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  • Research Articles
  • Open Access

An Answering System for Questions Asked by Students in an e-Learning Context

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education20129:9020229

  • Received: 15 May 2011
  • Accepted: 15 February 2012
  • Published:


In this article, we present a system that helps tutors to answer questions asked by their students at an online university: the Open University of Catalonia (UOC). Communication between UOC students and their tutors is fully online; students ask questions and tutors answer them by e-mail. The system, which is currently being developed at the UOC’s Office of Learning Technologies (OLT), aims to find multilingual contexts with useful information to enable tutors to give fast, appropriate answers to students. These contexts are extracted from course learning materials, from previous messages posted on subject discussion boards, and also from articles and other sources of information available on the Internet. Apart from helping tutors to find better answers, the system is also useful for updating their knowledge and contributing to their lifelong learning.


  • question-answering systems
  • e-learning
  • speech acts
  • tutor