Tips on Taking Questions in Class

Table of Contents

Highlights of This Article

In this article, we introduce and compare various tools that can help you take questions for your classes in a simple and effective manner.

The article categorizes the tools according to their purpose and uses, and explains the characteristics of each.

Note that this article explains the tools from the point of view of the instructor taking the questions.

For those looking for more information on the specific features of each tool and instructions on how to use them, we have provided links to related articles both on this site (utelecon) and on the official websites.

We also provide helpful “Tips” to keep in mind when using the tools, as well as links to articles introducing practical examples taken from classes at the University of Tokyo, so please refer to them as well.

Taking Questions in Real Time During Class

Below, we will introduce some useful tools for taking questions in real time during online or face-to-face classes.

Using a Web Conferencing System (for Small to Medium Sized Classes)

This section introduces several tools and methods that will allow you to take questions mainly using a web conferencing system. This method is suited for online classes where the class size and the number of questions are not too large.

Using Web Conferencing Systems Such as Zoom

Here, we will focus on Zoom as an example of a web conferencing system (see this link for an explanation of some representative web conferencing systems).

There are two methods for taking questions through Zoom: to have the students voice their questions out loud and to have them use the Chat feature (in Japanese). Things will go more smoothly if you set aside time for Q&A, or ask your students to use the Raise Hand feature (in Japanese) when having students ask their questions out loud.

Using the Chat feature allows participants to ask questions whenever they want, and you can keep a written record of their questions.

Example of Q&A using Zoom’s Chat feature


(Notes of Caution)

In particular, many students may be uncomfortable with having their names displayed and be discouraged from asking questions.

One way to solve the problem of students being uncomfortable with having their names displayed is to have them use the private messaging feature. Chats labeled “Privately,” like in the second question in the image above, cannot be seen by other participants. We recommend that the instructor read the question out loud, or copy and paste them into the general chat.

(Online References)


CommentScreen is a feature that allows you to make posted comments flow from one end of the screen to the other on Web conferencing systems such as Zoom.

Since you can have the posted questions flow across your screen, you can read and respond to questions while sharing slides and other materials.

An example of using CommentScreen


(Notes of Caution)

(Online References)

For Large Classes or When You Want to Take Many Questions at Once

Here, we introduce some tools useful for large classes or when you want to take many questions at once, whether online or face-to-face.

These tools can also be used for classes with fewer participants.


Slido is a web-based service that comes with Q&A and polling features and can be used to facilitate interactive communication between participants during classes and lectures.

The functions needed to collect questions can be used for free. However, you can gain access to paid functions (like allowing participants to respond to each other’s questions or exporting questions and other data) by signing in with your UTokyo account. See herefor more information.

Although Slido has several features, we will focus on examples of how to collect questions using the “Q&A” feature.

Examples of Questions Collected Using Slido


In particular, what makes Slido convenient is the ability to “Like” questions and to respond to comments, which makes it suited for collecting and answering large numbers of questions.

Questions with more “Likes,” which are shared by more students, will be shown at the top (questions can also be ordered from newest to oldest). So even if you receive many questions, you can prioritize answering the most urgent ones.

(Notes of Caution)

On this point, even if you do not understand English, you can easily sign up by referring to the articles on utelecon and other resources (registration is only required for the host).

You might find it hard to check Slido while simultaneously looking at the Zoom window on your PC screen. In that case, you can open Slido on a separate smartphone or tablet device so you don’t need to switch between windows.


Collecting Questions During or Before/After On-Demand Classes

In this section, we will introduce several helpful tools for taking and answering questions during on-demand classes or outside class hours (such as during exam week or when the student is reviewing the class or working on their assignments).

For Large Classes or When You Want to Take Many Questions at Once

For larger classes where you constantly need to collect and answer many questions, it may be helpful to introduce a chat or messaging app.


Slack is a messaging app mainly used for business purposes.

To use Slack, create a “workspace” for your group. You can set up multiple “channels” inside the workplace.

You can exchange messages within each channel.

You can collect and respond to questions by creating a workspace for your class and setting up a Q&A channel.

An example of Q&A using Slack


In particular, taking advantage of the aforementioned channels will make it easier to take questions and allow you to communicate with your students more effectively.

For more information, see here.

(Notes of Caution)

(Tips) As a rule, we recommend collecting questions using the channel. However, it might be convenient to allow DMs (Direct Messages) to accommodate students who don’t feel comfortable having their names displayed or students with personal questions related to their grades.


LINE Open Chat

With LINE Open Chat, you can form communities and exchange messages with people not registered as friends, using a URL or QR code.

You can set up a room for the class and host Q&A sessions by inviting participants to join using a link or QR code.

Example of Q&A conducted using LINE Open Chat


(Notes of Caution)

While Slack allows you to create multiple channels, LINE Open Chat only allows you to exchange messages in one room.

So if there are very many questions or several Q&As are being conducted at the same time, or if you want to send other notifications, then you need to be careful since people may overlook or lose track of the messages.


For Small Classes or When You Don’t Need to Take Too Many Questions

In this section, we will introduce some tools you can use for classes where asking questions doesn’t play a central role and where you don’t need to collect a large number of questions.

Learning Management Systems such as ITC-LMS (in the case of the University of Tokyo)

ITC-LMC is a Learning Management System adopted by the University of Tokyo. You can use it to distribute or submit materials or assignments, send notifications to participants, or conduct tests.

ITC-LMC has a message board feature, and you can add a discussion forum with a subject title such as “Ask questions here” to take questions from participants.


(Notes of Caution)


Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a Learning Management System provided by Google. There are various features you can use to support your teaching, including distributing or submitting materials or assignments, sending notifications to the class, and conducting tests.

There is a message-board-like feature called the “Stream” page, where you can have participants post their questions for you to collect.


(Notes of Caution)



Email is the most common method for collecting questions.


(Notes of Caution)

*Slack Japan Co., Ltd. provided images and other support for this article. We thank them for their generous cooperation.

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