Introduction to a new edX discussion tool Askalot

Askalot @edX

1 General information about Askalot

1.1 What makes Askalot unique?

1.2 Askalot implementation in a nutshell

2 Askalot @edX - Try it!

3 What’s next

1 General information about 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.

1.1 What makes Askalot unique?

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:

  1. Any student can post a new question which he/she tackles with during taking a course. In addition, students can post not only standard questions (e.g. asking for an explanation), but also additional types of question (e.g. socializing questions or questions with identification of a mistake in the learning materials).
  2. All other students in the online community can provide their answers, comments or just vote on already provided questions/answers. An asker can select the best answer to show that the question is already answered sufficiently.
  3. Teachers have the same possibilities as students and in addition, they can evaluate quality of students’ post, see statistics and many more.

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).

1.2 Askalot implementation in a nutshell

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:

  1. At universities (Askalot @university) - this configuration of Askalot is currently deployed at Slovak university of technology, at University of Lugano and at University of Novi Sad.
  2. At MOOC courses (Askalot @mooc) - currently, Askalot supports integration with MOOC system edX.

Source code of Askalot is provided as an open source: 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.

2 Askalot @edX - Try it!

Askalot deployed at edX (also codenamed as Askalot @edX) can be tried at this demo course:

Demo teacher account: / password

Demo student account: / password

Askalot @edX consists of two main parts:

  1. Global view, which contains all questions as well as overview of categories, tags, users and their social profiles in the similar way as in university version.
  2. Unit view, which contains only questions related to particular learning object and is provided directly side by side with learning materials.

Global view.

Unit view.

3 What’s next

  • Are you interested in more information how Askalot can be used in edX courses by instructors and students?

You can review Askalot’s student and instructor guide

  • Do you want to find more technical related information about Askalot’s integration into edX courses?

        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:



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