Quora and higher education

How universities can make the most of the popular question-and-answer site

Ever wondered how inventors find their inspiration? Want to know how the process of making red wine differs from that of white wine? Then you’d do well to head to Quora, the question and answer site designed by former Facebook staff members. Users ask questions which are then answered by other users, with a voting system in place to ensure the best answers rise to the top.

Topics are as diverse as quantum mechanics, dating advice, cybercrime and vegan food. The site also proves a treasure trove for higher education discussion. Current, existing and former students write about all aspects of their educational experience, while questions and answers are also contributed by professors, university staff and seasoned educational experts. See, for example, this discussion of how Harvard recruits future students or this query about what it’s like to study at University of Melbourne.

This buzzing hive of discussion is valuable for university staff, since it allows you to see what people are writing about your institution. Picklejar Communications recommends following your university’s brand: this will give you notifications each time a user asks a question related to the university, and you can also keep tabs on the sorts of answers that are being posted. Responding to questions can also prove useful. For instance, you could answer questions prospective students may post about certain aspects of programmes or specific parts of university life. You can also respond to general queries, too: for example, if a school-leaver asks which universities offer media arts degrees, respond with an answer highlighting impressive stats about your uni’s course and information about how to apply.

So, next time you want to check what people are saying about your university or just have a spare five minutes and some fascinating to read, give Quora a go. Below are four fine threads to get started with.


Four great education threads

How are universities founded?

Which campus universities in the UK have the best campuses?

How are progressive teachers using technology?

What is the wisest piece of advice a teacher has ever given you?


Has Quora proved useful at your university? Got a great thread to recommend? Let us know by adding a comment or tweet us @fullfabric.


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