Introduction to a topic by surveying students

Brief description

Before the start of a course, the students record questions that they need to have answered. Then the students themselves assess their fellow students’ questions, so that at the start of the course the FAQs can be an introduction to the subject.


  • Students are involved with the content of the course from an early stage
  • The course can be designed to suit the interests of the participants
  • The introduction to the course can be tailored to the participant


You can use the Stud.IP forum to gather questions; it also enables you to assess contributions. You can also use Stud.IP announcements and messages to notify participants.


About two weeks before the course starts check the registration list in Stud.IP and if necessary activate the participants. Explain the rules in an announcement. Create the thread “Questions about the course” on the forum.

About ten days before the course starts send a message to all students who have registered with the request to post their questions by a certain date. After the closing date for submissions ask the participants to rate all the questions you have received by grading them from 1-5. Stud.IP has a ratings section for this in the forum.

In the forum ratings section Stud.IP displays the average rating, as well as the number of views and a relevance index figure calculated from the values for age, views and rating. We recommend identifying the five most popular questions as favourites (exclamation mark to right of rating display).

Then at the start of the course you can present 3-5 of the top-rated questions from your Stud.IP survey. In order to encourage students to take part, you can tie in the result with the allocation of research topics; for example, the student who posts the most popular question is the first to select one of the given research topics and an appointment, then the second, etc.


The questions and ratings are permanently stored in Stud.IP and do not have to be documented separately. If the questions are used for other purposes (e.g. for lectures in the coming year), you can call up a print preview and cut and paste the text into a word-processing file. The name of the author and the date and time of posting are shown, but not the rating and views.

Support services

The E-Learning-Service is ready to help you with any questions you may have about the conception, realisation and evaluation of blended-learning scenarios.


Häfele, H. & Maier-Häfele, K. (2004): 101 e-Learning Seminarmethoden. managerSeminare Verlags GmbH, Bonn (ISBN 3-936075-07-7), Kapitel C1.1.

This blended-learning scenario is based on a project that was carried out as part of the “Win a Tutor” programme at the University of Bremen (ZMML).