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The Teacher Q&A - please try it out

Discussion in 'Personal' started by mikeshaw, Jul 26, 2017.

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  1. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Good afternoon all,

    One of the big bits of feedback we've had at Tes in recent years is that it would be useful to have a place where teachers can pose questions and easily see the top-rated answers.

    Of course, many use the forums in Community already to do that, but users have complained that the best answers can be hard to see in a long discussion (especially if it spreads over many pages) and that often the same questions pop up over and over again.

    So we've had a go at creating a new system to solve that - with the working title Teacher Q&A.

    It's not officially fully live yet, but I wanted to let Community users use it first:


    Please try it out and let me know what you think.

    Some of you may notice that - thanks to help from @tafkam - it contains the whole TES Faq that he set up, based on years of collating the top questions and answers in the Community forums. He no longer has time to update that, but this system means others can now add new, updated answers.

    This wouldn't replace Community, but sit alongside it (initially as a link from within the "Staffroom" section, then in other places depending on how it is used). You can tag questions already against any of the forum topics, including workplace dilemmas.

    I really hope you like it. Let me know how we can make it better.


    Michael Shaw

    Tes Product Director
    (Teacher Network)
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I didn't have a question and when I tried to search the answers for topics I thought might be popular nothing came up. Does it work only using tags?

    Ah, I tried again. There just aren't many question/answers there at present.
    Lara mfl 05 and ranaaiman147 like this.
  3. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Yes - it's brand new and only a few teachers have seen it yet. So while it's got 100 questions and answers in it already (mostly the ones from the TES Faqs) it's just the start. Every question has at least one tag.
  4. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    Hi @mikeshaw Is the long term plan to replace the workplace dilemmas area in Community with the Teacher Q&A?
  5. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks @peggylu. I'm hoping it will become more practical to use for questions like that, so the "Workplace dilemmas" Q&A might be positioned and promoted more prominently than the Workplace dilemmas forum. But we certainly won't get rid of any past discussions, and we want to keep the forums for interactions that become more discursive.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    So when I tried to add an answer to a question the post just disappeared! I hope this isn't going to yet another 'improvement' that just makes thing less easy to use and puts people off.
  8. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Oooh. That's weird @blazer . Not seen that happen before. Which question was it?
  9. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    It already seems clunky with just 100 questions. Will you be subdividing them into topics? And if you do then you may as well leave the forums as they are.
    knitone likes this.
  10. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    The one about seating plans, about 6 down on the first page.
  11. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Its appeared now!
  12. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks @blazer - the good news is all the questions are already tagged by topics. One of my colleagues is adding some further navigation to the tags to make it easier to use those to get to particular popular sections. That should be live tomorrow morning.

    Our hope is to use the Q&A more and more in context, so rather than just arriving at the big pool of questions users will come via a one of the tagged sections - whether that's the list of Resource Requests (which is more interesting for authors) or a subject which is their specialism (eg, mathematics).

    In most cases in the testing, users had a particular question and were then using the search box to see if it had been asked already (then asking it if it hadn't).

    Again, the idea isn't that this should replace discussions in Community discussions, but become the reliable Q&A to avoid all the repetition where the same questions get asked and noone ever updates the answers.

    Glad your answer came back!
  13. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    I'm not in Teaching any more, @mikeshaw, but had a wee look anyway. I think it's a really good idea. :) It's working on a similar principle to product review, in a sense, isn't it? Each commonly, or uncommonly, asked question can have multiple and varied responses?
    Edit . . .where the question IS the product
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    That's what I thought!

    A brief question and answer will often move to a discussion anyway.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  15. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Who will look after and monitor the Q&A section? Some answers may become out of date - or even be incorrect advice or information when posted.
  16. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter


    I am getting a notification email every single time anyone adds a post to any question I have previously contributed an answer for or added a comment. Is there a way I can stop this happening. If not I will be loathe to answer or ask any more questions on Q&A as my inbox will end up being inundated.
  17. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Hello @peggylu

    Click on your avatar at the top right of your screen to reveal a drop down menu.

    Look for 'Preferences' and click.

    Make sure that the email notifications box is unchecked. (You can also choose for the automatic alerts to stop too and then just manually 'Watch' any particular threads you want to by clicking 'Watch Thread' to the top right of the first message.)


    You can also 'unwatch' a thread at any time by clicking Unwatch Thread to the top right of the first message.


    Hope this helps. :)
    Lara mfl 05 and peggylu like this.
  18. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    Brilliant. Thanks. It was actually unchecked so I've checked/unchecked it again and saved changes. I'll see if they stop now. @marlin

    And, hi. Hope you are well :) I don't get to chat to you as much now I don't do the midnight thread anymore.
    Lara mfl 05 and marlin like this.
  19. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Yes, I'm well thanks. :) Hope you are too. The midnight thread is still there! :D
    Lara mfl 05 and peggylu like this.
  20. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter


    I'm sure the Thread is going strong, lovely, lovely people on there.

    Unfortunately I'm rarely conscious at midnight anymore and when I am I forget about it until about 12.10am :D
    Lara mfl 05 and marlin like this.
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