiarity).
Askalot provides a number of useful features that are important for effective knowledge sharing among students and for eliminating teachers’ overload:
In comparison with standard discussions, Askalot provides better organization of content, community features (e.g. user profiles, reputation, following other users) and workspace awareness (e.g. notifications, activity feed). In addition, it can help students to get more organized feedback (from other students as well as from staff members).
Askalot is developed at Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies at Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. It is built on the top of unique modular software architecture that allows to deploy it in two different environments:
Source code of Askalot is provided as an open source: https://github.com/AskalotCQA/askalot. It is implemented in Ruby on Rails with Bootstrap that ensures a responsive design. The quality of our code is assured by employing test driven development (with approx. 90% code coverage) and regular code review process.
Askalot deployed at edX (also codenamed as Askalot @edX) can be tried at this demo course:
Demo teacher account: email@example.com / password
Demo student account: firstname.lastname@example.org / password
Askalot @edX consists of two main parts:
You can review Askalot’s student and instructor guide
Please, check Askalot’s administrator installation guide
Still not enough? For more information about Askalot main functions and its software design, please, see our recent publications: